Curious Dinners

Sex. Fear. Social norms. Downside of joy or pleasure or happiness. Stereotypes. Supporting friends in tough times. Self-care. Judging others and ourselves. Lying. Confronting teammates. Divorce. “Right and wrong”. Relationships with our parents. Worthiness. Handling conflict. Death.

This is a bit of what we want to talk about.

Here, you have permission and practice space to have interesting, taboo, important, practical, and nerve-racking conversations. Cut the small talk… with and without us.

On break! There are currently no dinners scheduled.

Suggest a topic? Topics should be both taboo AND useful to discuss. A conversation could give you a new way to see the world, resources, ideas, or calm. While we discuss sensitive topics, CTST is not meant to be a group therapy session.

Previous dinners below! Click a topic to go to our learnings blog post.

First time? Here’s what to expect:

After filling out the form, you might be asked for 1-2 follow-ups. We take those forms seriously to put 15 interesting, interested strangers in a room!

We meet at 7pm in someone’s living room — we start with small group subtopic discussions of 3-8 people and food, as people arrive. We might facilitate, or you can do your best to be curious, ask permission, and discuss why you’re at dinner.

Around 730pm we introduce CTST and the dinner guidelines (below). For the rest of the night, we’ll alternate between facilitated full group and small group discussions!

People tend to use casual, blunt language as well as intellectual prose. People might share their views, ask candid questions, or reflect on an experience.

The conversation goes where you want it to — bring what you want to know about others, volunteer small group topics, or suggest something you’re contemplating or wanting to try. You are invited to speak, ask, or just listen.

Every dinner is different. The rules are the same:

0. We’re all here to be curious
These conversations work well because we come in acknowledging that the usual social norms of conversation and interaction don’t have to apply here.

1. The topic’s just a jumping off point
We’ve listed a topic. We have some suggestions as far as direction, but where we go next depends on you. Our goal is just to be constantly curious, constantly learning about human experience. Dare to ask what comes to mind. Share, if you’d like.

2. Bottomline
As you speak, ask yourself to get to the essence of what you’re saying — why do you want to share what you’re sharing? This deepens conversation very quickly. We all know that it’s possible to meet someone for an hour and feel that we’ve known them a lifetime.

2b. Be interrupted
I apologise in advance if I pause you to ask for a bottomline, as we’ll be watching the clock. Additionally, anyone can interrupt judgement or advice or technical/semantic discussion — and we will define what that means.

3. Notice discomfort
If you’re feeling uncomfortable or feeling an intense response, notice it. See where it’s coming from. If you’d like, share your awareness, and tell us your train of thought. There’s a lot to learn from discomfort.

4. Say disclaimers
If the goal is not simply to be offensive or hurtful, it is fine (even good) to say harsh things. However, disclaim it and ask for permission — mention your bias, stereotype, assumption, anger, annoyance, bluntness, desire to advise, etc first.

4b. Beware advice and consolations
Notice when you want to give advice and hold back: one of you will ask for advice. Otherwise, don’t give it. Re: consoling — telling an emotional person, “everyone goes through that so you’ll be fine,” has good intentions but belittles their pain.

5. Be our confidant
This space is open, safe, and confidential. We trust that you’ll use your judgement when sharing, just in case, and that you’ll hesitate before repeating/posting what has been said (without permission.)

We want to say what’s been left unsaid, let our story out, listen, challenge what is accepted, ask for help, and learn (from any and every topic.)

This space is safe and inclusive — to be both, we need your support by “applying” for each dinner. Thus, the invite form!

$10 if you take care of your own dinner… $20 if you want us to pick up one of our hand-picked, delicious,and healthy options.

There are no dinners scheduled!

Angela OgnevCurious Dinners