Author Topic: Increasing social connections/social capital  (Read 4436 times)

Astatine

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Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #100 on: February 14, 2018, 03:05:45 AM »
I need to be on this thread.

Boyfriend and I are pretty socially isolated. We interact a lot with friends on social media - a large number of our close friends have moved away in the past few years - but seem to strike out regarding any sort of in person contact with local people. I'm not sure if we're somehow offending people, or our friends are largely just really flaky and unable to show up at a date and time they say they will, or what's going on. We get a lot of last minute cancellations, or we make plans and for whatever reason they don't happen. Recent examples:

- I make plans to go to the Women's March with a friend. We arrive separately (this was probably the fatal flaw but I wanted to minimize my standing-around-waiting-for-stuff-to-start time so I didn't get tired too quickly), and when I get there I message her asking where she is. No response. I hear back from her hours later, after we're both home, that she went with other people.

- While Boyfriend and I are both horribly sick with flu, a friend emails us: "Hey, when you guys are feeling better, why don't we all get drinks?" I respond, "Yes! We're still sick but when we recover, let's definitely do this." We recover. I check in with them again - "Hey, we're healthy now! When would be good?" Response: "OMG, we're so busy right now, we can't, so sorry." This was about a week after the initial invite. What happened?

I try not to take stuff personally. People have lives and stress and schedule problems. But this sort of thing happens a LOT, and after a while you start wondering if it's you.

Boyfriend is turning 50 in a month and he sent save-the-dates for an evening out, last month. A few people said they'd show - but we get so many last minute cancellations any time we make plans with people that I'm scared to death he won't have anyone come and celebrate his milestone. (Two of the "yes" RSVPs are the couple who invited us for drinks and then said "OMG too busy!")

So, clearly I need to make new connections with others who are reliable. I have no idea how to screen for this other than trial and error.

I'm not sure how to get over the unreliability thing. I think it's not uncommon because I see all the last minute cancellations to various people's social events which have been organised on FB, regardless of who it is or which social circle it is. (and I have to confess I do occasionally bail on events when I have no spoons left for socialising with people I don't know very well - I have a few chronic conditions that flare up from time to time) So I try not to take it personally when people bail on things.

A couple of suggestions/comments that may or may not work for you:

I recently hosted a Tupperware party and one of their suggestions is to invite twice as many people as you want to attend. My take home messages from that are:
1) I assume that Tupperware has done some data analysis on maximising sales and how that correlates to number of attendees.
2) Their data show that half of people will turn down invitations (admittedly, an invitation to a Tupperware party might not be greeted with the same enthusiasm as say, for a birthday party - but it is one of the few MLMs all of my social circles are happy to host from time to time).
3) Err on the side of over-inviting not under-inviting.

That said, in theory I invited 30 or 40 people to my Tupperware party (everyone who belongs to a particular private FB meet up group) and only 5 came.

And I totally understand your fears about nobody turning up to your bf's 50th. Apparently that is a very common fear (there was a discussion about it in my journal last year, and I remind myself of that everytime I organise something).

I organised a birthday picnic party for myself last year, and I ended up inviting lots and lots of people, 40 adults (and about 30 kids), even some people I'm not that close to. About half turned up in the end. If I do it again this year (likely), I think I'll spread the net even wider. Could you bump up the number of invitations to your bf's party?

And ugh @ people judging your housekeeping skills. Hopefully you won't come across anyone like that again in your new city.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #101 on: February 14, 2018, 04:28:09 AM »

Boyfriend is turning 50 in a month and he sent save-the-dates for an evening out, last month. A few people said they'd show - but we get so many last minute cancellations any time we make plans with people that I'm scared to death he won't have anyone come and celebrate his milestone. (Two of the "yes" RSVPs are the couple who invited us for drinks and then said "OMG too busy!")

So, clearly I need to make new connections with others who are reliable. I have no idea how to screen for this other than trial and error.

Right now, the other impediment is the 14 inches of snow on the ground. I can't blame people; I don't want to be out in that either.

