I Wish I Had Someone to Truly Share My Hobbies With

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In only a couple of days I’ll be moving away from home due to university studies on campus. Considering this being my next step in life, it fills me both with an equal amount of excitement as anxiety. After all, I will live in a completely new city where I won’t know anyone besides myself. In other words, you could say my life will essentially start over from the beginning.

This has unsurprisingly led me to think about the process of making new friends all over again. When you are younger, the act of befriending someone is something that happens naturally whether you want it or not. However, as you grow older, you become more conscious of others. Not to mention how university, unlike previous school grades, doesn’t actively have the same type of lessons that forces you together with people. This is what troubles me, as it’d feel absolutely terrible – however much I enjoy being alone – if I weren’t able to find anyone to talk to.

But how would I be able to connect with others? As you may know, my hobbies are playing video games and watching anime. These are not exactly commonplace hobbies in Sweden, for better or for worse. Although video games are slowly growing more popular and socially accepted with each new day, it still has a long way to go before it can rival music or sports. Not to mention anime, which requires luck to actually be known in the first place – and even more if it’s to be other than “That (occasionally weird) animated thing from Japan”.

When I grew up I was lucky as there was always at least one person around me who liked video games, especially during the younger years. We were great friends and had lots of fun doing different activities together in addition to playing video games. It was a very fun time.

Yet, this did not stop me from developing a sense of fear of telling others I liked video games. The reason for this is how video games were portrayed when I was young. While it may only have been 15 or so years ago, it was a very different time and video games were seen as a nerdy – generally male – hobby. Furthermore, it was still a very niche hobby and never really spoken of in school as opposed music. The few times it was brought up I was normally the only one replying, only reinforcing the idea that video games were something uncommon. Eventually I stopped trying to talk about it outside of the established cliques, as there was no point to it.

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As time passed and school grades were climbed, there were still those around me who liked video games – yet I no longer felt connected to them. In fact, it could even feel awkward speaking about video games during upper secondary school. The idea of it being weird and pointless that had been planted in my earlier years, had by now evolved into a vicious flower. This was ironic, as at this time video games had been gaining popularity much thanks to the success of Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360.

The reason I no longer felt connected was because I tended to play different types of games than others would. Whereas others would speak of the most popular titles at the time – such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or League of Legends – I’d instead sit for myself and think about more uncommon titles such as Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale or Crysis. Whenever communication was established it ended up uncomfortable as I hadn’t played the games they spoke of – yet knew very well what they were – whereas they had no clue about what I played. And since I was more knowledgeable about video games in general, there was never really a sense of belonging.

On the other hand we have anime, which was an entirely different situation from the get-go: there was never anyone around me who truly had it has a hobby. I managed to stumble upon one or two who liked it; however it was nothing more than a fun thing they eventually grew away from. Anime was something rare and often had to be explained to others. Not to mention the social stigma cartoons had – and still has. This made me feel like the only one in the world with anime as a hobby.

To make matters worse, whenever anime or Japanese culture was given attention in media it was always the “weird” side being showcased. It has led to a skewed view of the country and its culture, making it a tad uncomfortable to be open about having it as a hobby.

As you can see, one thing has led to another and has made it difficult for me to talk about my hobbies – unless this is all delusional conjecture on my part. There merely isn’t anything to be gained being open about it in comparison to what could potentially be lost.

It’s not as if I have lived a depressing and lonely life, not at all. That is as far from the truth you can get; I’ve had tons of fun. There are just times I wish I had someone to truly share my hobbies with on a more common basis. Hopefully I will find that person soon.

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33 thoughts on “I Wish I Had Someone to Truly Share My Hobbies With

  1. SieghartXx says:

    I felt like I was reading my own thoughts. Pretty much the same happened/happens to me. I’ve had two or three friends, at most, that liked videogames, and a few others that liked anime as something they eventualy left behind. At this moment, I’m really lacking friends whom would enjoy the same things I enjoy; unless, of course, we can include “internet friends” (although the distance is an annoying barrier).

