So, you want to start a neighborhood book club or a coffee klatch but you’re wondering how. Pull up a chair. I’ve got an awesome story about a little Facebook comment that launched a neighborhood book club overnight.
We’ve all been there: brand new in a neighborhood. Sometimes we move across town, sometimes from one side of Puget Sound to another, and sometimes from out-of-state or out of the country. Each of us has been ‘the new person’ on the block.
We want to get to know our neighbors; we want to make new friends. But how do we get started?
My friend Gina uprooted herself and her son this past year and moved to a new neighborhood. She had connected with some great friends in her old neighborhood, but after she’d been in her new home for a few months – and rarely having a conversation with anyone there – she really wanted to meet her neighbors but wasn’t sure how to get started. Because, you know, in Seattle we’re weird about that. #Ahem.
She and I had talked about how much I love my neighborhood book club and maybe she could start one. So, she decided to try out her Neighborhood Facebook Page that she’d heard of when she first moved in. Here’s how it went:
Gina’s Neighborhood Facebook Post:
FORTY-FIVE WOMEN replied that they would LOVE to be a part of a neighborhood book club! 45!
I was so excited to hear about this that I asked if I could pop into her book club meeting last week to talk to some of the club’s members. I was curious about their stories, their initial reactions to Gina’s Facebook post, and what they thought of the Seattle Freeze.
Their comments were enlightening, to say the least:
- A lot of women are wanting to be a part of a book club, but feel like getting invited to one takes some kind of mysterious “Golden Ticket”.
I was THRILLED when I saw Gina’s post. I had reached out through my Facebook page a year ago asking if anyone knew of a book club as I was really interested in joining one. But the response I got was ‘they were all full’. You kinda feel like you’re on the other side of some kind of glass panel just trying to get ‘in.’
I’m not from here obviously (British accent ) but we moved first to California and then to here. I had the same experience of trying to find a book club but kept getting a message that everyone’s club was already ‘full up.’ I was so happy to see Gina’s post.
I just moved to Washington, away from my family and friends. I saw the post and thought ‘I like to read.’ Books and friends: that sounded good!
- Many, many people really want to connect, but they realize it takes some kind of structure to make meaningful friendships.
I recently moved (to this neighborhood) and while I’m a mom with small kids, I also wanted to branch out and not just meet moms, so I thought a book club would be a great place to do that. I find that people generally are over-working. If you don’t have a reason to get together, you won’t.
We moved here about a year ago. In reality, when you move someplace new it can, in all honesty, be pretty lonely. We’re empty nesters, so we don’t have the opportunity to meet other people through our kids’ schools anymore. I enjoy knitting so I did join a knitting group, which has been great to get together with women with a common interest. I was so happy to see the post about the book club, and my reaction was “finally, I can meet some people and talk!”
I’m pretty much an introvert and I tend to just stick with people and things that I know. But in the last couple of years I’ve learned to try a bit harder to put myself out there and meet new people. So, I just decided to go for it and use my Neighborhood Facebook Page to see if anyone else was interested in a book club. And they were!
- Moms of our generation don’t connect in the same way our Mother’s generation did.
We moved here in July and I saw Gina’s post in August. This is the first thing I’ve done socially, to meet people in this area. My daughter isn’t in school yet and we don’t do the church thing, so I don’t have those kinds of opportunities to meet people. Also, I had my daughter at a little bit older age than a lot of other moms, so I don’t always have affinity with moms who are upwards of 20 years younger than me. At a book club, you have the possibility of every age group, which is great. And, a lot of moms work full-time, so there isn’t this automatic group of women available in your neighborhood during the day.
- The Seattle Freeze’s reputation reaches beyond Seattle. Several women said they’d heard about it before moving here.
There was a definite consensus that there was a feeling that, when they moved here, everyone ‘already had their friends’ and it was difficult to find a way in. We can change that, right? If you have a Neighborhood Facebook Page, consider trying it out. You may find that many people have been looking for that “Golden Ticket” into a book club or a coffee klatch or a knitting group or a poker night (I’m talkin’ to you too guys!) or some other type of common-interest structure to get better connected and move beyond ‘Seattle friendly,’ to making real friendships.
While Gina’s new Neighborhood Book Club has 45 women on the email list, they are currently averaging about 7-8 women each month. As that number grows, they’ll figure out how to let it evolve. For now, a great core of women are regularly attending and building a friendship circle. It was so fun to meet these women and hear their stories and see their excitement about the group.
Kudos to you gals! You are taking the risk, getting out there, and finding new and meaningful ways to increase your friendship circles. You are thawing the Seattle Freeze.