NC Deep Dive

Finding Connection, Community, & Friendship in Adulthood

November 21, 2023 Amanda Lunn
NC Deep Dive
Finding Connection, Community, & Friendship in Adulthood
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever found yourself longing for connection, yearning to overcome the loneliness that can often creep into adult life? We've all been there, and that's why we've invited Steven Kershaw, Yuly Foley, and Samantha Kennedy to lend us their personal stories and insights on navigating this universal challenge. With nuances to their narratives that will have you nodding in agreement, our guests provide a reassuring voice in the often overwhelming quest for friendship and community in adulthood.

Our discussion opens up with a deep dive into making friends as adults, exploring the nuances of building connections amidst the solitude of remote work and social distancing. We journey with Steven as he shares his experience of starting a Facebook group which turned into a beacon of community in the Triangle. Yuly and Samantha also unfold their remarkable stories of finding a sense of belonging through social media and volunteering. We later transition into a heartfelt exchange about the power of community and its profound impact on our lives. Our discussions shed light on our experiences with Facebook group GOAT (Goofing Off Around the Triangle), a thriving digital hub that's inspired its members to rise above isolation, foster unexpected collaborations, and find inspiration.

As we wrap up, we delve into the heart of what it means to be part of a community - exploring the fear and uncertainty that often stops us from taking that first step, and sharing our personal stories of transformation once we conquered those fears. We discuss how inclusive social events within wider communities can break down barriers and foster genuine connections. The episode concludes with an invitation to engage with us on social media, to continue the conversation and further strengthen the bonds that tie us together. If you've ever felt alone in a crowd, this episode will remind you that we're all in this together. Listen in, join us, and let's redefine what connection and community mean in this digital age.

GOAT 🐐 (Goofing Off Around the Triangle) | Facebook

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Now, let's dive in!

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Hello friends, welcome back to the Holly Springs Deep Dive podcast, soon to be called the North Carolina Deep Dive. I am your host, Amanda Benbow Lunn, and today we are going to be talking about finding connection and making friends as adults. It is my pleasure to welcome three guests to our conversation, the first of which is Steven Kershaw. He is one of the founders of the Facebook page GOAT ( Goofing Off Around the Triangle). Born in Charleston, south Carolina, he's a world traveler who now calls Raleigh home. He has an undergrad in music technology and a master's in information technology. Steven spent some time as a Business Development Executive Producer for Sony Pictures International in New York and Berlin. He's been a Division Director of IT Help Desk in Berlin and a school teacher in Charlotte. Currently, he's a real estate broker for the Raleigh- Durham Triangle and Great Eastern North Carolina area. Yuly Foley, who some also know as Azy, is from Goshen, new York, and now calls Holly Springs home. She's lived in the area for three years and loves to spend her time surrounded by horses and connecting with people through social media groups. She's a mom of two who loves helping the community as much as she can. She passed the bar in her 20s, got into finances and became the controller of an important fashion company in New York City for over 16 years. Life pushed her to go for more and now she also owns her own small commercial photography business called Azy Foley Photography. Our third guest, another moderator for the GOAT Facebook group page is Samantha Kennedy. Samantha grew up in New Jersey and Florida, and then got married and raised her children in Connecticut. After the passing of her husband in 2016, she decided to move to Holly Springs the summer of 2020 with her two teens. She enjoys volunteering at A Place at the Table and political activism. She's been a self-employed market research consultant for 24 years. Without further ado, friends, let's dive in. So we're just talking about making connections, finding friends as adults, and how difficult that seems to be. So I guess I'll kind of start off with I see it a lot on social media. I hear about it when I'm with groups people feeling as adults that they don't necessarily have a friend base and they find it difficult to make friends as adults. I think when we're younger, we're put into classrooms in certain situations where we're almost forced to be around people and make friends, and then for those who have children, you go through kind of the same thing, you make play dates and then sometimes you play or have connection with their adults. But if you don't have children or you're not in those sectors, you don't necessarily have that.

Samantha Kennedy:

I definitely agree. I think that most of life you sort of have a friend group created for you school, university work and especially, I think with what happened with COVID and now with so many people working remote, that it has really exacerbated that sense of isolation and loneliness and that for me, is definitely what prompted me to join GOAT and benefit from all these amazing people and stories and the fun events. But it is still hard to take that first step.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

It's true, and Stephen, you want to talk about GOAT and introduce that.

Stephen Kershaw:

