Most people refuse to believe it when I tell them that I’m shy and introverted. It takes effort for me to speak whenever I’m with people I don’t know, and people I know too for that matter. Meeting new people is not only exhausting but terrifying for me. It didn’t take me long to realize that it would be a lot easier to do all kinds of cool things if I was able to deal with people in a sociable manner. So I learned to cope instead.
The thing is, I wanted to be good at my job, get training and so forth. And often it turned out that getting the training I wanted meant being the one to organize it. So, you know, I just had to get over it. Which is nowhere near as easy as it sounds.
Every time I go to a con, I need to make an effort to meet people. My first instinct is to sit in a corner with my laptop and maybe watch people, wishing my friends were with me. So I took the advice of Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Neil Gaiman; I pretended that I was someone who could do it, even found things like asking strangers how their con was going enjoyable.
Beyond pretending to be someone who can deal with people, my advice is to take care of yourself. If you know you’re going to do something utterly, soul-crushingly exhausting, like going to a con, make sure you can have some alone time afterwards. Which is not at all to say that cons aren’t enjoyable. After all, why go to a con if you don’t get something out of it? For example after a con it takes me a few days that I cannot tolerate anyone other than my partner around me. And even he barely gets grunts and mumbles from me.
And the thing is, even though I try, I get awkward around people I’m intimidated by. I want to be smooth and suave and instead I end up saying something stupid or nothing at all.
So really, I’m still learning.