bookmate game

Priya Parker



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In my work, I strive to help people experience a sense of belonging. This probably has something to do with the fact that I have spent my own life trying to figure out where and to whom I belong. I come on my mother’s side from Indian cow worshippers in Varanasi, an ancient city known as the spiritual center of India, and on my father’s side from American cow slaughterers in South Dakota. To cut a very long story short, my parents met in Iowa, fell in love, married, had me in Zimbabwe, worked in fishing villages across Africa and Asia, fell out of love, divorced in Virginia, and went their separate ways. Both of them went on to remarry, finding spouses more of their own world and worldview. After the divorce, I moved every two weeks between my mother’s and father’s households—toggling back and forth between a vegetarian, liberal, incense-filled, Buddhist-Hindu-New Age universe and a meat-eating, conservative, twice-a-week-churchgoing, evangelical Christian realm. So it was perhaps inevitable that I ended up in the field of conflict resolution.
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I believe that everyone has the ability to gather well.
You don’t have to be an extrovert. In fact, some of the best gatherers I know suffer from social anxiety.
You don’t need to be a boss or a manager.
You don’t need a fancy house.
The art of gathering, fortunately, doesn’t rest on your charisma or the quality of your jokes. (I would be in trouble if it did.)
Gatherings crackle and flourish when real thought goes into them, when (often invisible) structure is baked into them, and when a host has the curiosity, willingness, and generosity of spirit to try.
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Meetup is an online platform for creating offline gatherings. People use Meetup to coordinate thousands of in-person meetings around the world for a range of purposes. Over the years, the company has helped millions of people gather. When its founders began to study what made for a successful group, a surprising observation came to light. It wasn’t always the big-tent groups, being everything to everyone, that most attracted people. It was often the groups that were narrower and more specific. “The more specific the Meetup, the more likelihood for success,” Scott Heiferman, its cofounder and CEO, told me.
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