Yeah, I guess from where it comes. I've always had a group of friends at least an inner circle and an outer circle of friends, and living in New York and New Jersey and then living in Berlin especially, I started a group in Berlin called FilmFour and we got to about 5,000, 6,000 members and it was a networking and it was especially kind of cool because I wasn't a native German speaker and so, as all these people and it was more industry related, you know, for the film industry there were everything from writers, actors, producers and so forth and we would meet at least once a month huge. And then there were like some small other types of things that would go on, as there was a lot going on in that industry in the city and from there it was just like it was a very interesting. You know, I had a group of friends that had nothing to do with that, but it was kind of like oh right, social media is just now coming about. Back then and how we were working with it. When I moved back stateside I went from a lot of people I know and friends that I can always call up and hang out with to nothing, and for the longest time it was nothing. I became involved in a relationship and all we had were her friends and people I worked with and I was always so busy it was never any time to make friends and it was hurting and we both knew it and it was like it's not something I can deal with very well. Well, eventually this relationship came to an end and when it did I was like I don't have anyone and it was just right. After COVID. We kind of clung on to being friends during the COVID phase just to have something. But when that came to about, you know, that came, came about there was nobody there and I realized I'm like what have I been doing for almost a decade? And instead of feeling whoa and sorry for myself, I'm like, well, I know, professionally I was going to start a group to attract people in and just kind of talk about moving to Raleigh, coming to Raleigh, knowing your neighborhood and so forth. And by happenstance I was in Single Parents of the Triangle and I came across a thread where people were talking about making friends and there was this guy in there. Oh, what the hell, how was it just so damn hard for a grown ass adult to make friends? Blah, blah, blah. And it was Patrick. And I'm like well, dude, I'll be your friend. I agree with you 100%. I think it's very difficult and when we were little kids, I would be like you like to skateboard, so do I. Wouldn't be best friends. Good, here we are. So why can't we do that as adults? And so immediately he was like well, what are you doing this weekend? I'm like I don't know, what do you suggest? Well, let's get together and do something, okay. And all of a sudden you start going, well, wait a minute. Like, all right, you know what, forget it and just go and do it, and so forth. And so we started talking about and I told him about my ideas Well, I'm going to start something online. He's like well, I need to do something for my friends, because we need something better than a chat room to have like events or so forth. And I'm like well, let me tell you my vision, because it's a little bit more than that. And he was like okay, all right. And so I'm like you do realize I'm going to have a few thousand people in this thing when we're all said and done, but we need to explore the whole idea of that. We're not. It's not just commercial. It's not just being an influencer or something like that. I really do want to kind of produce this fresh oxygen idea of positivity. Let's be friends, let's explore together, let's go out and do things. We don't even have to be best friends. It can be outer circle, but maybe inner circle too, it doesn't matter, let's just get together and inspire each other. And he was all about that and it was like, okay, it was just the right time and right place. So we kind of started this whole thing. I was like give me a few days to write rules and do all that. I was just a little skeptical, didn't want to jump in, but I had no choice. So we just jumped in and started it and within a few weeks there were people interested Very few, of course, but you know, the whole idea was well, let's give some hints, take pictures of what we're doing, take pictures of the most mundane, goofy, geeky stuff. People like real. They don't want to see superstars, they don't want to see, you know, ruby slippers on the, you know, on the red carpet. They want to see real people doing real things, even if we look like a bunch of doofuses doing it. And sure enough, I guess it caught on and we're like hey, well, come out and hang with us, we're completely, we're good, you're not going to get mauled or pulled or offended or anything like that. We're really just looking to have, honest to goodness, relaxed, good time and maybe get to know our environments too. And the whole idea was it's hard for adults to make friends on top of the support our community and voila that, all sort of just kind of this whole. I almost want to say just like just this mess of guts somehow got processed and we smoothed it out as we went along. Obviously it took a while, but that's it in a nutshell. Let's, let's make honest to goodness friends, let's not, let's not have and I think a lot of people were so turned off by some of the groups out there that were a little bit rough around the edges to say it kindly. you know, with the foul language and the vulgarity and the offensity and so forth it was. It was a little rough and I'm like, no, can we just be like real people, normal people, how we would be in real life, and not put on any airs and also let people know, hey, you don't have to come out and take a bunch of mouth from people or something that might be a little uncomfortable. No, you should be able just to come out and enjoy and be safe. It's your safe space. Feel good about what you're doing and about who you're mixing with.

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

What I've seen so far in these almost two years, it's that the beauty of newcomers join the group and then when you turn around, you'll see that they click with others and then they become real friends and it actually makes you feel really, really good about it because if it wasn't for this group, they will still stay home and they will stay feeling not complete. I always say and that was taught in my family that loneliness takes 15 years life expectancy and I always say I want to live long and I want to have fun. So when I move here as Stephen did and everybody else in the group I had no friends either. So I say well, we have to put yourself up there and do you got to just smile and just show them that you are really honest, that you don't have second intentions, because people read that in your eyes, people know when you care and that attracts more and more and more, and I think that's the success of this group. It's that we do welcome, we do ask how you're feeling, how you're doing. Do you care? What do you want to do, something online or offline? And then when you turn around and it's like these amazing groups they can follow us and like, wow, look, they connected. I had no idea that these people connect and they have so much in common, and to me it just makes me very, very, very happy and accomplished. So I will continue doing events as soon as much as I can.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Awesome. So the page we're talking about is a Facebook group called GOAT (Goofing Off Around the Triangle), and, Samantha, do you want to go into what brought you to join?

