Community: Ways to Foster Friendships

Community is a word that is thrown around a lot in pop culture. If we aren’t talking about community then we are talking about our tribe. I decided to look up both words and come up with a definition that I believe describes community/tribe to me.  Community: a common space, belief, ethnicity, and ideals….now this is something that I could wrap my brain around.  How does one establish a community of common ground? Well I’m glad you asked!

Friends…how many of us have them?

This year has been very challenging and it has brought about some tough changes, uncertainties and tons of questions. At one point I remember telling my husband that I felt like I was drowning. I learned that during those times it is very easy to isolate and withdraw and that is exactly what I did.  The entire time while I was doing this I was not working on myself but instead I was having a pity party for one. As this pity party continued I saw how it not only affected me but my family as well. So I decided to get up, regroup and make myself accountable to those who know me best. My community! In order to do that I had to commit myself to three things, which I believe, are pillars in any strong community.

Intentional

Relationships are built upon communication, trust and love. I love my husband very much but I was very limited in my conversations with him because I was emotionally spent. He knew that I needed him and because of that he continued to constantly check in and talk to me.

His words of encouragement, love and support helped to carry me through that rough patch.

Although I didn’t say much, I listened and those words pierced through the pain and helped me to keep moving forward. We oftentimes try to find community outside of our home but do not overlook your significant other or spouse. My husband spoke words of life over me, spent time with me and loved me when I needed him most. Communities do not happen by chance they are established through meaningful and thoughtful action consistently over time.

Vulnerability

Many times we want a strong community but we only give 50% of our true selves but expect everyone else to give 100%. Unfair, unspoken and unmet expectations lead to cracks in relationships. If we truly want to build community we must be willing to bring our true authentic selves to the relationships. If you desire true friendship be a good friend to someone else. Again this takes trust, time and communication. I have three girlfriends who I have been doing life with for 12-20 years.

Over the years they have seen me at my worst and my best and because of that I am free to share my deepest joys, fears, dreams and frustrations.

They can be brutally honest because it is done in love. Now this level of vulnerability isn’t shown to everyone because we must always guard our hearts.  Time not only tells all but it reveals it as well.

Accountability

Let me say it one more time for the people in the back….accountability.  While I was going through this year a dear friend called just to chat buy I kept sending her to voicemail. She eventually sent me a text and reminded me that life is not supposed to be spent alone. In that moment I felt a gut check that prompted me to call her.

I allowed myself to be content with shutting everyone out but in a way she was saying, “Felicia you need to pull yourself together”. 

She knew what was going on in my life and that I needed encouragement and support.  She helped me to face my problems head on and to see that pride was getting in the way of my healing and growth.  Pride will allow you to settle, pride will tell you that no one cares about you and pride will keep you from building community because instead of allowing others to hold you accountable it prevents you from allowing them to intimately know you.  In short letting go of pride and self-preservation will help build community.

Final Thoughts

Community is something that we all desire and need because life is meant to be shared with others.  John Donne said it best “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.”  We need our crew, tribe, people but it doesn’t happen over night.  It requires work, time and sometimes trial and error but the end results are always worth it.  So go out there show yourself friendly, have genuine conversations, be your authentic self and watch your tribe grow.


Felicia Tucker

Hi, my name is Felicia Tucker and I am a wife and mom of three. My world consists of fostering a healthy marriage and nurturing my children while integrating that into my career. It is never a dull moment! I am learning how to enjoy the small moments, not sweat the small stuff and go to sleep with the toys strewn over the living room floor.

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