Steps to Making Connections

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Steps to Making Connections

Postby Movingalong » Sun Jun 10, 2007 8:45 pm

Hey all, This is the continuation of a thread I started in the "Deep Discussions" forum. The thread was called Making Connection -- Any Suggestions? I've decided that it might be more appropriate here since I've started to take baby steps toward my goal, but I haven't achieved my goal yet. This will be my steps forward to my goal of making more connections. For those of you that haven't read the thread, I'll do a short recap. Basically, I was asking for suggestions from others about where to find other people to create some meaningful connections in my life. Since I'm shy and introverted, this has been a challenge to me. So in that other thread, several people were kind enough to give suggestions of where I might successfully meet people. And over time, I took some of those suggestions as well as took the plunge and tried some of my own ideas that I'd been too afraid to try in the past. So far, I've gone back to church (as a non-believer), joined two small groups from that church (and left one), joined two Toastmaster's groups and have been joining and attending 5 book clubs. I've also registered for 4 adult ed. classes for the summer in tai chi, yoga, write your life story and meditation. I'll be writing about my experiences with the groups here generally on a weekly basis. Please keep in mind that my focus is on connection and creating a network of support. If you feel that I'm veering off-course or not noticing something that you do, please let me know. And if you'd like to join me on my quest for more meaningful connections and creating a network of support, please join the thread and let us know how you're doing.
Last edited by Movingalong on Mon Jun 18, 2007 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Movingalong » Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:20 pm

It's been a great week in this area for me. On Sunday of last week, I made a coffee date with a woman from my small group at church on Monday night. And that went fabulously. She's a really wonderful woman. And I hope to see more of her. I've been e-mailing her and will continue to do so. I'm very excited about this relationship and hope it continues. On Wednesday, I had an opportunity to be assertive. I went to a Toastmaster's group where the meeting had been canceled the week previously and I haven't been able to get in once. One of the members gave a speech about why membership was so low and I was able to give my opinion about how canceling meetings has an adverse effect on membership. And I was also able to let people know how it felt to be left on the outside. It felt good to air my opinion. And better yet, it was received well. People thanked me for sharing the opinion. And others also added to things that I said. That was nice. I hope it leads to positive change. On Thursday, I went to a Toastmaster's meeting and didn't feel very happy about it. I wasn't sure why. But I think it's because I was scheduled to give a speech that I didn't volunteer to give. So I had another opportunity to be assertive, and on Saturday, I sent an e-mail canceling my participation in that speech. I hope that action goes as well as the action on Wednesday. On Friday, I got a bad migraine, which was a big bummer. So I spent the day taking care of myself. Because of my migraine, I missed my yoga class, but I'll try again next week. On Saturday, I went to the tai chi class. It turned out that it was a class for intermediate level people in tai chi. Many of them had been going to tai chi class for a year. But they invited me to stay and "fake it" and follow along. So I did. And it was really fun. They invited me back, which was nice, but I'm not sure if I'll continue to go. It was a fun experience, though. Today, Sunday, was church and I got to see the nice woman, so that was nice. But I also got to talk to a lot of other people which was good too. It's been a pretty good day.
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Congratualtsion

Postby Fiona_J_Fell » Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:49 pm

Congratulations. Getting out there and taking steps towards your goals, in this case personal connections, is an amazing feat in itself. Keep it up. I admire your dedication to success. Fiona Fell
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Postby Movingalong » Mon Jun 18, 2007 7:39 pm

Thanks Fiona. I enjoyed your website. I hope you add more to it. Or maybe I missed something.
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Postby Movingalong » Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:03 pm

