• blog
  • blog
  • blog
  • blog

Switcharoo – Strangers for dinner

by frenne on March 12, 2010

About a year ago I moved back from Copenhagen to my hometown Stockholm, the city that never evolves. Same restaurants, clubs, surroundings and friends. Not in a bad way, I love both Stockholm and my friends.

But what I realized was that I almost never meet my friends’ friends.
And since my friends are good people, I take for granted that my friends have the same standards as I regarding their friends. So I had an idea.

I made plans with 5 of my friends to each invite 4 of their friends to a dinner party. But the friends they invited, did not go to dinner where they were supposed to but were apportioned the others dinner parties (If you think this is hard to understand, imagine what they thought when I tried to involve them)
The dinner was set to start at 18:00 and that they should be finished by 21:00 in order to meet up with everyone at my place for the final party.

It turned out to be a great success, so great that I have done it twice more afterwards. And each time with twice as many people. So the last Switcharoo I arranged with my friend Max turned out to a total of 13 dinner parties and 61 strangers all around Stockholm that ended up partying together till early morning.

This is such a weird thing to experience, since you dine with people you have never met yet has some untold relationship with. It all starts out as a blind-date but soon turns into a perfect mix of interesting new relations as well as old ones.

As I get all of the names that will be attending I try as hard as possible to make sure that no one knows each other before. And this was the end result from the previous Switcharoo.

As everyone finally lets go of their anxiety from the dinner party it is time to go the final party, and this is where the magic happens. Even though we are Swedes and famous for being shy and withdrawn, everyone seems so relaxed in engaging other people as if they knew them before and has great time together. It is of course fun hearing from ones original friends how their dinner turned out, but just as fun asking other people the very same question. Since they have been through the same thing.

I believe one of the keystones of this concept is the you leave your comfort zone in the protection of your friends friends. And when you feel relaxed with this you are more open-minded and comfortable engaging new people with a topic that is exclusive but relevant.


Free advice

by frenne on November 30, 2009

Every time I find an image that for whatever reason inspires me, I keep it.
And some time ago I re-found this one.

Free advice

The idea was just so fantastic and unselfish.
Two guys is for no obvious reason giving away free advice.

So I made plans with a friend and went to a shopping mall in order to try it here in Sweden. The circumstances were not so good. For starters being in Sweden, the land of the shy and reductive. And it was a rainy Saturday morning as well.

But, it turned out great!
It was quite slow in the beginning, people saw the sign, smiled and passed, but after a while people started asking us for our advice.
And the questions were far from what we expected. Besides the most common questions, why and which brand we are working for, we gave advice in how to recognize gold, selecting a horse to buy or how to give away more flyer’s and finding good men.

The most interesting part was the everyone that came up to us was wondering who we worked for, and why are we doing this.
I guess that people are not expecting something for free, and we didn’t either. Every time I do things like this, great things comes out of it. I learn, think and get inspired.

In retrospect the best part was watching the few milli-seconds people spent before getting the courage to ask for our advice. The hesitation and nervosity, the indecisiveness, which disappeared when the found out the we actually tried to give genuine good advice. The only thing I am not sure of whether we gave good advice or not.
But we gave it try.

Gratis Råd

EDIT: A friend in New York stumbled upon the very same idea. It is most likely not because of this post, but I like it anyhow.