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To The Best Of Our Knowledge
June 29, 2019
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This Is A Party. There Are Rules.

I've been thinking a lot about what Priya Parker told Shannon about how we really need to expend effort to make it more meaningful when we get together with friends and loved ones. Not in a bad way — just that, especially in a time totally dominated by devices that lead our attention elsewhere, we really need rules to keep us present and engaged with the people around us. Enforcing "house" rules for parties, gatherings and get togethers can force us to connect with those around us in real life in ways we just can't with those online, at least according to a few of our listeners.

One listener told us all about how a silly party rule made what would otherwise be a standard backyard barbeque into something special, a bonafide holiday:

"For the last 16 years, my dad and stepmom have been throwing a big summer party every year called "the Citrus Party" ... you have to wear orange, yellow, or green, preferably something with either a lime, a lemon, or an orange on it. It's amazing. My dad even makes a three hole mini golf course in his backyard for the occasion. I actually ended up getting a lemon tattoo just because of the significance of this party in my life. It's so much fun."

Another listener said that a "no phones" rule helped her study group bridge intergenerational divides more easily:

"I'm 38 years old. [In my university courses,] I have friends that were younger than me. All they did was text, and I was able to help them discover that person to person contact was even more effective." 

House rules are also something that can create a safe space to share, and to heal. In the case of another listener, facing addiction is a little bit easier when the situation forces people to really acknowledge each other in person:

"I'm in a 12 step program. I have been for over a decade. And I'll tell you — you really cannot help someone unless you see them."

Have you created rules, traditions, or rituals that added depth and meeting to any time you bring people together in person? We still want to hear about them.


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