December is a time of parties. Sunday evening I went to a friend’s birthday party and today I attended a client’s end of year event. I usually dread these events. I attend out of a sense of duty – it’s my friend, she invited me or it’s part of my job. Sometimes I am in a state of dread, wondering if I will speak out of turn when I hear something stupid, or if I will eat or drink too much because I am totally bored.
These concerns were unfounded, as both yesterday and today I had a great time at each event.
I met wonderful people and we chatted for extended periods. On Sunday I met a female executive at a traditional male organisation and we chatted about power, misogyny and navigation of a political system. Later that evening I met a man who lived with chronic arthritic pain for over 10 years and was celebrating his new found mobility courtesy his monthly intravenous drips.
Tonight at the client’s event, I met a colleague and learned about his career moves, challenges and successes since last we spoke.
These for me were two perfect evenings. Sure the food was tasty and the wine was decent, but these details are secondary for me. When I go out I want to connect with people, to meet them as they are and to hear from them where they are at and what they are doing. In that moment when I am with them I am not interested in anything else, I want to plug into them, to hear their tales, their point of view and to share mine. I want them to tell me how they feel, what they are thinking and what they are hoping for. I want to find some nugget in what they share, take away something to ruminate on and to appreciate at least one thing that is unique about them. In the moment of our meeting I want to congratulate them and cheer them on to whatever they want to achieve.
I want to connect, I want to make contact, I want it to be real. In return I open up my world, my aspirations, inspirations and my challenges.
Before this December month, I have not been socializing much. I am tired of chitter chatter, mindless networking over drinks and the pointless exchange of business cards. I am fed up of being re-introduced to the person who never remembers me
as we ridiculously pump up in a meaningless handshake. I have been turned off by the diminishing value of socialising since I often walked away without the smallest of connections.
The last two evenings have restored my faith. If I met three interesting people in two nights maybe in a week I can meet ten?
Since I know that when I point a finger, there are three pointing back at me, I contrasted how I showed up in the last two nights.
For the last two nights, I stayed in the present time, I was not distracted ( no phone) and I was genuinely interested in others’ stories. I phrased my questions appropriately and listened as the answers were given. I did not exchange business cards nor numbers. It was all about that moment, and making that moment pleasurable. I was totally focussed on the person in front of me and I responded in the moment to whatever was important to us in the moment.
Now I am now looking forward to attending the other events that I have for the year. I am going to enjoy all of them.
What was the last boring party that you went to? How did you contribute to the boredom?