Not quite a party, but more than a get-together
June 17, 2008 2:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be hosting weekly patio-sits/get-togethers/hang-outs, but want some theme ideas to keep the conversations interesting, without too much work on my part. Help?

I have a great patio, a table and some chairs, and a hookah. I'm going to be hosting same-place, same-time every week get-togethers with any of my friends who will come. Essentially, I'll be sitting outside smoking my hookah at the same time every week, and if people can come, then great. I need some ideas to keep the conversational wheels greased; but not like a full-fledged Theme Party with food and costumes and all that jazz.

I'll email/text all my friends the first week with the conversation starting theme, and then I'll either stick with that theme for awhile, or we'll change it up.

For example, I thought about having a Show-and-Tell week, which would work just like it sounds. Also, a Conspiracy theory week where people talk a little about their favorite conspiracy theories.

So, I'm looking for some interesting topics of conversation, I guess, but that would get people coming and thinking about things during the week, rather than just have a weekly event where everyone talks about work and politics.

Also, what might make something like this more interesting for you? I'm not interested in providing food every week, but maybe I could have some board/card games available? Any interesting decor-ideas? Anything else I should consider?
posted by cheeken to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think setting limits would only be counter productive to the event. Make it completely open!
Conversation will happen regardless.
posted by PowerCat at 5:17 AM on June 17, 2008


You raise a good point of clarification: The theme part of the evening would only be for a small part of the time. For example, the schedule might be:

7pm: Patio opens
7:45: Theme time
8:30: Back to regularly scheduled interactions
10: everyone goes home because I have to go to sleep. :)

So, the theme part is just to spice things up a bit, I guess.
posted by cheeken at 5:30 AM on June 17, 2008


I think it sounds fun and interesting to have a theme! I'd be up for that if one of my friends were doing it.

This site has a number of thought-provoking questions...maybe you could scroll through some of those? If your friends are philosophical at all I am sure they'd enjoy them.

I think any board games are fun to play as long as you're open to things veering away from the game proper. They can stimulate fun discussions, especially if they are the "adult" ones. I'm not really good at themes so I can't suggest any of those. Also, a theme would likely beg the question of your providing food/drinks.

Have a great time - I'd love it if one of my friends did this.
posted by Punctual at 5:43 AM on June 17, 2008


Piggy-backing on Punctual's idea, there is a book that was popular years ago. It was called The Book of Questions, by Gregory Stock, and it was pretty fantastic for conversation-starters. I see that you can get one used for basically the shipping cost.
posted by Houstonian at 6:13 AM on June 17, 2008


Also, what might make something like this more interesting for you? I'm not interested in providing food every week, but maybe I could have some board/card games available? Any interesting decor-ideas? Anything else I should consider?

If you're not providing any food, you should tell people. If I'm going to a thing at someone's house after the sun goes down for more than an hour or two, I will expect there to be food and drinks. If paying for food is prohibitively expensive for you, then set up some sort of schedule: First Monday of the month is appetizer potluck, second is something you prepare, third is just desserts potluck, fourth is... something else.

Some people don't like boardgames at all. Some people like them, but not enough to do them every single week. Granted, not everyone has to come every week, but if I went to your house last Monday and we played boardgames, you'd scare me away if we did it again the next week.

I think the Show and Tell thing is a good idea, because then it sounds like your thing has a name. "Are you going to cheeken's Show and Tell this week?" It sounds more interesting than "Say, didn't I meet you at cheeken's Strongly-Suggested Topics of Conversation Patio Session last week?" You can theme-up the Show and Tell pretty much indefinitely: "Bring the oldest piece of clothing you still own." "Bring something that was given to you by someone you will never see again." "Bring a CD with your favorite song on it." "Bring something from a place you used to live." To me, something where someone has to tell a personal story makes for good conversation.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:32 AM on June 17, 2008


"Best invention ever" is good. If the invention that someone decides on is "bringable" in some form, then they can also bring their item.

Also drug stories (depends on your friends, but many people have them... especially those young folks that sit on patios with hookas in my experience).
posted by zpousman at 6:36 AM on June 17, 2008


You could do some kind of book exchange. Everyone brings a book that means something to them, and that they wouldn't mind lending out for a while. Some agreed-upon time later, everyone brings their borrowed book back. Discuss the books at some point.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:42 AM on June 17, 2008


You can theme-up the Show and Tell pretty much indefinitely: "Bring the oldest piece of clothing you still own." "Bring something that was given to you by someone you will never see again." "Bring a CD with your favorite song on it." "Bring something from a place you used to live." To me, something where someone has to tell a personal story makes for good conversation."

@23skidoo
Oh, this is a brilliant way of thinking about it. Thanks!
posted by cheeken at 6:55 AM on June 17, 2008


movie scenes that have influenced you
white album vs. abbey road
joshua tree vs. achtung baby
posted by mrmarley at 7:49 AM on June 17, 2008


Maybe rent a movie, watch it as a group, and talk about it afterwards? The movie watching probably won't be on the patio, but the discussion certainly can.

Also, don't set your heart on a certain time period being theme-related and another portion not -- in my (admittedly limited) experience, discussions often run amok and are still full of the awesome. :)
posted by mismatched at 1:18 PM on June 17, 2008


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