I think we should start small - joining things, leaving our house to go to events we're interested in. Maybe some meetups. Hard sell when the weather's so bad but we can force ourselves.

Boyfriend, however, wants to leap right into inviting people over, which gives me a lot of anxiety because I'm not a great housekeeper and I've had close friends shame me because I missed some dirt somewhere even after I spent days scrubbing. (There was also a memorable incident where a friend turned on a ceiling fan that we'd literally never turned on since moving into our apartment, because I don't like them, and huge dust bunnies flew EVERYWHERE. I was mortified.) And yes, I know someone who shames you for not being clean enough is not really a friend, but again, how do you screen for that?

Could you try to do something fun during the 50 year anniversary? Like going some place to the beach/forest and making a campfire. What I mean is making it attractive for people to join as it is different from usual.

When we had a housewarming party after moving to a new house, we invited a lot of people to a garden-campfire-party outside in the snow. And it was windy that night. I didn't expect many people to come, so we invited many. Definitively more than half came and everyone was okay with sitting outside in the snow. I think most were curious to see the new house, which we went into later in the evening.

Please don't take it personally when people turn down a facebook invitation. It is too loose. And we are all very stressed out and are sometimes too low on spoons (good expression) to be in the mood of going to a party.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #102 on: February 14, 2018, 04:29:59 AM »
DH went to our cabin this weekend, without me. But the Danish guy that had talked about joining him didn't come for whatever reason. It is again the making a loose appointment on facebook that gives people the impression that they can take it lightly.

Tris Prior

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #103 on: February 14, 2018, 08:42:02 AM »

 It made me feel like I need to have more fun, because that is all people talk about. I don't have consumption-driven "fun" any more; I work constantly.  That's by choice, but it's hard to make conversation when I don't go on far away trips or drink fine wines, etc.  Oh well, that kind of socializing wasn't on my list anyway.


I had this problem when we were in extreme hair-on-fire-emergency a few years ago. We didn't even have Netflix, much less cable, so we couldn't talk about whatever the hot new TV show was. Couldn't afford movies so couldn't talk about that. Couldn't go out to eat or for drinks with people. Had literally NO fun. I had 3 jobs. I worked. That was it. It did make it really hard to make conversation with people.

We've relaxed this a little bit, so we can at least now, for example, discuss the latest netflix series with people instead of standing there and looking dumb.

I organised a birthday picnic party for myself last year, and I ended up inviting lots and lots of people, 40 adults (and about 30 kids), even some people I'm not that close to. About half turned up in the end. If I do it again this year (likely), I think I'll spread the net even wider. Could you bump up the number of invitations to your bf's party?

This is an excellent suggestion. The problem is that we just don't have that wide of a circle. Boyfriend could think of 6 people to invite, and a couple aren't really that close to us. Most of our friends have moved away; people are fleeing this city in droves and I don't blame them. I cannot tell you how many times I've met someone promising, we start hanging out, and then comes "I'm moving!" There are just not that many local people any more that we even talk to, much less socialize with.

We definitely need to widen our circle somehow. I feel like we've got a few strikes against us: in 40s but no kids, we're nerds but I hate to game (and nerds always, ALWAYS want to freaking game! Ugh! Though that's an option for Boyfriend, he doesn't mind it), general lack of disposable income for socializing. I don't meet many mustachians here. When one of my friends moved to a smaller city, she was shocked at how people have house parties. That's, like, the default weekend plan when you want to see your friends. There's less to do there, sure, but not NOTHING to do. While here, no one wants to hang out at people's house, in my experience. They want to go out and DO THINGS. She told me, "this is so weird and awesome! I can just invite people over! And they come! And they have fun! And no one's complaining that we're not at whatever club/bar/restaurant is trendy right now!"

I blew off the last MMM Chicago meetup because it was on a beach in cold weather (guys? Let's not do that again? ;) ) Maybe there'll be another one at some point.

I sometimes don't have the spoons for socializing, so I understand if that's the issue.

