A few nights ago, our running group met for a pasta dinner. Having carbs or what is known as "carbo" loading before a race is a pretty typical thing for many runners. I find this a bit ironic for me, because, well, by standard definition, I probably carbo load a lot as I tend to eat noodles very frequently.
In general, the dinner went fine. We chatted, ate, then headed over for a brief dessert at the running shop. I've noticed I've become a little more at ease during these events with this group of people, reminding myself that people are not really observing every morsel I eat.
This event was another good observation of group dynamics. This running group is fairly new, so a lot of us are still getting to know one another. I'm still trying to figure out everyone's name and get an idea of their "story."
I may be weird, but I do like to see how my perceptions match up (or not) to who these people are. I have a tendency to try to snag and observe snippets here and there from things they say, to things they say to other people, to their facebook pages, to their actions, etc.
This was brought up to me when some of us headed to a happy hour at a nearby sportsbar. If you all remember, last time I was invited to this, I passed up on the offer. This time, I decided to go ahead and go even if I was only going to order an iced tea.
There were 8 of us there. Yes, I was the lone iced tea, but that was okay. I do admit I feel strangely odd when people drink even a beer or two and then drive home. I know or at least I hope people know their limits but still, I kind of get worried. :-/ not to be judgmental or anything.
Anyway, an interesting conversation came up about why some of them joined the running group. My perception of several of these people are that they are gregarious, social people, but in fact, some of them are not. One girl I typically run with said she is not social at all. She said she is the type that works and goes home, and she's been content with that. She made the comment that the group was a lot more than she expected and that she was enjoying the social aspect of it.
Another girl said she was totally fine with just wearing her ipod and running solo but decided to join the group anyway. Another guy who is hilarious joined after a few friends recommended that he did. He ran his first half marathon last year apparently in combat boots or so I heard.
What I found interesting about this whole thing was that I joined specifically for the social aspect of it and to meet new people which seemed vastly different from others. I mean why join a group then ya know? Perhaps, my view is skewed after years of solo training and isolation.
In the grand scheme of things, I guess this really should not be surprising. People join things for all different kinds of reasons. This is just another case of how perceptions affect our thoughts.