Samantha Kennedy:

So I moved to North Carolina June 30th of 2020 with my two teenage kids, covid. Yay right, when it let quarantine ended. I am also in a community that is mostly married with young kids and so felt very isolated on so many levels, and my kids are teenagers so I'm not going to be able to utilize them to create a network. So a friend of mine knew that I was single and she said hey, you want to go out? And she invited me to one of the Goat events. I was like, how did you find these people? And she told me about it and I actually went to two events with her before I even joined the group, because I wasn't sure what to expect. Social media don't have a lot of positive reactions to social media, right? So I'm thinking, oh God, if this is going to be another of those groups and then you're just going to get all this like grossness. I didn't want that. So I did join and I was a lurker, like a lot of people are, for the first couple of weeks, trying to get a feel for the affect of everyone. The first time I went to an event by myself, I was definitely still nervous, even though I had met people previously. But you know, as Julie said, the mods, the administrators, they take a very, they take a very personal responsibility to all of the members and newcomers to make sure that the vision that Stephen talked about comes to life. So I noticed that Julie and Stephen and Jessica and all of these people made sure anybody who was sort of wow, standing off to their side they pulled them in. They made sure that no one was feeling left out. And after my first event on my own, I thought what a great group of human beings, because, at the base of it, we're all looking for the very same thing connection for people to care for you and also for you to care for them, because that's human nature, yes, and to be stuck by yourself, you're like, oh, I don't know what to do. I've got all this stuff going on inside and to share it with others is beautiful. So, covid, moving down here, being old or being single, like all of those demographic things, do not lend itself to creating a new social environment. And so I am ultimate, like so thankful and I think Stephen knows this, he really I hope you know this like how appreciative I am of not only the vision to create it but to maintain that environment and, since you know, stephen made me a mod. I've seen the hard work he puts into it and I've felt a very personal, deep responsibility to continue that at any new events and to make sure that all these people who are searching for the same thing can find it, and I thank you for that. It's beautiful, it really is. I hope it doesn't you know, the more people, the more work you have to put into it. But ultimately I think everyone really does want to join because they want to feel that connection with others and it has been truly life changing for me.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

So I separated back in January of 2020. And we had been together for, I guess, married 13 years, but together for 20 years at that point, and my philosophy is that I can make friends with almost everyone. I can fit in pretty much anywhere. And so we moved from New York to here in 2006, just after we got married, and my goal was I'm going to let him make friends and I'm going to make friends with his friends, and then it can be couple time and social time together. I thought it was a great plan until he realized he's not a people person and he made zero friends or just work friends or a couple friends that he saw Very occasionally, and so, through our marriage, I didn't really have a friend group. And then, once that was no longer a thing, it was like, oh, I'm going to have to work towards this, and so I guess it started a little bit prior 2019, I think it was is when I decided I love dancing. That is the only time when I go out and I can clear my head of all the practicality, I can just be me and tune out the world and have a great time, and up until that point, I was always waiting for somebody to invite me to go, or I was waiting to go with other people, and my experience had been everybody would say, oh yeah, we'll go, and then something would come up and then nobody was going, and so then I wouldn't go. And so back at that point I was like OK, so my bucket list item this year how I'm going to grow outside of my comfort zone Is you will go dancing, even if it's completely by yourself. You will learn to be comfortable in the uncomfortable. And what I learned was oh my gosh, this is so much fun. I can do this Like. I felt safe enough to go out. I had such a great time, and I learned a pretty valuable skill in how to introvert while extroverting in spaces where there are a lot of people. So I know, sometimes on Facebook and online I come across as more extroverted, but I am such an introvert. So that was a really, really big step for me. And so when 2020 hit just gotten separated I was decided well, I guess my bucket list now is to make friends, and that's what I'm going to focus on, because I had my business. It was successful. I had my girls, they were at a place where they didn't need me all the time. So I'm like, ok, I'm going to focus on making friends. And I came across like ATB is one of the groups on Facebook. A new one had just formed, Social Singles of the Triangle. It was at that point. It's now Simply Socials of the Triangle, I believe. But those had what I needed, by which there was a community who set up events, who I could compare to my schedule and I could say, oh, I can meet that one and I don't have to do the work, all I have to do is show up. And the first event I went to was at some person's house who I didn't know and they were playing Cards Against Humanity, which I'd never played. But I was able to kind of introvert and focus on the game. But I met people who I still have some sort of relationship with. So that was very empowering to go out and meet a whole host of people. And, gosh, what did she make? She made some sort of ice cream shot. That was amazing, that I love, but it was just a really good time. And then, all of a sudden, well, the second event I went to was dancing at some bar by which I went and I thought I was dancing with people in the group come to find out there were two groups that were there and I was with the wrong people but we had a great time and I didn't find out until the very end, when I went to thank the host, that I was not participating with their group at all. But I still have all those connections and so eventually the the simply socials that was the social singles, that one originally. Like. I loved that group and they really did a great job of setting up different events and because I'm always busy, it just worked for me to be able to say, oh, there's an event here, I can go to that. And then the more events that I went to, the more people became familiar, the less of a struggle it was to find ways to talk with people because they were no longer strangers and so I was able to build conversation and experiences. And what I noticed with that group because it was set towards singles, at some point all of the mods, or most of the mods ended up coupling up with people and then the environment changed a bit and they had to figure out the next steps on how to make the group still work, because in the beginning the mods were setting up a lot of the events. Anybody could set up an event, but what ended up happening was because they were coupled, they didn't have as much time or their priorities changed, so less people were setting up events and so there was just less ease of somebody not setting up an event to just fit in and go. And that was about the time that I was introduced to GOAT, You set up a variety of experiences for people, you don't? You're very inclusive, so single people can find entertainment there. Married couples can find entertainment. I've never been to an event and felt like any group was left out. I've met all sorts of people and everybody's there just having a great time. So I really appreciate it. I find tremendous value in it and it's just. I know the amount of work that Well. No, I don't know the amount of work that goes into it, but I can guesstimate how much it is, and what I can fathom is probably only 10% of what you actually have to do. But just to know that you create all of these experiences for people. People show up, they have a great time, but you're doing some behind the scenes stuff too, I would imagine, making sure the venues can handle the people who might be coming. Do you want to go into what some of the events that you host are like and how that works?

