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Author Topic: General/Non-Specific: Finding other people  (Read 226 times)

Jenett

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Finding other people
« on: March 10, 2019, 04:42:10 pm »
A couple of discussions (in multiple places) have made me think it's time for a thread about finding other Pagans to do things with.

So, here's a place to share...
  • Things that have worked for you
  • Things that really didn't work for you (especially if they get recommended by others regularly)
  • If you're part of running a group or event, what makes an impression on you (good or bad) about someone new?
  • If you deal with anxiety or other related things that make reaching out harder, what kinds of things are helpful to you?
  • Anything else along those lines

(This is a topic where some degree of detail is often helpful to put events or activities in context, but don't feel you need to be incredibly detailed either.)
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scoutyote

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Re: Finding other people
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2019, 05:07:23 pm »
A couple of discussions (in multiple places) have made me think it's time for a thread about finding other Pagans to do things with.

So, here's a place to share...
  • Things that have worked for you
  • Things that really didn't work for you (especially if they get recommended by others regularly)
  • If you're part of running a group or event, what makes an impression on you (good or bad) about someone new?
  • If you deal with anxiety or other related things that make reaching out harder, what kinds of things are helpful to you?
  • Anything else along those lines

(This is a topic where some degree of detail is often helpful to put events or activities in context, but don't feel you need to be incredibly detailed either.)

  • Things that have worked for me:  Using Meetup to find and to create groups.  Frequenting pagan shops and message forums like The Cauldron, also sites like Witchvox.
  • Things that have not worked: Going to large festivals.
  • Impressions:  When I ran a group, not showing up on time made a distinctly bad impression.
  • Anxiety, asf:  I deal with anxiety, especially in crowds, so large festivals are not good places.
I hope that this helps. 

baduhmtisss

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Re: Finding other people
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2019, 06:12:07 pm »
A couple of discussions (in multiple places) have made me think it's time for a thread about finding other Pagans to do things with.

So, here's a place to share...
  • Things that have worked for you
  • Things that really didn't work for you (especially if they get recommended by others regularly)
  • If you're part of running a group or event, what makes an impression on you (good or bad) about someone new?
  • If you deal with anxiety or other related things that make reaching out harder, what kinds of things are helpful to you?
  • Anything else along those lines

(This is a topic where some degree of detail is often helpful to put events or activities in context, but don't feel you need to be incredibly detailed either.)

  • Things that have worked for you: Being generally open about my pagan beliefs. Other's gravitate towards discussions or the fact that I opened up about it makes others feel more comfortable with opening up.
  • Things that really didn't work for you (especially if they get recommended by others regularly): Attempting to attend groups/meet-ups. I've got incredible anxiety about going to group meet ups by myself. Normally, I take a family member, but with pagan centered things it's a very bad idea to do that.
  • If you deal with anxiety or other related things that make reaching out harder, what kinds of things are helpful to you?: I've been working on training a service dog for my anxiety and my other disabilities. I'm hoping it helps me be more comfortable going alone.
  • Anything else along those lines: Overall, I tend to find meeting/talking to people outside of internet space to be difficult and gut-wrenchingly hard. I'm very private about my religious dealings/beliefs, but I'd like to learn to be more open about it. For now, I find internet spaces to be 'safer'.

I tried to add my responses within the questions themselves so it was neater.
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Jenett

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Re: Finding other people
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 09:26:38 am »
Thanks for the answers so far! Here's mine.

Things that have worked for me
I found I do better with a somewhat more structured event rather than amorphous meet and greet. I'd rather do an intro class or a workshop or volunteer at an event as a way to meet people. (Or these days, I often like doing a "Let's meet for coffee thing" arranged via email.)

    [li$i]Things that really didn't work for you (especially if they get recommended by others regularly)[/li][/list]

    Going to public rituals was useful for figuring out what I liked and didn't like in rituals (which when I was looking for a group back in, oh, 2000, was really handy). But it wasn't great for meeting people. I didn't really start doing that until I started intro classes with the group I ended up joining (and then volunteering at future events in the community.)

