Enough with the small talk already!
Parties can be a perfect litmus test on gauging comfort level for Koreans. I know how to play nicely with others and I could small talk you to death…
But why is that good?
Koreans, I have observed, seem comfortable in settings e.g. dinner where they can sit down and know what is expected of them vs. the aimless wandering and forced mingling so pervasive in American parties. It can be awkward getting to know complete strangers if you have not been cut from that super-extroverted cloth. Breaking the ice becomes chipping away at an iceberg with a toothpick when it feels like you’re the only one making the effort.
Rather, gathering for a common physical purpose, say hiking with its jovial mood, lots of chit-chat, and good eats, could be a better fit.
Hiking unifies participants with a goal and purpose: get to the bottom in one piece so we can have fantastic Korean food and dong dong ju (okay, maybe that’s my focus!)
Recently, I planned a surprise birthday party for the Boyfriend and found it was full of shared physical purpose: engaging in covert operations with friends to get the Boyfriend out of the house so we could prep, cook, and coordinate the Big Pounce took a village!
So we had our denouement––a party bursting with food, drink, and lovely people––but boy did we have our dramatic complications beforehand!
Let’s face it, parties, be they surprises or common knowledge, can sometimes come off like a test to see how anti-social you can be. And if that’s the case, better just to party with puppies!