Dear 100 Hour Board,
What are ways you find or build a sense of camaraderie, or community in your life?
What is something that has helped you find or create that sense of belonging?
Things that previously were prime opportunities for me--university, among situations--aren't really options any longer, and former friend circles have withered as people have moved far away to seek opportunities, fame, and Halo Top iced desserts. While I hoped starting a new job would help, my coworkers are... well, less than stimulating, and so I turn to The Internet® anew.
-odd owl out
I wanted to write a lot about this, but right now I can only muster up about two coherent thoughts so hopefully these will be useful to help you build camaraderie and community.
- Today I had an epiphany that a community is a group of people. Crazy, right? The point of this thought is that you can't build a community all by yourself. I was part of a group project and we turned into a great friend group. Looking back I realize it was because we all contributed. Someone made t-shirts, we took turn bringing snacks, we sent each other memes, etc. If you want to build community it's important to identify other people you can build that community with. When you go out and do things or host your own events try to find people that are cool and invite them to do other things. Not only will finding other people who can build the community with you lead to better communities but it will also help relieve the stress and pressure of trying to do it all by yourself.
- If you see a cool community that already exist that's great! You don't have to build one, but unfortunately if you're like me you might get impostor syndrome. Two things that really help me are trying to find a unique way to contribute, and just pretending like I'm already part of the community. Most communities are really welcoming, so just try and act cool and they'll never know about you're deep inner impostor syndrome. Then you'll have fun and forget about it yourself.
Anyways, I hope this helps! The other writers have good suggestions too so definitely read what they're saying.
P.S. When you're trying to build a community or group of friends, like 95% of the time you're gonna have to plan the first few events before other people hop on and start planning stuff and inviting you to it. I'm sorry, that's just how it works.
Dear Odd Owl,
What did we do before the Internet!? Find a group (Meetup or similar) for a hobby or interest. Lots of friendships evolve from a starting point of mutual interest. Go to Institute/Church activities. Join a professional organization for your field. Keep at it!
Building a community as an adult is the hardest. Making friends is also the hardest, and from what I understand it doesn't get easier.
I've built very few friendships from work, but nonetheless, community has happened. A few ways I've done this:
- Community service projects: Since moving to Salt Lake I've tried to make it a priority to be involved in a couple of different service projects, both long-term and short term. Right now I volunteer regularly at the Burrito Project SLC, where we make and deliver burritos to the homeless in downtown SLC. I've made some friends through this project, but I've also felt like I've placed some roots in the broader Salt Lake community because of it
- Church: Whether it is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or a different church regular activity in church activities and services gives you exposure to a community that is likely willing to allow you in with open-arms. If you aren't religious, there may be similar organizations around for you too! In SLC for example we have groups that put on meditation nights, or there is a group for atheists who have left the Church. However you identify, you can find your people if you look
- Book club/ladies night/guys night/dinner group: do you know a couple of people distantly but you would like to know better. Get them together for a monthly or quarterly, or weekly game night, dinner night, or book club - some sort of evening in which there is pre-planned activities or conversation topics that everyone can contribute to and easily get to know one another
- Outdoor Activites/Hobbyist Groups: If you live in a place with good outdoor activities then look into ways you can integrate yourself in those communities. For example, as a climber in Salt Lake City, I could join the Salt Lake Climber's Alliance and join canyon clean-up activities or climbing events, or I can post on the SLC Climbers Facebook page to get new climbing partners or at least advice, and at my climbing gym there are activities that are created to help climbers meet each other. If you're into things like running or biking, your local running or biking store undoubtedly puts on regular runs/rides where you can meet people. But outdoor sporting activities are not the only groups that have broader communities, no matter what you are interested, you can probably find a group already formed in your area around that hobby. In SLC, I know of groups like this for botany, meditation, gaming, etc.
- Work groups: Okay, so you don't like your direct co-workers, but are there other people at your company who you might like? Does your company have any networks to get groups of people together, sporting groups, etc?
- Classes: Whether it be a regular class at your gym, a community art class, a language course at your community college, etc., classes are a great place to be around the same people and to build a community like you may have done in college while learning a new skill or improving an old one
- GroupMe/MeetUp: I haven't personally used these apps, but I know people who have, and you can find groups of people who are putting together all sorts of activities in your area
Ultimately, I think what it comes down to are the age-old ideas of putting-yourself-out-there and keeping busy with a variety of activities where you have opportunities to meet people. Community will come.
The Soulful Ginger
There's a fantastic little book called Steal Like an Artist, and my favorite gem is this simple but powerful line: "Do good work and share it with people." The author is specifically talking about how to get your art noticed, but I feel like it applies to everything in life. You want community? Do something interesting, then share it with a couple of folks. Host a bad movie night and invite your cousin. Bring an ancient SNES and a thrift store tv into the work break room and play during the lunch hour, then see who shows up to play with you. Go to comedy shows and wear a shirt that says "Free hugs." Or do none of these things and do something that actually fits your personality. The point is—do something.
Our family recently moved from California to Ohio, and we knew exactly two people here. Now, five months later, I'd say we have a pretty lively little community for ourselves. What worked for me was exactly what I stated above. I got involved in the local trivia night, then I started hosting a monthly paint night at the same venue. We started hosting monthly potlucks at our house where we invite everyone we know and see who shows up with food. I sent out the bat signal for friendship in some of my special interest Facebook groups and happened to find someone who lives five minutes away from us who shares a phenomenal amount of interests with our family, and she's now my best friend here, and her kid and my kids have sleepovers. We hang out multiple times a week, and she's introduced me to other people she knows. Then we invite them over for our potluck or to join us at paint night. It only snowballs from here.
You can do this, friend. It just takes a little courage to go out and actually do it.
A fellow community enthusiast,
Waldorf (& Sauron)