Meaningful Meetings Society
Meaningful Meetings society is a group of young (aged 18-30) people who would like to develop a more fulfilling social life together. We begin this process by exploring how to form deeper friendships, using the following words as a foundation. Please take a little time in reading this to understand the purpose of our society:
The aim of meaningful meetings is to form deepened friendships through a balance of listening to others and contributing out of ourselves.
If this two-sided process is done in the right way and out of the right feeling, then bridges can be built across the gulf that separates us in our individuality from other people. This is not something that can happen immediately. The relationships we have already developed demonstrate the time, care and commitment that is required to take any relationship beyond a purely superficial exchange. Whilst superficial exchange protects our vulnerability it does not allow us to form the deeper relationships most of us long for.
Therefore, in listening to the other, we can provide a space for that person to reveal more of who they truly are, if they want to do so. To listen in this way involves considerable effort and activity on the part of the listener so that all pre-conceptions, judgements and experiences of the contributor are put away whilst they are speaking. In addition complete focus and concentration on what the contributor is saying is necessary and the listener must at least attempt to overcome our natural tendency to “dream off” or start thinking about other things other than that which is in front of us.
It is quite likely that the contributor will feel vulnerable and exposed. To assist in overcoming this, there will be opportunity to get to know each other in other less direct ways so that an atmosphere of trust and mutual support can develop. Furthermore, no one is asked to contribute in this way until they feel ready to do so. As with everything, the contributor will get out of the process what they put into it. The more honest their contribution the easier it will be for others to relate to them.
It is virtually impossible to "arrange" this in advance. Even attempting to facilitate it is full of problems, so instead we simply want to create a space where the process above can unfold at a pace determined by the members of the group. We believe that our everyday social interactions do not as a rule allow such a space to develop which is why we wish to offer this. As we have indicated above, the process requires time and commitment. Ideally, we would meet every week in the same constellation of people so that the events of the previous week are still fresh in our minds and we can build more effectively towards the aim of a meaningful meeting. We fully expect and understand that this document itself will be a basis for discussion, perhaps in the early meetings.
Whilst it is well-known that people depend on their relationships for a healthy, happy life, for many of us, loneliness, even when we are surrounded by people, is a more likely outcome. We cannot offer to solve this problem, nor do we suggest how to contribute and listen beyond the comments above, but we do offer to join you in the process of finding out together how this may be done.
The group is open to all, we only ask that:
-You share our care for the words above and are open to exploring the process together.
-After a couple of introductory meetings, you commit, as best you can, to weekly meetings, ensuring the time that deeper friendships require, is given.
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