    Hope you get to meet someone that would enjoy the same things you do in the campus, and good luck with your university life!

  2. andrewdt100 says:

    I understand your plight. I also had similar feelings throughout school, but luckily enough I was able to find a few people that shared interests with me. At university it should be easy to find an anime / video game clubs, and if that doesn’t work out you can always talk to friends like us. If you ever want to discuss anime / video games just message me!

    • Marow says:

      We don’t really have school clubs here in Sweden like in USA (and perhaps other countries), so it’s not that easy. And there doesn’t seem to be any association related to anime. There is one with video games that conveniently started not too long ago, though!

  3. Sarah says:

    The amazing thing about university is that everyone is so open to talk. Chances are that there are people just like you who are too shy to speak first! I went halfway across the US from a rural area to half an hour outside Manhattan, NY. You will find someone! You are genuine and thoughtful. Just speak up and be friendly!

    • Marow says:

      So far my experience has actually been quite the opposite 🙂
      University feels just like previous years, if not more like junior high school than high school. It’s way more relaxed, though, which is nice. Messy, but relaxed.

  4. iblessall says:

    Here’s my advice from personal experience. Find really good friends first and after they’ve come to accept you as a person, then you can share your hobbies with them and if they’re any good they’ll at least show passing interest in it because they’re interested in you.

    I’m not going to pretend that this has happened a lot for me. There are a sum total of 3 friends that I haven shown/watched anime with (outside my family), and very few outside of that who even know it’s a hobby of mine. But the more confident I become (blogging seriously helps me with this—because I consider myself a critic), the less inhibited I am about sharing this fact about myself.

    I can’t speak to the cultural differences, but I’m certain that when you make friends who are true friends, they will accept and at least be willing to see what this hobby of yours is all about.

    Best of luck! Maybe you’ll find a deredere out there who loves anime and games just as much as you do! 😉

  5. John Samuel says:

    OTOH there’s a reasonable chance that there’ll be a university club or two dedicated to your interests.

    For me it was UNISFA and Unigames* at the University of Western Australia, and I wish you luck in finding your local equivalents.

    *JAFWA was created later outside of university.

  6. Wildcat17 says:

    I can see myself on this text, you know? 🙂

  7. Kouma says:

    I was like you: Lost some friends because I stopped gaming and was only focusing on anime and manga, to be critic. Sometimes I talk with these my friends, but the talk isn’t the same who was before.

    Today I share my hobby with my “internet friends”, and however people say about the “distance”, they are very especials to me, like a close friend. I value this friendship.

  8. Wow, can I just say I’m feeling the same way right now? I’m moving to uni in a couple of weeks and I’m terrified I won’t be able to connect with anyone over anime or games.
    When I started out with anime I met people who liked it but since it became a full-time hobby for me last year, I haven’t really met anyone in the same boat. Everyone I knew just grew out of it, like you said. I have friends now but none which are into anime, or video games.

    However, we should try to go in with a positive attitude, you and I both! Don’t you have “Fresher’s week” in Sweden? It’s a great way to mingle and get to know people. Also, remember, EVERYONE is just as nervous as you at the new school. You could also check out if your uni has an anime club or society.

    I was in Paris for a year, and through a website called meetup, I met a lot of people who was at least somewhat into anime/manga, so I totally recommend that. Although I’m not sure how big it is over there, it might still be worth a shot.

    The thing I’ve heard about university life though, is that it’s pretty easy to make friends and meet new people. It’s the easiest it will get for us adults, anyway. You should simply try to be open and talk to a lot of people, as many as you can, at least in the beginning. Sounds tiring, am I right 😛
    I don’t think you have to hide your hobby or anything. If you tell people you’re into games, and they think you’re a total weirdo, you know already that those aren’t the right people for you. I don’t know how exactly how things are in Sweden, but with the whole “geek” imagine being glorified in media through things like Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, and Doctor Who, I think it should be fine. I also have the impression that Sweden (actually, Scandinavia in general) is growing in otaku numbers, especially consider how big and successful cons are these days.

