Meetup : Comfort Zone Expansion outing - London

by philh2 min read23rd Aug 20138 comments


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Discussion article for the meetup : Comfort Zone Expansion outing - London

WHEN: 01 September 2013 11:00:00AM (+0100)

WHERE: Westfield Shopping Center, Shepherds Bush, London

LW London will be running a Comfort Zone Expansion (CoZE) outing on 1st September.

A lot of things seem scarier than, on reflection, they should do. CoZE is a technique to recalibrate our fears, especially related to social situations. The way to expand one's comfort zone is to do things that are just on the edge of it, so that's what we'll be doing. In an imitation of part of the CFAR workshops, we'll be heading to a mall to split up, do slightly scary things, and then meet back together to debrief and discuss.

Prior to the mall, we'll be meeting somewhere to discuss CoZE in more depth: what we're trying to do, why we're trying to do it, some things we're absolutely not trying to do, etc. Safety briefing.

We'll meet at 11am, but I haven't yet worked out exactly where that will be; if anyone has suggestions for a somewhat-private space near the mall we can go to, please let me know. (Basically we want to be able to discuss things that make us uncomfortable, and the fewer people nearby, the better. For people who've been coming to the social meetups, somewhere like the dungeons in the Old Star would probably be fine. If the weather's nice then Shepherds Bush Common might work, but I can't rely on that.) I'll work somewhere out this week and update before the day of the outing.

[Update: The weather for tomorrow looks good, so we'll meet somewhere on Shepherds Bush Common: map. If we're not easy to find, give me a call and I can be more specific.

In the event that the weather does fail, we'll meet in the Defector's Weld, which is right on the north-west corner of the common.]

After that, hopefully we'll be able to play some improv games as a warm-up. This depends on time and whether or not we're likely to annoy lots of people if we play.

In any case, we'll head to the mall no later than 1.30pm. (Probably sooner; I'm keeping times flexible because I don't really know how long the discussion will take.) Then we'll split up for the outing itself. We'll meet back up after an hour and a half, and head somewhere else to debrief: success stories, things that didn't work, anything that seems relevant.

Please bring a mobile phone so I can get in touch with everyone if necessary.

If you feel nervous, that's understandable. Remember you'll never have to do anything you don't want to; and feel free to contact me privately, by PM, text message or facebook.

RSVPs are appreciated, so that I have some idea of numbers; if you don't know whether or not you're coming, feel free to say that, optionally with a probability estimate; but if you want to come and haven't RSVPed, please come anyway.

My phone number is 07792009646.

Discussion article for the meetup : Comfort Zone Expansion outing - London


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I'm intrigued by this – comfort zone expansion strikes me as a very good idea, if done carefully; I'm thinking of things like Rejection Therapy, 'daygame' (making conversation/flirting with strangers in daytime settings, taking care not to become a harasser) and just generally being social.

In my forays with talking to strangers—an ongoing experiment!—I've found that Londoners are actually mostly very friendly, just with a veneer of coldness that needs breaking. I suspect this is true for people in most big cities, and is an adaptation to avoid the usual array of charity muggers, panhandlers and the like they encounter on an hourly basis.

What kind of activities are you planning?

What kind of activities are you planning?

This is up to the individual - what scares one person, someone else does habitually.

When I did this at the May CFAR workshop, things I did included singing in the toilets, complimenting someone's shoes, asking for a free croissant, and letting someone try to sell me some skincare stuff. I'm struggling to remember what other people did, but one person struck up conversations with strangers, and one of the instructors managed to get a massage circle going.

During the discussion beforehand, people will be able to come up with ideas of things they want to do.

Sounds excellent. WIsh I could make it, but I've got a family thing to attend to that day. Next time, for sure!


There are two Westfield shopping centres in London: Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.

Westfield London is the one to which philh is referring.

Westfield London on Google Maps

Tube map

Thanks for disambiguating! I had no idea the other one existed.

In case anyone is interested, but worried about the lack of RSVPs: those have all happened over facebook so far. Currently six people besides me have said they're going.

Good point; I forgot to LW-publicly announce my RSVP. Also, to anyone still worried about number: If six people RSVP, that means >20 will turn up.


(Prediction fail; ten people turned up over the course of the meetup.)