Dear Papa Bear,
I've been a furry for about three years now. I do the works... Conventions, art, FurAffinity, forums. But in three years, I guess I haven't quite found what I'm looking for. I can't seem to get that grasp, that little trinket of furry affections. I have no furry friends.
I am truly not sure what I am doing wrong. I work to be rational, accepting, and kind. I am honest to people and I'm always willing to listen and give advice to a problem. I had issues making friends as a kid, but I've grown and high school has allowed me a good number of choice friends.... What is it about me that makes me slightly unfavorable to furries?
People aren't mean to me, but on the forums, Facebook pages, and everything I have joined I feel like an outlier. I comment and I joke and people don't seem to have an issue with my company... yet I never get that friend request or that helpful message. Could I be approaching this the wrong way? It almost feels like I've tried everything... From standing on the edge, to lightly inputting into conversation, to starting conversations, even sometimes almost invading other people's space, something I DON'T want to do! What now? Am I being too scientific about this? Could it be the social aspect of this community just isn't for me?
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It’s difficult for me to see what you are doing wrong just by what you have written here. Other than furcons, it seems much of your activity has been online. Also, conventions are difficult places to make friends because they can be so big and overwhelming.
Furries, like everyone else in society, tend to form cliques and small social groups that can be difficult to penetrate at times. I remember when I was first invited to a PS party how completely outside I felt. Everyone already had their established social circles and when I said “Hi” to someone, they were polite, but I didn’t feel like I was making friends. Part of this, too, is that many furries are extremely shy. They feel more comfortable when they are among a tight-knit, small group of friends, in many cases (not the rule, but a trend I have noticed).
So, what you need to do is try and get into one of these smaller circles of friends. You can do this online and IRL. Online, try to find a small group that specializes in a hobby or interest of yours that is not really broad: don’t join an animated film lovers group because there will be too many of them; do join a group that specializes in, say, “Wiccans who love herb gardening” (as an example). On the real-life level, find a furmeet group in your area or a small social group. For instance, recently I was talking with a furiend of mine in Michigan who is new to the fandom. He didn’t have a clue how to get involved, so I asked him if he knew any furries in his area. Turns out he knew that several students at his high school had formed a furry group, so I encouraged him to introduce himself. He did so and was astonished how quickly he made new friends.
My guess, then, is that you have cast your net out too broadly over the ocean and scared the fish away. Try, instead, a rod and reel and fish for smaller game near your boat. Start small, and work your way up as you go.
And if you want to chat with a friendly bear, friend me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/grubbsgrizzly.
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