Available now - The book based on the site:

The Social Skills Guidebook

Learn More
View on Amazon

Regular Logical Mode vs. Light Fun Mode In Social Interactions

Some people veer towards the intellectual, analytical side of things. They're fine if they're having a fairly ordered, calm conversation about a particular idea or body of knowledge, but they feel out of the loop and irritated when they're around a bunch of energized people who are acting silly and joking around. They wonder why everyone is being so boisterous, immature, and flighty.

Through observation, I've come up with a rough concept of there being two modes people can be in when it comes to social interactions: Regular Logical Mode and Light Fun Mode. I could probably have sat down and created better names, but these are the spontaneous labels I came up with as I was working through the concept. I find that when people are aware of this distinction it can help them loosen up a lot and do better when they're in situations more geared towards 'Light Fun Mode'.

Like with anything that breaks complex human behavior into stages, types, or categories, the 'Social Modes' concept isn't meant to be taken too literally. It's an exaggerated dichotomy to explain an idea. In real life it's all more nuanced and blended together. People may be in a mix of both modes at the same time, or switch back and forth between them quickly. And I'm hardly being rigid in saying, "This is a feature of one, this is a feature of the other". The table below is more a brainstorm than anything.

One mode isn't better or worse than the other, they're just appropriate to different circumstances. I just want to make the point that if you're more cerebral and serious, you may handle some social situations better if you can appreciate the Light Fun Mode we can enter into.

Here are some characteristics of each:

Focus

'Regular Logical Mode': Exchanging information, mental stimulation, discussing a topic, learning about someone or something

’Light Fun Mode': Having fun, having a good time, feeling good, having enjoyable experiences

Mood/Mindset

'Regular Logical Mode': Fairly unemotional and detached, logical, engaged, focused, wanting to talk about a certain topic

’Light Fun Mode': Happy, expansive, amused, giddy, looking for fun and amusement, joking around, sociable, flighty, scattered, distractible, open to new things

Success

'Regular Logical Mode': Learning something new, connecting with someone, getting to know someone better, being, mentally stimulated and challenged, having an interesting conversation

’Light Fun Mode': Having fun, feeling good, laughing, coming out feeling closer to your friends, coming away with good memories, stories, and anecdotes, getting in adventures, ending up in a situation that is way more fun than you could have hoped for

Common occurrences

'Regular Logical Mode': Day-to-day life, work, one-on-one discussions, among people who want to learn about each other, during a quiet evening at home, formal events, during the day, low key meals, specifically having a logical or in-depth discussion

’Light Fun Mode': parties, lively group meals, live entertainment events, bars and clubs, among people who joke around a lot, in the later hours, when alcohol is involved, when people are specifically setting out to have a good time

Situations where it may be inappropriate

'Regular Logical Mode': Times when everyone else wants to let loose and have fun, parties, light, joking conversations, when people aren't in the mood for anything too "heavy"

’Light Fun Mode': Times when everyone else wants to be more low key and cerebral, formal, serious events, places where you're expected to be quiet and behave, near people you're expected to contain yourself around

Mild version

'Regular Logical Mode': People talking about how their weekends went or some topic in the news

’Light Fun Mode': People who joke around and keep it light and breezy rather than really talk about anything in too much depth

Middle-of-the-road version

'Regular Logical Mode': Three friends sharing their thoughts on a political issue

’Light Fun Mode': Three friends half-watching a comedy on TV while joking around and teasing each other

Extreme version

'Regular Logical Mode': Two people having an hours long discussion about existential themes in the Western Canon

’Light Fun Mode': A big group of friends acting loud and crazy at a club

Surroundings/Atmosphere

'Regular Logical Mode': Fairly quiet and controlled (e.g., living room, coffee shop, small restaurant), conducive to conversation

’Light Fun Mode': Can be low key as well, but more likely to be loud, chaotic, stimulating, and full of distractions (e.g., blasting music, crowds, lights, noise, etc.), tends to hinder continuous conversation

Participants

'Regular Logical Mode': Friends who know each other, people getting to know each other, people put together by circumstance (e.g., work), family

’Light Fun Mode': Friends who like going out together, friends who like joking around, acquaintances who have fun together, but may not know each other in a lot of depth, new people the group has met, friends of friends who have been invited along. It's more about the event you're at so anyone can show up and potentially join the group and take part in the fun

Planning/Organization

'Regular Logical Mode': Planned out ahead of time, plan is followed once everything is under way

’Light Fun Mode': Goes with the flow, spontaneous, original plans are a jumping off point rather than guidelines that must be rigidly followed, it's common to end up somewhere other than where you originally intended

Conversations in general

'Regular Logical Mode': In-depth, intellectual, curious, stays on one topic, focused on a topic, logical, exploratory, source of information

’Light Fun Mode': More clipped, jumps around, simpler, more random jokes. This is partially due to the people's mindset, but also because the circumstances may make more complex conversations inconvenient (e.g., at a noisy bar)