    Ok this comment got longer than I intended, sorry about that! Anyway, good luck! (:

    • Marow says:

      Don’t worry about your long comment! And sorry for the late reply. How has your move been? 🙂

      We did have a “Fresher’s week” here, but it mostly involved alcohol so I didn’t really go there too much. Sadly. Makes me feel awkward. And nobody seemed nervous at all!

      Been thinking of trying out online sites, so I’ll check it out!

      • Oh hi there! It’s a shame about your fresher’s week, but no worries. It’s not over yet (; Did you join any societies?

        For me it’s been great. We have an Anime & Games society at our uni and I go there, although the other members are often quite socially awkward. Tbh I did make some friends, they just aren’t into anime. But it’s not as bad as I expected it to be. I made some great connections, and I rarely feel lonely here.

        I think what’s important is to have people around that you feel comfortable with. However, building friendships can take time so don’t give up! Even if people don’t have the same interests as you, don’t dismiss them. They might still turn out good people 😛

        Let me know how it’s going, or if you ever need any advice (:

        • Marow says:

          We don’t have clubs and such at school, so it’s very differently compared to USA 🙂
          I have found a video game association nearby, however. It recently started too, ironically enough. So I’m checking that out and it’s alright. In December there’s some strange mini anime con I might check out. It’s really difficult to go alone >_<'
          And agreed, it's the best to have people you're comfortable with!

  9. Yumeka says:

    As someone who’s been to a couple of different colleges over 5+ years, I would say you have nothing to worry about in terms of finding someone who shares your hobbies, but I’m coming from a US perspective; I don’t know how things are in Sweden, and going by what you said here, it sounds like anime and video games are even more niche than they are here. Even just in the past 6 or so years of college and part-time jobs, I’ve made tons of friends who like anime and games, and many acquaintances who do, too. But then again, my colleges had anime/Japan clubs and courses in Japanese, where people who like anime gather. Does your college offer an language courses in Japanese?

    Another thing you can do that has helped me make friends who share my interests is have some kind of anime thing with or on you, like anime or video game-themed shirts, bags, pins, key chains, folders, etc., People who don’t know what they are will ignore you but people who do might want to make friends =D It’s worth a try. I know of a few good friends of mine I never would have started talking to if they or I didn’t have some kind of anime thing on them.

    • Marow says:

      That’s a lot of colleges! Have you finally settled down with something you like?

      As said in other comments, we don’t have school clubs here. There was a Japanese class in this school, however it was online (and really bad at that). So there’s that. ^^’

      Haha, smart idea! I actually bring my 3DS to school for fun as it has a feature called StreetPass (automatically links up to nearby 3DS consoles) and I tend to pass one or two persons each day. Sadly, despite linking to this website, nobody has established contact. But hey, it’s something!

  10. guaporense says:

    I don’t think one should worry about finding real life friends to discuss particular hobbies. As my interests grew more and more niche I started to discuss my hobbies only on the internet. For instance, I had a hobby of reading about research in Ancient Greek and Roman economic history and demographics, there are perhaps less than a thousand people in the world interested in such topic. So what? If I find it interesting that’s all that matters. Though in this case it did not have the general biased popular perception that anime suffers from (even in Japan apparently from watching Oreimo).

    I also don’t think one should always try to bring your friends into your hobby. Music is apparently popular in Sweden but I guess Slayer is not exactly mainstream there. I tried to play Slayer to convert my friends to thrash metal but it did not work as well, they hated it and don’t want for me to control the music being played ever again. One good thing about the internet is that it is very easy to find other people interested in the more obscure hobbies. I don’t really care that much if we can’t meet face to face.

