Softening Community

In the work we do in helping people build social capital requires both micro and macro strategies. On the micro side we often explore interests and passions with the person looking to engage more. Once we have this information. the next step in the process is to find a matching community setting. That is, if I am looking to build more social capital, the best route is to take an area i am already interested in, say reading for example, and then find a community group, perhaps a book club to connect with.

Of course, actualizing this is a bit more complex, but this is the basic process. Once these 2 steps align, the next actions requires a a bit more macro analysis. For example, once a book club is identified, then we need to analyze what is expected of me to be accepted by the club members. Every community group has expected rituals and patterns that i must appreciate if I want members to accept me.

Last, there has to be some initial introductions, and this is best done by someone already in the book club who has a positive reputation with the other members. We call this person the “gatekeeper.” By their presence with me they are offering a tacit endorsement.

All of these actions are used to soften the existing community in the process. For relationships to manifest, and especially for people who have been left behind, or historically isolated, the community must be tended to. This is called macro change, or having the community adjust to accept the new person.

If you are interested in macro change, take a look at some the other resources on my website,