So last week I shared with you that Pam and I met while living almost two thousand miles apart. After we lived apart for two years, we decided it was time to try to get closer to each other.
As a college professor by trade, finding new jobs can be hit or miss, so I was thrilled when I found a job in New York City, where Pam also worked.
But that’s neither here nor there.
One of the hardest things I had to let go of in order to make that move
The reason I bring this up again is because of one of the hardest things I had to let go of in order to make that move. It wasn’t my career; I was ready for a refresh there. My family wasn’t in Texas anyway, so it wasn’t that. It was my friends, the community I had established there.
I don’t make friends easily. I am the poster child for introverts, and this is coming from someone who works with other introverts.
So over the 4 years I was in San Antonio, I had slowly built up a small but close knit group of colleague/friends. We did the “friend” things: brunches, birthday celebrations, grumbling about work.
At a time when I was a thousand miles from my own family, they had become that for me. And I didn’t want to leave them.
But I did.
You know what else I did, though? After an initial shock, I went about the business of building new networks in NYC and New Jersey.
One of the barriers to finding that special someone that people in the LGBTQ+ community voice is their feelings of isolation. Maybe they live in a small town, or maybe they don’t have ready access to the typical opportunities for networking – bars, clubs, sports.
Is that you?
Well build your own community! I did!
It started with just a meetup group. After failing to find a group that met my needs, I started my own. It was super easy (and free to get started!)
Pam and I were looking for lesbian couples who were like us and enjoyed many of the things that we did. And we found them!
And then these friends knew people. And those people knew people.
Before we knew it, we had a new “framily.”
Even in a densely populated area like where we live, it is very possible to still feel isolated and unable to find your people. I know I did when I first got here. But I figured it out.
Want to build some networks?
Here are some ideas…
Join a Meetup group or start your own
Meetup is great and with the pandemic still going on, many groups are sponsoring online events, so you aren’t limited geographically.
Join Facebook groups for people who share your interests.
Facebook, like the rest of social media, is a rabbit hole, but it’s also one that offers a ton of opportunities for interacting with people from around the world who share similar interests.
Attend online conferences around personal interests.
There are so many conferences that are going on these days, all online based. Go to a travel related conference. Join one for singles, or for a business you may be interested in starting. It might seem weird, but even connections that initially start off professional can become personal and friendly.
AND as the pandemic gets more and more under control, some of these web-based opportunities will return to being face-to-face and may turn into retreats and short face-to-face gatherings.