killing shame at the board game bar
I really, truly love a board game bar (or café).
If you're looking for a place to hang out where you can really get silly with it in public without worrying about anyone else giving a single fuck, it's one of the best places to go.
They have snacks, they have beverages, they have unlimited-board-game-play for a relatively low price (or at least, my local ones does - I would hope it's similar elsewhere), and they have a built-in customer base of people who are there to have fun!
There's something so low-stakes and wonderful about walking into a location where you know that other people are also just there to play games with their friends. It's a very vibrant and joyful atmosphere.
You get to try tons of different games out & just being in the room with other people can recommend a new game to you by proxy! If another table looks like they're having so much fun, I'll always go ask what they've got their hands on.
A favorite game of mine - Deer Lord! - is one that always gets strange looks and polite inquiries! (But that will happen when you're trying to find a way to lay down across your chair on without anyone calling you on it, or competing see who can build the highest tower out of anything surrounding you in thirty seconds.)
It's also just enjoyable to go to a space where people are having such a good time. Laughter, jokingly-competitive arguing, the sound of cards shuffling, and the click of board games pieces - it fills me with such a sense of contentment.
Also, my local BGB&C has weekly trivia and - sometimes - tabletop role playing game nights. I've only attended trivia once or twice, but having a recurrent event to attend like that is wonderful, I think. Back in undergrad, my roommates and I would go play Bingo every Tuesday at this nearby spot (it has since closed down, but the memories live on!) & even though I sort of think Bingo is incredibly boring (sorry...), I loved the kind of Third Space1 that our weekly attendance made the place feel like. & I really love trivia nights, even though I'm actually pretty useless at them! It's just a fun excuse to get together and learn something new.
And I think that places like board game cafes are especially good for overthinkers & worriers (saying this as one myself), because you can push yourself out of your comfort zone with different games while also knowing that everyone around you is totally focused on their own activities, so you don't have to be scared that some random person nearby is judging how well you're playing or eyeballing you while you’re doing something objectively ridiculous. (Seriously, I think people only tune in on you if you seem like you’re having so much fun, which is - like - the best circumstance to be Seen by strangers.)
Something I'm trying to do more on my personal journey towards not letting my nerves get the better of me is to branch out of my comfort zone in ways that I know will make me a little nervous, but where I can push through any big fears - so I'm starting by looking for things I can do by myself (or with friends, too) that I feel like are welcoming & fun & a little more low-stakes.
I started a beginner's ballet class, for example! And I'm trying to go to trivia and other easy-to-pop-by events once or twice every other week.2
I'm hoping these steps will give me a little more confidence in making even bigger jumps. Still - more than anything, it's not even confidence that I want, it's just a "nobody even cares what I'm doing, so I can try anything without worrying about the shame of messing up in front of other people" thing.
So, um...cheers to trying new things & to killing shame at the board game bar (& café)!
Good luck out there,
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"In sociology, the third place refers to the social surroundings that are separate from the two usual social environments of home ("first place") and the workplace ("second place")."↩
Okay maybe this doesn't sound like a lot to some people but I am an introverted soul and also my weekend social schedule is always booked out like three weeks ahead, so I am really weird about & possessive of my week nights...and sometimes I just wanna be at home, you get me? I'm sleepy!↩