Raw, real, and authentic can be hard to find
Moving. We’ve all done it. Maybe it was for that dream job or maybe it was to be closer to family. Whatever the reason that brought you to a new town or a new city you made the move and the excitement is over. The reality of your new life hits you hard and you are struggling with the whole making raw, real, authentic connections.
Connection is hard, but not impossible
Finding a new community can be hard. There are new schedules, maybe kids, or maybe the fear of opening up that can make this new season of life even harder. Finding a community who shares the same values, beliefs, and growth mindset is hard, but it’s not impossible. There are people out there also looking for that same type of connection, but you have to do the work to find them.
The moves that taught me about connection or lack of
As a Michigander, moving to Colorado was a dream. My first move took me to Vail, where I made friends—I called them bar friends. We were really good at drinking ’till two am with each other, but nobody knew who I really was. To them I was the bartender who loved jager bombs and always tried keeping up with the guys when it came to drinking. Finding people I could truly connect with was hard, especially because I didn’t even know who I was. I let my surroundings determine my priorities.
Rock bottom came and I knew I had to leave Vail. The future was unknown except for grad school. Denver, a big city for this small town girl. I was convinced finding a community that I could connect with would be easy because there were so many different groups of people. Boy, was I wrong. I felt a little isolated, like I was on an island and nobody understood me, or maybe I didn’t understand me. Whatever the issue, I found some work friends and grad school friends, but quickly lost touch when I quit the job and when grad school ended. It wasn’t until I met my future husband that I finally felt at home. I loved having him as my partner and my best-friend, but I was still missing my tribe.
Along with connection can come grief
Grad school, marriage, and the desire to start a family brought us north to Windsor. I was convinced I would find my tribe here. A tribe I had been searching for and yearning for. I connected with some pretty amazing women, but then I learned the hard way that just as I continue to grow and change, so do friendships. As the friendships changed, I felt lost and confused. I mourned the loss of some friendships, but through that mourning I learned a few lessons about effectively making new friends and cultivating meaningful relationships which led me to some of the most real, honest, and raw friendships I have ever had. I have a lot to learn, but I want to share three ideas to help guide you when finding your tribe.
Unpacking the ideas
1. Show up! They might be new friends, so showing them you care is important, so show up! Celebrate their success. Make them dinner. Take their yoga class. Watch their kids. Show up for birthday parties. Put your phone down and enjoy their conversation. We all have days when our own responsibilities are enough to deal with and the thought of one more task can be daunting. However, showing up is necessary to build your connections.
2. Communicate. Be honest. Talk about things. If you are busy, tell them. Maybe you are hurt, make them aware of it. If you are struggling, don’t hide it. The conversations might be hard and the outcome might not be what you want, but without communication we create problems that don’t exist. When we create problems that don’t exist, we are not only hurting ourselves we are damaging the relationship.
3. It’s ok to say goodbye. Maybe it’s not a forever goodbye, but a seasonal change, which means that right now this isn’t a relationship that you can invest in. Whatever type of goodbye it is don’t feel guilty, give yourself time to grieve, and most importantly don’t give up on finding that raw, real,authentic connection.
There is a community out there who will allow you to feel loved and supported. There is a community out there that will bring out the best in you and that will show up for you. Take a chance on that stranger running on the treadmill next to you or the kind-hearted mom who says hi to you at the pool. You just never know what is going to happen. Let those new friendships feed your soul and take the time to truly connect with them. Amazing things can and will happen! Believe me. I know from personal experience!