It's interesting, because I started going to Gen Con with a group of friends back in the 80's. As time went by and they grew up and I didn't, they stopped attending one by one until I was alone. I hated it. I guess I wasn't very good back then at talking to strangers. I never felt so alone as the one year I was completely solo.
I almost quit coming. But I enjoyed the Nascrag Tournament a lot, and I'd started to get to know the people who ran it. I found myself a spot on a regular team, and bam, I had 5 friends I'd see every year.
Now I'm one of the people who runs Nascrag. I've got 25-30 friends I can count on seeing, and dozens more regular players that I've gotten to know over the years. Nascrag saved Gen Con for me. And some of these people I see once a year are among my closest friends.