Samantha Kennedy:

I would ask you to talk about the one that's coming up. The Roper Romp.

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

OK. So the way I found this was sometimes you just come to my feed on social media and I saw it and I found it very interesting Everybody wearing the same costume and it got my attention. Photography- wise, right, and I was like that sounds fun. But then I just put it on the side and then somehow the next day it shows up again and I'm like, ok, well, that's, that's telling me something, what's going on in here? So I started looking into it and I posted on Facebook on my group, and say, hey, who wants to join me? No, knowing what actually was about, I just thought was just a group of people dressing up, like this lady Helen, which I didn't even know who it was until I started looking into it and the funny story about the show and how the marriage dynamic they have and the stereotypes about the neighbors and the guy living with the girls and thinking that he was gay and he was not. We touched back in the 70s so many cultural topics that to today I found that still people have some barriers and a point of view and I say this is so interesting. And when I realized that it was created, this movement of not only just dressing up and having a beer and a cool place. It's just to showing people what the script was about and what the actually the intention of the show was. It was to me. It really, really got my attention and I said, ok, well, let's just see who wants to dare and dress up just like this lady and see how many Hellions are going to show up.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

So what is the show called again?

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

Three's Company. And going back in time to different types of events, it is true it depends on the events you bring. You kind of attract the different type of people. Some of them they don't. They feel more comfortable in a smaller environment, with a smaller group, and others feel, no, they really, really wanted to put themselves up there. But it's not like, oh, I created a band and they want to say, oh, I'm just going to go because I found it interesting. Now and I usually do this and I put it on when I create events I would say please don't stay alone, don't stay home alone, you have us. And when people read that sentence it really clicks on them because all through the many events that we have created so far, when I go, they always say thank you Otherwise for pulling that, because otherwise I was still still home. And surprisingly I just found I click with the people and now like I feel very happy here. Thank you for inviting me, and I'm like I will continue inviting others and please just continue to join different groups, because now you can introduce these new friends of yours who are somebody else that will be in the next event and it's just like you know it's a domino effect. When it's honest and it's with care, it's, it's for me it's just beautiful. Organizing events well, it's takes a little, depends of how big and depends on the location. It takes work, but I think that all the moderators that we were part of the group at the moment and we all had, we always covered each other. Like he said, I can't do it today, is somebody available? And then anybody will jump and say yes, I can do it while we're coming in with you. And then, surprisingly, you know their calendar changes and then, when you're there thinking that you're gonna be the only one, everybody start coming in and then it's become the Coach family with everybody and they're. It's always fun.

Stephen Kershaw:

Well, let me add the diagram of a great event and there is something to it and I've been asked hey, write out something very quickly to help people kind of get a clue. How do you make an event from A to Z and a lot of it? The making the event is the easy part. It's the kind of promoting it and making it fun and so forth is a little bit more difficult for some people, but the whole idea of the events and so forth. From the beginning we're like well, let's go out and do some fun things, whether and I have this saying whether four people come or 40, it doesn't matter If you're enjoying it and we're enjoying each other's company. And I will be honest with you, there are times where only four people show up to something and I have a very intimate moment with the folks and we just have great conversations and get to know each other in different ways, and I'm absolutely okay with that, as opposed to the 40, 60, 80, 100 people around me that, if I'm lucky, I barely get to have a few words and shake hands and say hello to people and I basically have had a conversation with no one. However, as long as people are having fun and they're getting to see oh good to see you again, and so forth. But the events can be anywhere from after dark, which, honestly, when I started out, that's kind of where I was. Let's find some interesting venues Like, yeah, do something that's fun, do something that's a little swank, exotic, you know what? Dress up, wear something a little bit more than business casual, enjoy yourself, look the part. Let's get out and enjoy our town. Let's bring it up a notch. You know, and there was a lot of that going on, and sometimes it was just by random, when we'd hear about things or oh, there's a new, this going on, or so-and-so, dj is gonna be here, and it didn't matter if you were into it or not. We're all together, we're all having good time. But as it turned out like a lot of the events are anywhere from. Some are family-oriented, some are daytime, some are hikes, some are bar-oriented, dancing-oriented, foodie events, even like a little bit intellectual. We get together and discuss things like some of the book and some of the just smaller events, sports. We get together and play things or do things. It's a little of everything and people will find their niche and it's okay if someone doesn't like knowing that and whatever, there's no way you can get 7,000 people to go do the same thing. In fact, to be honest, it's probably about 5% of the group that's actually active. Obviously, we don't have events where 7,000 people show up. That would be quite something, and it's kind of funny.

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

It doesn't matter.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

It doesn't matter.

