Making Connection -- Any Suggestions?

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Making Connection -- Any Suggestions?

Postby Movingalong » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:33 pm

Lately, I've been isolating myself and really feeling the effects. I'm really feeling lonely and vulnerable. I'd like to meet more people but I'm pretty shy, introverted and not very courageous about it. So I'd like to meet people where there's something going on to focus on. So far, I've tried books clubs, church (although I'm not religious and make an effort to let people know that so we're on the same page about that) and a knitting group. None of those is working too well for me, but I'm continuing to try. I've also looked at meetup.com. I didn't see anything in my area that I would be interested in. I've also thought of Toastmaster's, an investment club, American Assoc. of University Women and a meditation group. I've got some information for those but am sitting on the edge not taking the plunge yet. The last time I really had great success with meeting people was at a job search network place. We all had job searching in common and everyone was dressed up and acting professional so that helped. That was a wonderful experience for me, but I can't find that kind of group in my area anymore. I've moved since I went to that last one. And it might have just been that group of people. But somewhere like that would be great. I could show up there pretty much anytime and find someone to talk with. I think a success team, the way I've heard it described, sounds ideal. But the team leader in my area can't be reached and I don't think I want to become a team leader. Does anyone have any ideas about where it would be a good and easy place to meet folks? Where have you had the most success in finding nice people? Lately, I'm not. . . movingalong
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Postby victoria3 » Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:00 pm

It often seems to take a while to meet people the you can really connect with -- but keep at it, and you'll find them! I've met a lot of nice people through social dancing. Do you have dance schools in your area? The ones I've gone to don't require you to have a partner to join a class. It's fun, you meet people and you get some exercise. Or maybe through: Hiking clubs Volunteer work Local continuing education classes The chamber of commerce might have a list of groups and clubs in the area I find it helps to pick something you enjoy doing whether or not you make a friend in the group. I love to dance so even if I don't make a new friend at a class, at least I get to dance and enjoy myself for a few hours. Let us know how it goes!
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Postby Movingalong » Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:30 pm

victoria, Thanks for the ideas! I would never have thought of a dance class, especially since I have two left feet, but that might be more reason to check it out. Thanks for reminding me that I had forgotten to add in my original post that I volunteered at the church I was attending and at the chamber of commerce near my area a few years ago. I didnt care for those experiences.
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Postby Tricky Grama » Wed Mar 14, 2007 6:46 am

How about a cooking class? Or any evening class that interests you, thereby finding someone who shares at least that interest. Is there a community college nearby? Patty
The meaning of life is inherent in the connectons we make to others through honor and obligation.
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Postby KyleM » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:18 am

Hey moving - I think many people these days have difficulty meeting others... or perhaps to put it more accurately, difficulty maintaining meaningful contact with those you meet and like. (Is that what you mean?) I know the feelings you describe. I tend to have these expectations that I will hit it off after one or two stints of volunteering and have "instant" new friends. Or that a class I take will yield similar results. It got me thinking about how friendships form in the first place. Any friends I've "kept" have come from an activity that met more than once or twice, and in which we had a structure or goal outside wanting to establish friendship. Otherwise there's too much pressure and also an artificiality about the encounters. (This is why I think blind dating, and online dating, fails so often.) I don't have "tons" of friends because that's how I am; but the ones I have kept have come from these sources: - co-ed volleyball once a week (met my hubby that way) - a small six-week "passion search" class where a lot of personal information was shared and discussed by each participant - a weekly job search support group for women at the YWCA when I first moved to Seattle - weekly voice lessons turned my teacher into a good friend - the daily interactions at my jobs have resulted in a handful of friends Right now I am volunteering at a Books to Prisoners program, and while I am enjoying it, there is no continuity yet in terms of who shows up on which night - so, no opportunity yet to deepen a connection. The other thought is a piece of advice I used to squirm at: to have more friends, be a friend. I think this means, challenge discomfort or fear and take a risk: invite somebody for a cup of coffee, or to lunch, or to just have a deeper conversation. Friendship stems from a kind of intimacy and if nobody reaches out, it won't have a chance to develop.
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Postby celiaavery » Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:53 am

