Let’s face it; making friends as children is so much easier. Kids are thrown together into classes and activities, meet neighbors while playing in the front yard, and, often, don’t have prejudices to make the initial connection awkward. If they both love soccer, they’ve made a new best friend.
Adults, however, have a harder time finding lasting relationships. Our guards are already up, we analyze everything in an attempt to pick out any subliminal negativity, and our conversations tend toward generalities that don’t reveal true friendship potential. Worse, we are ever afraid of giving off a needy vibe, so we hide a part of ourselves.
This is especially true if you relocate to a new state.
I spent two years in the Pacific Northwest, struggling in vain to develop relationships. Oh, people were friendly enough. I just couldn’t connect beyond a flimsy surface level. Further, the area I’m in is highly technology/science driven. We are the land of software mega-corporations, online moguls, and a gamer’s paradise. In comparison, my artsy background wields a Mount Rainier-sized disparity. Dinner parties I’d attend would inevitably turn towards coding and I’d be floundering on the side-lines alone.
The minute this changed was the moment I became brave enough to change it.
I’d toyed with the idea of joining a Meet Up group for months. But the idea of leaving the house to face a group of strangers – strangers who all knew each other, mind you – was so intimidating for this borderline introvert. However, desperate to meet a fellow creative, I finally strapped on a pair and went. There, I found fellow authors who are working toward the same goals, who understand my artistic nature, who challenge me to grow, and encourage me where I am. Before long, one of them thanked me for staying after and chatting with another member. “These Wednesdays have become very special and important to us,” she said. Little did she know how true that already was for me.
Looking for fellow creatives? Connection is out there waiting for you, no matter where you live or what your interest.
If you are looking to develop new relationships, try an organized group like Meet Up. It is easy enough to search by topic. Find one that sounds interesting and try it. If it doesn’t sit well, try another. Or, start a group of your own. I joined another writer’s group that was closer to home. The host had to close it before it even started, but was overwhelmed with the sheer number of people interested. Have a thing for blues jazz? Try starting a group that goes to venues with live music. Want a quilting community or discussions about the newest erotica novel? You might be surprised how many are just like you, and are searching for a place to connect.
Of course, you won’t find a group where everyone agrees on everything. We are still talking about people, after all. But if you only hang around others who think exactly like you, how will you ever grow? There are some in my group that have vastly different opinions than mine. There are one or two that grate my nerves a little. But I take the beauty and let go of the rest, and find true companionship where we all see eye to eye: good writing.
Comment below with your suggestions on connecting with other creatives!