Stephen Kershaw:

So I mean, everyone does a fantastic job of doing some interesting and fun things and you know, at some points sometimes we just say, okay, it's the same old place with the same old bands playing or whatever. We're having an event again on a Saturday night. You know what? Let's call it a beach party. And before you know it, everyone oh my God, I gotta be there. It's a beach party. Oh my gosh. It's funny what a little bit of psychology will do or just kind of get that buzz going with people and they bring the energy and the energy's fun and you get inspired by it and they're like, oh, thank you for doing this. I'm like, oh my gosh, thank you for showing up with your energy, you know, because you made it, you made the party and so, and that kind of shows you also how the members of the group are really a participant. You know it's symbiotic. Yeah, we're all working together, you know, to make this fun thing. You know, and I think we just keep concentrating on that. And hey, what can make us laugh? What can we think about positive? Let's ask about the good things about our day, not the bad things. And I'm quite surprised that and I will say this, there are a lot of people who may not agree on a lot of socioeconomic, political ideas that are having a great time together, and they would never know it.

Samantha Kennedy:

And you know what? So be it.

Stephen Kershaw:

So what. And I think that's proof of you know, like, hey, we can all get along. Maybe we should avoid certain topics that are really not important for our lives, and so we all get along and we're all having a good time, and so I'd rather not know certain things or hear about certain things, mainly because they're a downer man. All right, I'm rambling on, let's.

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

And when people start coming more active in a different type of activities sports or theater, or that it changed their day every day, and then it turns into what I think is a constant purpose in life. It's not just go to work the same routine, it's something different. That will change depends of what your choices are and your calendar allows it, but then it'll give you something to look forward to and then you'll be life. Become richer and become richer. You'll appear when you're happier. You live longer.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

That's what I mean, that's what I mean. Actually, I was looking up some of that stuff today and did you know that loneliness or social isolation can be just as damaging for your health as smoking cigarettes for 15?

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

years 15 years.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Six drinks a day every single day, like social loneliness is worse than a lot of addictions and other things. Some of the statistics I found if you have a lot of social isolation you have a 50% increased risk of dementia, 29% increased risk of heart disease, 32% increased risk of stroke. So I know we get busy. It's hard to do self-care, it's hard to think that. Going out and making friends and establishing these connections sometimes we de-prioritize that. But that can be one of the most simple things that we can do for our own health and for our community's health. It helps to. Some of what you were speaking to, stephen, was bringing the humanity to one another. We can see that more clearly when we go to events like this. We let topics sometimes political stuff, religion, those topics that might be very polarized Sometimes we can enter those discussions more easily because we have that basis of humanity. We see each other as people, as humans, and not just somebody somewhere who doesn't understand life. They don't experience it. So I do think it makes a lot richer in the connections. And another thing that you kind of brought up, yuli, was something that I experienced. So I was always waiting to be invited to do something. I was waiting for somebody to invite me and what I came to realize was that so many people are very much like me. We're all waiting for the invitation, we're all waiting to feel included, we're all waiting to feel like we belong and because we're all in that same situation. So I'm not 100% sure, but I feel like y'all are probably all extroverts and the introverts like me fully appreciate you. Every time I go to an event like you're right, samantha, people are bringing people in If they're on the outside of the circle, like I've seen y'all engaged with these people. You've engaged with me and so many of us absolutely need that. But once you get the hang of it like I see the pattern then I start to do it.

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

Then there was an event, the switch. It switches from introvert to sounds how extrovert. And then you feel so comfortable that you're like okay, nothing worse is gonna happen than just say no to me. And I'm like okay. So then you just keep going, and going, and going, when you realize you're surrounded by amazing people.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

And so there was an event last year that Yuly you set up Dancing at Alchemy by which I just put out in Facebook. So when I was having those moments 2019, where I realized I was always waiting for somebody to invite me, I sometimes, when I go out, I'll just put out a general invitation of hey, I'm going out dancing or doing X, y and Z. If anybody wants to come, feel free. And let whoever sees it on Facebook, whoever knows about it, feel like that's an open invitation, because I would have loved that. And so sometimes what we need is what other people need. And so that night, when I went out dancing, I just put a general message out hey, I'm going, the group is going out dancing here. If you're not doing anything, if you don't want to be alone, if you just want to come hang out, feel free. By which somebody on my friends list sent me a message and said hey, do you mind if I come? And I said sure, and that ended up being the man that I married a few months after that. So I wasn't looking for that connection, but I was able to find it because of this group, because of y'all getting together, setting up events, creating spaces for people to interact and just find people who you resonate with, so I truly appreciate it.

Stephen Kershaw:

