This morning, my colleague Kate Michael posted a piece: What's Wrong With The DC Social Scene?! In it, she offers advice to those around her that can't engage in witty, engaging conversation at Washington's social events: be social.
It's easy to see where Kate is coming from. When you go to as many events as she does, it's easy to grow frustrated with the sameness of the conversation!
Is it a DC problem? After having gone to similar PR-packaged events in New York and Los Angeles, my answer is no. In New York and LA, the biggest difference is people are more attractive, but like DC, they are not exactly eager to make new friends. No matter the city, people go to these events with a mission: either you're trying to be photographed, snap the best photographs, keep all the guests as happy as possible, or raise as much money as you can for whatever is going on. Everyone has a job to do.
What makes the events more fun and exciting are the elements that the event planners throw in there: the VIPs, the wild lights and decor, the expertly pieced gourmet food bites, the delicate craft cocktails and even the general aura of exclusivity. Just like my job is to cover the party, their job is to dazzle me (and other guests at the party)...something that is difficult to do if you are like Kate and have been dazzled one too many times.
Is our collective lack of desire to make new friends at these events even a problem at all? One of the worst things a nightlife blogger can get into at a party is a deep conversation--no matter how stimulating it is--because he or she could be missing other parts of the event. I am there to work, and I am fortunate that I bump into friends and acquaintances while I am being, to use Kate's words, a "soiree shrew" circling the event over and over.
Perhaps the time to make these deep connections is after the party. Buy another cocktail once the open bar is kicked and the guests have left. Get brunch. Host a dinner party. My friends and I like getting carryout and hanging out in each other's living rooms. I met my boyfriend Luc at Smith Point when no charity was involved, and no cameras were around. That's how my best friendships are cultivated.
By the way, Kate is celebrating her birthday this weekend at Capitale. Be sure to RSVP on Facebook--and bring some good conversation.