Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Phenomenon as "An event that can be observed and that typically is unusual or difficult to understand or explain fully."
How does the word Phenomenon pertain to us? Well, we are members of a group that partakes in events that are meant to meet people, have interesting conversations, make connections, and to have fun. The end result of these social events, hopefully, is an experience that satisfies one of two human primal instincts. One is the human instinct to be loved and accepted. The other primal instinct would be fear of rejection.
Now, these are not the only primal instincts, but these two are the core that relates to human socializing.
Back to social events. Every one of us has been to at least one social event. In fact, many of us have been to dozens if not hundreds; from your first ones as a child to your last one in a meetup group or at a company function. One common denominator for all these events is that the more people you know, the more comfortable you are. The human instinct to socialize kicks in. The instinctive fear of rejection gets diminished.
But in an event where most people are strangers, the human instinct of fear is dominant. Virtually every person, even the most social, has butterflies, even anxiety.
And when the instinct of fear sets in, we become the person we don't want to become. We can become standoffish. We can become superficial. We can even become mean.
Why? It is because that is the defense mechanism when the instinct of fear kicks in. We have experienced this as done to us and thus we instinctively use the same knee jerk reaction to treat others in the same way. We don't mean it but we do it. Like when someone says hi, you don't say hi back. When someone smiles, you frown. When someone approaches, you turn away. You become what you see in others.
And what's worse, we don't feel bad about it. Why? Because it has been done to you, just seconds ago. And because you think it's normal. And the sad part is, it is normal.
Now to Meet People Chicago.
You are no different in Meet People Chicago than in any other social event. You have the same fears. The same wants. What's different is that you will realize that everyone is down to earth. When someone says hi, you say hi back. When someone approaches, you smile. When someone asks about your story, you're happy to tell it. And vice versa. The person or persons you are talking to are more like friends you haven't seen in many months than the complete stranger that he or she was just a few minutes ago. You are becoming what you see in others. Yet, you are you and not pretending to be someone else.
And this experience you have just experienced is an event that was just observed by others who are not able to fully comprehend what they have just witnessed. But they like it. And they are smiling.
Welcome to the Phenomenon.
Peter Shen, Founder, MeetPeopleChicago.com
Tags: Meeting People