Do you love chatting with friends over a long, relaxing coffee break? If the answer is an enthusiastic “yes”, then we’re pleased to let you know that you’re a practitioner of ‘fika’, a simple Swedish concept that involves gossiping and unwinding over a delicious hot beverage (and a cake if you’re feeling adventurous).
But what should you do if you’re a little bored of coffee mornings? As much as we love fika’s rustic simplicity, sometimes we need to socialize in livelier ways at the end of a long day. Fortunately, the Irish learned the art of creating a fun and energetic atmosphere long ago thanks to an often-celebrated concept known as ‘craic’.
What Exactly Is Craic?
Pronounced “crack”, it is an Irish term used to denote fun, gossip, entertainment, news, and storytelling. It is commonly associated with warm pubs, live music, roaring fires, and pints of delicious Irish beer.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting an Irish pub, you may well have heard someone ask: “What is the craic?” This is a much-loved phrase that means something along the lines of “How are you?” or “What’s going on?” It may be asked at the beginning of a catch-up among friends or imply that someone wants to have a gossip about their colleagues or personal lives.
What Does Craic Have in Common with Fika?
Although craic and fika are clearly quite different, they share some commonalities. Both involve bonding, gossip, and hearty beverages, as well as offering much-needed respite from the serious world of work and adult responsibilities. So, how can you upgrade a subdued social life and encourage friends to let loose every now and again? Here’s how to inject your meetups with a little more craic:
1. Swap your coffee for a beer
Sometimes, an evening catch-up with a beer represents the perfect way to unwind and de-stress with a friend. While coffee mornings can be a fun way to punctuate the working day, caffeine simply doesn’t offer the same sense of fun that a boozy tipple does. Beer not your thing? Feel free to embrace the craic with a carefully chosen wine or the cocktail of your choice.
If you’re not a drinker, you can attain the same kind of fun atmosphere with a bubble tea or a fancy mocktail. Just remember to find something you wouldn’t normally drink so that the occasion feels special and you feel ready to open up to friends.
2. Socialize somewhere cozy and enclosed
Gossiping is much more enjoyable in spaces that feel warm, cozy, and private. You may want to reduce the risk of bumping into your boss while sharing personal stories with your friends, after all!
3. Embrace the power of video calls
Fancy sharing some craic with a friend many miles away? Perhaps you’re quarantining thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? Don’t worry – it’s still perfectly possible to have a much-needed gossip. Just ask your friends to cozy up their living rooms with candles, throws, cushions, and fairy lights, grab a drink, and let the fun commence!
4. Make time for craic
As dedicated practitioners of fika, Swedes are well known for planning their coffee breaks well in advance. We recommend doing the same when you’re in need of some good craic. Connect with your closest friends a week or two in advance and ensure that your surroundings are absolutely perfect before you get going.
That’s right – find somewhere warm and inviting with atmospheric lighting and soft furnishings. If you or one of your friends can play an instrument, why not bring it along? There’s no better way to bond than with a singsong!
The concept of craic is not as foreign as it may sound. Americans know what it is like to have a really good session with friends that is filled with laughter, personal stories, memories, and the making of more friends at the bar or pub. This is craic!