Last week my friend Tracey introduced me to her friend with these words and a straight face, “This is Linda, she collects and connects people.” Hmmm…I had never really thought about myself this way. My perception of me is that I collect experiences that I lasso others into, but Tracey is quite savvy and astute so after some consideration her words did ring true. Through the experiences I launch to my group I inevitably connect and collect people. Kind of a horse before the cart situation, but it is a certainty that my experiences are made richer through the humans that are there with me.
Tracey’s words and the art excursion last week to the Chihuly exhibit at the NYC Botanical Garden, as organized by my friend Jaime, got me to thinking… How many ways are there to collect and connect people via the shared experiences that are near and dear to them? Why do 50+ people turn up at the show of my choosing on theater night? And why did 20 people find their way to the New York City Botanical Garden some 10 – 15 miles from Manhattan at Jaime’s invite? My friend Lisa answered two of these questions at breakfast the other day without even knowing I had them mulling around in my brain. She said, “It is basic human nature to want to feel connected to other people.” I wrote her words down thinking it was so magical that she had solved my unasked query.
I shared all this with my millennial niece Abigail and she wise beyond her years added that when we are younger our social structure is established. There is school and the traditions around that: sports teams, spring formals, art clubs and debate clubs, sororities/fraternities and model United Nations. But when you leave this feathered nest of your educational years the built in social blocks dissipate. It is up to us as individuals to take the reins and be the architect of the experiences that connect people. Which is exactly the point of this blog!
So I am going to toss this post out there with a few ideas to inspire more people to grab a group and get out and do something, do anything. Think of it as a party with a purpose!
Ways to Grab Your Group and GO:
- Book Club – A classic. Book club is the perfect example of a party with a purpose. Out of the gates you have something in common with everyone in the group: you (ostensibly) read the same book, discussions can run rampant from there.
- Supper Club – Potluck dinners that rotate locations. So fun! And easy too if everyone pitches in, unless you are the person in charge of the paella.
- Running/Walking Group – Get out there and move with your group. The aforementioned Tracey has a Tuesday running club that is so much fun even when running up hills. Different people turn up. Tracey tells us what to do and off we go running and laughing our way around Central Park.
- Workout Classes – Pick different classes around town, meet you friends there. Get your sweat on – together! If you have ClassPass in your town use that to connect with friends as you check out a new studio or an old favorite.
- Culture Club – Cast a wide net here. Could be an art gallery that you visit monthly or an immersive theater. Spend time reading the arts pages in your local newspaper and pick avant-garde experiences that your friends may not select otherwise.
- Theater Club or a Movie Club – Get out and see something together and share a meal before or after. It’s a turn key evening out!
- Dining Out Club – Explore new restaurants as selected by different members of your group.
- Neighborhood Walking Tours – Be a “tourist in your own town.” Pick a new hood and go explore. Research the neighborhood and map out a chunk of time where you and your group explore the best that area has to offer.
- Game Night – We bought Giant Jenga this summer and it has added all sorts of fun to any and all of our gatherings. Even the reluctant Jenga players (not pictured here) cannot help themselves from getting swept up into the fun of it.
- Take a Class – Dance, Knitting, Photography, Chess, Cooking, Wine Tasting – In addition to humans wanting to connect, I think they also have a basic desire to learn. Pick something and invite your group to join you in this learning endeavor.
- Food Challenges – A la the shred or a juice cleanse. Another shout out to Tracey who has a blog/site called The Clean Plate club. This online community shares recipes and ideas for health and wellness. Every now and again they do this food challenge called a Shred where together they eschew – gluten, caffeine, alchohol, processed foods and limit sugar. Instead they eat only whole foods, drink plant based smoothies, hydrate with water, and get lots of sleep. All together. All supporting one another on their road to wellness.
- High Adrenaline Adventures – This could be river rafting, parasailing, rock climbing, zip lining or taking a trapeze lesson. Anything that gets you and your group out of the house and out of your comfort zone will be an experience you all cherish for a lifetime.
- Train for a Race – For the last five years a group of us have trained for the Levi’s Gran Fondo, a bike ride in Northern California. The race offers multiple distances to choose from so everyone can do their own thing, but the fun that is had in preparation for this race and on the backside as we celebrate our accomplishments is unparalleled. Same deal with the paddle board challenge I took on this summer. The preparation was just as rewarding as the challenge itself largely because of the people I met along the way.
- Adult/Kid Playdates (for those with kids) — Years ago my friends and I started having what we called Chardonnay Play dates. We met every Wednesday and rotated homes. It quickly turned into everyone’s favorite night of the week. Kids played. Mom’s chatted and life long friendships were formed. Kids, as kids do, got older and aged out of these nights during the school year, but we pick them right back up the second summer hits.
- Group Dog Walks – I see impromptu gatherings all of the time in Central Park. My guess is that everyone there knows all of the dog’s names, but would be hard pressed to name the humans. Meet your humans at the dog park and connect with them as your dogs frolic.
- Group Weekends Away — Rent a house two hours away from home and have a weekend together. It’s always a good idea to get a change of scenery and experience said change of scenery with a group. Houses are so easy to come by these days. Via AirBnB, Homeway or VRBO you can rent a big old house for two or three evenings and share the cost. Grab your group and get out of Dodge. Make meals together. Explore! Create memories.
This is but a small list – though we really racked our brains. Any of these could be monthly, quarterly, or just once a year… Pick one or invent your own and Grab Your Group and GO!
Would love to hear about other ideas that you have for connecting and collecting your people. Please share with us in the comments…