I think Boyfriend would rather die than celebrate his birthday in the snow. As would pretty much everyone we know. I guarantee that if we advertised this as an outdoor activity, literally NO ONE would come. (Probably including me and I am his partner, LOL.) Everyone here is so over winter. People just hibernate and refuse to go outside except when necessary for months on end.  I hear it's not that way in Norway and Scandinavia in general; that people there accept that the weather is shit but go out anyway. That's probably a healthier attitude.

OK, so, I think my goal is first going to be, widen our circle. Not even necessarily "make friends," though that's the larger goal. Maybe we should focus on literally just meeting more people, instead of finding friends. Maybe it's a numbers game - the more people you meet, the more likely it is to click with someone, even if it's just one person. And we should go into this with the attitude of, success = we met someone, not success = we made a friend who will socialize with us.

I have some opportunities coming up for this in a couple months when community garden season starts. I always plan on being more involved with my community garden org, and I do stay involved in the spring, but once the garden really gets going and I have a lot of work to do in it, I have a hard time balancing that and work and my side business (which ramps up in summer) and, y'know, trying to enjoy the few months of nice weather we have, haha.) And then I just can't find the time. I can try to do better with that this year.

I also need to get back into political volunteering. I meant to go to an organizing meeting a couple weeks ago but had an emergency with the cat so had to cancel. Hopefully there will be other opportunities coming up soon.

pachnik

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #104 on: February 14, 2018, 11:11:31 AM »
I think I need to be on this thread.   

My social life has grown smaller through the last few years.  A big part of that is that my closest friend became very sick with a mental illness.  I feel the lack of a close friend - we'd get together for tea at her place or go out for lunch and talked about everything.  She's frugal so we'd just go to inexpensive ethnic places so fairly MMM-ish.   We are still in touch but she isn't able to go out or even get together at her place regularly because she's in a care facility out of town.  She comes 'home' for a few days per week.  Her caregivers are trying to readjust her to living on her own and it going very slowly.   Last time I visited her was in November.  We stay in touch by phone every week or so though. 

I have some acquaintances though and some possibilities there.  I actually meet a lot of people since I attend two recovery groups.

However, my husband and I are lacking in couple friends.  We had a few that have petered out over the last year or so.   Not really sure why?  We've talked about doing some kind of volunteering together but haven't actually figured anything out yet.   At the end of the month, one of my groups is having a pot luck so we're going to that.  We've gone to meet-up groups in the past and maybe we could start again.

I like Tris' idea of meeting more people and eventually someone will click.   

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #105 on: February 14, 2018, 12:21:06 PM »
All those plans (book club meeting, pancake supper at the new church)...pbbbt.  I have a bad head cold.  Yay Olympics.
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HappierAtHome

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #106 on: February 15, 2018, 02:04:55 AM »
Today I registered to attend an open session at my local Playgroup (not a childcare, but an Aussie thing with activities and socialising for kids with parents present, very low cost). I'm hoping that their schedule will have at least one good weekly session on one of my days off. As well as being fun for my baby, it will be a great opportunity to make local friends with kids the same age.

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #107 on: February 15, 2018, 03:05:51 AM »
Posting to follow.

Soon I'll need to work big time on re-building my social network. I recently cut ties with my old University friends. My remaining friends mostly come from work, but as our unit is shutting down soon we'll no doubt end up scattered across the country. This will leave me high and dry by next year if I'm not careful. : I








Poundwise

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #108 on: February 15, 2018, 04:45:29 PM »
Quote
Quote from: Tris Prior
Quote
Quote from: Poundwise on February 13, 2018, 08:14:22 PM
     It made me feel like I need to have more fun, because that is all people talk about. I don't have consumption-driven "fun" any more; I work constantly.  That's by choice, but it's hard to make conversation when I don't go on far away trips or drink fine wines, etc.  Oh well, that kind of socializing wasn't on my list anyway.

