After feeling a little glum and purposeless recently, I realised that I don’t really feel part of a community in my life. I live in a big city having moved there 8 years ago and although I have friends (mainly from my time at university), I don’t feel a strong attachment to anything. I have sought to resolve that this year and have started looking into volunteering and the tennis club.
So what I would like to know is what you do in your life that makes you feel part of a community? As I write this, I know it’s a bit of a fuzzy concept, so also tell me your interpretation of it too.
I run litter picks sometimes and that’s really nice. I connect with neighniurs though admittedly easier in a bif flat development with a Facebook page but we share leftovers, do favours, talk about the gardens and generally show some attention and care to the surroundings, on a more city scale I guess a lot of my work helps me speak to people with similar interests through twitter that want to take action on the same issues in the city, I always try to make a point of helping someone (so approaching people who look lost rather than wait for them to ask for help, offer to assist a mother with a crying baby or toddler, help people with shopping etc). Basically being helpful and kind when I don’t always want to be leads to connections, sometimes brief, sometimes more lasting, and I feel more rooted in place and valued and confident to keep behaving that way.
But on a more social level meet up can be great
I’ve been thinking this a lot recently as well (without necessarily thinking it’s a problem) but there is a real absence of anything that can provide “a sense of community” in the modern world IMO.
Say what you want about organised religion but there is a palpable sense of community within those confines that is a good thing when isolated.
Get a local pub.
Use local shops.
Speak to people at both
I felt the same when I lived in London, but it got better when I moved to a small city. I now live in rural East Anglia and buy locally, so know most of the shop owners that I regularly visit to talk to / pass the time of day. Also, no joke, everybody seems to be related to somebody else or know someone you know. It’s lovely, like the 1950s. I love East Anglia.
Community is also much easier to find if / once you have children, but appreciate that’s not for everyone. I guess sport is a very good way otherwise. I think just being friendly and open will always help.
Yes, i need to make an effort with the neighbours. We’ve bumped into each other and have plenty in common. Can be awkward to make it clear you would like to become friends, but i need to overcome this
Aye, that is absolutely the other thing that does the job.
It doesn’t for me, personally in the way that it would if I supported a local club though obviously.
Think if I lived down south I’d pick a non league side to watch. United hardly ever kick off at 3pm on a Saturday anyway
Yes, there’s a lot to be said for the routine and the same faces you must see at religious places
Friendly greetings to local dogs only. Avoid eye contact with all humans
This. I used to know all the people around me at football and always asked how people were and how there weeks were. I knew them for years.
Then we all had to move to make way for the HF singing section and now we don’t really know the people around us. It’s not the same, this probably is my last year.
I basically go to all the 3pm Saturday home games, I love it but more as a nice day of alone time than any sense of community though.
Palpable sense of support when needed from that community as well.
My partner’s Nan died before Christmas. She’s from quite a small sect within Islam and the experience of the funeral and associated ceremonies made me really feel a very tangible sense of how beneficial the community side of religion can be. It’s the entire point of the thing in many ways but the way in which the traditions and ceremonies have a built-in level of support is very alluring.
Contrary to a lot of people’s experience I know, but I’ve always known a bunch of my neighbours in London everywhere I’ve lived (and I’m not even a particularly friendly person ).
That said, having kids has massively tied us into the local community - can’t go anywhere in our area now without bumping into someone I’m at least on hello terms with. School/library/kids clubs/GP surgery/etc - it all adds up to hundreds of people in the local area that you suddenly know. Daughter is in year 2 now and the adult social circle that is a spin-off from her social circle has settled down a bit now - rather than just making conversation because the kids are mates, we’re actually friends with those parents that have similar interests (basically boozing and going to gigs).
Talk to all the people in the shops and cafes I go to regularly.
School run helps, there are some people who live near us who I walk with a lot.
Dog also helps, I know local dog people to talk to.
Know the names at least of all our neighbours (except one set who have barely been seen since they moved in) and because I WFH I take all their parcels, so I get to see them semi-regularly. We’re actually friends with our immediate next-door neighbours, which is really nice. We spent New Year’s Eve with them.
Talk to the homeless guys and the Big Issue seller who are regulars outside the Co-Op and try to help out as much as I can.
When I walk about in our neighbourhood I rarely make it down the street without giving someone a wave or having a quick chat.
Depends on what time of community you want to be a part of - one based on shared geography or one based on a shared interest?
Think the former is really hard if you’re not settled, if you’re young or renting. Latter is probably easier but you’ve got to have interests or passions to follow up on.
Would just day that don’t think you’re not part of a community just because you don’t say hi to your neighbours. We all are in some form of another.
(I also think there’s an inherent small-c conservatism to watch out for in a lot of communities, but that’s probably for another thread)