Practicing social organizing

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Practicing social organizing

Post by kath on Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:03 am

I am a really really bad social organizer. I am fine at coming up with what to do. I like people. I think I could think of people I could invite to stuff. I like casual hangouts with enough of the people I know that I am like, down for that in general. I consider myself an extrovert so I don't feel drained after that sort of thing in general.

And I'm fine at organizing "official" things - I can chair a mean meeting, organize art exhibitions ... and my job is planning programming for an event series for adults at the science centre I work at, which is the "get a drink, check out our exhibits (and you won't have to elbow wee people out of the way), and engage in some hands on programming" which involves a lot of cold-calling or cold-emailing external groups and individuals and asking if they want to participate in programming. I may not even have a concrete idea of what I want them to do when I first get in touch.

But I absolutely HATE coordinating schedules with people to hang out. I am pretty busy, and a lot of the people I don't see very often that I would like to see more are also very busy, and I just ... only have it in me to go back and forth to pick a date so many times.

The last two times I've tried to plan birthday parties for myself, I had one where the two people who were up for it cancelled on me that day, and the last one two years ago - the date turned out to be two days after a big flood, so the venue I was going to have it at - a public indoor gardeny space - was closed and people were evacuated and I just ... can't steel myself to put the effort into planning another one.

Does anyone have tips for like ... dealing with this? Why am I taking a flood as a sign I am just bad at social planning? Those things are clearly not at all related.

Here's one I'm struggling with now:

There are lots of creative people at my workplace. I think we should get together and work on creative stuff at a tinker-night. I polled people on what days of the week would work, and only a few people answered, and of course their answers were mutually exclusive. This should not be surprising. How can I figure out why I can't just pick a date and send out a calendar invite?

I would be able to do this JUST FINE if it were a real meeting too!
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Re: Practicing social organizing

Post by Caffeinated on Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:14 am

Two thoughts on this.

First, if official things are your thing, why not make it an official thing? Start a group (meetup or otherwise) and hold official meetings at particular times. It might take a while for some busy people to be able to make it, but if it's on their radar as a thing they want to go to, then as their schedules shift they might make sure to slot it in.

Second, if making a whole official group sounds like a little too much, how about adopting/adapting the idea of office hours or the hours when Victorian ladies and gentlemen would be home to accept callers (can't think of what that's called). Like, pick a place (home? a restaurant?) that you will be on certain days and times, and send out a regular invitation for your friends to visit you at that time. My friend who moved out of state does a version of this when she comes home, she puts it on facebook that she'll be at a certain diner near the university on such and such day and time, and everyone who wants to see her while she's in town is invited to come by.
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Re: Practicing social organizing

Post by Enail on Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:01 pm

My sister did something like that, just setting a regular time when she'd be writing at a particular coffee shop that was fairly convenient to a lot of people she knows, and opening a standing invitation for people to come hang out or work on their own thing while ignoring each other in a sociable way. It worked really well.
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Re: Practicing social organizing

Post by Hirundo Bos on Sun Jul 19, 2015 3:16 pm

Would online planning tools like Doodle be of any help? I also remember an rpg scheduling technique that's worked well in groups I've been in, if you're interested.
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Re: Practicing social organizing

Post by kath on Sat Aug 08, 2015 2:24 am

Thanks for the suggestions, guys!

I bit the bullet and scheduled Tinker Night at work AND a team-fun-outing to see Inside Out, and it looks like people will come to both things! yaaay!

I'd love to do the thing where I become a regular at a convenient place ... but I'm not sure how to make it convenient for me. I live way out in the suburbs, and almost all of my friends live in the inner-city, so convenient for me = inconvenient for them. Also I grew up inner-city so I am quite cranky about living in the suburbs and really wish I lived in a walkable neighbourhood with cafes and neighbourhood pubs that aren't dead except for like that one loud guy, so I do a lot of my hanging-out / going to events very far away from my house.

One reason I don't invite people to my house is because I have no idea how the many of them without cars would get here, and even the ones with cars would have to navigate my confusing suburb Sad.

Another question, if I were to implement that, how does one fit that in? I'm trying to imagine how I would implement 'regular time at the local spot', and I can't imagine piecing it together with the various things I'm involved with (sometimes I have meetings to go to every day after work, about things unrelated to work), time to do stuff on the various things I'm involved with (this could be addressed by doing it while hanging out wherever, potentially), my job, and seeing my husband more than occasionally. Did any of the people who have done that talk about that aspect?  