Topics of conversation

'Regular Logical Mode': Learning more about each other, things, ideas, concepts, interests, exchanging information and opinions

’Light Fun Mode': Jokes, random tidbits, amusing anecdotes, light observations about the immediate situation or activity, nonsensical funny behaviors (e.g., yelling or cheering for no reason)

Conversation partner(s)

'Regular Logical Mode': One person or group that you stay with in order to have a longish conversation

’Light Fun Mode': More likely to bounce around between people and have shorter conversations with each of them

Conversational guidelines

'Regular Logical Mode': People stay on one topic, wait their turn to talk, allow other people to finish their point

’Light Fun Mode': People are more excitable and everyone wants to talk at once, more interruptions, easily gets derailed by random jokes or new tangents. This is all fine and to be expected

Amount of conversation

'Regular Logical Mode': Pretty much makes up the bulk of the interaction, or people purposely don't talk so everyone can reflect on an idea, or soak something up

’Light Fun Mode': Varies. At times everyone will be gabbing away. In some environments conducive to this mode there may be periods of silence as people dance, play a game together, or listen to a band. In these same venues talking may be difficult and inconvenient, so people may communicate through gestures, expressions, cheers and yells, and actions instead (e.g., grabbing someone and doing a funny dance with them)

Getting along with other people

'Regular Logical Mode': Based on whether you have rapport, common interests, and can have a good discussion about something

’Light Fun Mode': Based on how much you can have fun with each other at that moment

Main activities

'Regular Logical Mode': Talking with someone about something, doing a single, fairly low key activity together

’Light Fun Mode': Mingling, playing a game, joking around, taking in some light entertainment, going out, doing a little bit of several things at once. May involve having some drinks as this helps push people further into this mode.

Behavior

'Regular Logical Mode': Restrained and behaved. No funny business.

’Light Fun Mode': Much more silly, stupid, and impulsive. Lots of shenanigans. Whether something will be amusing at that moment trumps whether it is a rational overall decision

Personality revealed

'Regular Logical Mode': You are showing your 'normal', regular self

’Light Fun Mode': People don't always 'act like themselves'. They have excuses for acting differently or playing a character (e.g., alcohol, caught up in the moment)

Confidence level

'Regular Logical Mode': Pretty typical and stable

’Light Fun Mode': As a general rule, is boosted by the situation; being out with the gang, feeling on fire because you've been cracking your friends up all night, feeling happy because you're at your favorite restaurant, feeling more sure of yourself because you might have had a few drinks. If your night isn't going your way, your confidence can be knocked though (e.g., someone didn't want to talk to you at a small party, two friends got into an argument and created bad vibes)

Potential Downsides

'Regular Logical Mode': Tone can be overly serious, stuffy, polite, restrained, boring, rote, or predictable

’Light Fun Mode': Everyone can act too unpredictable, obnoxious, immature, embarrassing, or out of character. Bad sides of people's personalities can come out, bad events are more likely to occur in certain situations (e.g., fights, accidents, stupid stunts, emotional blow ups)

Reaction to people in the other mode

'Regular Logical Mode': See other people as hyper, flighty, loud, immature, fickle, unfocused, annoying, obnoxious

’Light Fun Mode': See other people as boring, uptight, too focused on talking about 'logical' stuff, needing to loosen up, anal retentive

Possible benefits for shyer, more cerebral people

'Regular Logical Mode': Are in their element. Can talk one-on-one, or in a small group, about a subject that interests them in depth

’Light Fun Mode': People are being less serious, so they feel encouraged to let loose themselves and not try to seem like they have it all together. If they're drinking a bit it may help them loosen up. They may do better when they are playing a character

Possible pitfalls for shyer, more cerebral people

'Regular Logical Mode': Can get too focused on discussing an abstract topic and ignore the people they're with, can focus more on getting their point out or sounding smart and sophisticated and ignore the human element, can be overly logical, may feel on the spot to speak

’Light Fun Mode' May be too inhibited to function in this mindset, may get annoyed at the way everyone is acting, not able to participate in shared lighter activities (e.g., joking around, party games, dancing), may get over-stimulated or irritated at their surroundings (e.g., crowd, noise, heat, etc.), may get a knock to their self-esteem and feel like they don't fit in

So there you have it. Again, this breakdown is somewhat exaggerated. It's not an extreme either-or kind of thing.

Where more intellectual, serious types can go wrong:

Here are some problems more reserved, logical types may have:

Although this isn't this article's perspective, I want to say I think people can go wrong leaning to much towards the Light Fun side of things as well. If you're totally incapable of sitting through a calm, intelligent discussion, or are constantly embarrassing yourself and others by acting up in inappropriate situations, then that's just as unbalanced as never being able to let loose, and may cause just as many social problems.

What you can do

As I said, once you start to recognize the distinction between the two broad ways of acting, you may start to feel less irritated and out of place when people are in 'Light Fun Mode'. Here's what you can do: