Article: Advice For New People
By Duchess Willow de Wisp OP, OR, OL
This is my advice everyone. We feel alone when we do not know people or when our relationship to others occur. This can because we are new to the group or new to the SCA or we just got elevated to peer or noble or we are so old in the SCA that all the people we came in with and we were friends with have gone away.
Everyone else seems so involved and busy and while they will talk to you they don't make space at where they are eating or open the circle up where they are talking or invite to after parties or really include you. This makes them seem rude. Well, they aren't trying to be rude they just have their dance card filled. What I mean is their little social unit are compete and they are not expanding. If you look around there are usually others in the same boat and you can link up with them and make your own social unit. You will often find this if you want to do something that is different from the main activities of the group. You will feel that your 'thing" is looked down on because you get little help. Most if the time this isn't the case it is just that people just don't know how to promote your activity. There are cases where people feel that there is limited time at events and their activities would suffer or bad situations around the activity in the past where either conscious or subconscious people are discouraging activities, but this rare.
If you have capable officers and B&B's they should be there to introduce you. If they are not around go up to the highest ranking person you can find and tell them that you are new and ask if they know anyone who does so or so. Whatever you think would be interesting. Tell them that you want to meet people and mentioning learning. Learning about something is a good way to break the ice.
You might not get much help from them or you might get to much, but people will notice you and often come out to "try to save you" or " try to impress the peer or noble you talked to" or "just noticed you were there" either way you might find yourself in the middle of some good times. If doesn't work just try it again with someone else.
This was the purpose of letters of introduction in period. It gave you a starting point. It is also good to treat any change in rank in the same manner. Introduce yourself to people of the same rank and ask them for advice. You probably do not need advice, but if you ask them about their current projects then you might find you starting place in being a Grant, Peer or Noble. I didn't realize how much a change in rank will effect your relationship with the group. An off-handed remark when I was just plain Willow became a horrible thing to say when I became a peer and going to the bathroom during a bardic competition became a diplomatic issue when I was a Countess. Talking to people who are thought of as good models by the people and have the peoples respect may say you a lot of stress latter on and it will give you someone to talk to.
This is an historical study group. I know a lot of people are not doing it but it still our mission. Go home and look up a period that you are interested in and find out what a young person would do if new to an area. Present a fake letter of introduction form someone back home and a gift to your Baron & Baroness . Something very small and inexpensive or something that shows a skill you have. It can even be purchased candies. Chocolate is the "coin of the Land" in Ansteorra. You are seeking a "post". Make a card,(I know that isn't period) and give flowers and your card to all the ladies. The Ladies in a group are often the most important people in knowing what is going on. The reason for the card is they are going to misplace your contact information and a card is easier to keep. Ask them what they are up to and what they do. If they are doing something that seems interesting to you say that it interests you. Listen first then talk. Sometimes they can't fit you into their living room or they do the activity at someone else place. If so suggest that both of you could meet at fighter practice and she/he could show you how to do so and so. This will give the person time to get to know you and get comfortable with you.
Many people in the SAC have had bad luck with New people. In recent times it seems that they leave before you really get to know them. People would like to believe that you will be here more than two time. Show them that you are going to be willing to stay.
Try to make contact and share information with as many people as you can. We are very unique people and each one of us will have to go through many people before we find people we can have fun with so think about yourself and how hard it is to find people to talk to and remember that most SAC people are the same. What would you do to get to know yourself.
Until I die I will be here to help so write me or call me if you need ideas. I am Duchess Willow de Wisp, a long time member since the third year of the SCA. I am a font of trivial data. I am stuck at home because of my health so being asked questions keeps me from being bored. I talk too much so beware of that.