Update: It's been a challenging week. But there were some great moments amidst the difficulties. The challenge was a family crisis. Last Monday, I went to my first class on writing my autobiography. It was very fun. I've never thought of myself as a writer. Unlike many other people I know, I've never had the urge to write the "Great American Novel" ever. I took this class more as a way to learn more about others and to make connections. But I've been writing a journal since I was very young. And I feel compelled to write sometimes to get out on paper things that are bothering me. The instructor was talking about everyone having a specific voice and I noted that I thought my writing voice was whiny because I'm basically complaining about stuff in my journal. Well, that got everyone curious and now they want to hear it. On Monday night, I went to a BBQ with my small group from church. They were very supportive with my challenge this week, so that helped. And I had a really interesting discussion with someone who had been a pastor at another church about my feelings about Christianity. I enjoyed that. On Tuesday, I went to a meditation class. It was OK, but the teacher was preaching New Age. I usually am OK with New Age since it's generally non-offensive, but he was claiming that what he was preaching was scientific fact. And I didn't buy it. So it made the class slightly uncomfortable and I'm debating if I want to return. Also on Tuesday, I sat at my neighbor's house while she was away for a bit waiting for a delivery. On Wednesday, I went to my Toastmaster's club and gave my first table topics speech (1 minute impromptu) and won the contest for the day. On Thursday, I went to my Toastmaster's club and told a rehearsed joke. They assign people that task every week. And the joke went over pretty well. And the next two days were slowed down because I felt like I was catching a slight cold although I'm feeling a little better now. On Sunday, I went to church. Today, (Monday) I again went to the writing class on life stories. It's great fun and maybe I should hang in just for that reason. And the people there are very nice, but I'm not sure if it's the right place to make friends. And I'm at that point again where I feel really busy but I don't feel like I'm accomplishing much. And I'm wondering if I have the right focus. Should I make my approach more scattershot, or hang in with these things that I'm doing hoping that something might materialize from them although I don't see it at the moment. When I felt like that in the last thread, moving on was the answer that worked. I'm still not sure this time.
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My experience

Postby Izbit » Tue Jun 19, 2007 11:34 am

It sounds like you're putting in a lot of effort and identifying a pool of possible friends. Good for you!! My experience is that attending group events rarely leads to deep connection unless I manage to develop relationships with members that aren't entirely part of the group event. So, I think the next step is to identify one or two people at each group that you think you'd like to get to know better, and see what you can do to deepen the relationship -- maybe invite them to have a cup of coffee with you after the group meeting (which is less intimate than having them over to your place, or even meeting for lunch at a separate time/place).
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Postby victoria3 » Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:59 am

Wow -- you're really getting out there! Good for you! One comment ... you mentioned some of the classes aren't a good "fit" -- like the advanced tai chi or you don't feel comfortable with what the meditation teacher says. Just a reminder that your goal at these events is to make connections... so even if these classes aren't great, you might make friends with some of the people in the class, which is, I think, what you're really looking for. I've taken classes in order to look for new friends and found that, at least for me, it wasn't easy. I thought it would sort of happen naturally, given the common interests, but it didn't, partly because there were only a few sessions. Next time, I'll focus more on trying to get to know the other participants, and, ask them for other activities they do -- it can be easier to strike up friendships if you see the same people at different events. Best of luck -- I think you're off to a good start! Victoria
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Re: My experience

Postby Movingalong » Sat Jun 23, 2007 4:24 pm

Izbit wrote:It sounds like you're putting in a lot of effort and identifying a pool of possible friends. Good for you!!
Thank you!
Izbit wrote:My experience is that attending group events rarely leads to deep connection unless I manage to develop relationships with members that aren't entirely part of the group event. So, I think the next step is to identify one or two people at each group that you think you'd like to get to know better, and see what you can do to deepen the relationship -- maybe invite them to have a cup of coffee with you after the group meeting (which is less intimate than having them over to your place, or even meeting for lunch at a separate time/place).
I've noticed that also. So I agree. I've already had coffee with one person from one of my groups, but I need to work on identifying more people that I'd like to connect with on a personal basis. At this point, though, I'm watching people very carefully to see if I'd like to deepen the connection. And so far, no one is jumping out at me except that one woman. I'll be continuing to search for this. Thanks for your input.
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Postby Movingalong » Sat Jun 23, 2007 4:37 pm

