PolyTalk – What to expect

Four young adults on a couch, talking

If you’ve never been to one of our events before and would like to know what to expect, here’s a quick rundown of how PolyTalk usually goes.

Arrival

The organizers will arrive at the Rainbow Resource Centre at or just before 4pm to unlock the building and make tea and coffee (so don’t bother arriving before 4pm). Others will trickle in between 4 and 4:15.

When you arrive, you’ll be directed down to our meeting space, a large room in the basement, with couches and comfy chairs. This is a great time to mingle and chat, find a comfortable spot to sit, get a beverage, use the bathroom or just relax. We’ll make a pot of coffee, a pot of black tea and provide hot water for other drinks. You’re welcome to bring your own beverages or snacks as well.

At 4:15 the front door will be locked. Anyone who arrives late or needs to leave early can do so through the side door, which will be open. If you’re outside facing the front door, walk around the right side of the building, and you’ll find the side door close to the front corner. Arriving on time is best, so you don’t miss introductions or discussion, but you’re free to arrive or leave at any time.

Discussion

We’ll get started with brief explanation of how the discussion will proceed and any expectations around behaviour. Currently we’re trying out a talking stack, where anyone who has something to say raises their hand and will be acknowledged by a facilitator. People who have said very little may be placed in the stack above people who have spoken a lot already. This system may change depending on the needs of the group.

We’ll do a round of introductions, which include sharing names, preferred pronouns and some sort of fun or silly icebreaker question (eg “If you were a kitchen utensil what would you be?”)

After introductions are done, we’ll begin discussion with topics that were suggested before the meeting. If you have a topic you’d like to talk about, feel free to post on the forum, Facebook event or send one of the organizer a message. We’ll follow that with any topics that people wish to bring up, and if we run out of those, we have a collection of discussion topics in reserve.

We’ve discussed general poly theory, language, poly 101, bdsm, sexuality, personal issues and experiences, literature and more. We strive to make sure it’s a safe space to discuss any poly-related topics and many people have expressed that they’ve found the space to be safe and they feel comfortable sharing personal things. Each person can contribute as much or as little as they want, and no one will be put on the spot to participate in the discussion.

At 6pm we’ll wrap up the discussion and do a final check-in. We’ll go around the circle and each person will have an opportunity to say how they felt about the discussion. This can include feedback, suggestions, ideas, topics for next time, pretty much any thoughts you have.

Afterwards

After wrap up, we get the space cleaned up – put any furniture that was moved back where it belongs, unplug the space heater, wash coffee cups.

People usually stick around and mingle a bit while this is happening. This is a great opportunity to talk one-on-one with people.

Sometimes there will be an informal dinner outing where people can socialize or continue the discussion. This isn’t an official part of the event and doesn’t happen every time. Anyone is free to suggest a restaurant and invite people out afterwards.

Who attends?

PolyTalk usually attracts between 5 and 20 people. There are usually equal numbers of men and women as well as a few people of other genders. Ages range from 19 to 50s, with mid-twenties to mid-thirties being best represented. The discussions are very well attended by LGBTQ* folks. The majority of participants are white, though there are a handful of people of colour who regularly attend. A broad range of knowledge and experience is represented, from  people who are just curious about what poly is to people who have years of experience with polyamorous relationships.

Everyone is welcome.

If you have any questions about what to expect at our events, please don’t hesitate to ask! We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. If you’re uncertain about attending your first event alone you’re welcome to bring a friend or request an one-on-one intro to one of the organizers before hand.

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