I had this problem when we were in extreme hair-on-fire-emergency a few years ago. We didn't even have Netflix, much less cable, so we couldn't talk about whatever the hot new TV show was. Couldn't afford movies so couldn't talk about that. Couldn't go out to eat or for drinks with people. Had literally NO fun. I had 3 jobs. I worked. That was it. It did make it really hard to make conversation with people.

This seems to be a fairly common problem for Mustachians, even non-hard-core ones like me.

Today I emailed a few old friends, not close ones, but people I esteemed and worked with in the past-- and it felt good.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #109 on: February 16, 2018, 12:40:58 AM »
Quote
Quote from: Tris Prior
Quote
Quote from: Poundwise on February 13, 2018, 08:14:22 PM
     It made me feel like I need to have more fun, because that is all people talk about. I don't have consumption-driven "fun" any more; I work constantly.  That's by choice, but it's hard to make conversation when I don't go on far away trips or drink fine wines, etc.  Oh well, that kind of socializing wasn't on my list anyway.

I had this problem when we were in extreme hair-on-fire-emergency a few years ago. We didn't even have Netflix, much less cable, so we couldn't talk about whatever the hot new TV show was. Couldn't afford movies so couldn't talk about that. Couldn't go out to eat or for drinks with people. Had literally NO fun. I had 3 jobs. I worked. That was it. It did make it really hard to make conversation with people.

This seems to be a fairly common problem for Mustachians, even non-hard-core ones like me.

Today I emailed a few old friends, not close ones, but people I esteemed and worked with in the past-- and it felt good.

It helps finding friends who'd like to join you for a running trip or a walk in the forest or something at your house. Or any other cheap activity that you doesn't require buying drinks in a commercial place.

Dicey

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #110 on: February 16, 2018, 01:27:52 AM »
@Tris Prior, I have written about this before, even on this thread, I think. (Posting during insomnia, sorry I'm fuzzy.) The library always needs volunteers, and I know this sounds sexist, but able-bodied men are worth their weight in gold, 'cause books=heavy. Go see if your nearest library has a Friends Group. I promise you will make new friends. Plus, library users naturally skew toward frugal, in my experience.

I didn't have cable for over a decade, but I always knew enough about the highest rated shows, because I READ about them - free! Think of it this way: if you saw the movie and I read the book, we have enough in common to have a conversation. Believing you can't converse with people about shows because you don't have cable is somewhat flimsy. Hell, you can always ask about their most/least favorite character or episode, then just relax and let 'em talk. Then you can change the subject. It totally works.
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Serendip

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #111 on: February 16, 2018, 08:51:24 AM »
A friend hosted a 'social experiment' last year at our home (she wanted to do a trial run of a Conversation Dinner as she was supposed to facilitate one of these later on in the year to a larger group)

She send out invites to a set number of people, most of whom knew each other but perhaps not well. The only request was to come with a bottle of wine and an open mind.

She paired people up with someone they weren't familiar with and served each course of food with the option to discuss one of the questions on the "question menu".
Some of the questions were easy "tell me about a scent you remember from your childhood", others were more personal/intimate "have you ever kept a long-term secret from your family". You stayed in conversation with the one person you were paired with so it really felt like you were able to get to know them.

It was an interesting night, and highlighted how everyone has interesting stories to tell IF we ask the right questions. I think we can learn to engage in more meaningful conversation if we develop the skill. I am working on this, in the end it's using curiousity to draw things out of people without feeling pushy :)

(this friend also has a deck of conversation cards and can manage to get people talking about random things without it feeling contrived. ie ...the last time they puked, or the kindest thing anyone has ever done for them). ha--always makes for interesting evenings :)

Tris Prior

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #112 on: February 16, 2018, 09:06:18 AM »
There's a gun-control march going on Sunday. I'd like to go, but I don't want to do another march alone. I saw on Facebook that an acquaintance is going, so I messaged her to ask if she wanted to meet up. No response yet, and maybe she'll say no, but at least I asked, instead of stewing over why no one's responded to my "hey, who wants to go to this march with me" Facebook post. ! Win?

