question: how do people get a sense that they belong? i don't feel i belong here just because i'm here. i'd like to but when is it when one begins to feel that way?

@hettie I feel this. I think my instinct in the face of this emotion is just to jump in and act like I belong--fake it til I make it, so to speak. But I think for me, a sense of belonging comes when I feel that I have space to authentically be myself. Usually, for me, that takes both time and "evidence," if that makes sense.

@bopie5 i got the Brene Brown vibe but I can't do it. but i am my authentic self except it's scary to show it like right away. and i don't have a social media self :)

@hettie I feel like the more I interact the more I feel it. I’ve posted more on here that’s real than any other platform and have got nothing but kindness back. And trying to intentionally include others has had the rebound effect of making me feel included.❤️

@Leah @hettie Leah, this is spot on for me too. I’ve put authentic myself out there more here and people have accepted me as I am. Not as the same as them but as me. The moments I feel the most belonging aren’t when I feel “oh that’s like me” but when others read what I wrote and respond to it genuinely. I’ve tried to respond to others more in the same way and the more I do it, the more like I belong here I feel.

@hettie do you mean in this mastodon server or in general? Because the answer to both is that you do belong! 💚
I feel it though, I have social anxiety and don’t often feel I belong in whatever groups I’m in, but that goes away the more I integrate with the community.

@hettie This is a great question. I think it varies by the person. I'd say in general a sense of being wanted by and connected with others and having a voice in the group or activity. I belong to a group of friends because we like each other. I belong to a cohort because I was accepted into a program. I'm might not always feel like I belong even if I do. I belong to my family because we're stuck with each other. Sometimes belonging is a tiring responsibility.

The good answer is when you start having a circle of friends, close and passing, here.

The less good answer is that communities often adopt habits to mark those who have learned them as insiders. Turns of speech, customs, little ways of doing things that are never written down or explained. Oxford seems to run on these, but even the newsgroup alt.folklore.urban had its own little dialect, "cow orker", "a merkin", "vorify", never using smilies...

@hettie What really helped me was posting something from a place of vulnerability (much like this post of yours) and seeing all the replies of people who are feeling the same things. If they belong, then I do too. And if they don't belong for feeling the same thing, then we can not belong together. (That made more sense in my own head) And the more I read, comment, converse, and toot, the more I realize that this is a really cool place full of supportive like minded people. My kind of people.

@hettie I often wonder the same about when a city can feel like home etc... Let me know if you figure it out. In the meantime, I am with you in solidarity, pondering the same questions.

@hettie I get a sense that “belonging” is a similar emotional response as to “being known”.

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