Remember The Hunger Games?
The movies vaulted Jennifer Lawrence in to the Hollywood spotlight and transfixed a generation who were too young to board the Potter train.
The books are an easy and addictive read and they inspired me to write this social-style Hunger Games for the ordinary city dweller.
Get ready to hurdle your social reservations and enter The Social Games…
The penalty for failure in The Social Games isn’t death, it’s merely our own perception of embarrassment or mental discomfort.
The Social Games Challenges:
- Digi Free in Public
- Chatting Outside Your Bubble
- Sober Raver
- Popcorn for One
Complete these four tasks in 30 days to win the Social Games.
May the odds be ever in your favour…
Challenge 1) Digi Free in Public
Whenever you are out of the house and mingling in public spaces, refuse to pick up that precious mobile device.
This includes situations where you are left alone waiting for your comrade to show, or they have taken to the toilet and left you clutching your glass hoping that no one will judge your isolation.
I’ve started trying to stick to this challenge. Last week I waited 45 minutes for my burger and fries at Burger Fuel after they misplaced my order. During those 45 minutes I flicked through one magazine and had to entertain myself without the aid of 9Gag, Facebook or Instagram.
The only difficulty resulting from that particular example was a bout of mild boredom; not using navigation is a much bigger challenge for me.
I am no homing pigeon. My innate sense of direction has not served me well in the past; I’ve called friends for verbal instructions after getting lost and data-less on many occasions. Not using my navigation system has meant I’ve unintentionally seen a lot more of the city I have lived in for almost five years and helped me improve my sense of direction. (Getting lost in Munich for 14 hours also helped me get better at navigation…)
While not acutely accurate, my own navigational ability has evolved from complete-ineptitude to almost satisfactory.
Challenge 2) Chatting Outside Your Bubble
Make conversation with someone you would never normally converse with.
The guy covered in tattoos. The scary boss. The homeless woman on the street. If random conversation is an ordeal you’re not willing to put yourself through, at a minimum, offer a smile. Avoid dropping your eyes when you’re walking through the mall or in the supermarket and actively engage; see how many people return your smile.
N.B: This does not mean you need to go around with a joker style, mouth splitting grin, just a polite upturn of the lips would suffice.
It’s genuinely harder than I expected. Most of the time we are all rushing around chasing our own agendas, it can be quite refreshing to actually connect with other people.
Challenge 3) Sober Raver
Go out sober and cut some shapes on the dance floor.
I don’t care how much you suck at moving to the beat, if you’re rhythmically retarded, that’s beside the point. If you can go to a packed bar brimming with intoxicated lads and lasses and break in to dance without hesitation, I applaud you.
The first time you try this it may feel like you have all the eyes in the bar locked on you, but most people can’t dance like the crew from Auckland in Justin Biebers Sorry music video.
Will yourself on to the dance floor, listen to the music and disregard that bubbling fear of uncertainty and embarrassment and try to groove for at least one song.
Having the confidence to not only dance sober, but to enjoy it is a genuinely uplifting feeling.
N.B. If heading to a bar or club is not your idea of fun, try attending three dance classes. Participating in three classes instead of one will help you diffuse feelings of anxiety and actually give you a chance to see some improvement.
Challenge 4) Popcorn for 1Go to the movies alone.
Remember challenge 1 and 2 here! No phone to use as a distraction and keep your eyes off the floor.
This is The Social Games, not the evasive games.
It’s pretty much the exact opposite of the Hunger Games, the more sociable you are the better. No one is going to come after you armed with an insatiable blood-lust and bow and arrow.
Can you complete all four challenges in a month?
PS. Social anxiety, a fear of being alone and self-consciousness are emotions and feelings a lot of us may suffer from.
While this post and its challenges are aimed at being fun, learning to disconnect from tech and reconnect with others and being comfortable alone are great qualities to help cultivate confidence and self-awareness.
Hope you found it interesting, let me know if you give it a go and what you found the hardest!