Steven’s column: Vibe management with friends

Good vibes take a bit of management, because enthusiasm is contagious, but so is lethargy.

The atmosphere and conviviality in a group – in other words, the vibe – can reach sky-high levels one minute and plummet the next. You produce that vibe together on the spot. Yes, produce. I sometimes tend to sum up everyday things in economic terms; my degree in economics has infected my brain, I’m guessing permanently.

There is something intangible about a vibe: why is one moment better than another? Accidents of history and your initial state of mind play a big role, of course. But don’t underestimate the effectiveness of vibe management (my Master’s is in Economics and Policy). Vibe management means that you think about the balance between different needs and how to maintain it, and – very important – about matching energy levels. Think about the timing and dosing of stimulants like alcohol, caffeine and sugar. This is especially important when a group is together for a longer period of time, such as on a holiday or weekend trip.

I am now in my 25th year, and my youthful energy and sometimes reckless enthusiasm have decreased by a few per cent. To make up for that, I am gaining a little more wisdom. The gap left by the drop in youthful impetuosity is getting filled with extra self-knowledge. And I’m making use of that in order not to end up with sub-optimal vibes.

Vibes spread faster than Covid in a student house

Enthusiasm and energy are contagious, but so is lethargy. Vibes spread faster than Covid in a student house. In Wageningen’s honour, I’m letting some amateur biology take over from my economist’s lens.  Think of good vibes as fragile good health that depends on a number of factors.

The symptoms of a bad vibe are boredom and lethargy. You can vaccinate yourself against this in advance by discussing a vibe plan. The basis for a healthy immune system is laid by a well-timed meal and rest as appropriate. The Covid deniers have a point (I warned you: amateur biology): 5G masts can ruin health – because: the good vibes. Telephone use should therefore be restricted. Burn those masts.

I recently went away for a weekend with three friends. After a long and active first part of the day, we made a vibe plan for the late afternoon and evening: first we were all going to rest and be acceptably anti-social. We would get together again at 21.30 sharp. From that time on, we blitzed ourselves with Jager bombs: a potent mix of alcohol, sugar and caffeine. This we combined with an active guessing and acting game. Awfully good vibes.

Steven is doing a Master’s degree in Economics and Policy and enjoys hitting the squash court. He is always up for a game of squash and a good conversation. You can email him hier.


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