How to Embody Fun.
Secrets of fun from facilitating 100s of parties and events as The International Party Scientist. Read this guide to cultivate your inner fun self, to learn tools to bring people joy, and to raise your F.Q,., which stands for the Fun Quotient.
I’m not fun.
I’m not extroverted.
I’m not energetic.
That’s just not me.
There was a time in my life when people did not want to be around me. There was a time when I left people feeling more disempowered and stressed than I found them. There was a time when I did not know how to dance.
Since that time, I have started journaling. After every social encounter, after every gathering, after every party I host. I reflect on my human connections as a habit. This article contains insights from 1434 days of journaling about facilitating and igniting meaningful human connection.
The culmination of all my lessons is my framework: F.Q. which stands for the Fun Quotient. I offer a free video tutorial about it here.
Before we dive into actionable steps to raise your F.Q., let’s explore why it matters to be more fun.
- Positive emotions reduce stress, promote bonding, and increase creativity. Fun is one of the most enjoyable ways to induce positive emotions.
- People care about and remember how you make them feel. Our memories’ strength is determined by the intensity of emotion experienced.
- Fun and play are healthy human behaviors that can treat depression and loneliness — two silent killers in modern society.
- No one else is prioritizing their F.Q. as much as I.Q. and E.Q. Cultivating your F.Q. makes you a trendsetter.
I hope this motivates you to read this guide in full. Before diving in, I recommend for your own sake to comment on this article: Why are you motivated to be more fun? This will actually help you in your quest if you put it into writing. Commit to it. Make it public.
Being fun is about embodying fun. It’s not a strategic thing. It’s not contrived. It’s really there. Embodying fun is about having fun regardless of what’s going on around you. It’s about decoupling your fun from the physical and social environment. It’s about having fun within you.
Most parties suck. So you know what I do? By embodying fun, I level up the entire party. I am the first one to dance. I get people to form circles and play games. I start cheers. I have so much fun within me, that no crappy party can stop me.
How do we embody fun?
Embodying fun is an inner game. It’s about calming the mind and nervous system. In my F.Q. Framework, I call this intrapersonal safety.
People notice when you are stressed. And let me tell you from experience, you’re going to be incapable of having fun if you’re anxious or triggered. Fun exists in a relaxed state of mind.
How do we access this state of mind?
- Prosocial State Activation.
There are three mindset shifts I have devised for generating intrapersonal safety — when you feel safe with yourself to take interpersonal risks.
Seek the thrill: We seek the thrill by celebrating the times when we try new things, regardless of whether they work out or not. It’s possible to actually program a reward in our brains after we make an attempt at being fun. And so, seeking the thrill is about discovering the emotional rewards of being fun when no one else is.
The goal with this first step is to become emotionally motivated to take interpersonal risks. This is the method to do this.
Overcome social conditioning: Realize that the social and developmental rewards of being fun often far exceed the risks. People will forget about your fuck-ups, and the people who don’t forget are not the people you want in your life. Trust me. It’s happened to me.
There are two big shifts here: 1. To be fun, you need a peer group that supports your growth — people who don’t constantly remind you about your failures but empower you to move forward. 2. To be fun, you must have the courage to be disliked. This courage can be trained by paying more mental attention to your virtues and progress, instead of your faults or setbacks.
To be at peace with being disliked, monitor your mind for automatic self-referencing judgement and disempowerment. Switch the inner dialogue.
Remember, to be disliked by the right people is a great thing. Unhappy, social conformists often don’t like me. This means that I am being authentic. If you want to make 95% of the people who encounter you feel empowered and energized, accept that there will be 5% that feel triggered.
And you bet, the mind will make that 5% feel like it’s 95%. This is why we shouldn’t take what the mind says at face value.
Relinquish perfectionism: Being messy is my life philosophy. Being messy is about adopting a growth mindset. When we are exercising our F.Q., we must accept that we’re going to make mistakes — we’re doing something that very few people have the courage to do! When we make mistakes in our practicing of F.Q., when people find us to be too much, when someone thinks we intruded, or when someone just thinks we’re crazy for being so expressive — we must look at these events as evidence for our progress. And we must have a peer group that celebrates our progress.
The easy life is to wait for fun to happen. The fulfilling life is to make it happen by our own volition.
To relinquish perfectionism, I recommend my students upgrade their peer network and practice cognitive re-appraisal.
There you have it. Three mindset shifts for cultivating intrapersonal safety. This is the precondition for being fun. It is the inner game. But once we have it, what should we actually do to be more fun? To be contagiously fun?