I have no shame, I am seriously and I've got this and I've gathered this over the years. You're talking to somebody in any language, because that can vary, but I've noticed something very similar with when people are getting to know each other. You can tell when people are thankful. I'm so glad you came over and talked to me because I really wanted to do the same but I couldn't. So thank you. But they're not saying that. You could just see it in their eyes and they're just delighted that they had the opportunity to do that. Like, thank goodness the ice is broken. Who cares? Who started the conversation? What are you doing now? Well, I'm about to leave here and there's a really cool bar like 30 stories up, and when I wanna go, yeah, and you know, like before you know it, and I've had this so many times with strangers just they were strangers and before the night was out, you're just like talking about real things and then you're laughing about stupid things. You have your like moments and going through it, and you know when people are letting down their guard a little bit. You know, and I take that as a compliment, if you can let down your guard and I can let down my guard a little bit. You just kind of you know you are looking for a connection at that point and you're like you know, I don't know Ralph, Ralph, what an awesome time tonight. It was great meeting you. We need to do this again. And he's like, yeah, that's it, and that's what I'm talking about. Like I didn't know you 24 hours ago. I had no idea you existed, and he probably had no idea. He wanted to. I'm so glad someone else took the first step, or he took the first step and we all feel that. And so what you were just saying? You're right, I think we do. I think we're kind of happy sometimes when someone else extends an invitation. I get into moments, too, where I'm kind of happy with people. Don't believe that about me. I love my knee time and I will crawl in and sometimes it takes me a little bit. Not long ago, a few weeks ago, drag me out to Amberley local and I didn't really want to talk to anybody or do it. And as soon as I get there and I start listening to people's conversations, I just became so inspired and happy. Before you know it. I was just like, yeah, I'm glad.

Samantha Kennedy:

I'm here.

Stephen Kershaw:

And I would have been happy just to go. You know I'm gonna lay in bed and watch Netflix and I felt so much more invigorated and energized for some of that and just getting to know someone a little bit better, you know.

Samantha Kennedy:

I want to just build on that a little bit, because one of the things that I've noticed and I've been in the group since maybe the beginning of the year is seeing members who flourish. You start to see individual members who maybe were always a little bit of a wallflower, standing off to the side, gain confidence as they go to these different events and meet people and feel accepted and then they by turn start saying I can do this right. They're accepting of me. And then you see other people creating events themselves, people that may not have when they first started, and that's a beautiful thing to see, when you see one person start to feel better about themselves and have more value for what they can offer, and I've seen that in the few months that I've been a member, and that's another thing that I'm deeply appreciative of. There are a lot of Facebook groups and social circles and they tend to be sort of insular, in that there's a commonality that brings them together. To begin with, the commonality with GOAT is really about needing to find connections and everyone wants that and you see it like I've seen different people and I felt it myself Like this is beautiful, it really is the amazing personalities I mean just you three on my screen right now represent such a different era as well as a different vibe and you all have, but just and then max times 100.

Stephen Kershaw:

I mean just the amazing differences that you, you, you mean in different people that can inspire you differently, even someone that you may think, oh well, you know, they're just kind of more of a drinking buddy and whatever Are they. You have that one night where you go out and all of a sudden they're discussing something that's very serious to them and I need some and like the depth, and then you're inspired to research your own depth in that and I know I'm going a little abstract here but nevertheless I'm extremely thankful to meet all these different personalities and all your talents and all your own and all your interesting topics and even though I may not always express it, but people and you know, and it seems like I put something on the group and get a lot of engagement. I go through every single comment and I'm looking, I'm reading and I find myself reading and fascinated what the answers are. Some of them are goofy, some of them are repetitive, and then there are things that in there and like, oh, and they all have value. And you think, well, who wastes time reading all that? Well, me, a lot of people, and I do know people. And then you meet someone randomly and you're like you put the name to go oh, you were the person that wanted to be stranded on a desert island with Brad Pitt. Yeah, awesome. How did you remember that? How do you tknow ? And I'm like you told me and also the value of the can offer.

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

You know between each other, like so many, they have connected and then once can provide a service that the other one needed. And it's been amazing how you see like, oh, I need somebody, Can somebody do this? And it's like yeah, yeah, yeah, I can do it. I can do it and you're like, wow, this person is an engineer and electronics and then do that. Wow, you will never imagine so it is. It's always very, very empowering and which yes, but it's positive.

Samantha Kennedy:

It's positive networking. It's not just about I want to make money. It's about wanting to help other members in the group, which is very different, and that's sure I mean.

Stephen Kershaw:

It's great and you have a great responsibility with that too, because there's almost a level of trust that you're, that you're conceding to like, oh, we're in this group, so I should know you. And then all of a sudden you're like, yeah, that's right, we know each other. You better step your game up of all. Yeah, you're right, and so there's a level of trust there with that as well. So that kind of networking and community is important and I'm happy to support somebody and if they feel like they have to work a little extra hard, good, good for them. They're growing, as I am as well.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Some people discount online groups or social media, but what I find in these groups are it depends on my energy and especially as an introvert, especially as somebody who's shy, like I, like to vet out people. I like to understand the different groups dynamics, different people's dynamics, what their energy is like, because in some ways I'm a little chameleon I can fit into all the places, but I just need to know who am I going to be here. And it's not that I'm not myself, but different groups, different personalities, different energies bring out different energy in me. So I appreciate the different posts and the threads and sometimes I'm a silent lurker and I'm just reading and I'm like, oh my gosh, that was so beautiful. This person was so vulnerable in this moment. And for people to create spaces where people feel comfortable being vulnerable, it's pretty darn amazing. And when one person gets the courage to be that vulnerable, it opens it up for another person to feel like, oh, I'm safe here. I'm safe here, I can trust them. I'm not saying that we trust everybody with the keys to our car and our house and to watch our children. There are different levels of trust, but it creates a foundational level so that we can see them as human beings. And then when you go out to the events which I encourage everybody to do you get to put the faces to it, which sometimes I have difficulty with because I'll see the little circles of their profile picture and I just make assumptions. Sometimes I'm like, oh, you're a lot taller or shorter, or wait, that was your daughter. You're not face that I associate with this name. So it's always fun and interesting, but it you smell worse than I thought you would. No, thank goodness Facebook does not have smells.