    • Marow says:

      Well, it’s nice to have someone to share your hobbies with, you know? Whether it’s someone to play games with or just talk to. Never said I would convert them either?

  11. redchief001 says:

    Your post truly struck a chord with me on more levels than just anime! First of all, thanks for posting. It is good to know that I am not alone in this aspect, and its good to see so many people responding who have been through some of the same things.

    I have been a fan of Anime since I was a child, but like yourself, never really had anyone to share the experience with. My parents grew up on Bugs Bunny, Mighty Mouse. and Rocky & Bullwinkle, so there was no acceptance of anime with them. None of my friends in the 80’s understood what was so great about anime beyond the superficial and therefore liked completely different works than I.

    Now that I live in Germany, anime is seen as even more of a cultural pariah than in the U.S.! I am often ridiculed and labeled as strange for being a fan of these “strange cartoons” even as an adult! My own wife makes fun of me when I watch!!!

    I have never been a social butterfly and therefore have had time to develop a few hobbies that I actually appreciate carrying out in solitude. Since I have started programming, I do that as a hobby as I know almost no one(this is not inclusive of people on the internet, there are plenty of those) who is as serious at learning these things as me face to face. Anime is another hobby that I enjoy in solitude.

    That is not to discount the splendid company that I have discovered all over the world by way of the internet who share my interest in the medium. I have been lurking on blogs like yours for a few years now and really enjoy the discussions. There is nothing quite like reading thoughts on certain works that make you look at them in a completely new way, or watching someone else comment on the awesomeness of a particular title or scene.

    You have a unique opportunity to meet new people who share the same interests as you and I hope that you take advantage. If there is not a club or clubs that share your interests, than start one! I am willing to bet that someone who shares your interests would appreciate that you reached out. Thank you so much for your honest and heartfelt post! Good luck to you in Uni!

    • Marow says:

      Thanks for the incredibly kind comment (and terribly sorry for not replying earlier) 🙂

      Doesn’t sound much fun at all how it’s been for your after the move to Germany ;/
      Been thinking of starting some sort of club! Maybe, at least. I recently discovered a nearby video game association, so I’ll check out how that’s first. Plus, there’s some sort of anime meetup con thingy later in December 🙂

  12. I can honestly relate to this. Although I was born in a country (United States) where Anime isn’t really as demonized as you describe Sweden to be, I grew up with everyone telling me that I was weird for liking it. That’s not all, as just being labeled weird isn’t exactly something that bothers me. That and there are many, many other reasons for that label as well. I am actually covering that in my own blog, so I won’t elaborate here. While everyone thought I was weird, I was actually bullied for this wonderful hobby growing up. People would actually assault me for trying to compare an anime I liked to a “normal” live action TV show they liked when I was just trying to shed some light on the topic. I was naive. I learned sometime during high school that there are people who are open minded, even though they don’t agree; and then there are people who will never accept anything but what they and/or the media perceives as “normal” or “cool”. Ignorance is something I fear humanity will never break free of. For that reason, I really hope that you do find that someone someday. I also hope that you find others as well. Good luck in your studies.

    • Marow says:

      Afraid I can’t find your posts on the matter, but either way it sounds like you’ve had a bad time. Sounds awful. Hopefully your situation is better today!

      And thanks 🙂

      • My blog is fairly new, so I really haven’t had a chance to put a lot out there yet. I’m putting it out there little by little, so that I still have something to write about later on down the road. I imagine I will have something about my past sooner or later, but what I said is true. My blog is there to express myself and to see from a wider demographic than I have currently available to me if I am strange or not. That topic is definitely something that would warrant bring up the past at some point. Anyways, I really enjoy this blog. It’s always nice to see how other parts of the world view certain things, and the opinions of others on things I enjoy. I will continue to look forward to more of your writing.

  13. eminies says:

    Stay strong friend. Sorry if I was a douche in the past.

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