If you basically like the church idea, there are some church-like things for people who don't necessarily believe in god(s), but who would like a community with whom they can celebrate life milestones, discuss ethics, and do charity or social justice work. Some congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Church are like this, while others are pretty religious in the traditional sense. The UU Church doesn't ask people to agree on any religious beliefs; one big thing that brings them together is a commitment to individual determination of beliefs (and therefore tolerance for others' beliefs). There's also the Society for Ethical Culture, a humanist organization. They're big on "Deed, not creed." Some people find Quaker Meeting is a decent fit for them, because of the contemplative, less structured form of worship, although it's very definitely a Christian church. By the way, there's a Wishes and Obstacles topic you might want to check out, started by someone who wants a supportive group but isn't outgoing. You and she have said some very similar things. Best of luck! Celia
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Postby MDG » Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:43 pm

Movingalong, Yes, you are...just by posting here. :D Off the top of my head... A Naturalist club is a group of people, each of whom has a passion for something in the outdoors. Some are dedicated botanists. One lady I met loves lichens! Some are birders and make treks of varying ease, regularly, often connecting with national groups in contry-wide counts...and spotting birds way out of their usual habitat. Once you are 'into' noticing, you begin to see wonderful things in your own backyard! Others just love hiking, or cross-country skiing. These are also graded as to difficulty and expertise. Still others love rocks, fish, parks, animals, you name it. The neatest thing about a Naturalist club is that there is no age limit...you'll find people of all ages and from every walk of life. One simply joins in on their activities, the ones you prefer, and lets friendships grow from there. They are careful to keep costs down, too. 8) ................ And, who is your local Success Team leader? Call and ask to be invited to their next Idea Party! It's free, and wonderfully interesting...I promise. You 'participate' to your own comfort level...say that to the leader, if you like...they will understand. A 'clean jeans' affair, as well...not 'formal' in any way. ................ Which buildings in town do you like? What goes on there? You'll like groups that meet for a specific interest, I think. The people you'll find there will have a wide mixture of backgrounds. You'll find some you like. ................ I've never known a yarn shop that didn't have knitting groups for customers. Or, one that didn't know all the groups in town. You could even become a 'disciple' of one 'expert' or another. Check with any guild you can find. 'Fiber artists' always know what is up, and who's around. Try Googling for your community, your local rec center, and Chamber of Commerce. Librarians know EVERYTHING! Also, here are three websites I love... ... http://www.handspinners.com/archives/fa ... dowde.html ... http://www.knotjustknitting.com ...and, especially, http://www.geocities.com/nornsneedlewor ... oject.html (Scroll down.) Enjoy! Mahara
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Postby MDG » Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:15 pm

P.S. I know how to get the yarns for scrumbling, and lots more, for a song. Ask me, if you'd like to know. MDG
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Postby Nalina » Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:38 pm

Hi, I used to be in the same boat and to some extent still am. However, recently I stopped taking it too personally if my first attempt to establish lasting relationship didn't yield results. First, after getting very frustrated after several unsuccessful attempts, calls that were not returned, etc. I decided to change my goal from "meeting people" to selecting an activity I enjoy and concentrating on that. As somebody said if you like dancing and join a dancing class at least you would have a nice time. Second, I concentrated on the friends I already have and tried to establish better relationships with them, inviting them over, but not expecting anything in return. I discovered that everybody had a different "frequency" of encounters depending on what was going in their lives and their priorities. Some will call me immediately, others would call me back in a couple of weeks, some would never call back. I stopped reaching to the last category, although I felt insulted after I had invited people over and some didn't even return calls. But I am trying hard not to show it. I concentrated on being out there and finding common interests with people, so that we can connect. I sometimes go out with a colleague of mine who likes photography as I do. Or go to the museums with two former colleagues who have children the same age as mine. Very often I am the one who initiates these meetings and sometimes I feel bad about it, but maybe I am just more needy of human contact, so it is fair. One suggestion is never to despair and not to lose confidence, although I myself have a very hard time with this. Finally at the end of this month I am meeting with three college best friends. I visited one of them last year after ten years living apart. Now she is organizing a reunion in her house. We all live far away, but we maintained contact thorough email. I feel proud that I did the first step a year ago. Good Luck!
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Postby MDG » Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:15 pm