ETA:  she said she's going with her feminist group and I'm welcome to meet up with them! Bonus: I want to know more about this feminist group. I've been looking for something like that for a while but didn't want to just go in cold.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 09:47:28 AM by Tris Prior »

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #113 on: February 16, 2018, 03:23:19 PM »
I've been really tired this week so I haven't done many new things since last weekend. However, tonight I'm going to a Chinese NY pot luck dinner at a friend's house, and because I don't have transport, another friend will be giving me a lift there and back. I have a glut of cooking tomatoes so I'll give some to both the host of the dinner and the friend giving me a lift.

Depending on how tired I am today, I might text another friend and see if she wants to do anything tomorrow morning, like go to a park with her son.

Carrie

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #114 on: February 16, 2018, 03:47:24 PM »
I'm teaching a cooking class on Monday morning! And after that is over my week plans include setting up an afternoon play with a neighbor for my kid, finally inviting a few people for coffee next Monday  (forgot this Monday was a holiday, plus cooking class commitment).

I visited with a few people yesterday. Asked advice & shared experiences.


Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #115 on: February 16, 2018, 03:50:20 PM »
I'm teaching a cooking class on Monday morning! And after that is over my week plans include setting up an afternoon play with a neighbor for my kid, finally inviting a few people for coffee next Monday  (forgot this Monday was a holiday, plus cooking class commitment).

I visited with a few people yesterday. Asked advice & shared experiences.



Well done!!!

Serendip

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #116 on: February 16, 2018, 06:03:03 PM »
-Catching a ride with someone I know through a friend, to go have dinner with a couple of friends (who moved to a nearby town)

-Going to a music event, even though I most likely will want to go to bed :)

-Making plans to have an art date with another 'lost friend' who I haven't seen in ages (she has a young daughter)

« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 01:04:43 PM by Serendip »

Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #117 on: February 16, 2018, 06:03:35 PM »

Depending on how tired I am today, I might text another friend and see if she wants to do anything tomorrow morning, like go to a park with her son.

Friend is unavailable but she suggested catching up weekend after next.

Carrie

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #118 on: February 16, 2018, 06:53:14 PM »
I love the encouragement on this thread. :)
I forgot another Thing. I'm taking my two youngest to a birthday party tomorrow.  My goals are to get to know a few people better - by asking questions & listening. I need to pay attention to cues and try not to say something awkward or too controversial.

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #119 on: February 19, 2018, 07:12:15 AM »
Thanks for this thread, I just stumbled upon it.
I and my hubby are both introverts and are very uncomfortable in general with too many (read anybody other than us) people around.
But this year I made a resolution to reach out to friends and family and stay in touch, attend more get together and do stuff as a community.
I'll keep posted how it goes.

Tris Prior

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #120 on: February 19, 2018, 11:12:46 AM »
I met up with the feminist group as well as my acquaintance who pointed me in their direction, at the protest yesterday. They seemed nice, but my friend told me that the actual group is closed to new members, outside events like yesterday's, because they are "at capacity."

Oh well. I achieved my primary goal of not attending the protest alone and having some social interaction with new folks.

This echoes something I've heard somewhat often from people who are local to me - the feeling that they don't have time for new friends, already have enough friends, etc. I'm wondering how commonplace this is or whether it's a thing that's unique to my city (and possibly other large cities like NYC where things tend to be faster-paced and people tend to overcommit themselves).

Serendip

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #121 on: February 19, 2018, 11:28:28 AM »
-Went for a 2.5 hour catch-up walk with a friend

-Made plans for another get-together with someone I haven't seen in months

-Will actively invite some friends to come visit while my SO is gone in March

@TrisPrior  I don't think it's a unique problem for large cities--I live in small town with high seasonal turnover and people suffer from the fatigue of getting to know new people (who are only here short term)
Sure, there are benefits to long-term relationships however I think if you have a good connection, who cares if it's for 5 days or 5 years?!

Age-wise though, there is also this time period when people are nesting/maybe busy with family and I try to be considerate of that since I don't have children myself.

