Friday, 25 June 2010

Organised Socials - Factors that can Make a Good Night or a Bad Night

In the various organised socials I have attended this year, there have been some great moments, and some very awkward and difficult moments. The context is that of an unstructured general get-together in a pub with a mixed bunch of people, some I might have met four or five times, others once or twice before, and some completely new people.

Before I outline the factors that affect whether it's a good or bad night for me, I had better define for you first what makes an evening good or bad. A good evening happens when I am engaged in interesting, stimulating, and sometimes exciting conversations, when I feel people are friendly towards me. A bad evening is when I am struggling to talk to people and I find myself on my own, looking rather lost for much of the evening. Now here are a few of the factors that can affect how good the night is:
  • Seating Arrangements. As a general rule, I am more confortable when everyone is sitting at a table rather then if everyone is standing around. When everyone is standing, if you don't look like you are part of any conversation, you look like a 'loser'. If you're sitting, it is generally more relaxed and easier to follow a conversation as people are not moving about, and if you cannot contribute you don't look so lost as you do when standing around.
  • People in Attendence. Although there is always a mix of personalitites and some quite extrovert people at any organised social, it still makes a difference as to who is there. Some people respond more warmly towards you, and naturally seem to help you along in a conversation. Often the best moments are when someone, through their more lively personality, can unwittingly help you interact in a more positive way and help you join in the fun.
  • Direction of conversations. Once I'm into a conversation, the direction the conversation takes is important, as sometimes it may go into a direction towards something I know little or nothing about.
These are probably the main factors that affect how much I will enjoy organised socials. That said even the best organised socials have their difficult moments, and the worst ones have a few good moments.

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