Conference time is exciting for everyone, especially those who are looking forward to meeting people they’ve only met over the Internet and reconnecting with old friends. For certain, strengthening relationships is one of the best benefits of any conference.
But what about the person who’s new, who hasn’t had a chance to make lots of friends yet? What about the shy person who doesn’t like social media, and must gather up all her courage even to go to a conference? Conference veterans know to expect lots of hustle and bustle, especially at larger conferences. Experienced and multi-published writers know they have a place. Often, they are sought after and even revered. But what about the newbie who suddenly feels even smaller among all the authors, editors, and agents? What about the writer who’s struggled for years, and is finding he feels even more intimidated amid the brouhaha?
It’s easy to pass around hugs to your immediate group and start chattering away. I know I’ve done this many a time, to great joy. But at conference, let’s all be mindful of the people who need us to step aside enough to let them in to our little circles of friendship and camaraderie. If you see someone approaching your circle, let that person in. You might discover this new person is not an intruder, but could end up being one of your best friends.
If you see me at conference, feel free to tap me on the shoulder whether I’m with or without a group of friends. I’d love to talk with you!
What is your best conference memory of making a new friend?
What is your favorite way to reconnect with friends at a conference?
Who did you meet at conference after being Internet friends?