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Group Dynamic

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I’m still trying to figure out how to socialize as a grownup.   By Hannah Wallace     Every week, Copy Editor Megan and I do our Monday-morning weekend recap. These days, Megan’s actually filling the role of Sarasota Gen-Xer much better than I (which makes me fear for my blog, frankly), but it’s cool […]

November 19, 2008


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I’m still trying to figure out how to socialize as a grownup.
 
By Hannah Wallace
 
 
Every week, Copy Editor Megan and I do our Monday-morning weekend recap. These days, Megan’s actually filling the role of Sarasota Gen-Xer much better than I (which makes me fear for my blog, frankly), but it’s cool to hear about the Downtown Young ‘uns Social Network. Just having moved to Sarasota a couple of years ago, she’s met and befriended a bunch of 20-somethings, many of whom live downtown. On weekends, they jam themselves into cars and hit all the downtown hot spots like college students with grownup incomes.
 
And just like in college, my social life nowadays is heavily jock-reliant, buoyed much more by hockey games (and hockey players) than parties and nights on the town. I spent the weekend with Ms. Conduct at a tournament in Ft. Myers. In between games, cheering on the rec team, watching SportsCenter in hotel rooms and Wayne Gretzky biopics in an RV in the rink parking lot, Sunday-night post-hockey dinner at Applebee’s—this is my social nourishment.
 
It can be hard to make friends when you’re in your 20s—not just in Sarasota; I read about it everywhere. You’re no longer spending your days in classrooms surrounded by 25 other people your age. Which works better for me now, actually, but you do have to put a little more effort into it at our age if you want to hang out with more than one other person at a time. You’re not just going to automatically meet up at the lunch table every day.
 
My father, not the most gregarious man in the world (and certainly not a 20-something), regularly goes out to lunch with a group of actors and theater folk—John Arnold, Eb Thomas, David Howard, etc. They call it the AARP Club. I love that, the idea of being part of a steady group, one with no purpose other than getting friends together.
 
Copy Editor Megan and I have had caddy-corner cubicles for a couple of years now, and we’ve finally conspired to expand our office socializing beyond what we call “the editorial cave.” Coworkers, that’s one of the social pools you’re supposed to fish from. It felt weird never having had the opportunity to say things like, “I’m going to go grab a beer with a few folks from the office.” So Monday night we took charge and recruited a few coworkers to meet up after work at O’Leary’s. It’s fun to subtract the office formality and get to know people you see every day in the light of tiki torches and sunset.
 
I suppose what I’m getting at is things like hockey and work serve to introduce you to new people, but it feels like the ultimate social goal, for me anyway, is to discuss 1980s video games over clam strips and curly fries. It’s not socializing if you’re actually getting something accomplished.
 
Saturday, CCB is returning to his alias origins for a coworker’s fiancé’s bachelor party at the Cheetah Club. Alas, no girls allowed (aside from, y’know, the nekkid ones), but I’ve offered to play good girlfriend hostess and treat everyone to grilled cheese at the end of the night. Not because I’m Suzie Strip-Club Homemaker all of a sudden; just because I’m curious about the group dynamic, and this will probably be the only bachelor party I get to witness (unless I change professions).
 
Do you find yourself running in different social groups? Or have you fallen into a reliable routine with one steady group of friends? How often to you do things purely to be social?