The Art of the Hangout: How to learn by hanging out with people

Creatives of all types seem to naturally be good at the hangout or what some of us call “the hang”. This is where a two or more creatives sit and chat with some fine experience they are sharing together. It could be some amazing ribs, or fine wine or some other creation that the senses are enhanced in a communal way. The conversation, debates and thinking out loud flow from these moments which can turn into hours but feel timeless.

On my porch I have had so many wonderful “hangs” with friends over the fire pit. My thinking has been stretched and my soul fed by the invigorating friendships formed. Even though these times are seemingly leisure more than work, some of my best work has come from the result of these “hangs” I have had with people.

The key to a good hangout is to realize that the agenda is people, and not anything else. The easiest way to kill a “hang” is to mention your sales pitch or desire to get something from others there. The reality is we all have an angle, but when that angle is about hearing someone’s story and bouncing your wrestling thoughts with others about the time together can be sacramental.

All people need to reflect and sometimes that reflection is better in a safe community than what solitude can afford.

This life-giving, organically-driven gathering can be for more than just the creatives. My family dinner table–when that rare occurrence is happening–is one place I hope to keep trying to live out this idea of the hangout. If I merely ask my kids about their grades, then my angle is killing the moment. If on the other hand I ask about their story and passions, perhaps we all can be safe in sharing the important part of what is going on in our souls together. Imagine how God can speak in times like these? He does, too.

The drawbacks for some is thinking that perhaps you have no purpose or direction in these hangouts and are not getting anything done. Work, after all, is productivity is it not? I would say that work is also about chewing the cud, so you can make the milk. It is about aging the wine, timing the harvest and enjoying the celebration of the milestones from your efforts.

To till a field to death is to create a dust storm in your life and deplete the chance for your best work. Sabbath, one of God’s seriously offered commands was stated as being for man’s benefit. Even God, who needs no rest, took a day off from creation to sit back and enjoy and reflect on it. Could we be missing out by not hanging out?

Here some tips to a good hangout:

  • Choose a safe place and find a natural time people are available, be available and invite. My front porch with the fire pit is one of my hangout spots.
  • Have a shared sensory item that allows everyone to celebrate like a fine food item or favorite beverage. As an example, I like cigars with some folks and espresso with others as a centerpiece.
  • Be sure to moderate so the angle stays about people and their stories and passions and not their multi-level marketing pitch. I am sure to keep boundaries, but sometimes rules should be broken.
  • Simply enjoy the time and the people and how God made them. There is so much to learn from people no matter where they are at and what they believe.

Are you a hangout person? Share your ideas and experiences and let’s hangout here on this blog a bit.

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

20 comments

  1. Looking forward to hanging out with YOU in a couple weeks!

    1. Michael, look forward to practicing the art of the hang with you, too! 😉

  2. Looking forward to hanging out with YOU in a couple weeks!

    1. Michael, look forward to practicing the art of the hang with you, too! 😉

  3. Looking forward to hanging out with YOU in a couple weeks!

    1. Michael, look forward to practicing the art of the hang with you, too! 😉

  4. Looking forward to hanging out with YOU in a couple weeks!

    1. Michael, look forward to practicing the art of the hang with you, too! 😉

  5. Looking forward to hanging out with YOU in a couple weeks!

    1. Michael, look forward to practicing the art of the hang with you, too! 😉

  6. This is something I need to practice – a lot!

  7. This is something I need to practice – a lot!

  8. This is something I need to practice – a lot!

  9. This is something I need to practice – a lot!

  10. This is something I need to practice – a lot!

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