The digital world can never replace in person interaction, connection and experiences. Life behind a computer screen can cause a lot of issues including comparison, unworthiness, and a feeling of “connection” but ultimately isolation. Then why would I tell you to talk to strangers on the Internet? Because in the past year and a half I have stumbled upon a few interweb connections that have changed my life and I want you to at least give it a shot. Here’s why:
You just moved to a new city- When you move to a new city, especially on your own (without a job or a place to live, wait is that just me?) your main concern should be finding a job and a place to live. If you are moving/ traveling abroad this might land you in a hostel where you could meet awesome people, (I met the love of my life) but you also meet a lot of people who are sleeping until 2 pm, partying all night, and complaining they can’t find a job. Let’s just say not the ideal crowd. If you stick to those friends you meet at the bar, you might not have the most motivated, positive, uplifting group surrounding you. CHOOSE your tribe wisely, don’t stumble into them.
You can find out about events that peak your interest– Last year I found out about an awesome festival called Rad Livin on Instagram. It was full of inspiring stories from young creatives, live music, pizza, donuts and rad people. Their Instagram account followed me so I checked it out and it sounded like it was made for me. I couldn’t get any of my friends to join so I went alone and I made such cool friends and connections. Still time to go this year if it sounds like something you would like, just click this. I also attended many events in Sydney thanks to social media including Nike Training Tour, World Yoga Day Festival and Taste of Sydney. Cool events usually equal cool people and experiences are always worth the ticket price!
You find communities you never knew existed or that you needed– A Facebook ad about sunrise yoga and a friend’s suggestion led me to two of the best communities I’ve ever been apart of. One Wave and Girls Love Travel! I wasn’t searching for a community. I have plenty of friends (although most of which in America) and I’m not shy in the least. You never know what you’re looking for until you find it. Being a part of a community of likeminded people is far more rewarding than I once realized.
I found One Wave on accident. I have been an advocate of mental health since I lost my best friend to suicide when I was 15. A few of my family members and I also struggle from mental health issues. I just saw the Facebook Ad for yoga and then they explained once I was there it was put on by a nonprofit surf organization! Free yoga & dressing up in Fluro every Friday- I’m in. Slowly I met more people and became closer to the little Fluro family. Today, I can thank One Wave for some of my best friends in Australia. This interweb coincidence led me to an astounding community in real life that has pushed me to open up and champion for mental health in a way I never have before. I am proud to be a part of One Wave and I can’t really imagine my life in Australia without them.
Girls Love Travel is the Facebook group of all Facebook groups. My friend suggested I join and on day one I was hooked!! It’s a safe place for women from all over the world to share stories of their travels, tips, ask questions, champion for one another and chat about life and experiences. It is such an active group and now has over 200,000 members! I have met SO MANY cool girls from all over the world who have helped me plan trips, gave me advice about my visa or made me laugh. This weekend I got to go to my first GLT meetup which brought it all full circle. Yes, the community started in the digital world but when you bring 40+ traveling ladies together for a beach day and BBQ in sunny Australia, then the real magic comes to life! I will never grow tired of wanderlusting over beautiful photos, helping lonely sisters, or laughing over ridiculous stories shared. If you’re not in it and you’re a girl who loves to travel, come join us! You won’t regret it.
Convenient digital connections can flourish– Sure, you can meet tons of people the “old fashion way” but if you have kids, a full time job, a significant other, just moved, or are going through a tough divorce or breakup socializing isn’t always your number one priority. It’s hard to get out and meet people but if you find people you know you already have something in common with, you take away the awkward small talk and dive right into the good stuff. Nothing is better than connecting with someone through your blog, Instagram, or social media and meeting in RL for the first time. It’s crazy because usually it feels as if you have known the person for years!! It’s hard to sustain a friendship only in the digital world but it can lead you to real life connections that are much more powerful than the randoms you meet at the local pub on Friday night.
Don’t fight the changing world– Tinder, Bumble, Facebook communities, Hashtags- these are all things that are not going away. Sure, some people might hate online dating. I get it. Luckily, I never really experienced that world of online dating because the horror stories frighten me a bit. But, I will tell you that fighting a changing world does not stop it from changing. Of course, in person events, friendships and connections will always be the most powerful and beneficial but don’t miss out on something amazing because you’re too close minded to give it a shot. Stop feeling like a weirdo. You’re only being a sketch ball if you in fact are a sketch ball. It’s possible to be a social butterfly, extrovert, face-to-face fan and still use the Internet to set up or find these types of organizations, events, and like minded people. In my opinion, you can never meet enough people. That doesn’t always mean they become your tribe but seriously, how do you know if you don’t try?
You call the shots– I want to be clear that meeting people and finding out about events online has to be done with common sense and responsibility. Don’t just go talking to anyone and everyone. I personally prefer same sex friends because the opposite sex can easily get the wrong idea. But regardless if you are looking for friends, workout buddies, or a romantic partner you have control of who you talk to, when, and if you feel like things aren’t going well you have the power to ignore, delete, and block. Only make connections that lift you up and add value, entertainment or inspiration to your life. You’re the boss.
I saw a meme that said, “In 2000 our Mom said ‘Don’t meet people on the Internet or take rides from strangers.’ In 2017 we literally have randoms from the Internet arrive at our house to give us a ride. Oh, the irony. Times are changing. There are millions of rad humans all over the world. You have the shot to meet, connect, and have your life enhanced from the comfort of your own home. You also have the power to bring those connections into real life. Stop being scared to put yourself out there and start watching the magical humans and experiences appear! Cheers to anyone and everyone I’ve connected with via the interwebs, especially my friends from One Wave and Girls Love Travel. Consider this your permission slip to go do some stalking via Instagram or Facebook. Search for groups, events, hashtags- get out of your comfort zone and shoot them a message, go to the event, and get involved. You know you want to.