Over the weekend I attended World Fantasy.  I was actually dreading this convention.  I have a hard time with large groups of people I don’t know.  I don’t like that about myself, so I’m trying to change it.  In the month before, I’d been practicing starting and maintaining conversations with strangers, but I knew my skills weren’t where I wanted them to be, and the whole thing made me extremely anxious. 

On Thursday night we went to the con for a couple of hours.  I had a couple of very brief conversations, but was very, very tired.  When I went to bed that night I made a list of all the things I’d rather do than have to talk to strangers for two days straight.  Tooth drilling and pelvic exams were both on the list. 

And then on Friday something magical happened.  I arrived at the con.  I started talking to the people who were talking to people I knew.  I got to know them.  Then I walked around with some of them and met other people they knew.  My group of con friends spiralled out and out until there were a large number of people I was comfortable talking with.  Even the strangers didn’t seem so scary anymore.  

At dinner on Saturday night I discovered that my agency is full of people who remind me (hilariously) of the guys at the Keep, both in temperament and interests.  I fell into a familiar rhythm of joking and geekery.  By the time we were ready to go home on Sunday morning I was exhausted, but still wished I could spend a couple more days–of all things–talking to strangers, and the awesome people I had met.   

Now I want to do it again, which is not something I ever thought I’d say about a con.  I don’t expect it’ll be super easy for me next time, but this success gives me confidence.  And that’s  good thing.