Ashley and I talk about embracing your inner cringe, ways to calm down your nervous system, structures for great social interactions, how to ask good questions, and a philosophy for having fun.
Ashley is the founder of Skip The Small Talk, a research-informed curated social experience with regular events across 8 major cities in the U.S. helping thousands of people connect over deep conversations.
1:00 Vagus Nerve https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vagus_nerve
3:00 Taking work off your hands and weighted blankets
5:00 SNS: Sympathetic Nervous System ("fight or flight") PNS: Parasympathetic Nervous System ("rest and digest")
5:20 Societal structures for making sure you get enough exercise, vegetables, and mindfulness. Communities that meet once a week to cleverly bundle social interaction with getting your basic needs met.
9:50 Systems we can put into place to reduce isolation
10:30 Commentary about cults and cringe. Expanding Skip The Small Talk to more cities, and how to increase accessibility.
12:07 How do we embrace our inner cringe? Earnestness and reducing your self-consciousness.
14:17 Winning at Arguments by Enlarging your PNS https://malcolmocean.com/2013/02/astrology-againstness-video/
14:55 When do communities cross the line from supportive to oppressive? Exclusion and accessibility. Having options for different needs, and traditional communities evolving to make more room for individuality.
20:30 How to use exclusion to curate experiences? Working with people you disagree with, evaluating on a case by case basis vs. sticking to your values.
27:13 Cold showers and wireheading
27:33 tVNS: Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation device https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vagus_nerve_stimulation https://zenofsleep.com/products/copy-of-ces-max-ces-device-for-insomnia-anxiety-alpha-wave-stim-therapy https://www.parasym.co/
30:17 What was Ashley's most embarrassing failure?
34:03 Prompt cards, 36 questions to fall in love http://36questionsinlove.com/ https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/09/style/no-37-big-wedding-or-small.html
35:04 What do people consider to be a personal question?
40:22 How does Bill ask good questions? Information gain ratio and 20 questions https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty_questions
43:22 Twisting boring questions in fun way. Good answers do a favour to your conversation partner vs. not wanting to "take up space" in the conversation.
46:08 Are you satisfied with your friendships?
47:54 What is fun? Recess for adults.
Boston Globe article about how Skip The Small Talk started https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/06/29/lifestyle/feeling-weird-about-socializing-skip-small-talk-wants-help/
Research study on Skip The Small Talk https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8462490/
Check out Skip The Small Talk at: https://www.skipthesmalltalk.com
Follow Bill Mei via email: https://billmei.net/email
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