If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably no stranger to the ‘Take a Seat – Make a Friend?’ Youtube video that went viral. The makers of the video conducted a social experiment which consisted of a coloured ball pit, a sign which read ‘Take a Seat – Make a Friend?’ and perfect strangers. What they caught on camera is truly inspiring. One watches as perfect strangers take a seat in the ball pit, read a random question aloud, and share a few minutes of real connection – complete with laughs, confessions, and heart-felt moments.
The Community Connector Team was so inspired by this video that we set out to create a similar social experiment on the streets of Vancouver. So on a very brisk December morning, we set up at Grandview Park on Commercial Drive and got ready for what would turn out to be a very memorable Friday. We came equipped with hot apple cider, a tent, two chairs, a sign and – here’s the best part – inflated balloons with secret questions and a sprinkling of glitter inside. The idea was to invite two strangers to sit under the tent, choose a balloon, pop the balloon, read the question aloud and share a moment of connection. And that’s exactly what happened!
Highlights of the afternoon included an elderly gentleman and a traveller from Montreal discussing which animal they would choose to be. The former chose to be a fire monkey, while the latter chose to be a phoenix – both were intrigued by the common element of fire. Other highlights included two perfect strangers discussing details of what their dream date would look like (no, they did not exchange numbers). And finally, there were two strangers that realized that although they shared the same name, they had very different answers when asked ‘what is your dream job?’
The success of this initial pop-up event has inspired the Community Connector Team to make this a monthly event. Though the locations and details might change, the premise will remain the same – how can we bring people together to share spontaneous moments of connection? If you see us in your community, we invite you to join us and ‘Take a Seat, Make a Friend?’