how to be social

Experimental cocktail party in Toronto will teach you how to be social again

It's been quite some time since many of us have had the opportunity to practice our social skills with strangers, but an upcoming experimental event in Toronto will offer the chance to do just that for anyone longing to meet new people and experience the thrill of face-to-face interaction once again. 

The cocktail party-like event, described as an"experiment in socializing and collaborating to create connection with help from a communications expert," is being put on by the folks behind Trampoline Hall—a wildly successful barroom lecture series started by Canadian author Sheila Heti in 2001.

The event will be held at The Garrison, a bar and live music venue on Dundas West where the lecture series is also held, and it will be hosted by Misha Glouberman, a communication and negotiation expert who also hosts the Trampoline Hall lectures.

Titled "This is Not the Show" — A Live Experiment in Socializing and Collaboratively Designing a Communal Conversation Space with Misha Glouberman, the party will see attendees co-design topics of discussion so they can meet people with similar interests and participate in engaging, interesting conversations with like-minded folks.

"You'll get shuffled up in different groups and get to talk to different people. In the early parts of the event, Misha will give you topics to talk about," reads a news release about the event. 

"At some point, the group will collaboratively build a menu of topics that people in the room want to talk about. You'll get to find the other people in the room who are interested in the same things as you and talk about those things! Once the structured conversation part is done, there will be some regular socializing."

The event was inspired by similar experimental social events Glouberman hosted over Zoom throughout lockdown, in which attendees were shuffled around in groups to talk about different subjects in an effort to simulate the regular mixing people do at real-life gatherings.

The party is scheduled to take place on Dec. 6 at 8 p.m., and participants must register online in advance. Tickets cost $15. 

"If you have completely forgotten how to be social around other people, this is a great on-ramp for relearning those skills!" the release continues.

"If you still retain that ability, but would love to participate in a group experiment to find others who are interested in talking about the same things you are: this is a great opportunity to find them!"

Lead photo by

BABAK Photography


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