Gaming is an inherently social pastime. People get together to pretend to be someone they are not, doing fantastical things together. It pulls all walks of life — introverts and extroverts. jocks and nerds, all sexualities, all races and cultures — and it allows them to come together.

Over the past few decades, I’ve made a lot of my friends through gaming, probably more than with any other hobby, through work or school. It was a glue that bound my best high school friends together and kept us traveling across the country to get together for gaming long after college was over. When I landed in a new city, I ought out other gamers. many of these friendships lasted even after the group would break up as people were reassigned in the military, or moved away for work opportunities. I had a gaming group in Albuquerque that lasted three years, then came back together four years later for another decade.

Members of both my weddings were people in my gaming groups. Both wives were met through gaming, either directly or indirectly. Nearly every girlfriend I’ve had? Gamer.

The key in almost all of these friendships was that they might have been focused on gaming, but they rarely stayed confined to that realm. Game groups where the players get together solely to play rarely last, I find; groups that play, that go to movies, that have cookouts and camping trips, or to the movies and dinner together — groups that are friends –last.