How to make friends at competition.

This thread is probably not necessary, but I was wondering on ways to make friends at competitions. I know a lot of people including my self don’t know how so I was wondering if anyone had some tips.

What we did was we went around and talked to the other teams. Especially the safety captains that are required to be there at all times. Just ask questions about their robot. We talked with another team that was across from us for around 30 or so minutes because we kept on getting side tracked. Think about it this way, it’s a robotics competition so the concentration of nerds there is much higher than a normal sporting competition.

Obviously this isn’t possible if you aren’t picked, but have eliminations alliance partners. We at 159 made excellent friends from Spectrum (3847) and Texas Torque (1477) while at Hub City, as well as friends from The Kraken (1410) and The Cougars Gone Wired (2996) while at Denver.

That is a pretty effective way to make friends at competition (IMO). But another one is to cheer for every team at competition, cheer with their teams and eventually you’ll meet people from their teams.

I just walk around, talk to people about all sorts of things, and compliment other teams’ robots. I’m on a first name basis with multiple people on multiple teams and I’ve only ever met them three or four times.

I suggest going around and talking to people, granted they aren’t too busy. I would guess that a lot of members of other teams are also looking to make new friends? Ask about other robots, ask about other teams in general, help teams who need help, etc.

Maybe start a scouting group that includes lots of teams?

It’s also a good idea to befriend the teams in the pits adjacent to yours because you never know when one of you will need to borrow tools or something.

At the Sacramento Regional, my team was next to another all female Catholic team so we ended up praying with them (which I thought was really funny).

Talk to people. Ask them about their robot. Ask them about what they did on their robot. Share stories. Watch matches together. Cheer for them in the stands.

Nearly everyone at a FIRST event has valuable experiences to share, and most people, in my experience, love forming connections with other teams. Those connections can last, too.


This works even better at district events because you’ll see the same people over different events.

All threads are necessary, have you not asked someone else was wondering…this is a great topic that can help teams.

As for the topic making friends at competitions…

Talk to people there and share stories , observations and strategies , scout together. Offer advice and take advice. Be inquisitive about the team and their bot, be honest and forthcoming about yours. Want everyone to succeed, help others succeed. Volunteer. Be approachable.

You just spent six weeks or more with the very same group, time to expand. Its fun and does not hurt to get to know as many as you can at competitions, after all you want to get to know your alliance partners and those you face off with. Nice seeing same year to year and meeting new.

One little trick I do…when teams come to scout our pit (if I’m there and not scouting in the stands ), I and/or a student divulge any information they are seeking then I ask them “Do you mind if I come over and scout your bot, can you take me over to meet your team” , 100% of the time they are a bit shocked and happy to oblige so I get a proper introduction to the entire team , works great I get a lot more insight to each team because I was invited in , see how that works?

Its fun to see their guard go down and you learn a lot that way, sometimes great insights you otherwise would not have come across. Its those relationships that last through the competitions and years. Think of every interaction as a chance to learn (and get on teams radars) . I also know their “backstory” from pre-scouting, so if thew won a regional two years ago I ask them about that…etc. people are somewhat surprised that I know about their past, they open up more and tell you more.

This proactive approach really does help your entire team, teams like other teams that they know take care of their business, best way to bring that across is by solid interactions at every level. Talk to the spectators too when in the stands they also have great insights and almost everyone there is associated with a team. Does not matter if you are a mentor or a student…you are always a team representative that can make a difference.

Have you heard the story of the Friendship Banana?

It always seems that the kids find way to connect with other kids even from other countries who don’t speak much English through their mutual love of roboting and dancing.

Great question! Don’t be afraid to ask things like this. FIRST is all about development, becoming more social is a part of that.

I highly encourage you to reach out to team members of alliance partners you just won with. A win is always a strong bond, especially when it’s a blue banner.

Most importantly, ask other students and mentors questions about their team. The more you know the more you can relate and learn from each other.

Friendships in FRC can last a very long time. Some of my close friends are folks I began talking to on other teams even 10 years ago now.

Reach out if you want any other advice!

Is that the one where you go over and ask if they’d like a Beethoven Fruit?

(Then they ask, “huh? what’s a Beethoven Fruit?” And you say “Ba-na-na-naaaa!!”, hand them a banana, and run away.)

Asking some robot related questions is a great way to “break the ice” when talking to someone for the first time. Ask them how they are enjoying the competition etc, how that mechanism you might have seen from the stands works and why they chose to go down that path. Important thing when asking questions about a robot is to make sure that you don’t come across like you are “Pit scouting” or asking questions for strategic gain.

I aim to have a close look at all the robots at the event( from a design perspective) and ask questions, teams are really happy to answer questions as they take great pride in presenting their work to you(Just keep in mind that if they look busy fixing stuff or making parts, they might not want to talk). Doing this is a really good way to not only make friends but to pick up nice design tips and tricks which you could potentially implement next season.

T-shirt trading is also a good way to make friends, especially if you organise it prior to the event.


OMG thanks for the belly laugh. That explains why the random banana showed up in my scouting stuff last year.

This! I’ve made a lot of good friends by just hanging out when I volunteer.

To be fair I don’t actually know what a “friendship banana” is, but the above is a joke I love to play on unsuspecting people whenever I happen to have Beethoven Fruit to give out.

The friendship banana is something that 4039 introduced us to at the 2015 Finger Lakes Regional. They bought an inflatable banana and passed it around for each team to sign.

We continued the tradition at some of our other events. I also remember finding a lot of bananas hidden around our pit at IRI last year… :rolleyes:

10/10 would recommend. Changed my life as a child.

Whenever you have a qualifications match, hang out with one of your alliance partners instead of your own team. You’ll have something to talk about and either mutually celebrate or complain about.

If you are a team in the regional city, invite a team or two to your school the night before the competition. we did thus last year with one of the Australian teams. When we made it to Worlds, we ended up having dinner with 3 different Australian teams in St. Louis. It was a great time for all the kids.
Also present something to them from your area. When we met in St. Louis, we gave each team a basket that had items in them to make Smores when they returned home. They tagged our team on their pictures back home having a fire and making Smores.