On Being A Social Bridge

boy on bridge They told me I was too small to build this here bridge. They told me I didn’t have the tools. They told me I didn’t have the first idea of how to build it. Well, I kept going, and I kept building. Now, this bridge might not be the best one, but it sure is a nice one. It’s sturdy, no trolls underneath, and there’s a shady spot to stand with your girl while you watch the water run underneath. This might be my bridge, but a bridge is no good unless it brings folks together. Right now it looks a might too empty. So, come on and visit. That’s why we’re having a hootenanny next Saturday, right here on this bridge. Why? Cause the best things bridges do is bring people together.

I was once a shy, lonely girl. I went to elementary school, afraid to speak to my peers for fear of being rejected. Instead, I hid inside the magical realm of books while other children frolicked across the playground. Why run when I could read of Lucy passing into Narnia?

However, Lucy would never have gone far in Narnia if she hadn’t made friends with Mr. Tumnus, or the beavers, or Aslan himself.

In my late elementary and into my middle school years, I discovered for myself the power of having friends. As I progressed into high school, I discovered my sense of humor attracted people to me and made others comfortable. It was unlocking a set of super powers.

The main key is most people are nice people, and they are friends I haven’t gotten to know yet. They are also friends of each other, but have no idea what can be unlocked. All that is needed is a social bridge.

A social bridge is someone who invites others to do things. Someone has to initiate the party at some point, and if there is a lack of partying, of socializing, of interacting with others, invite. Even if the invitation is declined, it is appreciated. An invitation shows others you value them, you care about them, and want to get to know them better. An invitation is a compliment.

This is why I always invite everyone I can to the Nerd Nights I host. Not only do we bring together people of common interest, but we also build friendships, and good memories. We also have lightsaber battles, but that’s another issue.

In the blogosphere, a question at the end of a post, an event, or a thoughtful comment left on someone else’s blog is an invitation. Many of you who comment here do so because I commented on your blog, and through the opening of dialogue, a friendship has been built.

One of the things I am enjoying most as I attend grad school is how I can use what I’ve learned on being a social bridge to build relationships with my peers. Many of them are also social bridges, and together all of our bridges can be built into an entire highway system to help us journey into our future.

But none of these relationships, these friendships, this helping each other, could occur if I were still a shy, lonely girl hiding in fictional worlds. I still frollick through the imaginary space, but now I know how to make friends with those around me and not on the page.

Although, I would still enjoy going to tea with Mr. Tumnus (just without the whole drugging/betrayal element.)

  • Who is a great social bridge in your life?
  • How do you develop new friends and relationships?
  • Which super hero do you think makes the best social bridge builder?
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12 thoughts on “On Being A Social Bridge

  1. The one time I did a good job of bridge building was going off to grad school for my doctorate: I emailed all the other incoming grad students in our program the summer before, saying let’s get acquainted and have a beer together when we arrive. We did.

  2. I struggled with shyness a lot until I was about 12. I remember distinctly the moment I told myself to get over it.

    I was going to a friend from church’s birthday party. When I was with my friend at church, we chatted all the time. But as soon as new people were thrown into the mix, I would clam up. It happened every year at her birthday party when she was surrounded by other school friends I didn’t know. So at this 12th birthday party, I remember looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself I was going to enjoy the party and talk to people there.

    It was so hard. I will never forget my first step…we all were lined up playing wiffle ball and I turned to the girl behind me and said, “Hi, I’m Kiri. I know [insert name] from church.” And she was super nice and we talked and after that, I was able to put my shy days behind me.

    I still regress occasionally but I am MILES beyond what I used to be 15 years ago. But it’s just so weird that I can remember that moment so vividly and how I really did change my life in an instant. I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t pluck up the courage to say something to her.

    You can’t shut me up now and I love meeting new people and going to new places. I always see different people as friends just waiting to be made.

  3. I assume you barely have time to tend this social bridge, your blog, while you’re in grad school. Or maybe this is like a pleasant coffee time out in blogosphere.

  4. My kids currently my greatest social bridge. My daughter has been invited to a few parties lately and they have been invited on playdates and I’m getting to know their mums along the way. I haven’t been well for the last 12 months so it’s been hard to get out there again and it really has felt like a time-lapse situation. Even when I’m tired, I still push myself to get the kids to their activites and try to encourage time with their friends which inevitably means social time for me.

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