(Written by William)
Becoming an AFOL is a hard thing when no one else in your family shares your interest. We often wonder what other family members think when we’re the only one that plays with LEGO. This is why it is important to form a support network when you become an Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL).
Building Up Your Family with LEGO
There are two methods that many AFOLs utilize to get a feel for where their family members stand when it comes to LEGO; they can either give a small gift or let them build something.
Gifts will usually come in the form of a minifigure that represents that person. Small impulse sets also make a great gift idea for this purpose as well. When we give this type of gift, we like to watch and see what type of attraction the family member shows. For many family members, there will only be a tacit acceptance. They’ll take these small token gifts and display them.
This is not the full blown, “I’ve discovered a long lost AFOL in my own family!” occasion, but it does give many AFOLs hope. Those members of the family that are not afraid to showcase LEGO will be accepting, or at least tolerant of your own hobby. This goes a long way in boosting your confidence.
The other method employed is letting someone build a set. This by far is the best way to convert or test if someone has the potential to become an AFOL. It involves actually playing with the toy in a very real way.
Employing this method usually involves the purchase of a larger set or letting them build one you’ve already purchased. Those who like doing this go beyond accepting the hobby and go straight towards understanding it.
Unfortunately, our family is a very finite number. We most likely won’t uncover another AFOL in their ranks. That’s why we must extend our search.
Linking with LEGO-Fans Online
The best way to begin creating a LEGO support system will be to use the Internet. This will tap you directly into a thriving community of AFOLs that span the world over.
AFOLs online are full of information, learned from hundreds if not thousands of sources. They will be able to talk about anything and everything you have an interest in. Many communities will even gather around specialized niches that mirror your own.
On top of all this, they are supportive. They don’t care if your creation looks like it got in a fight with a rainbow and lost. The important fact is that you are trying and are growing. Much of this supportive vibe comes from the connection we had with LEGO as children.
Of course, not every kid learned to play well with others. You will find a few of us may be a bit vocal about certain LEGO topics. For instance, I myself am a “purist”. That means I like to build with LEGO pieces and only if they are unmodified. Therefore, my opinions on subjects will lean in that direction.
This is the main reason why we group online in niche categories. We like to discuss with others that share the same viewpoint as us. However, there is always something to be learned from those who can go beyond our own limitations.
LEGO Must be Held
Finding people to connect with online is nice, but we must realize that LEGO is a physical thing. This means we should try to find other AFOLs in our local area. Face to face interactions with other LEGO-fans is a mind-blowing experience for the first time.
Actually seeing the people that share our passion makes it real to us like nothing else can. Not only can we share ideas about LEGO, but we get to experience what others have made.
Larger cities are more likely to support these types of groups. If you don’t have this option, you might want to look online and see if you know enough people in your area to form a group. Many Bricklink sellers are tapped into these groups and may make an excellent starting point to find at least one person you can talk to.
When we rediscover LEGO as an adult, we are often plagued by a number of uncertainties. Like the new kid in school, we know it is vital to find friends that will make our triumphs and failures all the more rich.
Explore all the options you have available to connect with others. Family, online, or in person – LEGO groups can make or break this hobby. In addition, the majority of people you’ll meet are much nicer than groups you might have experienced in the past. So go forward with confidence. 🙂