People will forget what you say, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you make them feel.

Maya Angelou

Yesterday our services were enlisted to host an outdoor Afternoon Tea picnic for the staff of a primary school in Dublin’s inner city. At the end of the afternoon, a woman came over to me, and this is what she said:

Thank you for this. It was so lovely to sit around and have a natter and get to know one another. Usually after school I go home and start cleaning the house.”    Staff member at school picnic

I was truly delighted with this. For me, the whole point of the Tea Party events that we organise and host for people at SocialBee is to encourage that social connection, that lovely and simple but so often elusive human interaction.

The beauty of Afternoon Tea is in it’s many elements.

It’s a treat. When do we ever take the time to get out the fine bone china and make ourselves a cup of loose leaf tea? When do we ever take the care to cut the crusts off our sandwiches? When do we lay tablecloths down to make the table pretty? Or get out the record player to listen to some jazz? Or put flowers in a vase?

Every single detail from the cakes to the napkins, I swear the tea (white jasmine?) was unbelievable and my granny always said tea tastes better out of a China tea cup.. she was dead right!”    Claire at her hen party

It’s a gift.. of time. We’re so busy nowadays. Life has a way of speeding up and getting overloaded. We’re time poor. And so often, we prioritise the wrong things. Work, and chores, and social media and the internet make it to the top of our to-do lists, and consume so much of our time and absorb so much of our attention and energy. Friends become something we have to factor in and book in advance. And as for ourselves, we’re hardly ever anywhere near the top of our own priority list! In the midst of all this chaos, here’s what Afternoon Tea is:

“It was an oasis of loveliness, relaxation and conversation.”     Joan at her surprise 60th

It’s a way to celebrate life’s occasions. Life is a gift, and it is marked by special occasions that we want to share with those around us who we love and enjoy. Hen parties, baby showers, christenings, milestone birthdays, retirements, anniversaries, awards and achievements, career wins. The beauty of Afternoon Tea is that it is timeless, and ageless. It is loved and enjoyed by all, from the little miss to the beloved grandad. Everyone enjoys the novelty of food served on three tiers, the element of surprise as to what dainty delights will be on those tiers, being brave and experimental with teas.

“..everyone loved the afternoon tea, the food and service was faultless and the teas were delicious!”   Sinead at her sister’s party

It’s keeping alive the art of conversation. When I was a young girl growing up in a family of 12 in Youghal, County Cork, it was around the table at dinner every night that I learnt my manners and respect for others, as well as how to form opinions and learn the art of conversation. I feel very lucky to have had that. I feel like a bit of a dinosaur saying this, but technology is making us lazy in how we interact with one another. We group WhatsApp now as a way of catching up with our friends. Being able to engage easily and authentically in conversation with others is becoming an elusive skill, that we’ll have to start teaching in schools!

But the core focus of Afternoon Tea is conversation. I bet you thought it was the food. That’s important too of course, but everyone comments on the social interaction.

“Fantastic surprise for my hen party! Great way for everyone to mingle & get to know each other before the night out!”     Emma at her hen

We all have the same amount of time. What matters is what you do with it.

SocialBee x