Our social graphs consist of family, friends, and acquaintances. We are born with a basic social circle of those around us. Friends come in largely as a result of our environment, through neighborhoods, schools, friends of family members, friends of friends. A lot of these relationships are the result of happenstance. A few are considered fortuitous and result in close friendships, kindred spirits, and moments of serendipity.
In a culture that focuses on independence, building new relationships can be difficult. It is especially challenging as people graduate from high school, college, or move for work. Much of our social graph is left behind. The internet has allowed us to keep tabs and stay connected, but these relationships become less and less actionable. How often will you get together with family that moved across the country? What effort would it take to get a group of middle school friends back together for a weekend?
Some people can build relationships out of thin air and easily adapt to new social environments. This is a skill that many lack. When moving to a new area social isolation can set in easily as people are able to stay connected with their friends and family, yet unable to regularly meet up with them. What is needed is an easy way to transition through various social circles as their life changes – a way to connect with others over common interests in a low-pressure environment. This is not to say a person should forego existing relationships in favor of the new. However, it is important to develop new relationships within a community that are more likely to lead to more frequent gatherings.