Hello! My name is...: A Guide to Making Neofriends
Hello class, it’s Miss Neo-manners again. A great big hug and a thank you to all of those who wrote to me in response to my last Neopian Times article, “How to Write a Proper Question for the Editorial.” I am glad to see that some of you found it useful and I cannot to wait to see you put the advice good use in the Editorial!
It also made me realize that there are a great number of topics that could, and should, be addressed. (For those of us who are new here and for some of us oldies but goodies who could just us a refresher course in Neo-Manners!) Today I want to give some advice, to newcomers in particular, on how to make wholesome, long lasting bonds with other members of Neopia. Shall we begin?
Location, Location, Location
It is ever important to begin your search for new friends in the proper venue. Thankfully TNT has provided us with a friendly place to meet others called “the Boards.” Give a quick click to the Board link on your screen. Go ahead; I’ll wait! Now you see that pulls up a whole list of chat options to meet other like minded players! Just scroll down to decide what topics you enjoy talking about and head on over to that board.
But, just as important as where TO make neofriends is where NOT to make neofriends. The high scores table, the news page, spotlight winners and the trading post are not there to meet people. While you may be amazed by those who own items that you feel you could never buy in a million years or who have a score on Kass Basher that boggles the mind, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are neofriend material. You don’t know if these people have anything in common with you, if they are friendly and understanding, or if they are just some hobbit who plays Kash Basher all day. For some reason, as soon as anyone’s name gets published in a prominent place on the site, they are bombarded with neomails and neofriend requests. Surely you don’t want to look like one of those salivating slobs just trying to get a piece of someone’s account? So, let’s just stick to meeting people the old fashioned way!
We’ve already established that the proper place to make a new friend is on the Boards, but how? You should have already selected the correct Board for your area of interest, so the hard part is over. Just remember to STICK TO THE TOPIC! The Boards are here for neorelated topics, and divided into sub-topics for a good reason. Posting off topic subjects and non-neorelated information is likely to get you warned and most definitely flamed by the Board regulars. There are a few good ways to introduce yourself; I’m going to focus on the best two for this article.
The first way is to simply make a thread (to clear up for those of you who may be confused, the Board is the place where individual topics or “threads” are made) titled, “Hi, my name is... I’m new”. This kind of introduction allows those who have an interest in meeting someone new to come to you, instead of going about knocking on strangers' doors where you may not be welcome. It will also usually attract at least a few old-time players who like to help out new people and are willing to give advice and guidance. One of these sage players should be the FIRST people to hit your friends list. Their help is immeasurable in avoiding social faux pas! Before moving on, I will note here that this method works far better on the premium boards where there is a smaller, slower moving community.
The second way to make your debut into society is to just find some interesting people and begin chatting on their thread. The first step here is lurking. Pick a few threads and read for a while; if the people chatting there seem likeable and exciting, then try politely joining in their chat. You want to make a post that both introduces yourself and shows that you have been following the conversation, for example:
“Morning, I’m Slinkee! I’m new here. I was lurking on your thread and was hoping I could come join you? I’m sorry that you didn’t get the Snow Wars avatar this morning, Jim, maybe next time!” Now you’ve introduced yourself, asked politely if they would to chat with you and shown you are interested in what they are discussing. Good job!
The term “chat group” is fairly self explanatory. Think of these people like the morning breakfast club. They have often known each other for quite a while and are usually a tight knit group. While joining a chat group may seem like a good idea and is a quick way to meet like-minded people, do not be surprised if they are not always open to inviting in new people. A lot of people stay on their group’s thread because they enjoy things just the way are and don’t feel the need to venture out to meet new people.
Jumping into a chat group thread follows the same procedure as joining any other thread. It is best to lurk a bit and see how they interact and what they are discussing before just throwing yourself upon their doorstep. As a side note, it is probably a good idea avoid groups that have such things as “malicious” written in their title.
Once you have found a board, a thread, and some people that you have clicked with, now comes the hard part of actually inviting them to be your neofriend. For some people this isn’t a big deal and they have pages of friends; for others of us we have a short list of a few good friends and we like to keep life simple.
Don’t just post on the thread “hey wanna be my frien?”, and don’t mass invite everyone in the group, unless you are sure that the person is really long-term friend material. If you realize later that someone on your list may not REALLY belong there, it can be a socially sticky situation to remove them. So, pick out a few people that you feel you’ve really connected with and send them a friend invitation, then leave it up to them.
It’s going to happen. You will meet people who will politely tell you that they don’t add new people to their friends list, or that they just aren’t interested in chatting with you. You will ALSO meet people who will be blatantly rude to you and run like you’ve got neo-pox. Pay them no heed; getting into a heated argument with someone who is probably a board regular will not gain you any cool points to the other people lurking. Just simply say “sorry to have bothered you” and leave them alone. You will not win any friends by sticking around and fighting with others, and why would you want to associate yourself with someone who doesn’t even want to know you? Move on. There is a sea of new people to meet and eventually you find your own happy home full of pleasant people.
Patience is a Virtupet
There is no need to try to hoard as many friends as you can on your very first day in Neopia. There are no popularity contests here; there is no trophy for having the most friends. So, do not count your neofriends by number but by name. It doesn’t matter if there are only five people on your friends list after you have been playing for three years, so long as they are true friends whom you can rely on. It is way better to keep it simple than to have five-hundred friends whom you rarely, if ever, hear from and could not keep up with if your life depended upon it!
Spend your days chatting and meeting new people, finding those who are like minded and open, and slowly but surely you will find you have made a few good friends who are willing to do quest searches for you, share their high score secrets and be there to reassure you when you are having a tough day. These people are worth more than all the Seasonal Attack Peas in Neopia!
Do Unto Others
Once you have made a dear friend, keep and treasure them. Treat them as you would have them treat you and you will have bonds with them that last all your days in Neopia. Trust them and keep their secrets. Listen to them and share their frustrations. Celebrate with them and share their joys. Help them and be comfortable asking them for help when you need it. Keep your friends close to your heart, and you will be by far the wisest and richest Neopian there is.