*I live in a very sprawly city, with a volatile climate and transit that is not wonderful, due to the difficulties of implementing transit in a sprawly, car-based city.
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Re: Practicing social organizing

Post by Enail on Sat Aug 08, 2015 12:35 pm

My sister did the 'working on stuff she needed done' thing, and found it a pretty good way to get things done, but she did have the advantage of a flexible schedule and living somewhere convenient.

It sounds like you'd need to pick somewhere that's on the way to/from where you're going anyway for it not to be a giant pain, and honestly, you sound busy enough that adding one more thing could land up being more of a pain than a help. Maybe you could do it on a longer rotation, say once a month or whatever you can fit in. That would mean people don't get accustomed to it the same way, so you'd still have to be pretty proactive about letting people know when it's happening, though, and it would probably be more annoying for you if no one turned up one time.
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Re: Practicing social organizing

Post by Caffeinated on Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:24 pm

kath wrote:Thanks for the suggestions, guys!

I bit the bullet and scheduled Tinker Night at work AND a team-fun-outing to see Inside Out, and it looks like people will come to both things! yaaay!

Yay!

kath wrote:I'd love to do the thing where I become a regular at a convenient place ... but I'm not sure how to make it convenient for me. I live way out in the suburbs, and almost all of my friends live in the inner-city, so convenient for me = inconvenient for them. Also I grew up inner-city so I am quite cranky about living in the suburbs and really wish I lived in a walkable neighbourhood with cafes and neighbourhood pubs that aren't dead except for like that one loud guy, so I do a lot of my hanging-out / going to events very far away from my house.

One reason I don't invite people to my house is because I have no idea how the many of them without cars would get here, and even the ones with cars would have to navigate my confusing suburb Sad.

Another question, if I were to implement that, how does one fit that in? I'm trying to imagine how I would implement 'regular time at the local spot', and I can't imagine piecing it together with the various things I'm involved with (sometimes I have meetings to go to every day after work, about things unrelated to work), time to do stuff on the various things I'm involved with (this could be addressed by doing it while hanging out wherever, potentially), my job, and seeing my husband more than occasionally. Did any of the people who have done that talk about that aspect?  

*I live in a very sprawly city, with a volatile climate and transit that is not wonderful, due to the difficulties of implementing transit in a sprawly, car-based city.

Hmm, yes, sprawly cities can be tricky indeed. If you're feeling nostalgia for the old neighborhood (I'm assuming you're in the suburbs of the city you're from) you could make the regular hangout one that takes place somewhere in that old neighborhood. Or, if that's not feasible, maybe make the hangout somewhere near your work location (assuming said work location is not equally suburban/inconvenient as your home location). Or you could just pick a place in the city that you enjoy, and make it a thing you make the trip to go to, with the added benefit that it would be easier for friends living in the city to get there too. Or maybe a regular event you always attend, like a First Friday kind of thing (I know a lot of cities have some kind of Art Crawl or something of that kind in a downtownish location once a month), and people could join you for it if they like.
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Re: Practicing social organizing

Post by kath on Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:31 am

Yeah, I do still live in the same city - I also spend quite a bit of time in my inner-city home 'hood, because my church is there, so my Sunday routine is church -> hang out with my parents and brother.

We used to have First Thursdays (art crawl night), and I am on the board of an art gallery and pretty well looped in to the art and maker communities in the city through my "official" activities. I do go to the art openings for the artist run centre I'm on the board of, and I could make a better effort to go to the openings for the other ones too. I like going to those, but I do find socializing in that context, where I know some people pretty well in an "official" sense and many people are the vaguest of "seen you around" acquaintances a bit stressful, but they are certainly really good practice for casual socializing with people I know to various degrees. But I could definitely invite others along to that and make it more a planned thing that I'll go WITH people, that would probably make it less stressful. Even though I know people I know will be there anyway. Thanks for that, I'll see if I can put that into motion at some point (maybe not quickly, but when I feel like I have bandwidth).

Also I think one other thing is I'd probably like to focus on getting closer to the work people, because my work manages to find like ridiculously amazing people who, if they were like, putting together a commune, I'd be in. So maybe I could see if any of them are interested in a gallery opening crawl, the next time some of the galleries have their openings around the same time ...
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