In the last month, I’ve gone to three different concerts – once by myself and twice with a friend. They’ve all been great shows, but for different reasons.
The show I went to alone was one of my favorite bands. It was a great show, I had a great time and ran into a few old acquaintances, but it was still awkward being there alone: I didn’t know anyone and it’s hard to make new friends at a loud concert.
The next two shows, I went with friends. The experience was completely different. When you’re hanging out at a show with a friend, there’s a lot of shared fun that goes on. Everything is more entertaining. When a song is really good, you both notice it, you comment on it. Afterwards you have someone to talk to about the experience. What you witnessed gets better because there’s someone else to share the experience. For the record, I really didn’t like the most recent concert I went to. It was an average performance, but I had a good time. Why? I was there with a friend.
Going to user groups and conferences is the same way. It’s better if you already know someone, but what if you don’t?
I’m a naturally shy person and an introvert. I prefer one-on-one interaction to large groups of people. At the same time, when I go to a SQL Saturday, speak at a user group, or attend a conference I go out of my way to meet new people.
Why am I going out of my way to meet new people? Because odds are that I don’t know anyone at an event and if I don’t know someone, chances are that there are other people present who don’t know anyone. If you have a good time, you’re more likely to do something again, right? And, if you know somebody it’s easier to have fun, right?
I’m making new friends, having more fun, and we’re all more likely to do this again.
The next time you’re at a user group meeting, SQL Saturday, or a conference, take the time to make a friend. I guarantee that you’ll have fun.