When it comes to cultivating community, there are a myriad of ways to approach this topic. Here I suggest 10 ideas that come from my own personal experiences for developing stronger connections between your own friends:
_“Phone a friend” _[**Notice how I didn’t say “text a friend.”]**
Texting is the easiest and quickest way to communicate with others, but it’s not always the most effective for building relationships and community. I’ve been guilty of leaning on texting rather than talking on the phone, Skyping someone, or physically meeting up with a friend to build on relationships because of pure laziness. I’m now choosing to connect with others beyond my phone screen more and more, and life has become much richer with deeper friendships and conversations.
Start group texting encouraging messages periodically…
Choose a couple of friends that you’re close to or want to get close to and create a group message where you can periodically send encouraging texts to one another. You can send encouraging quotes, notes, or simple reminders of why you’re thankful for them (but remember to save the long, and best, conversations for a live chat! See above…).
Have a board game night!
Board game nights sound cheesy and overrated, huh? But no! They can be a lot of fun, and they create opportunities for people to be child-like and silly! It is never a bad thing to let loose, get a little competitive, and be silly with one another, especially when life and work can be serious and stressful. Take a night to simply relax and laugh!
Start a group bucket list…
Do you want to go skydiving with your group of adventurous friends? Or go to a new, upcoming restaurant? Or maybe you’ve wanted to host a DIY night? A friend of mine started one of these in the fall, and she chose to use a Google spreadsheet so that multiple friends could add and edit items on the list. You can opt to use the Notes app, Evernote, or a different platform to make a list and share it with your friends!
Start a book club…
If you love reading books or want to start reading more intentionally again, invite a couple of friends to read books with you! Being able to connect with others over others’ writings is a special and rare thing nowadays. You’ll also get to hear your friends’ perspectives and thoughts on a different subject than you would normally talk about, allowing opportunities for deeper conversations, connection, and understanding.
If you and a few friends share similar passions, look for local organizations linked to your passions and start volunteering. There is something powerful about shared experiences, especially when they’re connected to issues and people that stir your heart. Together, you and your friends can make a difference in your community.
Plan a trip!
You don’t have to go anywhere far, exotic, or expensive. Planning for a short road trip would be a great place to start! Of course, you’ll make memories with your friends when you get to your final destination, but I’ve found that you can learn more about your friends’ personalities and get into some interesting conversations in the midst of planning for a trip. The secret to having those unexpected conversations is to be open and curious, always.
Or…Be a Local!
No matter where you live, there are bound to be events happening all over the city! Make sure to follow a local social Instagram account (ex: @dallassocial and @discoverla), and tag and invite your friends out to some fun events. Wine tastings, trapeze tutorials, and balloon rides could be in your near future!
Find a workout buddy.
How about killing two birds with one stone – getting fit and building relationships with a friend or two? I find that I’m more motivated to workout when I have a workout buddy, and there’s also the possibility of stuffing your faces after all the hard work you went through. Face it, you deserve it! Get fit, get stuffed, get to know each other better.
And last, but most importantly, if you want to cultivate community where you’re at, you have to commit to that lifestyle, to that mission. It can be easy to say that you want to cultivate community, but usually our words fade and can be forgotten, even by us. When you make a heart and mind decision to bring people together throughout your daily life, it will happen. You’ll find that, once committed, your life will open up and be full of lasting memories, good times, and amazing conversations.
So, get out there, grab some friends, and go build your beautiful and amazing community!