Building a Community of Friendships

Dating other couples is a funny concept. Realizing our lives would be forever changed by having a baby, before Rooney was born we made an effort to get together with friends and acquaintances to build friendships, discover others' ideas of parenting and expand our community. After all, God calls us to be in community with one another. Often our busy schedules get in the way of intentionally connecting with others, which is why one of our family goals this year is to date other couples at least four times this year.

Surprisingly, once we set this goal, the planning happened naturally and it looks as though we will surpass this easily. We've already had some great conversations with four amazing couples/families in 2012 and look forward to many more.

Taking the time to invite someone over or plan an evening get-together for great conversation, food and fellowship is not only inspiring, but lots of fun as well. It's something we want to continue to do even now that Rooney is here. Here are some ideas that might help.

5 Steps to Making it Happen

  1. Take initiative: We have all been in that situation where you see someone out and about, have a brief conversation and then someone says, "We should get together soon." Yeah, that sounds great, but it's usually forgotten quickly after the encounter. It doesn't take too long to connect via Facebook, Twitter or email to follow up and say, "It was great bumping into you today, and we would love to get together soon to catch up. What does your schedule look like in the next couple weeks?"
  2. Plan to have a meal together: Meals are the best way to fellowship together. Grabbing coffee or ice cream is great, too, but that seems to work better for one-on-one meetings.
  3. Decide on location: Sometimes we have people over, sometimes we meet at a restaurant and sometimes we go to someone's house. We've found in the past that some couples with kids prefer to host. It's just easier for them to continue their night routines. When that happened we offered to bring a side or dessert or ask how else we might help out with the meal.
  4. Get over the awkwardness: I think during the first few years of our marriage we worried about what people thought about us or if they would like us. As we mature, we realize that we are who we are, and trying to be something we're not isn't worth the effort. We are pretty open with our lives (obviously), so it's fun to share experiences and struggles and hear other peoples opinions of how to solve them. The opposite is great, too. Hearing other people's experiences and struggles is a great way to share what we've learned in life as well.
  5. Find common interests: It's super awesome to find a common interest that we can talk passionately about with other people. Having an intentional marriage, finances, blogging, photography, biking and parenting are current areas of interest for us.

This might seem like overkill, but I am sure there are some people out there who have a hard time approaching this kind of thing. Being social can be hard and if we are not careful, we can easily spend our entire lives at home alone.

Kelsey and I are somewhat introverted. We would rather just keep to ourselves and enjoy life together (or write about it rather than talk about it). So, we must be intentional in choosing to engage socially with other couples/families.

It's going to be even more important now that Rooney is in our lives. She needs to make some baby friends that she can enjoy and socialize with as well. They can talk about their sleeping schedules, how mom and dad won't feed them anything but liquids, teething struggles and diaper rash (think Look Who's Talking).

What does your social life look like? How do you stay connected with friends?