victoria3 wrote:Wow -- you're really getting out there! Good for you!
Thank you!
victoria3 wrote:One comment ... you mentioned some of the classes aren't a good "fit" -- like the advanced tai chi or you don't feel comfortable with what the meditation teacher says. Just a reminder that your goal at these events is to make connections... so even if these classes aren't great, you might make friends with some of the people in the class, which is, I think, what you're really looking for
One concern I have about this is that if I'm in a class where I'm negative, skeptical or annoyed, I may tend to behave that way and attract people to me that are that way also. While I'm sure it's possible to attract great people while we're negative, I think it's easier and more reliable when we're positive, so I'm very mindful of that. One of the books I'm using to make sure that I'm attempting to meet nice people is Attracting Terrific People: How To Find - And Keep - The People Who Bring Your Life Joy by Lillian Glass. Some people have asked me how I have the energy to see this many people given that I'm an introvert. When I started this, I was concerned about that as well. But something that I've noticed is that when I talk to someone that is uplifting, validating, positive and compassionate, my energy level soars. Of course, the converse is true. When I'm talking to negative, disempowering people, my energy flags. I've tried to focus on the positive people.
victoria3 wrote:I've taken classes in order to look for new friends and found that, at least for me, it wasn't easy. I thought it would sort of happen naturally, given the common interests, but it didn't, partly because there were only a few sessions. Next time, I'll focus more on trying to get to know the other participants, and, ask them for other activities they do -- it can be easier to strike up friendships if you see the same people at different events.
Interestingly, the classes I'm taking are all put out by the same organization, so I'm seeing the same faces repeatedly. And of course, my church has the same people (although there are about 6,000 of them) So hopefully, that will work in my favor in this. And I also like the idea of doing on-going projects or clubs like Toastmaster's or book clubs because basically the same people are there all the time. In two book clubs I attend, I've seen the same people for over 4 or 5 years. I've made a couple friends from this group, but unfortunately, they've moved since then.
victoria3 wrote:Best of luck -- I think you're off to a good start!
Thank you. And best of luck to you in your ventures as well.
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Postby Movingalong » Sun Jun 24, 2007 9:38 pm

Update: I've really slowed down this week. Other things are taking a bigger and more urgent priority it seems. So there were a lot of things that I could have attended but didn't. It was still a good feeling to know that I could have gone if I wanted, though. On Tuesday morning, I went to a book club. I hadn't read the book but the leader was talking about something related to the book and I had some input so that was nice. I skipped the meditation class and night book club. I can't remember but I think I wasn't feeling very well physically that day. On Wednesday, I went to my Toastmaster's club. There's a woman in that group that I've been thinking might make a nice friend. On Thursday, I went to my other Toastmaster's club. I volunteered to tell a joke and asked some questions in the meeting. There's a guy in that group that I like a lot (as a friend, he's married), but guy friends might not be what I should be looking for. Too many complications. On Saturday, I went to the yoga class. Wow, there were a lot of people there (over a dozen). I didn't care for it much, but I didn't dislike it either. There was one nice lady who was in my Tai chi class two Saturdays before that told me some helpful info. Although it didn't seem to be my thing, I did feel pretty calm for the rest of the day. And if I don't get major muscle aches or a migraine, I'll probably try to go back again. Today, Sunday, I went to church. I saw most of my small group there. But so far, no further connections there.
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Postby MOrocks » Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:12 pm

:) Movingalong, I have a couple of suggestions/thoughts. You mentioned being a non believer in a large church. If your beliefs are different (not right or wrong, just different) from the prevailing beliefs of the group you are with, it may be hard to connect. Is there a Unitarian-Universalist church where you are? They will have nonbelievers and agnostics in their groups, almost always. Now that I live in the boonies, I really miss the UUs. :( Also, if there is a hobby or cause, etc., you really feel passionate about, you might be more likely to to connect with those who feel the same way. Seek out a group you might enjoy even without like-minded-people there, and. ironically, they are more likely to be there! :D If the new ager makes you uncomfortable, someone else there may feel the same way. That could be a kindred soul, so disliking that leader's overbearing aspect may be something you shouldn't completely hide , but take with a sense of humor and wit. (Easier said.) Hope this helps.
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Postby Movingalong » Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:36 pm

