Building community as an adult is one of the hardest things.
In some of my recent conversations with others the common topic of friendship comes up. It’s obvious that the older we get the harder it seems to make friends.
Friendship, community, It’s SO hard, but also so very needed.
The last two years has been absolutely eye opening on this topic for me. I remember I started noticing “the change” when Eddie and I got engaged. It felt like the friendships I had started to drift away and I was no longer invested in…maybe that’s just my own perception but that’s exactly how it came across. Then we got married and I moved from my hometown to a small little city in Maine where I knew absolutely no one and it was the dead of winter. I found myself bundling up in clothes and snow boots to walk the mile to the cute little downtown area and sit in a coffee shop to just be around people. I’m a chatty person by nature and would revel in those few extra seconds of talking to the cashier while purchasing my tea and pastry. I smiled at the other customers and pulled out my laptop to just spend an hour or so surrounded by other people. I had never been put in a situation where I had to learn how to build friendships/community from the ground up (no job, no mutual friends, etc) and it was hard. I vividly remember being that creepy girl who whenever I saw my upstairs neighbor take her dogs outside for a walk in the snow I would bundle up and go outside to just walk and hopefully say hello. YEAH, it was that bad.
Then we moved to Connecticut and I forced myself to figure out how to meet people. I hunted for a church (with Eddie being gone all of the time I was in charge of that) and just enjoyed being surrounded by other Christians on Sunday. I joined a local Rising Tide group and met with other creatives and got to know ladies that way, as well as joining a local navy wife FB page to look into events.
When I got to California I felt like I had a better understanding of how to ground myself in making new friends. I thankfully started conversing with some ladies on FB whose husbands were apart of my husbands Submarine and began to have a tight community before I even got to San Diego. Once there we were all intentional in making weekly time together a priority and I found an amazing tribe.
Now that I’m back in Charleston I find myself having to really evaluate community and friendships. I can’t expect to be gone for 2 years and come back “home” and continue on with the friendships I had like I never left. We grow and change and some friendships carry on while others have just hit their season. I’m having to put myself out there in different environments to make new friends and find new community to help build off of what I still have here. It’s hard to grow in a place you grew up with and thought you understood, but it’s also really good to have to go through it. I am able to use my baseline of great friendships & community and build on top of it!
I think it’s good for us to also remember that sometimes we outgrow, move past, or have to say goodbye to friendships in our lives. It’s a really hard pill for me to swallow because I literally LOATHE letting people go, but sometimes it’s necessary.
We’re wired for community.
For those deep-knitted relationships that you’re able to pour your heart out to and just thrive within their company. For some this may look like a small handful of friends who do life together and meet up often; for others it’s a weekly gathering where they soak in all of the group time to re-charge. No matter what community looks like for you; it’s noticed when it’s no longer present.
HOW TO START FINDING YOUR COMMUNITY:
1. Look up hobbies you like!
See if there are any local FB groups, meet-ups, free classes you could join to start meeting people who enjoy the same things you do. If you’re a fellow blogger/creative or even just business person look up The Rising Tide Society and see if there are any in your area or even the group Creative Mornings!
2. Find a church.
If this is your thing, it’s important. Spiritual community is VITAL. I personally believe that our Spiritual health is the most important aspect of ourselves. When your soul is full you’re able to invest well in yourself and others.
3. Get out of the house!
Even if you don’t know a soul. Get outside and and enjoy some fresh air every day, change your surroundings, and help clear your mind. If you find yourself falling into this deep place of isolation, sadness, and feeling alone you may find that you’re spending too much time cooped up inside.
4. Be uncomfortable.
Go to those meet-ups where you don’t know anyone. Sign up for a recreational league. Join a book club offered at the library. It’s OK to feel uncomfortable and put yourself in a position to meet new people. Things won’t change if you don’t work towards the change.
5. Be vulnerable.
If you want meaningful and fulfilling relationships you’ve got to crack open. I’m not saying you’ve got to walk into a room and share your life story within the first 5 minutes. I am saying that you’ve got to open yourself to the idea of letting others in to your life. It can be scary and intimidating to open up to those you don’t know but it’s how the process starts. You’ve got this!