Just the Basics: Making Con Friends

One of my favorite parts about going to cons is making new friends. People travel from all around the country, and even the world to come to some cons, so it’s pretty sweet when you have friends from all around--not to mention convenient. Many of us con-attendees are, well, not very smooth when it comes to striking up conversation with a nearby stranger.

The thing about making friends at a con is that no matter who you talk to, chances are they will have some common fandom. Having a common fandom is a key ingredient to being instafriends. So if you’re looking for an easy friend target, compliment someone who’s dressed as a character from a series that you enjoy, and let the conversation roll from there. Chances are it will carry itself quite well as long as the person has any idea of whom they are dressed as.

Another perk of making friends at a con is that there are few places at a con where it wouldn’t be acceptable to chat with a potential friend. Personally, my favorite place to make friends is in line for events. Usually the other person has an interest in the event, and because you’re in line, you’re stuck with them anyway--so may as well make the most of it. Also it will make the wait time pass a lot faster. It is important, however, to keep an eye out for social queues from line-friends because of this reason. They are stuck with you unless they choose to get out of line. So if they don’t seem interested in conversing, or if you’re blabbing to the point where it could be annoying, you may want to try asking them a question and having them give you an uninterrupted answer. If they seem particularly unwanting of conversation, there’s always the person on the other side of you to give your best shot with.

Photoshoots are also a great place to make some new friends. If you go to a series shoot, it’s a given that you already are a fan of the same series that the others there are, as you are all dressed up as characters from that series. Taking pictures together to document the fun is an added bonus. Con shoot friendships are super fun especially if there are requests for silly pictures and poses, so have some ideas of fun series-specific poses to do with the other cosplayers.

Panels are also another great spot to find friends. Often there are a few minutes of sitting in the room before a panel starts. This is a great opportunity to talk to the other people in the room and get a feel for what the panel will be like given the personalities you are surrounded by. I’ve been in some panels filled with outgoing attendees ready to throw funny sarcastic outbursts throughout the experience (for example: Undertale Interactive). I’ve also been in panels where most everyone maintains a sense of calm and quiet (for example: Watercolor Basics). As a general rule of thumb, the more education-focused the panels are, the less outburst-prone people will be in the room. Depending on the type of people you like to surround yourself with, you should consider this.

Overall, cons are a fabulous oasis of new friendships and plenty of social opportunity.