5 thought-provoking articles that'll teach you how to build community in your personal life.

5 thought-provoking articles that’ll give you new ideas on how to build your dream community

This year, I decided to start a new tradition — spring cleaning. 

“I should do spring cleaning.” That was the tradition. Just that thought. 

Because I had no idea how to start. And the nooks and crannies of my house terrified me (back of the cabinet under the sink, anyone? 🤢)

But then, like I was living The Secret, I stumbled across this blog series that broke down your spring cleaning into 20 manageable tasks.

And now, I do one task every morning! 😁

So what’s this have to do with you building your dream community? 

That it’s HARD. Way harder than spring cleaning. And it’s natural not to know where to start. To not even know what your dream community looks like. 

You are the first generation in all of human history that has to learn how to build community on your own. Everyone that came before you was just plopped into one  — their town, their office, their church.

It’s a daunting thought, but it’s not all bad. Because with just a little bit of guidance and a little bit of thought, you can have something none of those guys before you had — a community you love. Because you get to choose it.

The first step is learning more about what community means and what it can look like. Demystifying the spring cleaning process, if you will. 

These 5 articles will help you do that. 

1. friends > communities (3 min read) 

This is my bible. If you only read one article on here, make it this one!

What makes this article so inspiring to read is its ideas on what communities in the future could look like. 

It’s nothing crazy or science fiction-y. But it addresses the main challenge with communities — to belong, you have to sacrifice your individual freedom and choice. And if you choose your own needs, you miss out on the connections, and the love and support of a group. 

In the past we chose belonging, because we needed each other to survive. Now that life’s more convenient, and we’ve got everything we could ever want literally a click away (UberEats, anyone?), we choose our individuality. 

In the past we loved each other more, but we were poorer and life was harder. We had no privacy and lived our whole lives playing by someone else’s rules. Now we can follow our dreams and have more choices than an 18th century king. But we’re burnt out and we’re anxious. And we’re lonely. 

So what’s the answer? Do we go back to the way things were and lose a part of ourselves? Do we accept that our life’s gonna be a little less colourful and a little more sad than our parents’ was? 

Or is there a secret option three? A way for us to get the best of both worlds? 

Spoiler alert — there IS. Read the article to find out 😉 

👉 I know your brain’s buzzing with a thousand ideas and questions right now. Come even further down the rabbit hole with me and Nina as we talk about What makes a community work?

2. Your Life is Driven by Network Effects (30 min read) 

This one’s a real in-depth piece. So grab a pen and paper, carve out 30 mins of your day, and prepare to have your mind blown. 

Everything we’ve been talking about so far is how we DON’T have communities in our lives anymore. How we’re all on our own, and 100% in charge of our own destiny. 

Except we’re not. And this article can prove it. With math. 

We’re as much a slave to our networks now as we’ve ever been. Every single thing in our lives — from what jobs we can get and who we can marry, right down to what we believe in and what kind of person we are — is determined by the people in our lives. 

More people = more opportunities. 
Better people = better opportunities. 

The math’s not quite that simple, but you get the gist. The quality of our networks determine the quality of our lives. 

And there are 7 pivotal points (the article calls them crossroads) that define what networks we have. Make the right choice at these 7 points and your life will change drastically. For the better. 

Every single rags to riches or teenage genius story you’ve ever heard happened this way. Somebody put themselves around the right people at the right time. 

Most of us aren’t geniuses or billionaires because we don’t understand that. We stumble through our 7 pivotal moments. We make arbitrary choices. And we get stuck in networks that don’t give us the opportunities we need to live our best lives. 

Don’t let that be you. Go read the article now. 

👉 And then start making your network work for you with this complete guide on how to expand your social circle!

3. What If Friendship, Not Marriage, Was at the Centre of Life? (15 min read) 

A monogamous romantic relationship isn’t the only way for you to build the life you want. 

The institution of marriage as we understand it today (a.k.a. the “love” marriage) is extremely young. It started in the 1920s when some big companies wanted to sell diamonds. And really became what it is now in the last 50 years. 

For literally all of human history, people didn’t think they had to find their one true love before they could “start living”. And they were right. 

Our social norms are a byproduct of our times. And they change. At different points in history, we needed different social structures to support us and help us survive. In the way past it was hunter-gatherer tribes. Then it was farming towns with big extended families who could help out in the fields. Now its nuclear families living in big cities. 

