Coffee with 838 Friends

communitybuilding

While I was on my bike tour I spent countless hours thinking about community and how, when I got back to my homebase, I was going to spend countless hours actively working towards building and strengthening my own.

Then, upon returning, I felt myself ever so slowly slipping down into the rabbit hole of self-inflicted isolation. Again! Still! I am an introvert. A big fat type A introvert and it turns out building a community is even harder than conference networking.

I’ve been feeling like I am so close yet so far away from all the people surrounding me. Like I want to establish roots and build up and out, but I can’t wrap my head around how.

Then I heard a story on the radio about this guy who has decided to have coffee with all of his Facebook friends, and it hit me like an epiphany. That’s what I need to do!

I spend a fair amount of time every week having conversations with friends, family and acquaintances through comments and messages on Facebook, but I rarely get to have face-to-face conversations with these people — even though many of them live in the same city as me! It’s so easy to make excuses; to stay in a book (a real one, not the Face); to sleep in; to direct the conversation in writing from a distance. But, as I’ve learned more than ever recently, “easy” isn’t the way to live your life.

I don’t want to live an easy, default life. I want to live an active, thoughtful, connected, abundant life. I want to make myself available to those around me, and I want to be an active part of a community.

So,  I’ve decided I am going to actively work on having a face-to-face coffee date with every one of my 838 Facebook friends.

20 Ventura FriendsI’m scheduling coffee dates 2-3 times a week; preferably in the morning hours before work (from 6:30am-8am), but also in the after work hours (6:30pm) and on weekends.

I am starting with the people who live near me — those in Ventura County. After I’ve met with a good chunk of the Venturites,  I will branch out to begin having Skype dates with the out of towners (IE: a lot of people I grew up with in Michigan!)

Looking at my friend’s list, I’ve written down the top 20 Ventura County friends that appear and, as we speak, I am actively working on scheduling dates with all 20. (The people you see circled to in the image to the left are folks who I have on the calendar; those crossed out I have already had a coffee date with; and the rest are my next targets.)

The two dates I’ve had so far have been really incredible. Like, life-changing incredible. Not because anything out of the ordinary happened; more than anything it’s just the feeling of connectedness I already have — after only two face-to-face meetups!. It really can only be described as life altering. I want to write full blog posts about each of my coffee dates, so I won’t go into them too much here in the intro, but…. please keep an eye on the 838 Coffees section of the blog for more coffee date updates coming soon!

About Chelsea A.

A slow rolling cyclist looking to be an active participant in my own life. Interested in straw bale building, Wayne's World, books on tape, and taking it all one day at a time.

Posted on October 26, 2014, in 838 Coffees with Friends and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. your gonna drink too much coffee and destroy your stomach! try a lunch or just a one on one visit with a friend make it a treat date with ice cream or something else other than coffee. something like frozen yogurt or a fruit just keep it healthy and not upset the ph in your gut! trust me once its damaged all the antacids in the world don’t fix it, if they did mine would be great with the amount of antacids I have to take. keep your heart light and free, enjoy the wonderful life you have been given and be mindful as where it comes from. luv ya!

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  2. Christine Lapointe

    add me to your dance card! I would love to see your face! xx

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  3. I can’t wait to have a skype coffee date with you! I love the idea. I will make sure my We Like Tha Moon mug is clean for the occasion ;).

    PS: when are you coming to Washington again? I want to see your face in person! Skype is great, don’t get me wrong–but real face-to-face time can’t be beat.

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    • Yes! We will have the Skype with the moon date– soon! What’s your schedule like these days? Text me and I’ll put you in the calendar.

      When will I be in Washington again. Hm. Good question! Second preliminary question: “when will I no longer be a slave to the man?” Not sure about timeframe for either answer. Having just taken 117 days off work I’m not sure leisure vacation is in my near future, but… I would like to see WA again. I’ll keep you updated.

      Perhaps a better question is: when will YOU be visiting California?? I’m pretty sure your visit is long overdue.

      (Love you!)

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  4. Chelsea- great article. I think the real takeaway here is that you let yourself be changed by this experience. It’s hard work you’re doing, engaging life. But worth it. Thank you for sharing your journey. I may not be as bold as you are, but I’ve profited from reading your story, and I think I’m going to set myself a similar (though perhaps more modest) goal. Keep writing, please.

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    • Thanks for reading, John! To say this experience changed me is quite an understatement. How can you spend four weeks (mostly) alone with the sky in Montana and not be changed? When I got back home it was quite a culture shock and I kind of reverted inward, like a poke sea anemone. One thing I learned for sure from this trip is the necessity to live in today; not tomorrow or yesterday. I spent a lot of time on this trip toiling about the future; things I would do when I got home, plans, etc. Now that I am home, I am finding all of that planning for the future didn’t much affect the future (which is now the present). Instead of obsessing about today or tomorrow, now I just try to do the best I can with what I am given today.

      Now — that’s not to say I’m no longer an obsessive planner. I’m a managing editor by trade, and, I mean, it’s going to take a lot of planning to coordinate 800 coffee dates! 😉 😉

      Let me know if you ever want to guest blog on BetweenMiles, John! You’re a great writer and quite an inspiration yourself.

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  5. I plan to write a full blog post about this, but I wanted to give you a short update here to let you (anyone interested) know that I am doing this! In the last two months of January (from 10/26 to 12/31) I had coffee with 10+ people (think it was 12 off the top of my head). So, just about one person per week. This whole experience has been an excellent exercise for me and I have dozens more coffee dates scheduled for 2015. Update coming…. sometime….hopefully sooner rather than later (I’ll just keep it vague.)

    🙂

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