Good thing this guy right here has fucked up in way more social situations than anyone you know 😆
The How Of Being Fun
For this section, I want us to focus on one-on-one social interactions, not group dynamics. In my F.Q. program, I go into group dynamics as the final step for spreading fun — it’s called ‘Activating Prosocial Energy.’ As I will explore for one-on-one dynamics, there’s a massive toolkit we can use for group dynamics as well. One thing to remember…
True experts don’t rely on expertise;
they rely on the effectiveness of their tools.
But before we explore the tools, we need to consider what happens before any social interactions begin! Remember what I said above? The second part of embodying fun is about prosocial state activation. This means taking our nervous system from stressed to relaxed/joyful.
When we are in a prosocial state, all our social encounters become easier. We are more likely to enter the social flow state where we are effortlessly the life of the party.
The key shift here is to pause before social activities and to ask yourself: Is my nervous system fit for this right now? If yes, proceed and spread your good energy with everyone! If no, then get into a prosocial state or rest!
My preferred tools for accessing a prosocial state include: Sleep, love and kindness meditation, movement and heart rate elevation, and listening to joy-inducing music. A caveat for all of this is that your prosocial state will crumble quickly if you are malnourished, sleep-deprived, or chronically stressed.
Your general health matters. It impacts your ability to be fun and spread it. I recommend all my students practice meditation, avoid sugar and grains, and move every hour to maintain the capacity for high-fidelity socialization.
You’ve upgraded your mindset, you’ve activated your prosocial state. Now it’s time to practice being fun with others! Over the years, I have collected many habits for human connection — these habits nourish me and take me to a deeper prosocial state. These habits are not secrets. The secret is in how you establish the habit, especially the trigger. Try them out!
When your human connections amuse and nourish you, you enter a positive feedback loop of prosocial state activation.
Essential Human Connection Habits
Before we explore advanced F.Q. habits, let’s talk about accessing deeper emotional contact with the person in front of us. Fun people are really good at amplifying joy and making people feel seen and heard.
I speak expressively.
When I say things, I express feelings through my full body. I let my body get excited, serious, or sad. People notice and feel my emotion. This is called embodiment, the first thing you can do to get here is to practice noticing how your body feels. Fun people wave their hands, change their tonality, and vary their facial expression a lot. It makes people feel safe to do the same.
I am the first one to be curious.
When I am socializing one-to-one, I ask personal and creative questions. I’m the type of person who walks up to strangers and asks them about their dreams…
I am the first one to express excitement.
When someone shares something personal that is positive, I express excitement and intrigue. Having a low threshold for excitement sparks it in others. It’s contagious. People also love it when you get excited about what they say.
I laugh at my own fallibility.
When someone is closed off or self-conscious, I share idiotic personal stories and practice self-deprecation. I am not afraid to talk about my faults and fuck-ups. The ability to laugh at oneself is a symptom of a lot of self-work.
I share personal stories.
When one of my funny life experiences pops into my head during a conversation, I relate back to the speaker by sharing the story. Having an array of stories you love to tell can help you relate more deeply with others and entertain them. A big theme for me right now in my fun mastery is practicing more storytelling in my conversations.
I encourage others to share personal stories.
When I am socializing one-to-one, I ask questions that encourage storytelling. Example: What was a peak experience you had recently? Bonus if the question evokes positive stories. My mantra for this habit is “Find what people love to talk about.”
I reflect joy back.
When someone expresses joy or excitement, I pay close attention to it, empathize with it, and reflect it back with my body language. This is called emotional amplification. It is like a ping pong ball is rebounding in between the humans. When you feel the emotion with the other, the ping pong ball gains more speed. The best way to feel another’s emotion is to pay closer attention to their eyes, tone, and face.
I practice active constructive responding.
When someone shares something positive with me, I ask them to describe the situation in detail. I am curious about positive stories and situations in people’s lives. Example: ‘You got the job?! What did they say on the phone call?’ Details and imagery are interesting to me!
I celebrate the expression of others.
When someone expresses emotion, I tune in, I look them in the eyes, and I may offer a supportive touch on the shoulder. This creates an emotional highway between me and them.
We’ve established essential human connection habits. We pay closer attention to the people we encounter, and we validate their emotions. The next stage of F.Q. is playfulness. To be playful, we must first master the basics.
I am the first to dance, sing, or laugh.
When music is playing, I wiggle and shake my body. I don’t try to look good like real dancers — their purpose is different. My purpose in moving my body is to make myself and others smile. There’s a difference between dancing to look good, versus dancing to be fun. There’s nothing rehearsed when you’re dancing to be fun. Move your body. Wildly.
I impersonate and improvise.
I look for opportunities to play pretend. Playing pretend is about embodying an imaginary character and inviting people to interact with your imaginary character. It’s the next level up from speaking expressively.
