Keys to Being Social: Be Friendly by Bridget Willard

Keys To Being Social: Be Friendly

Sometimes my blog posts end up being confessions of my failures and this one is no exception. Perhaps epitomes visit me more frequently after a failing.


I was invited to the media preview for the Festival of Arts Pageant of the Masters (#FestivalPageant) June 2, 2014. Though I recognized many people there, I froze. I could not muster up the strength to “say hello to others.” A kindly friend came and teased me a bit about hiding and went back to his group. My sister and mom texted me through that event and I focused on tweeting and enjoying the art.


That weekend, I went to Orange County WordCamp with friends Carol Stephen and Peter Woolvett. Being in a group, it felt much easer to greet others, especially when Peter or Carol did it first.

Saying hello to others can be difficult; especially if you’re feeling unsure of yourself. But with a little bit of help and prompting from other friends, it’s made even easier. Being a receiver of the greeting helps, too.

While waiting for opening remarks right before Chris Lema’s blogging class, we met @Student_OTC. He was a bit surprised that we three had met on Twitter and this year was our second WordCamp together. We got to learn that he’s a web developer somewhat new to WordPress and it was nice to be able to make him feel more welcomed, too.

During those opening remarks, I looked behind me and saw @JenBlogs4U whom I met earlier at Social Media Mastermind OC. Not wanting to interrupt, I sent her a hello Tweet. Later in the day, we ended up sitting behind her and I was able to both say hello and introduce her to Carol.

Carol and I also waved to and met Aaron Hockley whose blog post “Ultimate Guide: Conference Tips and Hacks” was helpful to read. Carol brought a power strip (aka friend maker) to the conference from that post and we were glad to use it.

After Party:

Didn’t I just say I’m super shy?

Not wanting to be rude, we thought we’d make an appearance at the after party, especially since a few people wanted to meet us there. I was very surprised to be greeted by none other than Jeffrey Zinn, one of the WCOC organizers. He expressed thankfulness for all of my tweets (I’m obnoxious like that) and it really made me feel like I belonged. Seriously, in this geek conference, I was way below my pay grade.

Also, Alex Vasquez greeted me and I had a nice, yet brief, chat. We tweeted @DowntownRob (aka @WebWizards) and he and his son came to chat and we laughed about a selfie that looked just like Gary Vaynerchuk.  I also waved at someone whom I thought had recognized me but didn’t. That happened a few times, too. Embarrassing? Yes. What’s the worst that could happen? They tweet that some random person waved and said, “Hi?” I doubt it.

Waiting in Line:

Do you talk to strangers while waiting in line? I usually don’t. On Sunday in the line for the food truck, Verious Smith started chatting with me. We had a great chat about social media strategy and which platforms are better suited for differing industries.

And that’s not to mention the countless small-talk encounters that never advanced as far as “getting your Twitter handle” status.

Get to the Point:

So why the WordCamp recap? It’s simple. Sometimes we need to be greeted and sometimes we need to greet others. Depending upon the situation, that changes. The week was up and down. I went from an anxiety attack on Monday to a weekend of full-on fun. That said, the experience has given me more courage to say hello in the future, though, I could always revert to my turtle self without warning.

Guru Lesson:

We have the power to make people comfortable and it comes in one word: “Hello.” How will you use your power?

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