"I discovered that everybody had a different "frequency" of encounters depending on what was going in their lives and their priorities."
Good for you, Nalina! And for figuring out what to do in individual situations! M.
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Postby Movingalong » Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:13 pm

Tricky Grama wrote:How about a cooking class? Or any evening class that interests you, thereby finding someone who shares at least that interest. Is there a community college nearby? Patty
Patty, Yes, a cooking class would be excellent. I used to attend one in the last place I lived. But I've been looking for a convenient and good one around where I live now and haven't found one. Thanks for the thought, though. I'll keep looking. Yes, there's a community college pretty close by. I've taken a business class there and was pretty disappointed. The campus is badly laid out and it seems dangerous at night to walk to my parking space because the classes and parking are so far apart. I think this is part of my problem. I continue comparing where I used to live and where I live now and find it coming up short, so I get disappointed. And it's hard to meet people when I'm looking and feeling disappointed. I need to work on this. Thanks for this suggestion also. I should try going back.
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Postby Movingalong » Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:22 pm

KyleM wrote:I think many people these days have difficulty meeting others... or perhaps to put it more accurately, difficulty maintaining meaningful contact with those you meet and like. (Is that what you mean?)
That's exactly what I mean!
KyleM wrote:I know the feelings you describe. I tend to have these expectations that I will hit it off after one or two stints of volunteering and have "instant" new friends. Or that a class I take will yield similar results. It got me thinking about how friendships form in the first place. Any friends I've "kept" have come from an activity that met more than once or twice, and in which we had a structure or goal outside wanting to establish friendship. Otherwise there's too much pressure and also an artificiality about the encounters. (This is why I think blind dating, and online dating, fails so often.)
I completely agree. And I've even found some friends in the past, but I've had to screen them out. They were nice enough people but they were very cutting, sarcastic and tried to humiliate me a lot. I don't think they were trying to hurt me; it was just their personality. I'm hoping that I can try for some healthier friendships, but it's the middle part that is so hard.
KyleM wrote:I don't have "tons" of friends because that's how I am; but the ones I have kept have come from these sources: - co-ed volleyball once a week (met my hubby that way) - a small six-week "passion search" class where a lot of personal information was shared and discussed by each participant - a weekly job search support group for women at the YWCA when I first moved to Seattle - weekly voice lessons turned my teacher into a good friend - the daily interactions at my jobs have resulted in a handful of friends Right now I am volunteering at a Books to Prisoners program, and while I am enjoying it, there is no continuity yet in terms of who shows up on which night - so, no opportunity yet to deepen a connection.
Those are wonderful!! I want to be *your* friend. You seem to do lots of fun stuff that interests me also. After I read you message, I was shocked to find that there are no YWCAs or YMCAs very close to where I live. I used to think they were everywhere.
KyleM wrote:The other thought is a piece of advice I used to squirm at: to have more friends, be a friend. I think this means, challenge discomfort or fear and take a risk: invite somebody for a cup of coffee, or to lunch, or to just have a deeper conversation. Friendship stems from a kind of intimacy and if nobody reaches out, it won't have a chance to develop.
Yeah, this is the hard part for me. I feel so vulnerable to other people's judgments of me. But I know it's not gonna go anywhere unless I take the first step, so thanks for the reminder.
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Postby Movingalong » Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:37 pm

