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These are membership, influence, integration/ fulfillment of needs, and shared emotional connection.
To be part of a community, you must feel a sense of belonging (membership), feel like you make a difference to the group and that the group makes a difference to you (influence), feel like your needs will be met by other group members (integration and fulfillment of needs), and feel that you share history, similar experiences, time, and space together (shared emotional connection).
Becoming a member of communities helps build social diversity. However, finding community is much different from just making friends.
Friendship is an invested, dedicated, platonic relationship where two people who are friends with each other are committed to the growth, the well-being, the support, the thriving of each other.
One of the easiest ways to find a group you’d mesh with is to figure out where you wouldn’t mind spending a few hours of your time.
Consider your talents and interests or a skill you’d like to learn and seek out places to do those activities.
Seek out groups that create together; the act of making something as a group facilitates closeness and brings you into contact with people of different ages, backgrounds, and stages of life. Whether it’s a performance or a neighborhood coat drive, anything you’re creating together is a beautiful way to build community.
To forge a true connection with the group — and vice versa — you’ll need to continually show up and add value.
You’ll develop closeness more quickly if you have that regularity and you don’t have to agonize over scheduling. Immediately add the next meeting date to your calendar and make it a point to consistently attend. Coming early with a snack or staying late to stack the chairs shows you’re invested in the community.
Because communities are made up of lots of people with varying opinions and life experiences, being an active member means regularly interacting with others in the group.
But don’t expect other members to immediately support you in your endeavors, want to do you a favor, or even engage in conversation with you. Forging these connections takes time and effort, and you risk rejection, but to fully integrate into a community, you can’t be a wallflower. It’s your job to put energy into other people and not just wait for them to put energy into you.
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