    And as above, coffee cauldrons/pub moot style events without structure really don't work for me.

    If you're part of running a group or event, what makes an impression on you (good or bad) about someone new?

    For my group:
    - Have they read the public information provided? Questions about it are fine, but I can tell when they haven't read or at least retained the most basic info about what's on offer. Or when they do the thing where they ask "What do you do?" when contacting me from a link with multiple paragraphs of content and a link to a lot more.

    - How do they interact with me? Do they do things that indicate they respect my time and boundaries? Or do they seem to demand rapid answers, lots of time, etc.

    - When I meet them in person (the next step if it seems like there might be a fit via email), how do they behave? Do they show up on time or let me know if there's a delay? Do they treat the coffee shop people politely? Is there give and take in the conversation? Do they understand that we as a group probably won't fit their every ideal? (And that they probably have stuff that might require some flexibility on our parts too.)

    - Are there any warning signs that they will not treat my group members (most important) or friends I do ritual with (also important) kindly? That includes people who are (singly or in combination): fat, disabled or dealing with substantial chronic health issues, marginalized in various ways, of varying gender identities and sexual orientations, single parents, low income, with ongoing mental health issues, neurodiverse, etc.

    If you're not going to treat my friends well, I'm not inviting you into my home, physically or metaphorically. (I in fact have a friend from work who I do not invite to social events with any of my other friends because I do not trust her not to be a jerk to them. She'd mean well, but my other friends don't need to deal with that.)

    - And finally, what my intuition says. I don't make flash judgements on this, but I do pay attention to whether I just enjoy time with someone or if it feels constantly difficult or even uncomfortable. If it's the latter, but I don't have something obvious to point to, I'll usually figure out some low-commitment conversations (maybe in public places) until I get more data.

    For the broader community:
    I know a bunch of people doing a bunch of things these days, and there's often a range of referrals or resources I might offer.

    People who give me a little to work on (i.e. more than a sentence or two) and who show they've got some sense of boundaries and politeness get more specific referrals than people who are abrupt, rude, dismissive of anything that isn't absolutely what they want, etc. Again, I'm not going to recommend someone who's already said unpleasant things to someone I like, or at least not in more than the most broad "This group does open rituals, more info here." terms.

    (Where if someone makes a reasonable impression on me, the intro is more like "This group does open rituals, here are specific people you might want to talk to more, here's some classes they offer, and there's this thing that might be in the works that would be of interest." and then me going off and checking on a couple of other possible connections.)

    If you deal with anxiety or other related things that make reaching out harder, what kinds of things are helpful to you?

    This is not the set of things I deal with personally, but I think about it because of a couple of people I've done group work with. The ones where it's been most successful have been the people who can do at least some general self-advocacy (for example, asking for a one on one conversation in a public place they're okay with, and being flexible about when/how to set that up) or being up front about the anxiety, so I can explain more of where I'm coming from/what's relevant as we go.

    (I know that's hard, but it makes a big difference in what options there are.)

    Anything else along those lines
    One of the things I think about a lot is that finding a small Pagan group or teacher is a really different thing than a lot of other stuff we're used to doing - it's a different kind of interaction, different expectations, etc. It's not walking into a church or other religious community that welcomes newcomers. It's a dance of increasing interaction, until (if we're talking ritual groups) you get invited into people's actual homes, much of the time.

    We're also building different kinds of interactions - ones that have a lot of independence, but also a lot of interlocking parts. Someone who can't negotiate that or ask questions about how to negotiate it is not only going to have a hard time themselves (probably not fun) but also be really rough on the existing group and group members. A good group leadership is going to be really thoughtful about that, and protect the current group over a possible new person.

    (Especially since, for a wide variety of reasons, it's really common for the ratio of 'people expressing interest' to 'people who actually stick around' to be somewhere between 5 approaches to one lasting person to 10 or more to 1.)
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