I’m not saying all this to rail on marriage — I still wanna do it! All I want is for you to start seeing it, and all the other social norms you think you have to follow for what they really are — a way to support YOU and help you live your best life.

What’s so unbelievably cool about right now is that for the first time ever, there is no one way to live a “good life”. No one social structure we all have to follow because it’s the only way to survive. 

For the first time ever, you can decide what works for you based on who you are and what’s important to you. 

You are the captain now. 

And with that power comes great responsibility. I want you to see that. To look at the social norms you take for granted a little more critically. And to open yourself up to new possibilities for what your best life can look like. 

What IF friendship, not marriage, was at the centre of life!? Read the article to find out.

👉 Or better yet, watch me and Nina’s origin story for a very IRL example 😂

4. 10 Types of Odd Friendships You’re Probably Part Of (15 min read) 

This is your wake up call. And it’s hilarious. 

Your social life is a mountain, and it’s got levels. You’re at the top with your closest friends. Your pretty-close friends are a level down. Then come your not-so-close friends, acquaintances, and then flat out strangers. 

The people at the top of your mountain (the article calls them Tier 1 Friends) have the power to make you very happyOR very sad. Depending on the kind of relationship you have. 

Most of us form our closest relationships in the first 25 years of our lives. And we’ve got at least a few people at the top of our mountain who should not be there. People we’ve outgrown. People who are toxic for us. People we just don’t like hanging out with. 

But they’re there. Taking up real estate and mental energy. Because it’s hard to make new close friends as an adult. And because we don’t understand how much more we can expect from our friends. 

I don’t wanna say any more than this, because the article is so fun to read (contrary to what I’m making it sound like …) 

So I’ll just leave you with this: 

Use this chart to figure out how to build community with friends.

Use it to figure out who should stay at the top of your mountain. And read the article to find out why some of your friends aren’t in that ideal Q1. 

5. How a “Buy Nothing” Group Kept Me Human (3 min read) 

You’ve been so good so far. You’ve read all these articles about how communities work and why they’re so important in your life. 

You’ve pretty much swallowed the red pill as far as challenging your assumptions about social norms and friendships go. 

And now you’re thinking, “Okay Niloo. I’m not trying to get a sociology degree here. I just wanna know how to build my dream community!”

This is how. 

Or at least a very doable example of how. 

It’s the story of a woman who moved to NYC during the pandemic. Biggest city. Worst time. And how a neighbourhood Facebook group helped her feel at home in her new city. And feel connected to everyone who lived around her. 

The “Buy Nothing” Group is a place where neighbours share their extras — from avocados to rolls of TP. To reduce waste and help each other. 

The writer, Meghan, talks about how she started recognizing people from the group on the street. And how she could even tell they were coming back from a trade when she saw lil plant-babies or teapots in their hands. 

It’s such an uplifting story about how such a simple community ended up being so much more than that. About how it brought people together. And how it became a way for a neighbourhood to help its most vulnerable get through the worst of the pandemic. 

And best of all? It’s something real you can do RIGHT NOW. 

Most cities already have groups like this for their neighbourhoods that you can join. They’re just a Facebook search away. 

And even if they don’t? You can make one! 

You can literally do what this story did if you’re looking for ways to meet more people in your area. Or you can do this with your friends and get them to invite their friends to expand your social circle.

👉 And for even more actionable tips on meeting new people where you live, check out these 7 ways to make your neighbourhood feel like home and these 8 habits that lead to spontaneous connections

✨✨✨

Your eyes are open to the magic and power of communities now. And you have all these ideas on what your dream community and your dream LIFE can look like. 

What now? 

I don’t want you to lose momentum. So here’s what I want you to do — 

1. Subscribe to our newsletter if you haven’t done that already. We write every week about how you can meet new people, deepen your friendships and build the community that lets you live your best life. It’s like having a personal trainer in your corner as you do this stuff 😉

2. Share this article with one friend. Or one person you want to be friends with. Use it as a conversation starter. Which articles resonate with them the most? How are they thinking about community in their life? 

Building community (like everything else) is a lot easier and a lot more fun when you don’t have to do it alone. 

Most of the people around you want the same things you want. They just don’t know how to get started. 

You can help them 😊