Several years ago, I started public speaking about some of the topics I've covered on this blog. One time early on, I spoke to a group of 20 and 30 -somethings in downtown Chicago. I recorded myself so I could review it later and make a few changes here and there. When I did go back to listen, it was horrifying. I couldn't keep track of how many times I said "like" in one sentence. My voice also didn't sound like mine - it was about half an octave higher and sounded more appropriate for telling someone about a cute new shirt from Limited Too. I couldn't believe I didn't realize how I sounded! Thankfully, practice makes things much better over time. But I can still feel awkward meeting and speaking in front of totally new people.
As someone who often feels more introverted than extroverted, I personally feel the best when I'm around a few friends who will laugh with me no matter what happens. A perfect night would entail having all of them in one room to hang out, eat, and talk and laugh for as long as possible. I would love to try and plan something like that soon, because I know how easy it is to get caught up in life and neglect to nurture meaningful friendships. When friends are hard to find, or when they're a long plane ride away, I've found that it can help to arrange something fun with a few local "potentials", even though awkward moments are virtually inevitable. But you have to remember that those moments are sometimes just the beginning of a beautiful friendship...
If you do end up doing something to make new or celebrate old friends, I played around with some ideas to make a gathering feel more special. Below are some place cards that were easy to put together.
- Simply fold (and paste shut) colorful pieces of paper.
- Print and cut out names for each card, and wrap them around the colored paper, pasting the ends together in the back.
- You can find new fonts to try by searching for "free fonts" online and downloading them onto your computer. Or you can always just write the names out yourself. I used a popular font called Bombshell Pro.