Does everything need to be connective?

Why aren’t more learning experiences designed for connection? Or should they?

As a lifelong learner and “I’ll try anything once” kind of person, I sign up to try my hand at a new skill every few months.

In the past year, I’ve taken pole dancing classes, sang weekly in a women’s song circle, and an Intro to Fiction writing class.

I enjoyed each class but also left feeling a little flat.

I knew pretty much right away what was missing — connection!

I felt myself criticizing the song leader and the writing instructor, “Why didn’t you see this as an opportunity to have people meet each other and connect about their interest in what we’re doing?”

It felt like it would have been so easy for the leader to ask us to share with each other more, to even set up a social dinner or post-class hangout. But we simply would come in, sit down, listen to ideas about how to create the best narrative story arc or do our singing exercises, and then we’d pack up and go.

This felt like such a missed opportunity to feel connected to others who all happened to be interested in learning or doing the same thing at the same place at the same time.

How could the leaders have helped spark “serendipity”?

I’ll take personal responsibility, that I could have been more engaging. I could have not waited for the instructor to facilitate the socializing and just turned to more people to inquire about them.

Yet, from my own experience facilitating group conversations and dynamics, I have seen that oftentimes people just need an invitation or excuse to say hello. Me included.

I realize that some people may have not seen the singing group or the writing class as an opportunity to meet people. But, I have a hunch that most people would have gone home feeling warmer and remembered the class more fondly had they emerged with a few friendly interactions, maybe even the number of a new friend.

As an event designer and conversation facilitator, I left these experiences wondering to myself, Maybe my perception is skewed. Maybe not everything needs to be a connective experience.

And now I wonder this to you — what do you think?

designing for connection, aliveness, the feeling of possibility - through intentional gatherings, meta projects, practice spaces and you?

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