It's Good To Talk.

Life Back in February 2009, when Twitter was civil, everyone pretty much agreed on things and people actually didn't mind meeting each other in public, the first Twestival was organised at the Leaf Cafe on Parliament Street in Liverpool. I posted a full report back then and the key theme was that, with the exception of people who came as a group of work colleagues, it was an opportunity for a group of near total strangers to natter awkwardly with each other and perhaps make some friends.  What made all this easier was that we had a commonality, a social network, which meant we at least had an opening topic.

The Guardian reports that in Vienna and some other places, events are being organised in which the only commonality seems to be that they're all human beings. Coffeehouse Conversations, which sounds like a mid-noughties PBS podcast, offers the chance for a group of locals and some "outsiders" (holiday makers and the like) to meet and have intimate conversations for two hours in the hopes of fostering understanding between people from different backgrounds:
"Since March 2013 Quinn has hosted a monthly meetup at a coffeehouse in the city, pairing residents and outsiders for an evening of traditional food, drink and challenging one-on-one conversation. The premise is like speed dating, except participants spend the whole two hours with the same person, forcing them to push past small talk, and there’s no explicit matchmaking intent – though, Quinn says, it has resulted in three marriages."
What attracts me to this model is that the conversations are between two people. I'm impossibly bad in group situations, usually quiet and watching rather than participating. I much prefer one-to-one situations, especially when there isn't an motive other than to just talk. 

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