The Wallflower Game: An informal social experiment

Yesterday night some of my friends and I invented a game. It is very simple. You find a discrete corner or wall while at a social event and quietly stand there until someone talks to you or asks you what you are doing. It sounds kind of dumb but apparently there’s lots to be learned from being a wallflower.


(Credit to Damian Foxe, May 2011 wallpaper dresses – so neat!)

I must say watching others can be quite entertaining. That sounds so creepy, butI feel like some wildlife explorer such as Jane in Tarzan, except that I’m studying my own species, and the complicated behaviour of those creatures called humans. (It’s also a good way to test ninja skills to see how long one can remain unnoticed.) Who’s with who, what they are doing, what their mood and body language is, how they react to you staring at them (mind you, we knew our relationships with our adopted family would not be scarred or altered in any way by these encounters but rather looked upon with a grin or a hug); it’s amazing how much of your surroundings your brain can take in with just one sweeping gaze across the room.

In the spontaneity of a party, personality aspects usually locked away in an emotional safe are unleashed, leaving you wondering where that composed friend of yours went. Stepping away from the action into quiet observation can definitely give you new insights to people you’ve known for many years. It also gives you time to think. We decided that the definition of a wallflower is someone whose presence wouldn’t change the observed scene at all. What we see is what the place would be like without us. Kind of sad. But eventually your imagined invisibility disappears when someone calls or pulls you over and the game is done unless you decide to take up your unengaged alter ego again sometime later.

The thing is, I’m not sure whether my alter ego is the quiet, reserved me or the loud and crazy me. I guess that analogy with the hats is true that we have several versions of ourselves to be on different occasions. Still, I have a feeling I usually prefer to be a milder me. Of course I dance and belt out notes to our favourite songs, but not on household elevated places, and I laugh, but not in attention calling shrieks. I have good conversations, but am not so good at making random, nonsensical, remarks that make people squirt milk out of their nose or something. I let loose, I just don’t show it as much as others. It makes me wonder if I’m boring sometimes.

Anyhow, our record for the game was never longer than two minutes, which is comforting. So, our findings? It can be fun to stop, look, and listen in a busy scenario for a bit, and wonder why and how humans are such social beings. Then again, it’s just as fun to join in the shenanigans and put on the boisterous hat for awhile. Anyone can be a wallflower, and anyone can be the life of the party, and whoever you are will attract people of similar disposition. And of course there are those that will like you for you no matter what.

Well that was a longer post than planned. It’s more out there and personal than usual so I don’t know if I will write more of this random stuff. We’ll see.

Thanks for reading,
-thebookybunhead

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2 Comments

Filed under Just another person, Oh Life, The happenings

2 responses to “The Wallflower Game: An informal social experiment

  1. Sometimes I sit by myself during lunch just to see if somebody will come up to me. It’s definitely an entertaining experiment.

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