The importance of gatherings

Last weekend we held the third occurrence of “The Great Waffle Off.” Over 30 people showed up to our house for an afternoon of waffle goodness with baking, drinks, a backyard fire and plenty of post-waffle-coma conversations.



We also host regular “Bonfire Movie Night Potlucks,” featuring trilogies and classic cult movies like Star Wars, Back to the Future, and The 5th Element. These potlucks are held on Thursday evenings when not much else is going on, and they are over by 10:00pm. We generally have 15 – 25 people show up.

These gatherings are powerful for several reasons:

  1. They allow us to catch up with a large number of people in one go. It can be difficult to spend quality time with friends on an ongoing basis, and these events allow us to talk for a few minutes in person with many of our friends — long enough to have a meaningful connection.
  2. They allow the group at large to coalesce. Over time, the people who come to these gatherings have developed friendships that exist outside of and without Mandy and me. This is the best possible outcome as these groups then bring in new friends to our circle. Many of the people that come were originally friends of friends.
  3. They are FUN, participatory, and low pressure. Potlucks require only that you make/buy some food to share. The Waffle Off asks that you make a waffle to share, but if you can’t pull that together then there are more then enough waffles that need eating. Open time frames allow people to show up and leave when it suits them, and no one is offended. Babies and Dogs are allowed, which increased the number of people who can attend.
  4. We get to set the pace. Mandy and I put in a good amount of time setting up for the event and making sure everything goes smoothly, but once it is rolling, we can sit back and watch it unfold. If we want to spice it up we can bring out some fun drinks or an activity, and if we want it to wrap up we can let the fire burn out. This helps us stay sane as Mandy is much more social than I am, but at our home I can be as “on” or not as I want.

These events and others like them held at friend’s houses have helped our community grow, and have brought together many of the different social groups to which we belong.