MOrocks wrote::) Movingalong, I have a couple of suggestions/thoughts.
Hey Darlene, Nice to meet you. I haven't seen you around here much. I hope to see more of you. Thanks so much for your thoughts and suggestions.
MOrocks wrote:You mentioned being a non believer in a large church. If your beliefs are different (not right or wrong, just different) from the prevailing beliefs of the group you are with, it may be hard to connect. Is there a Unitarian-Universalist church where you are? They will have nonbelievers and agnostics in their groups, almost always. Now that I live in the boonies, I really miss the UUs. :(
Like you, I live in the middle of two UU groups both equidistant but further than I want to travel. You can read a little more about my adventures with other religious organizations here Oddly, I've found that I feel more comfortable with Christians than with the local UUers. I think that's just a quirk of demographics, not belief systems.
MOrocks wrote:Also, if there is a hobby or cause, etc., you really feel passionate about, you might be more likely to to connect with those who feel the same way. Seek out a group you might enjoy even without like-minded-people there, and. ironically, they are more likely to be there! :D
I completely agree. And I haven't concentrated on them yet, although I have found a few groups for them. One of them is sewing. So far, I haven't gone to a sewing class here, so that is something to try. I did go to a knitting class and found the people there to be a LOT more negative than I could handle. I saw a beading class that looked interesting a couple months ago, and that might be interesting also. So thanks for the reminder. Perhaps that will be the next thing to try.
MOrocks wrote:If the new ager makes you uncomfortable, someone else there may feel the same way. That could be a kindred soul, so disliking that leader's overbearing aspect may be something you shouldn't completely hide , but take with a sense of humor and wit. (Easier said.)
As it turned out, I haven't had the time to go back to this class. Other things have taken priority. Isn't that how it always is when something doesn't really interest us enough? But if I do go back, I'll try to keep in mind what you say here.
MOrocks wrote:Hope this helps.
Thanks for posting. It's much appreciated.
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Postby dani » Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:51 pm

Movingalong, What a great thread and congratulations to you for getting so involved, following through, and keeping everybody posted on your progress. Some years ago, I was very involved with Toastmasters-club officer, then Area Governor for about four terms. I don't recommend getting involve beyond the club level because of the bureaucratic stuff you run into. That said, I have to share a funny story about my club. One time we were low on memberships and put out an SOS to get guests into the meetings. Next meeting, lo and behold, a Toastmaster from Australia showed up. Of all the people who couldn't possibly become a member! Anyhow, he gave a hilarious speech about how closet hangers multiply (something like rabbits). At one point he interjected a \"scholarly\" point with: \"recent research reveals,\" complete with perfectly rolled Rs! I don't know if the humor translates well in the retelling, but this incident remains one of my all-time funny memories. :lol: Like you and victoria3, I too have trouble with group functions. My new hearing aid just came in so we'll have to see if this time it helps. Classes are probably at the bottom of my list for making friends. My group things these days tend to center on the intermittent faculty training my university offers. Many of these have been inspiring experiences, but it's difficult to make friends. I fare better with guys, probably in part because auditorily they're easier to understand (this happens with a high frequency hearing loss). That doesn't help me with faculty women, who tend to be notoriously tough anyway, except for a few adjuncts here and there. I'm also shy there because I'm barely hanging on, unlike some who talk about \"I've got thirty students and blah, blah, blah.\" Since I'm well qualified for what I do, I've been working on chaning my attitude about myself for the better. Maybe that will help. One of the best groups I ever joined was a tiny support group of about half a dozen people. We sat in a circle in a small room and it was easy to communicate. I did make a couple of friends and it remains one of my fondest group memories. Probably the worst situation was following through on some 12 step-not AA, but some family issue spinoffs-groups recommended to me during the eighties. I have a terrible time with the 12 step philosophy, and the group mantra was too much like the Barnum effect. The people were nice, but my family experiences are so far out of the norm that it was difficult to relate. The oddest thing that kept happening was that I'd get acquainted with someone I liked who was leaving the group or the group itself changed physical location making it impossible to get to, or else disbanded altogether. Sheesh! Keep up the good work! dani :)
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Postby Movingalong » Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:29 pm

