As I was thinking about my post on community a bit more from Monday, I realized it might be helpful for some people to have some action steps to go find community. The right community is not always the easiest thing to find. It will take effort, and it does require opening ourselves up to disappointment, but finding that right group of people is totally worth it! Here are 5 things that you can do even right now to find great community:
Online is probably the easiest and lowest risk way of finding community. It can also, therefore, be the lowest benefit as well. Facebook and MeWe groups and even old-school forums abound for whatever your choice of topic. Maybe it’s gluten free eating or baking, or camping, or finances, or fixing cars. There are groups and forums for all of those. Search in your Facebook tool bar or just use Google and you will find plenty of options to start with.
You will need to be ok with the fact that, especially online, communities may take some trial. I have been in and out of numerous ones over the years for various things. Sometimes they may just not be what is going on with your life any more. It’s also very possible you will find out in just a few days that they are not doing what you hoped. That’s ok! Bow out gracefully and move on.
A few quick tips: Especially for Facebook or MeWe groups, and even forums, make sure they are a closed group that requires approval by admin, and hopefully even has questions to answer. This helps keep out spam bots and unsavory characters. Remember to type kindly and realize that some people like to hide behind their keyboards and rant. Don’t take a lot of what is said personally.
The internet can be a great place to find community, it’s easy to get into, and if you find it’s not what you want, easy to get out of as well.
In person community is, of course, the long standing way of finding community. It wasn’t really until recent years that most people could avoid being forced into local community. It’s easier than ever to avoid in person community but that is one of the best places to get help and support. In most places, it is fairly easy to find it, especially depending on what type of community you are looking for.
You might really already have what you need in your kid’s soccer team, or at work, or at church. If those places are not what you are looking for, there are plenty of ways to look up local groups. MeetUp is probably the easiest available means of finding local groups. You choose your local area and they have plenty of options available to choose from in regards to your preferred activity. Do you just want a hang out group? They have it. A running group? Yup! Cooking clubs? Totally!
Many restaurants and stores still have bulletin boards with community activities and information as well. Go check out your local café and you might find a flyer for that.
See if there are people in your online community that are local to you and are already meeting. That gluten free cooking group you are a part of might have a local group that is already getting together once a month. Or there at least might be people willing to.
Look in places you don’t expect:
Another thing that is important is looking at the things you are already involved with. You might be surprised to find that a community you are already involved with has people who are interested in other things that you are.
Have you asked around at church to see what people like to do? You might find that another person loves sewing just as much as you do. Or that there are already several people that have to eat and cook gluten free and they exchange recipes regularly.
Instead of trying to recreate the wheel with forming new relationships, see if your existing relationships already have what you are looking for.
You might find that what you are looking for is not available for one reason or another. That could be because no one else is interested or because no one has taken the time and effort to do something about it.
Look into starting it yourself in these situations. It may not be easy, but it allows you the chance to help others and form how it looks. Especially if this is a local group spawned off of an online group, you may really just need to provide the structure to meet locally and people will come.
We have done that where we already have a pretty strong homesteading community online, we just needed to provide a place and time for people to get together locally.
Be willing to take action:
No matter which thing you choose, you must be willing to take action. You may feel like jumping in and starting something is not for you, and that’s ok! You do have to engage with any group that you join, though. Whether it’s online or local, you will not get out of it what you are looking for without engaging with others. My wife and I are both introverts who hate meeting new people, but that’s no excuse. Your new also-introverted best friend may be waiting around the corner, you just have to take that first step.
It does take effort but being a part of a great community is totally worth it. Remember in the end it’s not just about us. Lots of other people are feeling disconnected and lonely as well. If you reach out to others, you will be blessed by it.
Make it a tasty day,