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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!

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