Community managers often set the tone for the mood of their communities. This phenomenon can be observed in other business environments as well, where the front line management often sets the tone. These subtle atmospheric influences can be noted in other social scenarios such as churches and schools. Pretty much anywhere that people come together as groups we can see this underlying trend.
Something unique to note about community relations, in particular, is that if the manager of a community is perceived as warm and friendly there are likely to be happy and satisfied residents. There are some theories behind this, and they all involve the give and take of relationships. In a community setting, the manager will often find themselves in delicate role balancing relationships, rules, and conflict.
Relationships are important. Even in the animal world, there are many kinds of animals that appear to be engaged in friendship and deep connections to one another. This bonding is often essential to survival. The animals with the strongest social networks tend to live the longest. It is also notable that for people that connection is also a factor in health and longevity.
As humans we bond over food, through laughter, singing, dancing, telling stories and empathizing with one another. So why then is it so hard to make new friends as an adult? We deeply need connection, yet as we age at times we find ourselves sometimes isolated. As you get older, making friends is more challenging than the days of running up to some random kid on the playground and becoming an instant BFF. Here are some of the reasons it is staunchly more difficult as an adult.
•Meeting fewer people
•Fear of the unknown
What do you look for in a new friend? Think about how much of what you think makes a good friend is representative of yourself? Many of us make friends with people that have similar interests and connections. Joining a club, volunteering, engaging in activities are great ways to meet new people. Perhaps you already are part of a community but are not finding it easy to meet others. Here are some helpful things to consider.
•Look for common interests
Most of us have some fear of rejection. Yes, even the bravest of extroverts. Let’s look at the list closer. When we find things in common, it is easier to strike up a conversation. Be welcoming and be consistent. Show up at the same events, shop at the same time of day. Let yourself become a familiar face. Create a routine, where you immerse yourself in your environment. It takes more than just being present though, radiate joy. Give the first smile or quick wave. Think of some leading questions that give an opportunity for thoughtful answers. Avoid being negative or gossiping, as those can leave a bad taste in the mouth of a potential friend.
If you are a community manager reading this, take an introspective look at the kind of environment you are creating within your community. Do you instinctively smile and warmly greet guests, even when you are inundated with work issues and other conflicts. Do you encourage your residents to gather by hosting events? Events can be simple as coffee and walking clubs. Do you encourage residents to solve problems with one another, rather than listening as they spew negativity and gossip about others? Many times, the community manager can help resolve conflict and create new friendships by focusing on handling the conflict right at the source. Often a small misunderstanding not handled effectively can lead to great woes. Remind yourself that as the community manager you are setting the tone for your community, and that has immense relational repercussions or can be deeply rewarding when done well.