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Old 02-02-2024, 03:08 PM
Location: Seattle
8,169 posts, read 8,289,381 times
Reputation: 5986


Article link here: https://www.seattletimes.com/life/ma...st-small-talk/

"Think about someone you spent time with recently. What, if anything, made you feel closer to them?

On an icy cold Thursday night in January, about 30 people are gathered around wooden tables in the warmly lit Fremont Abbey Arts Center, calling out responses to that prompt: Setting a boundary. Going to a concert together. Admitting I needed their help.

As the all-ages group of mostly strangers keeps popcorning their experiences, friendship coach Alexandra Friedman, the host of this Connection Feast event, writes each response on a giant notepad at the front of the room.

This group brainstorm kicks off an evening of activities around the night’s theme: making closer friendships by being vulnerable. Over about two hours, the “Feasters” practice answering generic questions such as “How long have you been in Seattle?” in more interesting and personal ways, observe each other’s body language and discuss the situations that feel the most vulnerable to them, from falling in love to being bad at something.

Though the room is filled with new faces — Friedman encourages people to come by themselves — the relaxed, familiar-feeling chatter that lingers as the event closes might lead one to think the group has known each other for quite a while.

That’s part of the goal, Connection Feast founder Friedman said: for participants to dig into meaningful conversations and practice relational skills such as vulnerability, all while feeling like they’re just “going to a friend’s house on a Sunday night.”

Friedman considers Connection Feast, which holds regular gatherings in Seattle and online, to be part of a growing social wellness movement. Along with other local groups, it’s aimed at helping people get past surface-level interactions to build deeper relationships.

The World Health Organization has included social well-being — the quality of our social support networks — in its definition of health as far back as the 1940s. But the concept has gained more attention in recent years, with Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issuing an advisory on loneliness in the U.S. last year.

Murthy and other experts stress that our social lives have a big impact on our health, from emotional well-being to risks of heart disease, stroke and dementia.

A lot goes into social wellness: Cultural attitudes and the opportunities around us to connect with people play a big role, said psychologist and University of Washington researcher Mavis Tsai, but individuals can “greatly improve” their relationships with important skills like self-awareness, setting and respecting boundaries, and validating others’ experiences.

In Seattle, a city with a reputation for feeling standoffish, several groups — including Connection Feast and the local chapter of Skip the Small Talk — are leading a charge toward social wellness, with events that bring people together for meaningful conversations.

Connection Feast: The next in-person Connection Feast will take place 7-9:30 p.m. Feb. 15. Buy tickets online; $35. Connection Feast also offers other programs, including a three-month small group coaching program starting Feb. 28. Visit connectionfeast.com to learn more."
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Old 02-02-2024, 06:33 PM
Location: Northern California
4,596 posts, read 2,988,358 times
Reputation: 8349
Intriguing idea...

Homesinseattle, do you think the "Seattle Freeze" is a real phenomenon?
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Old 02-02-2024, 07:11 PM
Location: Seattle
8,169 posts, read 8,289,381 times
Reputation: 5986
Originally Posted by NW4me View Post
Intriguing idea...

Homesinseattle, do you think the "Seattle Freeze" is a real phenomenon?
Sure, I think people take awhile to warm up here, although Seattle is not alone in that way. Versions of it are mentioned in Minneapolis and a number of places. I think the locals (if there are any left , don’t throw their love out to the first people they meet, they want to know if you are vested in and contributing to the relationship. When that happens, I have found that friendships get really solid, that’s been my experience at least.
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