Community, friendship, and relationship are subjects that fascinate me a lot—partly because I think I’m not that good at them and partly because I’m so bothered that too many people are not good at them and seem to be okay with that. They have their phones and social media, anyway.

Early this year, I scoured the Internet for book recommendations on community-building. I decided to pick Radha’s book and invest time in it because of its systematic but not boring approach to community-building.

The book was also filled with a lot of doodles and drawings, which I really love. Interestingly, Radha’s book was the same publisher who publishes Austin Kleon’s drawing-filled books, Workman Publishing. Drawings just make learning so much easier.

Radha’s philosophy of community-building is bullet-proof: 1) Start with yourself. Get to know who you really are and what you really want. 2) Find people who share your values and build your community around them. Without inner work, building a community you actually love is impossible.

Belong process

  1. Do VIA
  2. Do Three Columns
  3. Use your VIA to guide you in finding groups you are aligned with in your city, state, or town.
    • Reach out to Facebook friends and ask them to connect you to like-minded communities.
    • Join FB groups in the local that matches your interests.
    • Join groups in the local that matches your interests.
    • Find 5-10 groups.
  4. Once you have found groups, start participating online and contributing.
  5. Try to go through one group a week (several is fine so you don’t put everything in one basket).
  6. Next, join low-risk and low-stress events like small meet-ups where you can be intimate or engage right away or really large groups where you can be anonymous.
  7. The goal of at this stage is to create your Inner Core community. Remember not to rush this process. Treat it as a way to really know what you are interested in. Be authentic and true to what lights your fire. All you need to do at this stage is show up.
  8. Once you’ve explored 5-10 groups, narrow them down into 2-3 and participate in them, volunteering your time.
  9. Use these groups to build your inner core.
  10. Establish relationships with portals who can help you find at most 150 outer core members and three to 10 inner core friends.
  11. Find friends with whom you can do everything with and who could love one another as a collective.
  12. Introduce the rule: No shit-talking or sneaking around behind one another’s backs. Promote honesty, inclusivity, and transparency. If we had a problem, we would talk to the person we had a problem with, not someone else.
  13. Be intentional to hangout with your inner and outer core community regularly.
  14. Every year (either during your annual review or birthday), reassess your outer and inner core communities by writing each of your friends’ names down and being really honest with yourself as to how you are showing up for them and they for you.
  15. Hold your own events using the Six-Step Community Event Starter Kit


Agrawal, R. (2018). Belong: Find Your People, Create Community & Live a More Connected Life. Workman Publishing.