People are afraid. Maybe you’re afraid. We don’t know what the people around us are thinking. We don’t know what they are doing in their free time. We don’t know what the person next to us is interested in. And in order to stay safe, we need to know. People on the Right think we need to start tracking people based on religion. People on the Left thing we need to start tracking people based on purchases. People on all sides of government think we need to increase security and watch people more carefully.

I think we need to take matters into our own hands. Instead of outsourcing our safety to the bureaucrats, we need to take action to feel safe.

Here’s how we do it:

  1. Use Social Media. Find your friends and followers that are in your real life and circles who you don’t know very well. Take a look at their pictures and feeds. See what they are interested in and have been doing recently. Use that as a talking point. Ask them about their recent trip or new job. Invite them to a movie with their spouse or a mutual friend that you think they’d be interested in. Ask them if they would like to grab a bite sometime and have them pick the restaurant. Have a conversation.
  2. Keep it local. If you have new neighbors, say ‘Hello!’  the next time they are working in the yard. Offer to help. If you both have kids, ask if they would like to walk to the local park with you. If you both have dogs, walk the dogs together. If you both have cats, gripe and rejoice about the terrible-awesomeness of those animals. Have a conversation.
  3. Use community organizations. If you are a member of a religious or community organization, seek out other religious and community organizations. See if they have any open houses that you could attend. Find a friend and attend someone else’s charity event. See if your organizations could do a joint event. Host an event for conversations.
  4. Use the internet. Seek out new information online. As if you were doing research for a high school or college paper or as if you were researching both sides of a debate. Be more interesting and informed in conversations.
  5. Use your family and friends. You might not know them as well as you think you do. Host a Progressive Dinner. Call one of your friends and ask them how their job is going. Text your sibling a funny emoji and get a conversation started about how crazy your parents are. Invite your close family and friends to help you in any of the above endeavors. Have a conversation.

Do you get it yet?

If you want to make you and your family feel safe, eliminate the threats that are living in your mind. Stop fretting over what coworkers might do and get to know them. Stop being fearful of the person who has different views than you and take the time to understand what their views actually are. If you think that there are dangerous people in your neighborhood, get to know more of your neighbors so that you can learn that people are people, just like you. Grow your community so that if something does happen, you know that people will have your back and you can be there to help others in times of need. If you fear for a family member or friend, reach out to them. Listen to their fears, show them you are there for them.

If you aren’t afraid and already feel safe, build your community anyway and invite those that are ignorant or unaware to be involved. Help others to feel safe. Give them a community and a tribe.

If you want to know what those around you are thinking, ask. Be an adult, start a conversation.