I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately and the importance of it. When I say community, I’m not referring to your geography, I’m referring to human connections. I think most people know being a stay at home mom you often don’t get enough adult interaction, but even if you’re not a mom at all but you have a great career, you could still be feeling a lack of connection from coworkers that you’re craving. Community and Connections are something we all, as humans, crave and it can be an important aspect in making us happy individuals. I started to touch on this subject in my five tips for big life changes post but I wanted to dive a little deeper into this subject specifically because it’s really been on my mind a lot recently.
Almost three years ago we made the decision to move 16 hours away from basically anybody we knew and that was, to put it simply, lonely at times. It took a while for me to figure out how to meet people I connected with, but I think recently I have finally had the a-ha of figuring out how to make that happen.
I will start by saying if you want friends, if you want to find that community, your tribe, then you have to put in the effort and put yourself out there and make it happen. They aren’t just going to fall into your lap. That just needs to be said very bluntly, YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY TRY! Making friends as an adult takes so much more work than when we were kids which is exactly why it’s more challenging; people don’t care enough or maybe don’t have the energy to actually try at it. However, if you are genuinely ready to find your community then let’s get to it!
First, I don’t have all this figured out, but I’m actively trying and want to share what I do know. #1 You have to put yourself out there; do not be afraid of rejection or feeling like you’ll be an outsider. You have to make yourself uncomfortable. I recently learned how many other women I was trying to connect with also felt nervous and somewhat afraid. #2 Stop hiding behind your excuses. “I’m an introvert”, “I’m socially awkward”, “I’m too shy” those are masks that you’ve put on yourself, others don’t see those things. I know it’s super easy to say “get out of your own way”, but yeah that’s basically what I’m saying. There are so many other people looking for their community that are equally nervous and shy to make the first move so what happens is no one is making a move to connect.
Maybe start by figuring out who it is you think you would connect with. Other stay at home moms? Young Professionals? Facebook search that, if you’re in a larger metro area maybe be more specific like ” Dallas Crunchy Moms” for example. Find like-minded individuals in your neighborhood/city. I say all of this with a big BUT!
BUT, do not limit yourself to who you think you would connect with; stay open to connecting with someone unlikely because sometimes those unexpected people can turn out to be the biggest blessings in your life.
For me personally, connecting and getting involved in my local MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers group) and joining a church group, has helped me find like-minded people. I also have met one of my best friends by joining my local mom’s playdate Facebook group and when she said she was also new to town and asked if anyone wanted to just get lunch, I was nervous, but I said “yes me!” from there we met up a few times here and there and now we can go over to each other’s houses with no expectations of needing to tidy up or put makeup on. People are out there waiting to be your friend but you have to say “yes me!”.
Group settings can be somewhat intimidating, right? Go in fearless and confident you’ll make a friend. It may seem like everyone else already knows each other and you’re the outsider, but truth is they were the outsider at some point and will probably be excited to meet someone new. Just interject yourself into conversations and if you’re uncomfortable and need someone to talk to, find the host and ask if there’s anything you can help with, just throw yourself in the mix any way you can.
If you’ve ever read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People one of his tips is to ask the other person questions. I love that because: 1. It keeps the conversation going and 2. It tells the other person your interested in getting to know them. I highly recommend the book if you’ve never read it.
Basically to sum up this longer than expected post, we all crave a sense of community, but we have to put in the effort to find it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE connecting with people, even if it’s just over the internet, so please drop a comment and just say “Hi, let’s be friends!”. Have a great week people and say hi to a neighbor when you walk by!