Hi. I'm Alex.

Hi. I'm Alex.

Yes, Alex Alexander is my actual name.

TL;DR I care deeply about friendships + community. They are my central support system and only option. I want others to realize we can impact this area of our lives more than we have been led to believe.

 

    Since I talk about friendship,

    I decided to let my friends tell you about me.

    There are many reasons I care about friendship.

    Where should i start?

    Like many, my childhood wasn't the easiest. I was a kid who felt alone and lacked support. So, I created a family out of friends. "How?" you might ask. When a person is desperate they get creative. I found the simplest path, took risks, put myself out there, and ignored "what I should do."

    In your 20s, prioritizing friendship is encouraged.
    "Go meet new people!"
    "You're supposed to spend lots of time with your friends at your age."

    • We had monthly "family dinners."
    • Made new friends.
    • Added to friend groups.
    • We adapted and changed as friends made big life moves.
    • Lost friends.
    • Made work friends.
    • Celebrated everything - big milestones all the way to good work reviews.
    • Turned work friends into close friends.
    • Traveled with friends - sometimes with one friend, sometimes with another couple, sometimes in a group of 20+ friends.
    • We befriended friends of friends.
    • We prioritized our friendships with our time, our money, and our energy.

    When my late 20s- early 30s hit, the small, seemingly harmless side comments appeared in casual conversations -frequently. 

    "Friends aren't as important when you are older."

    "It's time to focus on your partner and your family."

    "No one can juggle a career, family, and friendships simultaneously."

    I will admit I panicked. I held on even tighter (sometimes to the detriment of the relationship). If friendships became less of a priority, I'd lose my entire support system.

    The comments just keep on coming: 

    "Wait. I thought you were joking when you said you went to Mardi Gras with 20 friends."

    "A big group of friends sounds intimidating. I could never befriend everyone."

    "No one has this many friends at our age."

    But here I was -- with various groups of friends, lengths of friendships, types of friends, and sharing in so many life experiences with friends.

    Therapist: "You have been trying to make your family a 10/10. Have you considered that your family's ten might be a 4?" She continued, "Where can you find support outside your family?" I knew immediately. I already had it, thanks to my friends.

    But in a world where I am being told repeatedly:

    "Friendships won't last."

    "Having this many/this close of isn't normal."

    "This shouldn't be a priority."

    How do I keep these relationships alive and maintain my support system?

    There are a lot of articles, books and podcasts about boundaries and cutting people out, but where are the conversations about building friendships and about creating community.

    2020 led to lots of wandering thoughts. You too?

    One morning it was just me, a big mug of tea, and my thoughts.

    "If I suddenly lost all my friends. If I had no one... I could rebuild. I have the skills, habits, and understanding of these relationships. I could start again."

    And let me tell you -- my friends are my family, so I am talking about rebuilding a deep support system. It's not that I want to rebuild or think I will ever need to. I have the confidence in myself to make an impact on the community I surround myself with.

    Everyone deserves to feel like they can impact the community they surround themselves with.

    FAQs

    This answer is too big for just one paragraph. Read the full post here.

    Well, I have planned weddings + events for over a decade.

    Let me set the scene —

    There is often a moment when someone, maybe the officiant, asks the couple to turn and face their guests.

    They slow down for dramatic effect and say, “Take a moment. Look at all these people. Drink this moment in, because this is likely the only time you’ll have all of your people in one room.” 

    The couple’s wedding day would continue — a whirlwind of photos, cocktail hour, getting everyone seated for dinner.

    The reception would be well underway, and it was time for my favorite part of the day — the toasts.

    I’d be leaning up against the wall off to the side of the reception room, watching the quiet space in awe.

    There were 20, 50, 100, 250, 400 people — all of whom were connected to the couple.

    And I’d marvel, “Who are all these people? How do they connect?”

    The night would continue with mingling and drinks until the last song finished and the couple made a grand exit.

    We’d all go to bed happy and tired.

    Then the couple wakes up the next day and… just goes back to everyday life.

    Last night they felt all the love of all their people, and today it is just back to normal life. 

    This leads me to wonder, does it have to be a one-time feeling?

    How do we replicate that feeling of support in smaller doses in our everyday lives?

    My art skills are that of a 1st grader – stick figures only.

    ALL ILLUSTRATIONS BY : @SheenaKalsoCreates!  |  SheenaKalsoCreates.com

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