Usually I am all for having dinner parties. Most of the time they are my very favorite way to meet/spend time with people. They are just long enough to have a really interesting conversation with someone, and just short enough to be able to end something really annoying. The food always provides some kind of conversation starter and usually something funny always happens.
Every month my church congregation offers what they innocuously call "friendship dinners." The idea behind the gathering is to help members of the group get to know each other on a social level, instead of the formality of church attendance. The main thrust is to provide the new people a chance to worm their way into the already established friendships in the congregation.
These dinners usually end up being pretty entertaining, mainly because there is hardly ever anyone new attending these events.
Saturday night the ear doctor and I attended one of these dinners.
These dinners are a little different than normal ones.
To start off, no one chooses who is at the dinner party with them. This makes for some awkward situations. Secondly, the LDS community has a really bad habit of showing up late to things, and not RSVPing. You never know how many people will show up to your dinner or when. Lastly, people don't really understand the concept of pot luck, so you end up having nine zillion salads with no dressing and three plates of overcooked chocolate chip cookies.
Saturday was an exception to the rule because my friend just decided to make all the food and ask people to chip in a couple of bucks on the way out. The ear doctor and I arrived to the dinner first (because it was being held at his house). We sat on the couch and waited for the entertainment to arrive.
As the room filled with awkward people making awkward small talk, the ear doctor and I sat back and observed the dynamics of the room.
The make up of the room was 10 guys, and 4 girls. 2 of the girls were with their boyfriends, leaving 2 that were single. One of the single girls was new to the congregation and was an instant magnet for the marriage-crazed guy who was attending. He monopolized her every moment and didn't leave her alone for a minute. I ended up talking to the other single girl the rest of the night because it was pretty clear that she wasn't interested in talking to anyone else really. The one outsider sat on the couch and made comments which killed any resemblance to a normal conversation. The other couple was quiet and kept to themselves. The host put on weird music. And at the end of the night we all left.
I don't know if any real "friendships" were formed by the friendship dinner, but it sure was entertaining to watch.