Creating Community versus a "Network"


“Why can’t people just be cool?”, Podcast host Matt Giovanisci says with playful annoyance in his East Coast accent when asked why he has less of a hard time creating a meaningful social network, while most men struggle with it. 

He’s not exactly sure if its just his gregarious nature, but Matt hints at his former open door policy in his native Philly as one possible reason. Sure he would get the occasional 10pm drop by, but it general, it just meant that friends would pop in when they were in the neighborhood and would know that if they needed a place to sleep or someone to talk to, he was there. He went on to mention that people just don’t seem to “hang out” here in Boulder, like really hang out, where they show up with no agenda and it turns into a 6+ hour marathon hang sess.


I really resonated with this concept myself having grown up in Hawaii. When I lived there, I was so used to the fun pop in, receiving the gift of some unplanned friend time and then continuing on with my day. I don’t know if it’s a token of a time that has come and gone or just the culture of a different part of the world, but it’s a far cry from the highly scheduled norm here in Boulder. 

“I have about 2 hours for you on Thursday, two weeks from now.” I joke, as a common response I hear from the busy folks here in town. Upon return home from a trip, I often feel anxious from the amount of planning that is required to get some weekly friend dinners in, which leaves me hanging with my boyfriend or on my own. 

Even if they share a lot of interests, I’ve come to realize that most people need a good deal of unstructured time to form bonds and get to know one another. 

A recent tenant moved into the neighborhood from out of state and asked us for ideas for how to meet people, sighting networking events as an example. I noticeably cringed as someone who despises traditional networking formats. The “tell me why you are important or what you can do for me” in 30 seconds concept makes me feel small and less than, feeling like every ounce of my humanity and inherent value is stripped away in that moment. 

Many people ask me how to market their offering as a Cohost, and although there are traditional ways like flyers, Facebook, and Craigslist, they may find more effectiveness in being a community leader. I always credit my community for getting me started as a Cohost: my first property was helping out a busy friend, then it blossomed from there by word of mouth and friendly recommendations. I definitely think creating a Facebook group in your area that has regular potluck and info sharing events or a group that understands the value of unstructured events as well as educational ones could be effective. Taking on this role can help you stay current and continue learning about the field and techniques, which helps you become more of a respected figure or be seen as an expert. 

My last parting thought on this subject is to caution you to be aware of your “why” for taking on this endeavor, for wanting to build a community, or for wanting to be a Cohost in the first place. If you focus just on money and success, that can be felt and may get in the way of you achieving it. If you focus on wanting more time with family, friends and fun, your true community heart will shine through and people will be drawn to sharing your events and helping each other out. Lets connect our communities to help build each other up! ❤️


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