Building your community

Tell us your wish, tell us your obstacle, and we'll try to come up with some useful suggestions to help you get into action toward your dream.

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Building your community

Postby BarbaraSher » Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:32 am

I talk to lots of people who have found that their group of friends has disappeared over time. Either they have moved to a different location or they've been ill - or they've gone through tough times and pulled back into themselves. Then they're isolated, and it's hard to figure out how to re-build a good, active circle of friends. Sometimes the problem is simply the fact that we're not in school anymore, and that's where most of us found our friends as we grew up.

But some people have found good ways to change that, and I think it's important enough to share those ideas here. If you've found ways to re-build a circle of acquaintances -- which hopefully grows into a circle of friends, tell us about it here and let's see if we can get some good ideas going.
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Re: Building your community

Postby BarbaraSher » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:37 pm

There's an interesting neighborhood organization here in Saabrucken where people sign up with their addresses (to show they're legitimate) and offer stuff, or ask for stuff from each other. Some people want to go for a walk. Some have something to give away. I forget the details. I get an announcement once a month. Let me ask someone to give more details. It's such a great idea.
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Re: Building your community

Postby BarbaraSher » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:38 pm

I guess it's a good idea to join associations but I don't know. That can be kind of hard. Has anyone tried that?
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Re: Building your community

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:19 pm

Thanks for posting the question. It's something I've struggled with since retiring. In my adult life, I've had three best friends, and they've all passed away.

My circles of acquaintances/friends are my writing groups, my book club, a group of friends who get together every Wednesday, and my Internet friends (Barbara's Boards and Nanowrimo). I try to invite friends to go with me for lunch one to one.

And - don't cringe - church (or temple). You have to find one where what is preached matches what your heart tells you, not something that makes you want to eat your stomach from the inside out.

Senior centers often have activities you can do. Choose activities that interest you.

Bring a "welcome to the Neighborhood" present to a new neighbor. Say "hi" to your neighbors. Grow fruits and veggies and share them.

Offer to help if you can. Either volunteer for an organization you believe in, or help an acquaintance after surgery or when he'/she is ill, or whatever.

And treasure and nurture the friends that you have.

Those are my ideas. Maybe it sounds as if I have a lot of friends, but I don't. Isolation is something I struggle with a lot. My comments are obviously geared more towards older people because I'm getting up there, but some of what I've written applies to all ages.
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Re: Building your community

Postby k8k8 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:56 pm

I have long considered moving to a small town as a way. I guesstimated the ideal population size as being between 700 and 1400 people.
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Re: Building your community

Postby BarbaraSher » Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:58 am

These are *great* suggestions, Elaine! Just what I was hoping for.

Elaine Glimme wrote:Thanks for posting the question. It's something I've struggled with since retiring. In my adult life, I've had three best friends, and they've all passed away.

My circles of acquaintances/friends are my writing groups, my book club, a group of friends who get together every Wednesday,Who are these friends, Elaine? Just people you knew from before? I thing getting together regularly with people you know is really important!!! There must be a way to set this up.

and my Internet friends (Barbara's Boards and Nanowrimo). I try to invite friends to go with me for lunch one to one.

And - don't cringe - church (or temple). You have to find one where what is preached matches what your heart tells you, not something that makes you want to eat your stomach from the inside out.

Senior centers often have activities you can do. Choose activities that interest you.

Bring a "welcome to the Neighborhood" present to a new neighbor. Say "hi" to your neighbors. Grow fruits and veggies and share them.

Offer to help if you can. Either volunteer for an organization you believe in, or help an acquaintance after surgery or when he'/she is ill, or whatever.

And treasure and nurture the friends that you have.

Those are my ideas. Maybe it sounds as if I have a lot of friends, but I don't. Isolation is something I struggle with a lot. My comments are obviously geared more towards older people because I'm getting up there, but some of what I've written applies to all ages.


All really good ideas here, Elaine! Has anyone tried these? Or other things like these?
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Re: Building your community

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Nov 22, 2018 3:58 pm

I found my writing groups from posters at the library and at the Senior Center. My friend Christine connected me with the book club. I've had to initiate the one-on-one lunches with friends at first. My Wednesday group came from church. I've brought casseroles and given rides to people after they've had surgery. I've been involved with a couple of non-profits.
My friends Ray and Margaret volunteer at the animal shelter.

Adult ed classes are another good way to meet friends.