Carrie

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #122 on: February 19, 2018, 01:29:46 PM »
I have a lot to report.
Saturday I went to a child's birthday party and had a blast.  Since the kids were entertained, I had plenty of time to visit with the adults. So many good connections were made. I made plans to meet up with two of the people next week at a coffee shop. ;)
Sunday I texted with a friend who will host the next neighborhood brunch, next Monday, and I'm really looking forward to that. We're adding another lady to our invite.
I sent condolences to the family over a death of a former coworker (of mine, from 17 years ago), but I do feel a little bit bad that I didn't go to the visitation yesterday.
This morning I taught my cooking class! It was good, and I'm going to do it again. This really pushed me beyond my comfort zone.


Dollar Slice

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #123 on: February 19, 2018, 01:43:51 PM »
Went out this weekend with someone from out of state who I had met when she was visiting in 2015. We've kept in touch a bit on Facebook so when she comes back to NYC she usually pings me to see what I'm up to. Turns out she and her partner are moving to NYC in a few months so now she will be a local friend :-)

We went to a concert and I made a bit of an extra effort to go talk to the drummer afterwards as he's one of my favorite drummers and he's always been very friendly to me. And then I got sucked into a conversation with the guitarist (who I'm very shy with because I'm a megafan of his) and managed not to say anything stupid enough to haunt me late at night when I'm lying awake and can't sleep. This is a major accomplishment when you have social anxiety ;-)

I'm wondering how commonplace this is or whether it's a thing that's unique to my city (and possibly other large cities like NYC where things tend to be faster-paced and people tend to overcommit themselves).

I haven't really found this to be true in NYC... there is a lot of population turnover (old residents leaving, new residents arriving) and lots of single/childless people, so there are tons of people looking to make friends and who have lots of time to socialize. I think the fast-paced/over-committed stuff results in making more casual friendships, though. People are much flakier here than where I used to live.
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Astatine

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #124 on: February 19, 2018, 09:07:45 PM »
Proposed a time, date and location for my local MMM meetup for early March. :D

And I finally got around to booking a table at a cafe this Saturday so me and DH can have lunch with my old school friend, her husband and their kid. I had to book online (ugh, I hate the uncertainty) and am waiting to hear back from the cafe to see if my booking was confirmed or not. I get that online bookings are less work for cafes and restaurants but I don't like a) not getting the instant feedback as to whether my booking is confirmed and b) not being able to confirm any particular seating requirements (eg indoors vs outdoors).

And friends of the weekly dinner will be back in town after being away for a few weeks, so it will be nice to have that routine back in place. I do quite like standing social arrangements where you just have to show up weekly etc at a predetermined time and place. Takes out a lot of the mental and emotional labour for everyone. (not very common unfortunately - maybe that's a goal I can work towards later this year - set up some more routinised socialising)

MrsWhipple

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #125 on: February 20, 2018, 06:28:04 PM »
Congrats to everyone on their sociability! This thread has made me realize that I'm actually a bit more social than I had imagined, which is good.

Yesterday, though - I got to dance class early, and there were two people standing on opposite sides of the room. "I'm going to make friends!" I thought to myself, and approached one of them. "Hey, I haven't seen you here before!" I said. "Oh, I'm here visiting from Thailand," the lady said.

"You're from Thailand? That's where I'm from!!!" the other lady cries out. The first lady ran across the room, talking excitedly in Thai, and they hugged and began chatting in rapid-fire Thai, ignoring me completely.

Well, at least I instigated a friendship, albeit not in the way I intended. Sigh.

prathis

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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #126 on: Today at 08:03:13 AM »
I attended a HOA meeting at my community yesterday. After the meeting, took the effort to meet each one and chit chat for few minutes. Couldn't meet all of them but guess I would have atleast met 10 people few known before and few for the first time.
I felt emotionally exhausted but also thrilled at making so many new connections.

prathis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Increasing social connections/social capital
« Reply #127 on: Today at 08:06:22 AM »
they hugged and began chatting in rapid-fire Thai, ignoring me completely.

That was rude of them..  but as you said, you helped create a new friendship :)