Making Friends in the Anthro Community
So, here we go:
I'm gonna jump right in and take a swing at this one. I'm giving my best effort to try and hit it clean out of the park, with as few words as possible. So, stand back. I might be small, but put a bat in anyone's hands and they instantly gain a few levels.
Sometimes, people just don't want to be your friend. There is no science to it and it doesn't make you a bad person. You, as an adult, need to understand this and move on with your life.
Call me Ray Donovan.
As we all know, the Anthro community is comprised of mostly "transactional interactions," with two primary roles. These roles are usually known as "commissioner" and "artist"; but can just as easily be summarized with the words "buyer" and "seller." With this being said, please stop and think about it, would you ever try to force friendship on the gas station clerk? How about the customer service associate that scans your groceries? That would be pretty creepy, right?
The reality is that not everyone has the capacity to be friends with everybody they interact with. I can tell you from personal experience that I know a ton of creators from all different niches within the community, but I do not have the physical, mental, or emotional capacity to keep in touch with all of them. I, much like the rest of the community, have a select few people that I can keep up with and would consider close friends. That doesn't mean that all of the other people I have met or know are not my friends, but we definitely don't talk on a daily basis. There is nothing wrong with that~
Any attempt to try and force yourself onto another person is not only unhealthy for you, but could also be very stress-inducing for the person who is on the receiving end of your attention. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be pleasant in your interactions, but everyone should understand that buying something from a creator does not mean that you are automatically friends. I feel like the word "acquaintance" is a little dated, but it really should be brought back into relevance. To further explain, let's take a look at the difference between friend and acquaintance.
Merriam-Webster defines a friend as "one attached to another by affection or esteem."
Using the same dictionary, acquaintance is defined as "a person whom one knows, but is not a particularly close friend."
I bet a lot of us have way more acquaintances than friends when we really think about it. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure we all know a ton of people, but I bet we know of far more. I'm not close friends with all of the artists I have commissioned over the years and, despite the wonderful interactions we have shared, they have their own friend circles that I am not a part of. Social media has made it seem like we can just be friends with anyone we exchange virtual words with, but that's really not the case. So how do we make friends if there isn't any room for us in the circles of people that we admire?
Firstly, don't do this:
If you want to try making friends then you should do so organically. The Anthro community at large is a great place to start. Sure there are a lot of creators out there, but there are also just a ton of other people who really enjoy the same thing you do, Anthro art! Googling ways to make friends is going to get you a ton of ads and marketing pages that want to sell you a book, and five DVDs, for three easy payments of $25.99. Let's not go down that rabbit hole. We, as a species, are naturally social creatures. The best advice I can give you is to just be yourself.
"Yeah, but, nobody likes me."
If you truly feel like nobody likes you and that you have zero friends in the whole world, then you need to just start small and get out of your own head. Start by going to family gatherings, or just talking to the people that you already do know. Take an interest in those around you, then try branching out. When it comes to actually making friends, being genuine about who you are and then learning how to have empathy are going to be your greatest challenges. First, figure out how you feel, then try to learn how those around you feel.
Sometimes, this will work and you will gain a new friend! Other times, you will discover that you and the other person have nothing in common and you will go your separate ways. Both of these outcomes are okay, and you are still not a bad person. Just breathe and keep moving. There are something like 7.9 billion people on this planet. I bet you can find more than one, especially in the Anthro community, that have something in common with you. I'm not a therapist, but I hope hearing all of this at helps those who need it. You're not alone out there. We're all pretty weird.
Just keep in mind that friendships, like trust in general, take time to develop and there will be ups and downs. Sometimes people will be receptive to adding someone to their circle, and other times they won't. Learning when to pursue friendship and when to give space is somewhat of a trial by fire, but don't try to force yourself on people; even if you really, really like what they make.