Growth & Grace Podcast Episode #15
EP15: How to Find REAL Community in a DIGITAL World
So today’s episode is about something that I Have struggled with myself...especially as an adult. And that is how to find REAL community in a Digital world. So let’s unpack that a little bit.
What do I mean when I say real community?
I mean a sense of belonging. Not necessarily tied to a place, but maybe. For sure a group of people, your people. Your tribe.
I’ve heard forever and a day studies about millennials and how important community is to them. They want to feel connected, have a sense of purpose. I feel like millennials get a bad rap for a lot of things, but I really think that at the root of this generation is a desire for authentic relationships.
AND THAT IS HARD.
When we live in a world where people “build social capital to cash in later” and network to ‘get ahead’ it is hard to know who is getting to know you because they genuinely care and who is just trying to use you.
We start to ask ourselves questions like, who can we trust? Are their motives pure?
I’ve been burned more than once by someone that I thought I could trust, and that makes it hard to open yourself up again.
BUT when it gets down to it, it is in our human nature to want to be connected to other people. A sense of belonging is deeply important to emotional health and personal wellbeing.
Individuals develop a sense of belonging when they feel that they are part of a larger community that they believe in - a community that welcomes them, a community that respects and represents their values, and a community that helps them to fulfill their aspirations.
In my research, I also found that there are tons of positive effects of having real community: Bonds with other people can become causes for happiness. Supportive social networks can act as buffers against stress. The feeling of being connected to others can be a protective factor against depression. Among students, a sense of belonging to peers and teachers can positively affect academic performance and motivation. For some, belonging and attachment to co-workers is a better motivator than money. Belonging can also give a sense of purpose.
When it gets down to it. We want to feel like we matter. Like people see us. Like what we think and feel matters. People want to feel like they have a place. Like they belong.
I have mentioned before that I am part of a MLM that I LOVE! Not only is it good for another source of income, but what I love most is having a community of women who support me. People who see me, encourage me, and want to see me succeed. These women are incredible. It’s not like a work friend who you only talk about work with, but these women care about my life.
And honestly, even if I wasn’t making money, I would still want to be apart of it. Because as cheesy as it sounds, some things you can’t put a price on.
Okay, so we want REAL community, we’ve talked about what that looks and feels like, but we live in a digital world. And finding real community is just down right hard.
I’ve joked before that they need a tinder for friends. A little profile, where you can find people that you would vibe with and have little friend dates to test the waters.
It is hard to make friends as an adult.
And then it is worse because, in this digital world we can see things happening in other people’s lives and feel left out. alone. Isolated. Like we don’t have a place.
And y’all literally everything is online.
You can pretty much live your life and barely see anyone.
We have click list for groceries
With Amazon Prime, I rarely ever go to an actual store
Social media is a whole thing that I could talk forever about.
It gives the illusion of being connected because we have knowledge about what is going on in our friend’s lives...but we aren’t actually connected.
Email for work
Chat brainstorming programs for meetings
I mean even texting. I would 100% rather text someone that call them.
And I think a lot of this comes down to vulnerability. Keeping our ‘community’ digital, also allows us to now show our true selves. We can keep things at a distance.
It can be scary meeting new people. Talking to people you don’t know can be intimidating. Have to put yourself out there. Be vulnerable. It is hard.
Okay, then how do we have community in a digital world?
It really boils down to, you have to put yourself out there.
And a little self awareness goes a long way. Have you ever asked yourself questions like: What kind of friend are you? How much do you invest and see others? You can’t expect from others what you are not willing to give.
I know I suck at communicating with people that I don’t see all the time. Friends from HS or college. I have to be super intentional to stay connected.
But don’t waste your time with people who aren’t giving anything back. Especially at the start of a friendship. If you’ve been friends with someone for a long time, then you know that that friendship might ebb and flow. But pay attention to how much effort you are putting in and how much effort you are getting in return!
Practically that can look a few different ways. And that doesn’t mean throwing out technology out all together. We live in a digital world, yes, but that isn’t all bad.
Use technology to find real relationships
Twitter, instagram and Facebook can be awesome tools. I have connected with a lot of people. Some I have met in person and some I have not. But it can be a tool.
Growth and grace fb group
Take it off line
Bike Riding groups
Find a small group
At the gym
Know that building Community takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Building trust takes time. Don’t rush the process.
If you want real genuine friendships, that sense of belonging that we talked about earlier...then you have to put yourself out there.
If you try one of these things, let me know! I would love to hear your experience! We are trying to build our own little community in the Growth & Grace FB group. So, if you don’t know where to start...that is a good place! That’s all I have for today! Thanks for hanging out with me, and I’ll catch you all next week!