Stephen Kershaw:

Sensitive community is what you're saying, community.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Thank you. I can feel the connection before I go out and that helps me to feel more comfortable going out because there's already that base connection. But if you don't go out, you are also losing an opportunity for that connection, to deepen that connection, because only so much can be transferred through a computer or a phone or a device. You're really missing out. What are things that you feel hold people back from attending events?

Stephen Kershaw:

Before we go on this next topic, I have some bad news. I have to get going. I do have an appointment at 7.30 in another town and I have to get on my way. But just as it was getting interesting, because that is a really good topic, that sounds a little bit more like I'm interested in, because we're always exploring those things you know as far as we want to make people feel comfortable, Just get out once and we got you. But at the same time, yeah, we're always trying to. Yeah, it's a great topic. I'm very sorry. No worries, thank you for the invite. It was a pleasure, and it's always a pleasure listening to people's experiences. I learned so much from that Awesome Well thanks for joining in. I feel like a student and I feel like you guys have applied something to my classroom. Sure, you know not to sound selfish, I'm just here to absorb, but it was very interesting to listen to everyone's point of view. Thank you, awesome.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

We all have something to teach one another and no one from everybody. Always always, every day.

Stephen Kershaw:

All right, we'll take care and I wish you a great night and a due Bye, bye, bye.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

All right, we'll try to be quick and wrap up Some of the things that hold people back. What do you think that might be e

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

And I think that the most to me is just confidence, how they feel. It's like the own barrier in their own minds Look, I'm going to be accepted, I'm not going to be accepted, or do I look like them or do I look different. All people start imagining all these things. And then the but it goes beyond. It's not only to a social group, it's like the own perception that they have about themselves. To go anywhere, to go to the movie by themselves, to go to a sit down in a restaurant by themselves, to. It's just that fear. And as soon as you show them that we're having fun, and then they're welcome and then this is a safe place, then it's like, okay, I'm just going to try and see how many people have tried. And then they say, oh, I recognize you, Are you? I see, I can recognize your face, You're all over the place. I'm like, yeah, yeah, Can I give you a hug? The first thing I always do is I'm so happy you're here, Can I give you a hug? And I go hug Like they look at me like I'm not telling them. I'm like, yeah, hug. And then I go, yes, of course. And as soon as you hug them for more than three seconds. It totally changes and they relax. And then they start conversing with other people and then I introduce them to two or three and then sometimes I'll make sure that they're talking to somebody. And there they go and it changed completely. It changed completely. And then they bring their friends and then they're not alone anymore. Oh, look, they're doing this, Come on. And then they put tag their friends. Then, hey, look, they're doing something fun. Do you want to go? And then you'll see them, you know coming, and I'll bring it. Oh, are you seeing Clarita in the group? Because I had so much fun. But it's just confidence. To me that's like the first thing that the catch potato that they don't want. They want to have fun but they don't want to leave the couch.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

That's kind of a good thing I know, not the first, I think it was the first event I went to. That was at a place and I didn't know anybody. So I had the anxiety to choose to go and then I made that decision. I drove like 30 minutes to get there and then I sat in the parking lot and had another discussion with myself and I'm like you don't have to go in, you're what if you can't find the people? That's going to be so awkward and I almost talked myself out of going. I'm pretty sure I sat in the parking lot for half an hour and then finally I was like no, you can do this, you should do this, it's not going to hurt, you go in. And I did and I had a great time and I people recognize me or I recognize them. We were able to start conversations. So I think, yes, that fear is very common. A lot of people share that.

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

I remember my what my first group was a TV and I walked in on to the Christmas dinner and by the time I got there everybody were already sitting down on the table and there was no space for me. So there was just one little table in the corner, like the punished kid in the corner, and I had two options. Turn around, I said hello, the host came and said hello and then he went off, sat down. I didn't introduce me to anybody and I did not. I feel very uncomfortable at the moment for that. But then I say I got two choices either just get dressed up or ready makeup or whatever, and then just go home or go and sit on that little table and somebody will come. And I did. I went and sat down on the table by myself and I see this girl turn around, look at me, I smile, she smile and to today she's one of my best friends. Judy say to me, she got up and she came and say would you mind if I sit with you, Right? So I kind of rather to have my own table. And I'm like oh, you're one of mine, I like that and this beginning of beautiful, beautiful relationship and I'm super, super happy that I stay, because sometimes you don't know, sometimes you just go by yourself and just say I want to go to the movie theater, but you know, by myself. Or I want to go and have a drink in that new place, but by myself. And as soon as you sit down and you turn around, you have somebody that feeling the same way that you and then you have so much in common and then when you realize you're like having a great time you might not see them ever again. But at the same time, you had a great experience that moment, that day, in that presence, and I always vouch for that. You have to just put yourself up there.

