When we think of the vital relationships that we nurture in our lives, we default to a few different things. Family relationships, romantic relationships, and friend relationships will top that list, with connections in the workplace and with teammates coming in soon after. One area we may not think to consider, however, are the relationships in our community.
Community relationships are a vital part of society, providing essential connections and tying together a group of individuals who may have nothing in common other than their location. The U.S. is a country that was founded on such community relationships. Over time, though, with advances in transport and technology, it has almost become taboo to invest time and care into building relationships in our community. By doing so, we have cut away an element of society and daily living that can, and should, be enjoyable and worthwhile.
Here are a few reasons why community relationships and community bonding is still essential even in the digital age:
1 – Meeting community leaders
Trusting community leaders and feeling like you matter as an individual is critical. Good relationships need to be formed by community leaders – be they HOA leaders or government officials – and the people who they represent. A day or night out meeting local police and other emergency services personnel is a great way to strengthen community relationships and show everyone within a space that they matter and are respected.
2 – Activity organization
Right now the only kickball league in your area is on the far West side of town. As you live on the far East side of the city, this is a problem. The solution is to build your league through the community and have something right on your doorstep that will open up a whole new friend group of people who share the same passion. This will not be an overnight thing, but by starting a game in your community, it is incredible to see what can be achieved over time.
3 – Meeting the neighbors
One of the problems with the world being such a busy place is that the time to build vital relationships with neighbors has kind of fallen away. Most people are likely to have their friends in other parts of the city, often driving a long distance to get to hang out and enjoy the bonding of friendship. While it’s unlikely that Bill across the street will become your best friend, it’s still a good idea to meet Bill and at least know enough about him for small talk.
4 – Better for your health
This is a weird one, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that having a close-knit, walkable local neighborhood and community results in better health for the people involved. A research review from Active Living Research showed that physical activity is associated with a risk reduction from premature death and risk reductions for chronic diseases. Areas that promote walking and other events – with sidewalks, bike lanes, and paths – see much less risk for early death than those that don’t. Taking steps towards building an active local community, or jumping in if it is already there, has long-term benefits that go beyond building good relationships.
5 – Everyone loves a party
Community meetings in a town hall or other such venue might be a tough sell. What is not a tough sell is making the event that builds good relationships much more of a party. A party at the end of the pool season is always a good idea, perhaps one that involves bringing a small donation to eat from the grill. Fancier events could even have local food trucks swing by so people are investing back into the community at large and meeting small business owners at the same time. Just get creative to ensure your community push is well received.
By Steve Wright