Last weekend I spent 4 1/2 days riding about 1,200 miles with about 80 motorcycle friends with Backroads motorcycle magazine.
I say 80 friends because at the end of each day everyone would congregate at the hotel, have a drink and swap stories and it always amazes me how easy it is to talk to anyone in this crowd. Stick out your hand in introduction and you’ll be chatting like long lost buddies within minutes.
As something of a social observer this was an excellent opportunity to watch a lot of different interactions in a very short space of time, and I started to see a pattern I had never seen before.
Certain people (who I won’t name to avoid embarrassment) have the amazing ability to liven up almost any conversation whenever they join a group. Within minutes the level of laughter and energy will move up a notch, and the effect lasts long after they have left too.
The characteristics of these social catalysts seem to be equal part a great sense of humor, broad knowledge of a wide variety of subjects, keen observation skills which they use to tease people with, and a certain amount of irreverence where they will happily delve into subjects that polite conversation might steer clear of.
Having noticed it, it was hard not to notice, even when they joined a conversation I was in.
Sadly I don’t count myself as one of these social unicorns. But maybe I can use these observations to help improve my future social interactions. Either that or I’m going to end up with a bloody nose.