celiaavery wrote:Some congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Church are like this, while others are pretty religious in the traditional sense. The UU Church doesn't ask people to agree on any religious beliefs; one big thing that brings them together is a commitment to individual determination of beliefs (and therefore tolerance for others' beliefs).
Thanks for reminding me about this. I should have added this to the OP also. I'm in the middle of two UU churches, both equally far. I've attended one and not cared for it. I drove to the other and didn't like the location.
celiaavery wrote:There's also the Society for Ethical Culture, a humanist organization. They're big on "Deed, not creed."
This sounds wonderful! That's what I'm looking for. I googled it. Do you mean this: American Ethical Union? If so, they don't have a chapter in my area. Or did you mean the New York Society for Ethical Culture? From their website, that appears to be only in New York.
celiaavery wrote:Some people find Quaker Meeting is a decent fit for them, because of the contemplative, less structured form of worship, although it's very definitely a Christian church.
I believe that would be interesting for me also. And I have written online to someone on a message board who is a Quaker. He's sent me a lot of information on how to find Quaker meetings. Unfortunately, none of them are in my area.
celiaavery wrote:By the way, there's a Wishes and Obstacles topic you might want to check out, started by someone who wants a supportive group but isn't outgoing. You and she have said some very similar things. Best of luck! Celia
Thank you and thanks for pointing that thread out. That person does indeed sound like she has a lot in common with me. I'll try to participate in that thread also.
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Postby MDG » Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:47 pm

I wrote elsewhere on these boards, today, about the magical effect of stating a Wish, with an Obstacle. Somehow this transforms Listeners into Fixers. (This is Barbara's discovery.) Keep it simple. "I want to sing and dance and entertain people. My Obstacle is that I don't know how to sing and dance." Then, study Barbara's Way of responding to the Suggestion, making the Fixer really glad they spoke up. Thank them. Say one thing you really like about their suggestion. (There is always something to like about every suggestion...even the silly ones. Even if the whole suggestion isn't for you, just now. - Barbara's words.) Write down the suggestion, if possible. Maybe whip out a notebook and jot it down. Everyone who hears the Wish and Obstacle, and the Suggestion, and Barbara's Way of Thanking and Repeating back a part you really like, is drawn into the exchange. The Fixer in every person is glad to be there. That's the magic. Maybe it is the Appreciation, and the Interest/Attention shown that fetches everyone. Something... M.
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Postby Movingalong » Sun Mar 18, 2007 8:53 pm

Mahara, sorry I didn't reply to your post earlier. I ran out of gas when I was replying right before I got to yours, then I got distracted.
MDG wrote:A Naturalist club is a group of people, each of whom has a passion for something in the outdoors.
This may sound odd, but I'm not much of a naturalist type person. When I moved here, I thought I was, but I learned that this place is more country than I'd like. I'm much more of a city person. And luckily for me, this place is getting more citified, so it's moving in the right direction for me.
MDG wrote:And, who is your local Success Team leader?
I haven't been able to contact the success team leader listed in my area. The e-mail gets returned every time. And if she works for the company in her e-mail, I sure would like to talk to her. But since 40% of the jobs in that company got outsourced to India, it's likely she's no longer there.
MDG wrote:Which buildings in town do you like? What goes on there? You'll like groups that meet for a specific interest, I think. The people you'll find there will have a wide mixture of backgrounds. You'll find some you like.
This is an interesting idea. But I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Most of the buildings I like are business buildings. Striking up a conversation with a random person in a business building seems like a pretty difficult conversation to start. Were you thinking of something else?
MDG wrote:I've never known a yarn shop that didn't have knitting groups for customers. Or, one that didn't know all the groups in town. You could even become a 'disciple' of one 'expert' or another. Check with any guild you can find. 'Fiber artists' always know what is up, and who's around. Try Googling for your community, your local rec center, and Chamber of Commerce. Librarians know EVERYTHING! Also, here are three websites I love... ... http://www.handspinners.com/archives/fa ... dowde.html ... http://www.knotjustknitting.com ...and, especially, http://www.geocities.com/nornsneedlewor ... oject.html (Scroll down.) Enjoy! Mahara
I like these ideas. I'm also into sewing so I'm checking into that also. The thing about knitting is that I'd much prefer machine knitting, and I've asked around at the knitting stores, but I'm getting lots of blank stares. I'm also more into fashion sewing (though haven't done any in a coon's age), and the sewing groups here are more into quilting. Thanks for the websites. I'll check them out. And thanks for all the ideas. They have me thinking.
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