I'm not a doctor, but after having our largest turn out and potentially most successful event yet, I think having a mutually shared objective takes away the pressure of finding something to talk about. We had our first board games night and it definitely won't be our last. With more people showing up for this event than any other and everyone getting comfortable much quicker than usual; it will absolutely be a repeat event.
I tend to procrastinate responsibilities, I don't know if this is due to anxiety or just a regular personality flaw. I had to make a reservation at The Board Room Cafe for a potential of 14 people. The event was planned for Friday evening and I called them on a Tuesday, which I thought was perhaps slightly late, but should still be enough time. Turns out this place is very popular and I should have made my reservation on a Monday 2 weeks prior.
Thankfully they don't book every seat in the house and leave space for walk ins. The very amiable lady I spoke with on the phone assured me if I showed up early enough I would be able to secure a table. The event was planned for 7pm, the place gets busy around 7:30-8:00, I planned to arrive at 6-ish. Surely no one would arrive prior to that time and be waiting around.
6:15 and I get a message that one of our members is there early and he has secured us a great spot by the front; two comfy couches opposite a large coffee table with the ability to add chairs for more seating. Who knows if we would have nabbed that awesome spot if he hadn't arrived early? It took us forever to find parking and we didn't end up inside until sometime after 6:30.
We started with the simple, yet always tons of fun game: Cards Against Humanity. I was a little leary, of course. This isn't exactly the most politically correct game, but everyone was having a blast playing this disturbingly dirty, insulting, and highly enjoyable game. As more people trickled in awkwardly, we quickly got cozy and comfortable together.
Initial arrival is typically awkward and anxiety inducing for everyone. Anyone with social anxiety will attest to the feeling of impending doom that is created by showing up to social gatherings. What I loved about the atmosphere of The Board Room Cafe is how quickly everyone appeared to loosen up. Sometimes it can take half an hour before people start to get comfortable and in some cases some don't seem to really get comfortable at all.
Overall I would have to say this venue choice was a huge success. I was overjoyed to see everyone laughing and having a good time in such a social atmosphere. I truly believe being around fellow anxiety sufferers relieves some of that social tension and trepidation that goes with meeting people and being social. I hope everyone in attendance had a great time and that you will join us again soon.