dani wrote:What a great thread and congratulations to you for getting so involved, following through, and keeping everybody posted on your progress.
Thank you! If you or anyone else has anything to add about your own adventures with making connections, please feel free to join in.
dani wrote:Some years ago, I was very involved with Toastmasters-club officer, then Area Governor for about four terms. I don't recommend getting involve beyond the club level because of the bureaucratic stuff you run into. That said, I have to share a funny story about my club.
Thanks for sharing your Toastmaster's experiences. Just coincidentally, someone from my Toastmaster's group asked me to a pool party yesterday which I attended. It was fun.
dani wrote:Like you and victoria3, I too have trouble with group functions. My new hearing aid just came in so we'll have to see if this time it helps. Classes are probably at the bottom of my list for making friends. My group things these days tend to center on the intermittent faculty training my university offers. Many of these have been inspiring experiences, but it's difficult to make friends. I fare better with guys, probably in part because auditorily they're easier to understand (this happens with a high frequency hearing loss). That doesn't help me with faculty women, who tend to be notoriously tough anyway, except for a few adjuncts here and there. I'm also shy there because I'm barely hanging on, unlike some who talk about "I've got thirty students and blah, blah, blah." Since I'm well qualified for what I do, I've been working on chaning my attitude about myself for the better. Maybe that will help.
I too have a difficult time making friends with women and have a much easier time making friends with men. And my issue isn't with my hearing. ;) That's the reason that this is somewhat challenging for me. I'm trying to make more women friends.
dani wrote:One of the best groups I ever joined was a tiny support group of about half a dozen people. We sat in a circle in a small room and it was easy to communicate. I did make a couple of friends and it remains one of my fondest group memories.
If you don't mind my asking, what type of group was this? If you don't want to announce it publicly, you could PM me. I'm just interested because it might be a support group that I could look into. I just found a potential job support group, but it's further geographically than I wanted to travel, so I'm still on the fence about it.
dani wrote:Probably the worst situation was following through on some 12 step-not AA, but some family issue spinoffs-groups recommended to me during the eighties. I have a terrible time with the 12 step philosophy, and the group mantra was too much like the Barnum effect. The people were nice, but my family experiences are so far out of the norm that it was difficult to relate. The oddest thing that kept happening was that I'd get acquainted with someone I liked who was leaving the group or the group itself changed physical location making it impossible to get to, or else disbanded altogether. Sheesh!
I had the same type of experience with the 12 step type groups. Either the people have WAY too many problems to be friends or they're too much into the program to do much of anything else. I don't actually have any addictions, so it was hard for me to relate as well.
dani wrote:Keep up the good work!
Thank you. And you too. Please post about any successes you have.
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Postby Movingalong » Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:45 pm

Update: Whew! It's been a tiring week, but a fun and rewarding one. On Monday, I went to my writing class. I revealed the theme of my writing. As always, it's a fun class because we get to learn so many interesting things about each other. I feel like we know each other even if we don't actually sit and talk to each other. And the people there are very supportive and understanding, so that's really nice. On Tuesday, I was scheduled to go to a job search class which got canceled. I used the time to go to the library and bookstore to look up job search books. I also found information about a job support network in the area and called them. On Wednesday, I went to my Toastmaster's group. And I officially joined this one. (I'm already a member of the Thursday group) I don't know if this counts as making connections or breaking them, but I e-mailed someone to ask them to take me off their mass distribution list. Because I'm a member of Christian groups, people often forget that I'm not a Christian and send me Christian mass mail. I don't appreciate it. But rather than getting steamed about it, I just asked as politely as I could if the sender could please remove me from their e-mail list. I haven't seen or talked to them since, but I'm hoping that went well. On Thursday, I went to a job search class and got some great ideas on how to proceed ahead, so that was great. But I missed the Toastmaster's class, so that was a bit of a loss. On Saturday, as I mentioned to dani, I was invited to a 4th of July party from one of the Toastmaster's members. I didn't stay long, but it was great fun. And earlier that day, I went to a yoga class. Boy, was I tired that night! Today was church. Whew, and next week it starts again! Thankfully, it's been fun.
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