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Friendship IRL

Alex Alexander



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Formal Communities, from the Military to Toastmasters

• 55 min

I am not from a military family. So to me, deployment sounds terrifying. Think about it: you’re moving to a place where you don’t know anyone. If you’re part of a couple, one person is going to be alone a LOT. But that wasn’t the experience for my friend Laura, who in this episode describes what it was like moving to Spain with a toddler and baby for her husband’s deployment in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Upon her arrival, Laura was immediately enveloped in a warm welcome and greeted by a list of contacts and invitations to numerous events, get-togethers, and clubs. Throughout her husband’s many deployments, she learned this was the normal welcome for military families. The military is essentially a formal community. Participation in formal communities has dwindled over the years, but I think there’s major appeal to them. When you join these groups, you’re not only eased into meeting other people, but you also take on a sense of belonging to the group. I think it breaks down a lot of western beliefs about support systems. In this episode you’ll hear about: Individuals getting over social barriers vs. people in the community taking on the responsibility to reach outWhat constitutes a formal community – rules, structure, organization – and the importance of a common bond within themDownsides of expecting reciprocity in friendship, and instead, thinking of what we do for each other as nourishmentGoing into new friendships curious instead of via structured paths, and how to get past hierarchy in formal communitiesThe disappointment that will come from expecting one friend to be your EVERYTHING when you’re a grown-upHow scarcity can create more awareness of the importance of time well-spentResources & Links Like what you hear? Visit my website, leave me a voicemail, and follow me on Instagram!  Want to take this conversation a step further? Send this episode to a friend. Tell them you found it interesting and use what we just talked about as a conversation starter the next time you and your friend hang out!

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