Geek Advice – Making Geek Friends in a New Town

Dear Pink Hair Girl,

My wife and I are in our early 30’s, and because I’ve recently relocated to a new office in another state, we’re moving away from home and from all our geek friends. The both of us are kind of socially awkward, and not the best at meeting new people. We tend to be home bodies, but really appreciate having like-minded friends. Once in a while we like being able to hang out with people we know to play board games, or watch cheesy movies. I’d love it also if I could find a group to start a tabletop campaign with.  What’s the best way to meet new geeks?

Sincerely,
The Nerdy Birds

Dear Nerdy Bird,

Moving far away from all the comforts of your geek community can be a daunting task, especially if you and your wife are low-key kind of folks. For a geek, making close friends can be a slow process. It requires marinating, like having the meaty flesh of companionship soak up a salty sweet concoction of Catan, Dr. Who, D&D, then roasted in the fires of Mordor. But we all know that one does not simply plan a BBQ in Mordor. You’re moving your whole lives from one spot to another; take your time, and you’ll find your niche there eventually. Here are a few tips for seasoning your new life with some geekiness:

  • Focus the first few weeks on just settling in – By this, I mean unpacking, decorating your home, painting walls, putting up pictures, finding the right place for your life-sized storm trooper mannequin, that sort of thing. Just unloading all that stuff and trying to make your new place feel like home is going to be exhausting enough, without the added stress of trying to be social. You’re going to have a ton of errands to run, stuff to lift, and plumbers to call, so focus on your home first to help you feel like yourselves again. Then, when it’s time to meet new people, you’ll have a little more energy and personality to spread around. If along the way you start to get a little bit of cabin fever, look up local restaurants, or just drive up and down the main streets in your area to get used to what’s around you.
  • Find likely geek hangouts– There are a number of ways to do this!
    • Meetup.com – My first suggestion is to type your zip code into meetup.com and see if any of the events listed are based around stuff you guys like. For example, here‘s all these tabletop groups around the world.
    • Craigslist – Check your area for events you might want to attend.
    • Register yourselves on OKcupid – list yourselves as just looking for friends, and search for people in your area that look like they do geeky things. You can send them messages and ask if there are any fun events happening that are open to the public.
    • Join or Start a Book Club – Go to the local library or community board and see if there are any book clubs going. If not, post up your own book club featuring sci-fi or fantasy stuff. (or there’s an online group list of them here) Maybe suggest an R.R. Martin book club. People keep telling me they’re gonna read those damn books before the watch the show but they NEVER DO. #SorryI’mRanting #BitterMoment
    • Find a hobby store – That, or a game store. If there’s one near enough to where you live, ask the clerk about any tabletop gaming or board game nights they know of (they may even occasionally host games there). Or, if you can find a comic shop, hang out there and strike up a conversation with someone there. (If you don’t know anything about comics, don’t worry–ask someone which comic series to try getting into, and you’ll get your ear talked off and maybe even make a friend!)
    • Hang out at a book store – Sit and read in spots near the books you like; you might come across someone with similar tastes and strike up a conversation.
    • Plan to attend a nearby convention – Anime cons are pretty popular these days–they happen everywhere. Look and see if there are any happening near your new home, and try to attend. Even if you’re not into anime, it’s a good time to go to a viewing and see if you can get into it. And you can bet that the people attending are plenty geeky in other ways too. Not to mention there are usually game rooms at cons like that!
  • Start your own thing – This is along the same lines as the suggestion to start a book club in your area, but you can also create your own meetup group for board game night or something tabletop related. Hold it somewhere public like a cafe or library, or ask to rent a room in a YMCA for a couple hours, and just start something. Post up flyers around town advertising it, since it’s local. If your town has a website or facebook page, try posting there, too.
  • Convert them – If all else fails, just make friends that aren’t geeks and slowly introduce them to stuff you guys are into. Make friends at your new place of work or at a non-geek event or class you guys start attending. Once you get to know them, try introducing them to something fun and simple like Munchkin, or an equally engaging board game. Try to gauge interest for a movie night with a theme. Slowly introduce them to geekier and geekier things. Chances are you’ll be able to find at least some activity to do with them which can serve as an outlet for that little bit of social geekdom you guys desire.

Don’t be discouraged if these sorts of things take time. Remember, too, that there are new people moving into of town just like you guys, so retry things once in a while and you might be surprised to see some new faces. And while you’re still settling in and finding people to get to know, don’t forget that your friends back home love you and miss you, and there’s nothing wrong with a long distance movie night over Xbox or Skype! If you’re going the cheesy movie route, I highly suggest Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. Especially if you’re moving to San Francisco.

Sincerely,
Pink Hair Girl

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Pink Hair Girl

After her DNA was spliced with that of a jelly fish, Olivia became known to all as Pink Hair Girl. She also gives advice to geeks all around the world.

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