The tricky part - If I've holed up by myself for any length of time, it's hard to make the effort to get out and meet people. And, of course not every one I meet likes me, and visa versa. And the more isolated I get, the harder it is to come up with my half of a conversation. Those are the challenges that can deter me from getting out there, and I suspect other people can relate to them as well. Being isolated sucks! Making the effort is so worth it!
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Re: Building your community

Postby BarbaraSher » Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:58 am

So true, Elaine, and so clearly said: "The tricky part - If I've holed up by myself for any length of time, it's hard to make the effort to get out and meet people...And the more isolated I get, the harder it is to come up with my half of a conversation. Those are the challenges that can deter me from getting out there, and I suspect other people can relate to them as well. Being isolated sucks! Making the effort is so worth it!"

I was just out walking with a new member who just signed up for our talk here and she said exactly the same thing. It's so true.

And I think the isolation problem is really huge. This new member (who will join us soon - we're in Germany and there are a couple of extra buttons to push) told me that they've started something in England that is designed to deal with loneliness. Has anyone heard about it?
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Re: Building your community

Postby BarbaraSher » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:05 am

I'm ready to start a team right here - anyone who sees and wants to change the problem should definitely join - designed to share ways to rebuild those communities we one had. These are the communities that disappeared when friends or family died or moved far away, when relationships ended or jobs ended, that sort of thing.

Apparently the winters here are much more isolating than the summers - for example - because people in this small town go for walks in the riverside park and see each other, and say hello, sit at picnic tables and play guitars and drink beers.

I'd like to hear about classes people can sign up for once you're no longer in college. Where should one go looking for such things?

I also had an idea that I'd like someone to try (I don't walk well enough to do it) and that is to go to small productions of theater or music and offer to volunteer as an usher. Seems like you'd get to know the people connected with the theater, with the production company perhaps, and maybe even the people you meet and help to their seats. On the other hand, that could be one of those fantasy ideas that really doesn't work. Anyone have any experience with such things?
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Re: Building your community

Postby BarbaraSher » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:10 am

k8k8 wrote:I have long considered moving to a small town as a way. I guesstimated the ideal population size as being between 700 and 1400 people.


Interesting idea, k8k8. I'd spend some time in any town I was considering though, before actually moving there. Sometimes they're very closed. I guess you should check to find out how people spend their spare time in any small town or community (Make sure they leave their TV sets once in a while!)

And what if you move to a town where all they care about is Nascar? I don't mean to be -- to be something, but if I moved to a town like that I'd just cry all day and night. Or stay on the internet constantly. :-)
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Re: Building your community

Postby BarbaraSher » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:12 am

Funny, Elaine: "
And - don't cringe - church (or temple). You have to find one where what is preached matches what your heart tells you, not something that makes you want to eat your stomach from the inside out."

But I would like to hear from anyone who has tried this (or would be willing to try and report to us)!

Wanna do it and come back and tell us what happened? Any successes will be helpful. Any failures will surely be funny. :-)
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Re: Building your community

Postby Elaine Glimme » Fri Nov 23, 2018 4:04 pm

I have made friends at church.

The church I go to welcomes everyone and anyone, including, Muslim, Jew, Hindi, Buddhist, pagan, atheist, and everyone else that I haven't mentioned.

Here's why I wrote, "don't cringe": Places of worship vary from ultra-liberal to ultra-conservative. Someone who's a bit of a rebel (like me) will have a difficult time in a church where everyone has conservative views.

I have heard two Muslim men say, "I hope you don't judge all Muslims by the actions of our leaders."
If I lived in the days of the Inquisition, I would either have been burned at the stake or have behaved in a much more cowed and reserved manner.

Most religions believe we should be kind, be just, and be accountable. That works for most of us.

Most religions also subscribe to the belief that there is a supreme being or beings. That works for many of us, but not all of us.

That's my view. I hope it's fair.
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Re: Building your community

Postby BarbaraSher » Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:06 pm

Elaine said "I have heard two Muslim men say, "I hope you don't judge all Muslims by the actions of our leaders."

I like hearing that, and it makes perfect sense if you think about it. I hope people don't judge all Americans by the actions of our leaders, heaven knows!
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Re: Building your community

Postby BarbaraSher » Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:25 pm

Found this very useful reference in a different discussion here on the board (what a great way to meet lots of new people - and maybe a great way to meet people who are interested in the same things that interest you!:


Postby k8k8 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:21

They are libraries where you can borrow a drill, or a tent, or a chocolate fountain, etc, like you can borrow a book. So you don't have to buy and store something you only use occasionally, or can't afford to buy in the first place.

https://www.facebook.com/7NewsBrisbane/ ... 234500162/

There are a few now in capital cities, and big regional cities.

I think they must need a lot of volunteer maintenance work.
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Re: Building your community

Postby BarbaraSher » Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:46 am

Hi, my name is Steffie. I'm a friend of Barbara's in Saarbrucken, Germany and I'm happy to join this group. I think it's important for so many of us!
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