We live in a digital age. Half of our lives we spend online. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram or SnapChat, we spend so much time on our phones, and computers that it can sometimes blur the line between likes and real friendships.
When we started The B Hive Apiary, our goal was to ultimately build a community of women who got off of social media and connected in real life. Because there's just something more committed when your friends are in person. Now it's not us knocking having friends online or saying that those friends aren't real. They definitely are! The beautiful thing about social media is that it's brought us together from across the world. We can have connections with people on the other side of the country or across the globe. It's a powerful thing!
For us though, we know that social media can also dredge up a lot of social anxiety and loneliness. There's always that good ole Imposter Syndrome to deal with as well. Sitting at home in your living room chatting with friends from a different state on your computer isn't nearly the same as chatting with a friend who is physically in your living room! We wanted to bring that back - that in-person connection you can build with other people!
Connecting offline can be challenging especially if you have social anxiety. You don't know what to say, you don't want to insert yourself in already happening conversations or maybe you just feel completely out of place. We get it, we've been there! But we wanted to give you some helpful advice on conquering your fears and start creating connections with other women offline.
Actually Meeting New Friends...
The meeting up part of making new friends can sometimes be the scariest part of it all. Maybe you connected with a woman from an app or in a Facebook group and you've officially made your first friend date! Here are some of our suggestions for meeting a new friend you met online, in person:
- Find an activity you can do together. Maybe your common interest is you both have dogs! Or you like to hike! Instead of just meeting up for coffee - find an activity you can do. You'll have an instant conversation starter and you already know you both will enjoy it.
- Actually show up. Flaking is a HUGE issue, especially here in Austin, TX. Even though it can be really scary to meet up with a potential new BFF, make a commitment to yourself to show! If it means putting time on your calendar, or setting a reminder on your phone throughout the day or going to bed early the night before so you aren't tired after work - do it. Showing up will do two things - show your commitment to your new friend and establish trust.
- Attend a small group activity. Instead of going to a giant meetup with potentially hundreds of people - find something really small. It's a lot less scary when there are maybe 10 women, compared to 100. And make sure it's a group activity that you actually enjoy doing! The B Hive Apiary hosts a monthly Brunch and we host a bi-monthly Book Club! Our events are super small and allow for everyone to really connect.
So you meet up with your new friend, or you're headed to a B Hive Book Club. So now what? How do you start conversations with complete strangers??
- Start with introducing yourself. Seems kind of obvious...but a lot of people miss this! We see a lot of shy women who join us at events who stay quiet without introducing themselves until asked. Try This: Instead of introducing yourself to the group, go around and introduce yourself to each individual. You'll be able to create more instant connections that way.
- Find a common thread or find something you like about the other person. Maybe you love their hair! Or their shoes! Pay them a compliment! Maybe they mentioned a band you LOVE. Connect with them over that! Shared interests are always a great go-to conversation starter.
- Ask Questions. When you don't know what to say - ask sincere and thoughtful questions! Most people like to talk about themselves or the things going on in their lives, so if you're struggling with what to say just ask a question and let them do the talking. A conversation may flow more easily that way.
Feeling Like a Part of the Group...
Going to meetups can be hard. And it can feel even more discouraging when you show up and it appears they all know each other. There's that instant feeling of being out of place. So you might end up sitting off to the side, or hanging back from the group because maybe you don't feel included or welcomed. At B Hive Events we always try to include everyone in conversations and in the group - we slow down when people are trailing behind or we pull up a chair if there's no room. But obviously, not everyone does this. To make yourself feel more included try this:
- Take up physical space in the group. Instead of standing off to the side or hanging back. Insert yourself into the group. Everyone sitting in a circle? Squeeze in between two people - they'll move over. Want to join a table of fun looking ladies? Grab a chair and ask "mind if I join you?" the likelihood that they will say no is slim (and if they say no...do you really want to be friends with them?).
- Join the conversation. Ask a question or offer up an opinion. Don't let others run over your question or opinion! Speak up!
- Don't do anything that you wouldn't do normally. If you don't smoke, don't smoke just to feel a part of the group. If you don't drink - don't! Sometimes we feel like we have to do something in order to fit in, but sometimes when we say "nah, that's not for me" it inspires others who maybe don't want to do it either to speak up as well.
Dealing with Imposter Syndrome...
We all do it. We compare until we cripple ourselves into inaction. It's an unfortunate side effect of social media and something we should all be hyper-aware of. Here are some things to remember when it comes to imposter syndrome and online friends.
- Remember that we all do it. Even that person you're comparing yourself to...yeah they do it too.
- What you see online, is not always real life. It's edited, glamourized and styled for public consumption. You can't compare yourself to someone that was made up to look really awesome. Behind the scenes, they might not have brushed their teeth or haven't showered in three days because they've been so busy.
- Focus on the really awesome things that are happening in your life! Continuously remind yourself how great you are doing or that something amazing has happened to you. It'll help distract you from everything else possibly going on around you!
For The B Hive Apiary, connecting with other women means getting offline and meeting up in person. And we understand the challenges you can face when you're shy or have social anxiety or you don't know anyone. For us, we focus on creating small, intimate and incredibly welcoming events that women know they feel comfortable at! If you're in the Austin Area and want to attend one of our events, check out our Events page!
Not in Austin but want The B Hive Apiary in your city? Send us a message! We're expanding in 2019!