To Thine Own Self Bee True

So, last night we failed our first LS meet and greet.

What do I mean “failed?” How can you fail at a meet and greet? Well, it’s pretty simple. You fail at a meet and greet by not doing a very good job of meeting…or greeting…much of anyone. We are not wallflowers by nature, Ess and I, but anyone watching us at this event would have argued otherwise.

We are not wallflowers by nature, Ess and I, but anyone watching us at this event would have argued otherwise.

Other than briefly chatting with one other deer-in-the-headlights newbie couple and with our charming hosts — first time meeting them in person, and we’re glad for that opportunity — we scarcely talked to anyone.

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Imagine this narrow space buzzing with 65-70 super hot people. photo | hotelhive.com

The venue is very, very cool. There were two unaffiliated couples innocently trying to have dinner or a drink at little tables to the side, but mostly all of the seating was empty as the guests of the M&G stood in tight groups in the floor space between the tables and the bar.

To meet and talk to people, we’d have had to be much, much more aggressive minglers. Talking to people required physically pushing through foursomes and larger groups already engaged in conversation and then insinuating ourselves, unbidden, on that existing dynamic. While we are not shy to introduce ourselves to others, that’s not us.

To meet and talk to people, we’d have had to be much, much more aggressive minglers.

Once in a conversation, the packed physical space made it challenging to break away casually in order to talk to other couples — so groups seemed to form and stick. The number of guests also made the tight venue pretty loud, so to converse you needed to really lean in and sort of shout a bit. Servers had to yell and part the red sea of bodies to get orders to folks. In other words, it was a pretty typical crowded bar scene.

Absolutely nothing wrong with that, if it’s your scene. It’s not our scene.

So what did we do? Well. We met our hosts. We met and chatted with the other newbie couple for a bit. They were very nice, but I got concerned that the environment would adhere us to them and keep us there, so I dragged Ess through the center of the crowd to see if we could meet others. That’s where we discovered that if we wanted to talk to anyone, we would have to literally shove our way into one of the already-formed groups of people leaned into their own conversations. I am outgoing, but I’m apparently not that outgoing. And though Ess is no shrinking violet, I could tell he was not feeling this vibe enough to dive in. So we squished our way back out of the crowd to the fringes, finally scooting into an unused table where a pocket of air existed, to have a couple chat.

That chat consisted of us checking in with each other about how we were feeling about the situation. It was pretty obvious that we were on the same page — this was not our scene, and we didn’t want to try to force it to be our scene. We also agreed that “oh-my-god this room is filled with super hot people who are probably really interesting.” So there was some remorse in admitting that we weren’t willing to be more aggressive in order to meet them.

What it comes down to is that this particular style of meet and greet didn’t match our social style.

It would be easy for us to blame our lack of success on the organizers or their venue selection; however, the truth is that most people seemed to be having a great time. We’re sure the majority would deem it a resounding success. What it comes down to is that this particular style of meet and greet didn’t match our social style, and we opted to honor our social style.

You could also frame it as us not being willing to push our comfort zone and try harder, but we don’t see that as quite the same. We see it as recognizing who we are and being OK with not trying to be who we aren’t just to say we are Lifestylers. One thing we have established with each other is that we don’t want to be part of some kind of hive-mind by trying to do the LS exactly as others do, unless it feels right to us.

We see it as recognizing who we are and being OK with not trying to be who we aren’t.

Having said that, we did do one thing just plain wrong. Ignoring the hosts’ generous offer to buy drinks for the first 30 to arrive, we opted to show up fashionably late — about 30 minutes after the event began. Why was this a mistake? Well, by the time we got there, the place was packed already and groups of people were literally elbow to elbow in conversations. Not impossible to break into, but it would have been a lot easier — given our social style — to be there at the start when initial introductions were beginning and those groups were forming.

We thanked our hosts and excused ourselves, then went on a dessert date and spent the evening debriefing and exploring what this reveals to us about ourselves in the LS.

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Every experience is a chance to grow as a couple. photo | Johnathan Castellon

And that, kind readers, turned out to be the real value — and the major reason we don’t regret giving the meet and greet a shot in the first place.

The conversation that followed — as we’ve found with our conversations that followed previous LS experiences — taught us more about ourselves as a couple and gave us the opportunity to fine tune the role we do (and do not) want the LS to have in our relationship. It gave us a chance to ask questions of each other and carefully consider our answers in light of what we’ve experienced, not just in theory. It allowed us to further define who we are and who we want to be as a couple looking to open our bed to others.

You know, people don’t grow when everything goes great and comes easily.

If I were reading this blog, I might be thinking, “Dear lord, these people are terrible at this!” Not so. We’re trying new things and then examining how it feels and what we think about it. That is helping us determine what we want and how we want to approach it. We’re doing it at our own, perhaps glacial, pace — not rushing. We are taking the advice of others into consideration, but ultimately trying things for ourselves and defining us as we go. That means sometimes screwing up or doing things the hard way. And that’s OK. Every “failure” is a success. You know, people don’t grow when everything goes great and comes easily.

I feel an ESSay coming soon about our evolving self-concept as an LS couple. If you’re curious about where we see this going for ourselves, stay tuned.


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featured photo | Pixabay

2 thoughts on “To Thine Own Self Bee True

  1. Very insightful and reflective. Even as a single that is starting into the LS it is good to do the things you, as a couple are doing! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Great post! I understand how you felt. I struggle with noisy crowds. I’ve learned that the reason is that I really like a good conversation. For me I’ve found that I have a hard time doing that in a noisy environment.

    We do go to meet and greets from time. My partner thrives on the energy and noise. But we also balance that with time in smaller groups in quieter places.

    In the end you still ended up having dessert and having open honest communication with one another. You can’t ask for anything better than that.

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