Samantha Kennedy:

I think that people look at other people and make certain judgments based on what they see. But I think ultimately, everyone has a level of insecurity about some part of them, whether it's aesthetic, whether it's their education level, no matter what it is, or something that holds them back, and that insecurity can become overwhelming. Being able to overcome that is hard, and I think it becomes much harder the older you get, because it gets more ingrained. So one of the things that I've sort of realized is you got to walk through life with a smile on your face. People are not going to approach you if you look like this, but if you're standing at a bar, if you're sitting at a restaurant, even when you're by yourself and you have a smile on your face, you are approachable and that is you attract what you give. But getting over that initial insecurity, like everyone, has to work through that themselves, and I think one of the things that the mods do work really hard on is creating an environment, at least online, that says we're not judging. None of us are judging. We just want to get to know each other, whether it's a silly meme, whether it's something more serious. Someone posted recently that they have special needs children and wants to create a community for the parents and the children, and that takes a level of bravery and being able to overcome that. But what helps is the environment that is in the online group. It's not toxic. When things get a little bit toxic, Patrick and Steven do a great job of putting the keybosh on that we are not here for that. We're not here to pull anyone down. We're here to lift everyone up so that you can feel that level of security and that safety. To say this is a very personal thing for me Talking about your children, oh my gosh. But to share it with 6,000 complete strangers is a testament to the environment that they created online that I think they've done a great job of then translating into the real life experiences that we have together. So I'm hopeful that, as people that are sort of the lurkers, that they continue to be online and they see this is really positive. People are helping each other. People care about each other. We're sharing moments and our personal lives with each other. That that gives them a little bit of comfort to say, okay, yeah, I'm not perfect, but you know what I want? To go, have fun. These people seem like they're fun. They seem like they're going to welcome you with open arms and give you that three second hug, like Yuly said, and I think that that is happening more and more, which is fabulous, right. But, everyone has their own journey to take. But again there's no pressure like oh, you're going to get kicked out because you've never come to an event. No, you can stay and you can lurk until you find the comfort level that you need to get out in real life.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

And just as a side note for those listening, it is not a dating group. Everybody is welcome. The idea is to come in and be yourself and let people see who you are and find connection on a platonic level with those that are in the group. Now that is the best way to go about finding somebody that you may want to consider dating. But it provides that space so that everybody's there just for the friendship, just for the connection, and then, once you meet somebody, if you have that level, then you can progress. But that's not what the group is about.

Samantha Kennedy:

Thank you for that. I mean, uly Y did, you did, steven did. So it's going to happen organically, but it's going to happen in a way that you feel safe. Yes, right, you get to know somebody, you get to spend time with them, and then, if that happens, yay, go for it, beautiful. If it doesn't, you have a community and a network of people to share small, little individual events with, or these big, larger fun festivals. There's something for everybody.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

I love. It All right Any closing remarks?

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

I think it's this position. You have to have this position to do things and to achieve goals, Starting from there. Starting with you want friends, then you have to work to get friends. You are a partner. You have to work in yourself first and then put yourself up there and then you will attract, with a beautiful smile that Samantha was talking about, you attract the right energy that comes to you. And it clicks without even trying hard. It just, it just works very, very smoothly, because that's where the universe supposed to be. That's how it actually works. For closing, I think we live in an amazing city where there is so many different types of personalities and very rich, because we all move to a state where we're blessed with a beautiful weather that allows us to do so many things as a community, and I think there is no reason to be home alone and feeling miserable. There is no reason. There is so much you can do, no only party. You can do charity work, which we also provide events for charity work. You can help others through church or through local communities. It's just think, it's just finding a purpose in life besides just having a regular routine of working, coming home and sleep and then repeat. I think it's just when you put yourself up there and bringing more people into your life, it changes, and it changes always for the best. So just do it.

Samantha Kennedy:

My parting words would be be brave, be brave. You know that first step is the hardest, but once you take that first step it's, you find your stride, you take the next step and it gets so much easier from there. Awesome.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Well, thank you both for doing all that you do and for welcoming everybody and making me feel welcome and included and just bringing fun to my life. I truly appreciate y'all. Thank you, amanda, thank you for the best.

Yuly (Azy) Foley:

Goodbye.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

And that brings this episode of the Holly Springs Deep Dive podcast, soon to be called the NC Deep Dive to to a lose Thank you for joining in today. I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. May it be filled with food, family and friends, and if you could use some assistance with the latter, I highly recommend checking out the Facebook page called Goat goofing off around the triangle. I will try and put a direct link into the show notes. Check out their page, participate in the conversation threads, pour over the various events and find those who resonate with your soul. There's truly something for everyone, and if you ever see any of us out, please make sure you say hello. We love putting a face to a name and would love to help you find your people. As always, if you have any topics or thoughts you'd like to share, you may do so through social media or bmailing mailing e emailing h hollyspringspodcast@gmail ollyspringspodcast@gmail .hollyspringspodcast@gmail... gmailcom. gmail. com you found value in today's episode, I'd love for you to subscribe, rate and review it, and be on the lookout for at whollyspringsdeepdivecom. hollyspringsdeepdivecom at wwwhollyspringsdeepdivecom, apple Podcast, spotify, audible or wherever you currently listen to your podcast. Until next time, my friends Namaste, the love and light in me sees and honors the love and light in you. Thank you.

Making Friends as Adults
Building Friendships and Social Connections
The Power of Community and Connection
Building a Supportive and Inspiring Community
Overcoming Insecurities and Building Community
Engaging With a Community for Connection