The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members. – Coretta Scott King
The pandemic has ravished many areas of our lives, and I think it is fair to assume that the majority of us are coming out of the other end feeling like very different people. We are all part of many communities within this enormous umbrella community we call the human race, and yet, save for the online connections we may have made over the past eighteen months, most of us have not been involved in the real, physical community very much at all.
Humans are not designed to be alone. Throughout our history, we have thrived on social interaction, moved in packs, and cherished community. Community is in our DNA, yet we have had our ability to access it largely taken away over the past few months. S we emerge back into the world, not only will we be craving connection with others in a way that we have never experienced before, but we will undoubtedly benefit from the support of others. I think it is also fair to say that many of us are a bit socially rusty, so could do with some practice in human interaction as well!
Here are some more reasons why we think that finding and building communities is going to be so important in the near future…
Many of us have become lonelier through various lockdowns. This may be due to living alone, working from home, or moving away from where your friends are. It is even possible to feel lonely if you have been living with a house full of people all year, should it not be possible to breach certain subjects with any of them.
On top of that, some of us have lost friends to other parts of the country, whether that be because they have moved in with family or needed a fresh start.
This, oddly, is a time to be socially bold. I say ‘odd’ because many of us still feel that caution is prudent in these times. But this is the time to join a new group, seek out some new friends, and not be bashful about struggling with loneliness. If there is something we all have in common, it is an emotional strain from the pandemic, so you will likely find an abundance of understanding faces.
Of course, many of us have, in the most real of senses, lost people. Not only that, but we have not been able to grieve and process these losses in a normal way. There are loads of people out there who feel the same way as you, and who could use some connection from somebody who is experiencing the same.
3. Social Skills
I don’t know about you, but my first few social interactions were a bit off when I finally started going back into the world a bit. I interrupted people, I didn’t know how to start conversations, I misfired jokes, I struggled to keep it light… all sorts of holes in my social interaction skills. Getting out there and interacting with people again will take some adjusting, but it has to be done.
4. A Fresh Start
To shake off the shackles of the last year, some of us will feel like we need a fresh start. One way to do this is to seek out new groups. Perhaps you have discovered a new hobby during the lockdown and would like to meet some people who are into the same. Maybe you have worked on yourself in the last year and want to try your new improved self out on a new community. And maybe you just need to take a plunge, try something new, and meet some new people to help catapult you into the next stage of your life!
5. Broken Ties and New Connections
Life is too short. This is certainly a phrase that holds a lot more resonance now than it did before 2020. For me, somebody who has had a particularly tough year, it has become clear which of my relationships have real value, and which do not. And they are not necessarily the relationships I expected, on either side of the spectrum. This means, naturally, that some ties have been severed, and that I now have space for connections with new individuals and communities. Individuals and communities who can not only have a positive influence on me and my life but whom I can have a positive influence on!
By Chris Thomson
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