We’ve ALL had this moment in our lives: you’re just casually chatting with a friend, relative, or co-worked about things, and by chance your favorite fandom comes up in the conversation. It probably went something like this:
You: …Yeah, my husband and I have a very Han/Leia type of relationship.
Them: Um, who?
You: You know, Han Solo and Leia Organa? From Star Wars?
Them: Oh. Sorry, I’ve never seen Star Wars.
And at that moment, it seems as though your head might explode. You just CANNOT BELIEVE that there’s someone out there that doesn’t share the same passion about a particular fandom as you, let alone even know what you’re talking about in the first place.
When this happens to me personally, I completely word-vomit for the next 15-45 minutes, giving the person the low-down on everything they should know about whatever I’m talking about. And you know what? I don’t think I do a very good job at it. And I’m willing to bet that there’s a few of you out there that are bad at it, too. We completely bombard these poor individuals, who didn’t even ask for all of this information, and now we’ve subjected them to a complete sensory overload. Well guys, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way.
I have come up with a fool-proof super-system to introduce someone to your favorite fandom (you’re welcome). Please feel free to take notes.
1. First thing’s first: Calm the f**k down.
This might actually be the most important step of them all. Yes, I know you’re excited to give your friend the skinny on Game of Thrones. You also might feel a little betrayed because they have no clue what you’re talking about (how dare they, after all you’ve been through!). But please, calm your tits.
What it boils down to is this: You do not want your friend’s first impression of that particular fandom to be that you’re all a bunch of pompous jerks, who think they’re better than everyone else for liking this particular thing. The demeanor and tone in your reaction goes a long way when you’re trying to get them hooked. For instance, if you were to say something like: “WHAT?!?! YOU DON’T KNOW WHO KIT HARRINGTON IS??? DO YOU LIVE UNDER A ROCK???”, you could be sending all kids of mixed signals and red flags.
Long story short: just take a breather, and try not to flip your shit.
2. Your initial response.
This is also a very important step. After you’ve taken a deep breath and retarded your anger, it’s now time to split the difference between flying off the handle and saying nothing at all. In all honesty, it doesn’t really matter what your response is, as long as it’s positive and constructive. For instance, something like this would work quite well:
“You’ve never watched Breaking Bad? *GASP* OMG, it’s a FANTASTIC show, and I think you would just love it!”
See what I did there? It’s short and sweet, gets the job done, and is just a little bit easier on the ears than “You idiot! How can you NOT know about Walter White and Jesse Pinkman? SCIENCE BITCH!”
This step is not about creating safe spaces or pampering “snowflakes”. It’s about common human decency 😉 👍.
3. The Introduction.
Now that you’ve cooled your jets, and responded constructively, it’s time to “introduce” them to said fandom. This is the step where people tend to get carried away, and I’m totally saying this from personal experience. When I get to chatting about a certain topic I am very passionate about, I become extremely long-winded. I’ll ramble, I’ll gesture emphatically, and have a hard time staying on point. Sometimes I even dive unintentionally into spoiler territory.
A good rule of thumb for The Introduction is simply to keep it simple: hit the bullet points, give a brief synopsis (one that doesn’t give away any spoilers), talk about a few of the main characters, etc. 2-3 minutes is key; if “I Want It That Way” by The Backstreet Boys could have played several times during your introduction, you’ve talked too long.
4. Why this fandom is special to you.
This is probably my favorite step. This is the chance for you to, if you haven’t already, let your friend know exactly why you’re so passionate about this particular fandom.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “David, there’s a million and one reasons why Harry Potter is and always will be the best book series ever written.” First of all, I totally agree with you. But more importantly, all those little things you love about your fandom probably add up to one or two major themes in the series. A great example of this would be the theme of unconditional love and friendship between Sam and Frodo in Lord of The Rings.
Just like in step 3, you can keep this one short and sweet. Let them know exactly why this particular fandom hits close to home for you, then you’re ready to move onto step 5 😎.
5. Closing Remarks.
This is a great opportunity to collect your thoughts, and hope to god you haven’t completely overwhelmed them. Don’t forget to let them ask questions! Personally, I like to take this time to offer to lend them any materials I have, that I wouldn’t mind parting with on a temporary basis, such as DVDs or books. If you don’t own any physical copies, you could point them in the direction of where they could find some material, such as streaming services, book stores, comic book shops, and local buy/sell/trade multi-media stores. If you happen to live in the Nashville, TN area, these are a few great places to go (FYI, I get no kick-backs from mentioning these places):
- Rick’s Comic City
- The Great Escape
So, long story short: If you and a friend are talking, and they mention that they’ve never seen a single episode of *insert title here*, try not to go nuts. Instead, get super excited (ok, reasonably excited) that you get to introduce them (properly) to the wonderful world of your fandom!
And remember: Be kind, stay geeky, and eat lots of cheesecake ❤ 🤓 🍰