Remember "running into people"?
I’ve been thinking a bunch about this tweet that I recently saw making the rounds.
An under-discussed effect of COVID is how we kind of lost casual friends. The incidental buddies you ran into at a BBQ, holiday party or softball game- just rapture-like disappeared. Now everyone you talk to is either coworker or 1 of the 5 most important people you've ever known— Sean Bair Flannery (@sean_m_flannery) February 17, 2022
For one, I think that the sense of connection that many people in the Indy Hall community – myself included! – have felt during the last couple of years is distinctly different from the typical coworker relationship.
Unless you’ve experienced it, you might not realize the difference between coworkers that come with your job, and having a crew of “chosen coworkers” that aren’t directly related to your job, or even your work.
Some of these relationships are more casual. Others are more meaningful. But to the point of that tweet, I think that the power is in their persistence rather than a judgement of their depth.
The point is, these relationships are real, and when they are missing, they are felt. I’m deeply grateful for the presence of these kind of relationships, and that Indy Hall gives me (and hundreds of others) a reliable source for finding and building them.
But the thing that REALLY hit me from this tweet was the presence of these two little words: “ran into.”
When Everything “Social” feels like a meeting…
So much of our limited tool set is designed for meetings, it’s no wonder that everything feels contrived and emotionally draining, even when it’s with people we like seeing.
But I think it’s more than that.
Pre-pandemic social interactions might be scheduled, they might be random, but in all cases they had room for serendipity.
Bumping into people that we didn’t plan to see. Hearing about things we didn’t plan to talk about.
These interactions might be brief or small, but the unplanned delight of a serendipitous interaction has a different kind of energy that endures, even once they are over!
Designed for Serendipity
You can’t really “create” serendipity, but you can make pathways that make it more possible!
We’ve gotten really good at this within Indy Hall’s online spaces. Coffee chats, happy hours, campfire circles. Even seeing an unexpected face pop up in the Discord coworking channel is a delightful break from every online social experience feeling like a meeting.
Tell ya what, this combo of Discord Event embeds + our “Live on Zoom” Discord bot are a total dream team. 😍 pic.twitter.com/PMzltc1RCd— 📙 Alex Hillman (@alexhillman) December 9, 2021
Take a Different Route, On Purpose
This whole experience also reminded me of this post that I wrote a ways back about how a bit of friction in my morning commute gave me back some serendipity I didn’t even realizing I was missing.
Spending time in our new clubhouse at 709 N 2nd St has already brought back these feelings, too!
So much positive and creative energy comes from intentionally choosing to be around people in these serendipitous ways.
It’s not magic…or is it?
That connection between serendipity and relationships seems to be a big part of the Indy Hall “magic” both online and in person. Creating just enough structure for comfort, but intentionally leaving space for the unplanned feelings of connection.
I’m glad for the relationships we do have, and I hope your week includes a dose of serendipity that helps you feel connected.
To that end, here are a few pathways for serendipity you might like to try out. You never know who you’re going to run into!