Wednesday, January 6, 2010

MH Mexico City - December House Blog - Newcomers

The feeling of being an outsider is almost never conductive to a
lasting or meaningful relationship with anyone. Imagine you attend a
party where everybody knows each other since high school, its going to
be extremely hard for you to integrate to such a close-knit group. If
there´s no binding experience from the start, something in common,
interaction might never occur. This is why we at Moishe House Mexico
City believe there are several key aspects that can allow outsiders to
relate to one another and feel right at home.

The first aspect we seek to foster at our events is diversity.
Diversity allows for more interesting conversations and restricts the
formation of closed clusters of people. By offering events that cater
to different interests we are able to appeal to very distinct
audiences. This also helps in keeping things interesting for us.

This is not to say we take the diversity matter as far as to
have a situation in which people are unable to relate with each other.
We always try to make events that appeal to a common interest of some
sort and thus promotes interaction between the participants. In order
to be more sensible about it, we are currently trying to get
participants more involved with event planning. This, we hope, will
give participants a greater sense of belonging.

When it boils down to breaking the ice, we at Moishe House
Mexico have an ample experience with it. Given our ample experience
with jewish youth groups we have a large stock of games designed to
get participants to get to know each other. Of course, even though we
are always sensible to newcomers, we know how "dorky" these activities
can seem. This is why these activities are our last resource to pull,
in case we sense somebody is being ostracized.

One could say that, in general, our approach too newcomers is
much more intimate and personal. Just asking newcomers
about themselves seems a fairly efficient technique to get a nice
conversation started, and one that provides the rest of the visitors
with a fair idea of our personalities as well . Whether we are dinning
at the table or smoking a shisha in the living room, just getting
people to open up is sufficient in Mexico, to get the ball rolling. We
have found that once somebody starts talking about his interests other
participants get involved and interested. After all, its more a matter
of getting the conversation started than leading the discussions.

For these reasons, we have found that we are, the
moishe-housenicks, a crucial part of getting people to interact and
feel comfortable. We always try to convey a sense of belonging to our
participants and often seek conversations with the shyest or quietest
integrants of our events. Approaching new-comers within a horizontal,
personal, and intimate framework of social interaction is the best
way to make them feel comfortable. After all, we are young and
restless, just as they are.


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