Formal communities play a crucial role in our lives, they are places that people come together, work towards common goals, share in common interests, and connect. When participating in a formal community, we enjoy opportunities for personal growth, learning, and social connections. In this article, we will explore the significance of formal communities in our lives and why they are important but often underappreciated groups that contribute to our overall well-being.
What are Formal Communities?
Formal communities refer to groups or organizations that individuals actively participate in to further their goals or immerse themselves in a particular interest. Formal community can also refer to the physical location where a group lives. These communities often have a structured setup, including leadership teams, scheduled meetings, and rules and regulations. By joining a formal community, individuals can meet new people and find shared meaning in pursuing a common objective.
Benefits of Formal Communities
Formal communities offer several benefits that enhance our lives:
- Social Satisfaction: Working together with others towards a shared goal brings a sense of social fulfillment and accomplishment.
- Opportunities to Meet New People: Formal communities provide an excellent platform to meet like-minded individuals with similar interests and passions.
- Driving Social Progress: Many formal communities work towards causes that contribute to the advancement of society as a whole.
- Immediate Shared Interests: The mission and shared goals of a formal community create an immediate connection and make it easier to strike up conversations with fellow members.
- Structured Environment: Formal communities often have established structures, removing the burden of scheduling or initiating activities, making it easier for individuals to participate and engage.
- Shared Passion: Connecting with others who are equally passionate about a shared interest brings a sense of joy and belonging.
- Proximity and Connection: The consistent meeting schedules of formal communities create proximity among members, facilitating deeper connections and friendships.
Examples of Formal Communities
Formal communities can be found in various areas of our lives. Here are some common examples:
- Professional organizations
- Networking groups
- Industry associations
Religion and Faith:
- Places of worship
- Religious organizations
Health and Fitness:
- Fitness clubs
- Running clubs
- Sports leagues
- Non-profit organizations
- Homeowners associations
- Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA)
- Our local governments
- Our neighbors
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Developing Roots within Formal Communities
Within formal communities, different roots contribute to the development of connections and shared experiences:
- Shared Experience Roots: The primary root within formal communities is shared experiences. Regular interactions and engagement through the community’s structure foster strong bonds among members.
- Emotional Intimacy Roots: Emotional intimacy roots may be limited in formal communities unless the group focuses on sensitive topics such as grief support or substance abuse. In contrast, emotional intimacy roots are more prevalent within our family of origin.
- Story Roots: While individual story roots may not be significant, a sense of belonging and understanding can develop at a collective level. The belief that “I belong here” or “These people understand me” forms a story root within the group.
PODCAST EPISODE! Listen to the Three Types of Roots here.
The Importance of Investing in Relationships
While formal communities offer opportunities for personal growth and shared interests, it’s essential to invest in relationships within these groups. Merely participating in activities without connecting with others can lead to a sense of loneliness, despite being surrounded by people. To fulfill our relationship needs, it’s crucial to engage with fellow members, initiate conversations, and foster meaningful connections.
PODCAST EPISODE! Do you know the definition of loneliness? What about the 3 types of loneliness? In order to solve a problem we need to know what we are battling. Listen Here.
Don’t Forget about Virtual Formal Communities
In today’s digital age, virtual formal communities have become increasingly relevant and impactful. Although this article has primarily focused on in-person formal communities, it’s important to acknowledge the significance of virtual formal communities as well. Virtual shared experience roots can be just as powerful as in-person connections.
Virtual formal communities are also vital for marginalized communities such as nuerodivergent people, the disabled community, and chronic illness community.
Want to host your own virtual get-together? Here’s a post about how to setup a virtual game night with friends.
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Formal communities provide valuable platforms for personal growth, social connections, and shared goals. By actively participating in these communities, we can meet new people, expand our horizons, and contribute to causes that matter to us. Remember, investing in relationships within formal communities is essential to truly experience the sense of belonging and well-being they offer. Take the next step and explore the power of formal communities in your life.
Ready to explore the other types of friends and individuals in the “Your People Framework”? Dive deeper into understanding your personal community and expand your support system. Read more about the different roles and relationships within the framework and how they contribute to your overall social wellness. Click here to continue reading about the Your People Framework.
P.S. Want to make your gatherings more impactful? Be sure to check out Priya Parker’s book, The Art of Gathering.