When I was first invited to the #EndSmallTalk event I had no idea what it would be like, beyond wild guesses based on the name. As you can probably imagine the premise was simple: invite a group of strangers into The Space (which FYI is a beautiful venue and well worth a visit if you're ever in Abu Dhabi) and push them beyond the small talk.
We started by making a name tag which included the hashtag we thought represented ourself. It was surprisingly hard to think of one, and I ended up opting for #feel because I recently completed a Myer-Briggs personality test and scored virtually neutral on everything except feeling. On this I scored 83%, and those who know me personally will probably understand how accurate that is! We then had to choose a question from the question tree and approach strangers to discuss our answers. The prompts were varied but offered a rich base in which to engage in dialogue, and I found myself surprised by some of my own answers. We discussed happiness, tourism, morality, and I offered to die in exchange for teleportation for the rest of the world.
The diversity of the attendees was thrilling. As most of my Abu Dhabi experience is on a campus with 800 other students, it's always great to break out and meet new people. I talked about space with mothers and illness with architects, and comfort zones and fear with a range of other people. I left feeling both exhausted and exhilarated, but so glad to have delved deeper with expats and locals who I will likely never meet again.
If you ever get the chance to attend something like this, leap at it. You will not regret the chance to see a whole new side of strangers and of yourself.