Example: Often, I pretend to be a legitimate party scientist. I will ask people a questionnaire, judge their dance moves, check their pulse, make them stick out their tongue. And then I give them an intervention that will increase their joy. It’s hilarious.
To learn to improvise, practice is essential. We must practice imagination. When our mood is positive, we become much more imaginative.
I invite people to play pretend.
I ask questions that place people in an imaginary world and persona. A great example: When I am on the dancefloor, I love to ask people when they are performing their Jazzercise class. Be aware that some people will be blatantly confused by your invitation to play — most people do not often receive such an invitation. There have been times where people just thought I was insane.
Here are some other examples.
We met at the _____, right?
Can I get your autograph? You’re the famous _____, right?
When is the last time you were in space?
So when are you teaching us to ____?
I dress vibrantly.
Warning: This one is underrated! When I attend a social event, I dress colorfully and invitingly. Your appearance can literally give permission for others to be less self-conscious and serious! Whenever I network, this is why I wear a purple blazer. I have since started to wear a labcoat with the title The Party Scientist on the back.
I ask fun, quirky questions.
When someone is tense or formal, I ask fun questions. These invite people to express themselves and get personal. The best ones inspire the recipient to tell a positive personal story.
What is the weirdest thing about you?
If you could have a Ph.D. in anything, what would it be?
When is the last time you really let loose?
When is the last time you did something rebellious?
What is a childhood memory that makes you laugh?
I give positive reinforcement to risk-takers.
When someone takes an interpersonal risk (that is, they initiate fun or do something vulnerable), I positively reinforce their expression. I leverage applauding, high-fiving, touching, thanking, or verbal encouragement. Or I just straight-up join them in their fun. Be the first follower.
I give non-attributive compliments.
Even if someone is not taking a risk or breaking a norm, I find ways to compliment their appearance or vibe. It’s a great conversation starter, and it makes both the giver and receiver feel closer.
I use I statements instead of you statements. And I find something specific I like about them. I don’t just mention an attribute: “You’re smart.” I mention a specific action they’ve taken, what it says about their character, and how it has impacted me.
Action — Oh my gosh, I love that you’re telling a story. And you tell them so authentically.
Impact — It makes me feel like I can be myself around you.
Character — You must do a lot of work on your communication to be so authentic, is that right?
I respond with Yes…And!
When someone makes a suggestion or tells a story, I do not disagree or find faults in it. I build off of it with excitement. Being disagreeable and starting sentences with ‘I disagree,’ is a fun killer. If you’re always resisting what others are putting forward, people are not going to express themselves around you. Instead, be a yes-and-er.
I explicitly call people in.
When I see a wallflower, screen-gazer or lone wolf, I send them an explicit invitation to join the fun. I either call or gesture them over. And then I introduce myself and ask them to introduce themselves. So many of the great moments of my life have been the result of inviting new people into my group. But not just inviting them in, inviting their expression in!
It’s one thing to invite people to join a group or activity, it’s another to invite them to speak or contribute.
PS: Have any to add here? Please comment below with your additions!
How to make a habit of being fun
It’s one thing to know how to be fun and to memorize the theoreticals. It’s something different to ingrain these habits into your style of relating. To do this, I use triggers (one element of the habit loop). When a trigger appears, I know it’s time to use one of my fun habits. An example trigger is if someone is tense, anxious, and closed-off.
When I notice this, it triggers me to ask a lighthearted question or share a personal funny story. This often makes people feel safe to be more goofy and authentic around me.
Triggers come in many forms: When (event)…If (condition)…After (event)…During (activity)… When we are reminded to relate differently and apply our fun habits, the neurocircuits become more and more strengthened. Change in behavior is reflected in a change in the strength of neurocircuits. So if we really want to become fun, as a way of being, then we need the habits.
If you don’t develop the habits, you won’t change your behavior or mindset in the long-run.
Remember. Raising your F.Q. is a practice. It’s a journey. Sometimes, you won’t be fun. People won’t like you. This is inevitable on the journey of choosing to break through social norms and spread the fun.
In 2017, I led my first public bike rave.
In 2018, someone hired me for the first time.
In 2019, LUSH Cosmetics flew me into their event.
In 2020, I facilitated fun from the main stage of an international festival.
And in 2021, I built the F.Q. Framework to capture all my feats and fuck-ups as The Party Scientist who has led fun experiences thousands of times.
It took me a long time to attain a high F.Q.
It’s going to take you a long time too.
But I am here to help. I have created a 30-minute video tutorial for facilitators and party hosts to raise their F.Q. It’s free.
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