“The best lunch date of my life. We were there for two-and-a-half hours but could easily have stayed for five.”
…after her Sugarmapley
outing in New York City with
Meg Hirshberg, the author
of For Better or for Work.
My name is Ted Pearlman and I love arranging fun outings for people who have the potential to become friends. I’m glad someone who’s been on an outing I’ve arranged thinks you’d enjoy going on one too.
You probably have a bunch of questions…
Frequently asked questions.
What kind of outings do you arrange?
Everything depends on where you live and what you love to do.
If you like staying up to date with what’s happening in the visual arts in your city, and you live in Denver, I might send you on a gallery crawl through the River North Art District…
…or if you live in the Windy City, and you’re big into the outdoors, I might send you on a two-seat kayak paddle up the Chicago River…
…or if you mention to me that you’re itching to travel, and the timing is right, I might invite you to participate in a 3-day retreat in the English Cotswolds.
Why do you do this?
First, it makes me feel great.
Second, I get to relay the good news of each new friendship upstream to the people who originally introduced me to the folks who’ve become friends. Everyone gets to see the butterfly effects of their generosity.
Her immediate instinct upon meeting someone new was to answer the question, “Who among my friends would this person hit it off with?”
When I left home for college in August of 1986, I immediately missed mom’s friendship-generating whirlwind and knew that I’d never get to experience anything like it again unless I started introducing new friends, too.
Why do you call it Sugarmapley?
It’s named after the kind of people I like to introduce to each other — Sugarmapley people.
How would you describe sugarmapley people?
Sugarmapley people are four things:
- Self-critical of their abilities
- Highly tolerant of silly behavior
- Devoid of deception
Here’s the more detailed explanation…
Giving — They're the folks you call when there's an emergency at work that's going to run until at least 9pm and you need someone to pick your eight-year-old up from camp and make them dinner.
Self-critical of their abilities — They're acutely honest with themselves, sometimes brutally so, about what they can and cannot do. They are never overconfident.
Highly tolerant of silly behavior — Picture in your mind a three-year-old walking up to the dinner table at Thanksgiving and then suddenly and regally reciting his first poop joke. A sugarmapley person's reaction to such an interruption would fall somewhere between "perfectly ok with me" and "that was the most delightful thing I've ever experienced at a Thanksgiving."
Devoid of deception — A sugarmapley person is the opposite of an "operator."
Why do you focus on introducing people who have those four characteristics?
Because mom did. She probably introduced thousands of pairs of new friends over the years and I can’t remember a single one who didn’t have all four characteristics.
It’s a formula that’s hard to argue with.
Why do you think pairs of people who have these four characteristics get become friends so readily?
I have a few theories, but it’s really still a mystery to me.
And why do you use the word Sugarmapley? Is that even a real word?
Yeah, I know it’s a bit ridiculous. It’s in honor of my mom. Though I’m not sure it was conscious, she had a thing for sugar maple trees. She decorated our apartment in the colors of sugar maple trees.
And every autumn, when I was little, she always made sure I spent ample time sugar maple leaf pile diving and whirlybird tossing (if you’re from the Northeastern United States or Canada, you know what I’m talking about).
So, I guess the person who sent me your way thinks I’m sugarmapley?
Do you charge for arranging outings?
No, it’s free!
I have to pay for the cost of the outings though, yes?
Yes. If I send you on an outing to a Portland Trailblazers game, for example, you’d reimburse me for your ticket and buy yourself hot dogs and beers (and m&m’s and nachos and twizzlers and s’mores and giant pretzels).
Is this a club? How does it work over the long-term?
It’s not a club. I gift every sugarmapley person sent my way one outing. Then I ask them to send me more sugarmapley folks I can gift outings to. I like to spread the love as widely as I can.
When will I go on my outing?
It all depends on how many sugarmapley folks I know in your city, how diverse your interests are, when your truly open calendar gaps are, and where in your town you live (if you live in Pasadena, I will do my best to avoid sending you on an outing in Newport Beach).
I’m in! What happens next?
After you finish up the FAQ, reach out to me at ted [at] sugarmapley [dot] com.
You and I will set a time to talk over video chat (or over coffee if you live in Denver) about what you love to do, what makes you laugh, and what truly open gaps you have in your calendar.
Then I’ll start thinking about who I’m going to introduce you to and what fun outing you’d enjoy.
Then we coordinate logistics and then you’re off on your outing!
This is meant just for friendship, right? Not for networking? Or for romance?
It’s meant just for friendship. Of course, if you and a friend you make on an outing decide to open a roller coaster design firm together or elope at the San Diego County courthouse, I will not object!
How do you manage to organize all this by yourself?
Well, I commissioned this extraordinarily good (and sugarmapley) developer from Porto Alegre, Brazil, to build me two apps: a mobile one for you guys and an admin one for me, which helps me stay on the rails.
After you and I talk, I’ll have you download the mobile app.
What is the app for?
It has three purposes:
- It gives you the chance to see all the lovely things that happen downstream from you sending more sugarmapley folks that I can introduce. For more info on this, see the top of this homepage.
- It lets you easily follow up with folks you meet in person. No emails or contact info to collect.
- It reduces my workload by streamlining all my communications to one, amazing platform.
Is there a Sugarmapley social network?
No. Sugarmapley is entirely about spending time with people, in person.
Is the app noisy?
Not at all. The only folks in the app you’ll see — or who’ll see you — are me and anyone you’ve met in person. Everybody else using the app is invisible to you, and you to them. It’s delightfully quiet.
Could you arrange my outing when I’m traveling, so I can meet someone sugarmapley while I’m there?
Absolutely! I do it all the time.
I like playing host. What about introducing me to a sugarmapley person who’s visiting my city?
What if the only truly open gaps in my schedule for going on an outing are at really odd times, like after 9pm or before 6:30am?
You’d probably be surprised by the percentage of sugarmapley people whose truly open gaps are at really odd times. I schedule outings to accomodate folks like you. Worry not. Sugarmapley table tennis tournament at midnight? It’s happened.
How long have you been at this?
The mutual friend who sent me your way said there’s a Sugarmapley Podcast. What’s that about and where do I find it?
It’s interviews with Sugarmapley folks. You can find the episodes and subscribe here.
Who did the illustration at the top of the page?
The ‘S’ logo was done by me and Loren Klein. The logotype was done by me and Elena Genova. And the scratchboard background of trees and leaves is part of a larger illustration I commissioned from Howell Golson. It took him thirty hours! If you click or tap on the image below, you can see all its glorious details.