by Karolyn Johnson, MFT and Reya Kost, Psy.D.
Connected – Seen & Heard is based on the idea that we need authentic human connection to thrive in our lives. We find ourselves talking about authentic connection, vulnerability, and building support networks at the most random places…soccer games, grocery stores, and most recently at the dry cleaner. It’s becoming more and more apparent that the “I’ll do it myself” mentality, in combination with modern technology, is creating a culture of isolation and disconnection. We have had a recurrent theme in therapy sessions with clients over the last few months. “I am an adult, how do I make friends now?” Making friends is challenging. It requires us to be vulnerable, open to new experiences, be flexible, and generally change the way we engage with the world. There are many articles that describe how to make friends as an adult (see links below), but now that we are vulnerable, open, and flexible, where do we go to encounter these mythical potential friends? The following list includes 7 places where you can surround yourself with potential friends.
1. Clubs – Book clubs, running clubs, hiking clubs, sewing clubs, there is a club for anything you are interested in and a common interest is a great place to start a friendship. In San Diego you can find book clubs at all public libraries, running clubs at Road Runner Sports and many charity based clubs, hiking clubs on Meet Up and the two chapters of the Sierra Club (San Diego and North County). Google is a powerful match-maker…use it.
2. Fitness – whatever type of activity you are interested in it exists in San Diego. Any type of group workout inspires comradery and often requires work in pairs – Kettebell gyms, Crossfit gyms, Yoga studios, bootcamp classes, Jazzercise (there is one in Mira Mesa at the ice arena), Rock Climbing, you name it, San Diego has it.
3. Philanthropy – volunteering or attending a fundraiser for a cause that really speaks to you is a great place to encounter like-minded people. Serving others helps you feel good about you while spending time with people doing the same. Win-Win!
4. Groups/Workshops – what better place to build connection than around a place of shared vulnerability? You can search psychologytoday.com or sandiegotherapy.com for a wide variety of topics, or visit connectedseenheard.com and view our upcoming events.
5. Activism – whether you are inspired by saving your political party, the environment, or fighting for the rights of the underserved, there are plenty of activist related groups, demonstrations, and activities you can participate in. Another opportunity to surround yourself with like-minded people.
6. Religious services – No matter your faith or belief system you will find a community that fits for you in San Diego. Challenge yourself to join a Bible study, meditation group, or service group through the organization that works for you.
7. Neighbors – do you know the people who live next door to you? How about two doors down? Most of us don’t in this day and age. It might require a bit of vulnerability and inspired action on your part, but what if you introduced yourself or organized a neighborhood “get to know you” event? Connected communities are a rare commodity in most American cities; you can place yourself at the center of changing that trend – if you are feeling so bold.
There is a term in psychology called Confirmation Bias. It means we see things or interpret things in order to confirm what we believe. If we believe the world and our communities are full of opportunity for connection – then we will see them – and to make significant change, we just need to challenge ourselves to be vulnerable and act!
If you need support or encouragement – just call us. It’s what we do!
Links for articles discussing how to make friends as an adult: