Spreading the Joys of Neighboring – Sarah Grey (POY 08)

Spreading the Joys of Neighboring - Sarah Grey (POY 08)

Sarah Grey maintains a popular website about neighboring that is based on weekly gatherings at her home. Hear her and Josh have a fun conversation about it.

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Further Reading

  • Click here to buy The Vanishing Neighbor, the book by Marc J. Dunkelman, via Amazon. Your purchase will help to offset The Plural of You’s hosting costs.
  • The research mentioned in the monologue is based on these data from the General Social Survey, and will be discussed in a forthcoming article.

Transcript

This transcript may differ in minor instances from the audio content. Please notify Josh Morgan of any errors you may find.

Monologue by Josh Morgan

This is The Plural of You, a podcast about people helping people. I’m Josh Morgan.

Sarah Grey is a freelance editor and writer who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Like many city dwellers, she and her husband felt trapped in a socially isolated lifestyle, but in 2013, they decided to do something about it. She began inviting friends, family, and neighbors to their house for spaghetti and meatballs every Friday night, and the idea was a hit. She later launched a website about it called Friday Night Meatballs, and it has since become a destination for people all around the world who are seeking to host gatherings like hers. I talked with her recently about the project via Skype, and I’ll play our conversation in a moment.

I invited Sarah on The Plural of You because, from a sociological standpoint, Friday Night Meatballs peels back a lot of layers surrounding our lives in the 21st century. Anyone can tell that the ways people interact with one another today have changed even in the last few years. That said, I think Sarah is doing more than just inviting people to her house and writing about it online. She is preserving a certain type of relationship that’s become more difficult to maintain these days, and that’s on top of strengthening ties among the people in her own life.

One of the most even-handed books I’ve read on the state of American society is The Vanishing Neighbor by Marc J. Dunkelman. There’s no shortage of intellectuals who have written with lament for America’s good old days, but Dunkelman’s book is the first I’ve come across that claims that the changes our society are going through aren’t necessarily bad.

Dunkelman points out that our social relationships exist on three levels or rings, as he calls them: an inner ring consisting of our families and closest friends; a middle ring of neighbors and local acquaintances; and an outer ring of limited, one-dimensional contacts. Dunkelman argues in his book that the old model of community life in America, one based on townships where everybody knows everybody else, is being dismantled for many reasons, and our neighborly, middle-ring relationships are becoming less and less essential to us.

Instead, we are becoming more and more reliant on our inner and outer rings: family and friends, for obvious reasons, but thanks to the Internet, personal electronics, and new ways to communicate, we’ve become more selective about the lifestyles we choose for ourselves, as well as the people we allow into them. For example, we no longer have to ask around our neighborhood or join a sewing club to learn how to hem clothes. Now we can get on YouTube and watch videos to learn everything we need.

Overall, Dunkelman suggests that it’s more efficient for us as individuals to structure our social lives this way because we can shop around for what we like. Take Facebook: one study from researchers at Cornell University found that people with stronger real-world networks and higher social capital used the site more than those who didn’t have those things. Of course, the tradeoff is that the network model makes us more prone to social segregation and extremism. If you have anyone hidden from your news feed on Facebook, like I do, then you’ve been affected, too.

I’ve been doing some analyses of specific social trends in the United States using data from the General Social Survey, and what I’ve found seems to support Dunkelman’s claims. For instance, Americans in 2014 spent time with relatives and friends about as often as they did in 1974, but they spent less time with their neighbors, about 12 percent less. Americans in 2014 were also less likely to say that most people were fair, or that most people could be trusted, and they were much less likely to express confidence in the three branches of federal government. The weird thing is that Americans in 2014 were roughly as happy as they were forty years ago, which could indicate that these changes aren’t necessarily affecting how satisfied we are with our lives.

Even if it is more efficient for us as individuals to pick and choose who we interact with instead of making nice with broader groups of people, there are plenty of examples where the old traditions of community life are alive and well. That’s because there will always be value in middle-ring relationships, and folks like Sarah Grey are rediscovering that. If you know where to look, you can find people like Sarah establishing community ties all over the country.

One journalist writing about the concept in Kansas City, Missouri, has referred to it as neighboring, and I like what that word implies. Assuming that Marc J. Dunkelman is right, and that we’re more likely to order something from the Internet these days than ask our neighbor to borrow it, I think it’s time we accept that neighboring is no longer a no-brainer. It’s something we have to work at, and I’m glad Sarah is proving that we don’t have to be content to live in social isolation. Here’s Sarah Grey, founder of FridayNightMeatballs.com.

Interview with Sarah Grey

SG: Hello!

JM: Hi, Sarah! How’s it going?

SG: I’m doing well. How about you?

JM: I’m doing very well. It’s nice and sunny outside today, so that’s a plus.

SG: Oh, it’s beautiful. We just had our daughter out at the park. It was great.

JM: It looks like dinner went well last night for you, too.

SG: It did indeed. I actually got a call the night before from my uncle, who I hadn’t seen in ten years or so. He lives down in Jacksonville, Florida. His fiancée is a flight attendant, and they were supposed to go to Belfast for a couple of days. The logistics didn’t work out, so they decided to come to Philly instead.

JM: Very cool.

SG: Yeah! It was a lot of fun. We had six of us plus two kids.

JM: So tell me about yourself. What’s your background?

SG: I’m originally from Pittsburgh. I’m a freelance writer and editor. I grew up in a working class suburb. I went to a women’s college, got a degree in Philosophy and Cultural Studies, moved to New York, tried to figure out what I was doing for a long time.

JM: What lead you out to New York?

SG: The white-hot center of the world, really. [laughs] The plan was to go to grad school. My husband, who was not yet my husband then, stayed in grad school for a while, but I dropped out after a semester. I was 21 and really not ready for that kind of specialization. The city was wonderful—intoxicating—but also a very difficult place to be if you don’t have a lot of money.

JM: Yeah, I actually tried to live there one summer, and I didn’t last very long.

SG: Yeah. There’s definitely a feeling of accomplishment when you survive. Getting through the first winter was a major milestone. Philly is definitely a much more liveable place.

JM: So you moved from New York to Philadelphia.

SG: That was 2006. I got married, and we had our daughter in 2009. I was working for a translation agency, doing project management and editing of things that had been translated into English. I sort of watched the freelancers I worked with do what they do, and I thought, ‘I kind of want that life. That looks pretty great.’ About four years ago, I went full-time freelance as an editor, and I have never looked back.

JM: Oh, good for you.

SG: Thanks!

JM: What was the spark that lead you to try the Friday Night Meatballs concept?

SG: For us, it was a matter of trying to see our friends. When you’ve got a little kid—our daughter, at the time, had just turned three—you’re busy, you’re exhausted, hiring a babysitter gets expensive. People invite you out, and it’s like, “Well, it’s just—I can go out maybe once or twice a month. I’m sorry.” I felt like we never saw anyone. We were isolated. One of my least favorite things about being a freelancer is that you’re kind of home alone all the time.

JM: Oh, that’s true. Yeah.

SG: I said, “You know, why don’t we just have people come to us?” If they have kids, they don’t have to hire a sitter, either. That was how it started.

I put up a Facebook status, and it got more Likes than anything I had ever put on Facebook before. People started passing it around. Once we started doing it, it was so much fun and so rewarding. The amount of effort that we put in versus the good that we got out of it was so great that we decided to keep going and never stopped.

JM: What does your husband do?

SG: He’s an office manager. He works for a security firm.

JM: Typical nine-to-five kind of thing.

SG: Exactly. He’s our source of health insurance, also. Very important. [laughs] He’s also a very talented cook. He’s thought about doing it professionally, but he thought that would sort of take the fun out of it. He does about 99 percent of the cooking in our household. I can cook, but he really brings talent and passion to it.

JM: It helps that your husband is a great cook. What else made you think that this idea could work?

SG: Well, there was also a shared love of spaghetti and meatballs. [laughs]

JM: Oh, well. That’s important.

SG: His family is from New Jersey, very Italian. Every Sunday when he was growing up, his dad would cook up a pot of spaghetti and meatballs, and have it simmering on the stove all day. We had both grown up in families that liked to have big gatherings, and it was never a big deal or something that you got dressed up for. We’d all go over to Grandma’s house. Everyone would be there eating and playing cards and having fun, and we missed that. We want our daughter to have that.

That was a shared cultural background, and also both of us felt like we would never get sick of spaghetti and meatballs. That’s our comfort food. [laughs]

JM: [laughs]

SG: You know, we used to have friends over, and we would make these fancy, fancy dinners. We would really go all out, and it would take a lot of effort. Half the time, our friends who didn’t have that Italian-American background would be like, “Can you just make spaghetti and meatballs? That sounds really good.” We’d make it and they would go nuts, so we said, “Why are we killing ourselves trying to find the perfect four-course meal when everybody loves this?”

JM: I like that.

SG: It takes a lot of the stress out of it.

JM: Yeah, for sure.

So you went on Facebook, and you posted a status update to invite people. How did it play out from there?

SG: I got a lot of comments and a lot of emails saying “Me-me-me! Pick me!” Basically the first ten people or so, we said, “Come on over.” Everyone else, we said, “Okay, next week.” For the first few weeks, I was putting out the “Hey, we’re doing this,” and I would get all of these messages saying, “I’m so sorry, I can’t make it to your thing tonight. We’ll have to find some other time to hang out.”

As we started doing it more regularly, people started to relax about that sort of thing. They realized if they couldn’t make it this week, no big deal. There’s always next week. We skip weeks sometimes if we’re out of town or one of us has a fever or something, but it’s regular enough that it’s not an event that anyone has to stress over.

JM: How do you juggle your gatherings with other people’s events?

SG: It does kind of depend. We do occasionally miss out on some things that are on Friday nights. Our neighborhood does a thing called First Friday, where galleries and different spaces are all opened up, the restaurants have specials, and everything. We haven’t been to that in a while because we’re always busy on Friday night.

JM: Oh, I see. Yeah.

SG: But when something important is happening, we might skip a week. It’s become such a regular fixture that we don’t really worry too much about doing that.

JM: About how many people do you host, on average?

SG: We found that we had to cap it at ten because our dining room is pretty small, and that’s as many chairs as we own. [laughs]

JM: [laughs] Oh, that would be an issue. I didn’t think of that.

SG: It is, you know? In Philly, all of the houses are little, narrow rowhouses, so you don’t have a lot of space. That [limit] is adults. Whatever kids they bring, we always have a kids table going on in the living room. We sort of let kids take over the living room with a big pile of toys. It’s a lot of fun.

JM: [laughs]

SG: We don’t always have the full ten. Sometimes, it will be a little quieter. Last night, we had planned for five, and then we had a last minute addition. We ended up with six. It was a nice size, and we were able to have a quiet conversation and visit more. When it’s ten, it tends to be more of a party.

We find that there’s a different vibe every time, depending on how many of us there are and who they are. It’s always a different mix of people, usually from different circles. They might not have ever met one another if not for this. Part of the fun is seeing what’s the alchemy, what’s the mix going to be this time.

JM: How do you keep the kids entertained, or do they pretty much entertain themselves?

SG: Oh, they entertain each other pretty well. [laughs] One of our anchors or regulars is my friend, Stephanie, who lives down the street. She’s got a daughter who is my daughter’s age, and they are fast friends. Those two, as soon as they get together, they start playing. They’re playing dressup, and bringing out the toys, and running around and having a ball. Other kids join in as they come, and our house is jammed with toys—way too many toys. They’re pretty easy to entertain. The challenge is usually getting them to stop running around, and to sit down and actually eat something.

JM: [laughs]

It sounds like you have regulars among your friends and acquaintances. Have you gotten your neighbors involved?

SG: We have! We’ve actually had quite a number of our neighbors around. When we first moved here, we didn’t really know many people. As we had a child, we met more of the moms and dads.

JM: That’s nice.

SG: Now we feel much more rooted. One of my clients is a Web development company that’s two blocks away. Everybody there works in the neighborhood. We’ve had the whole staff over. They’re the ones who did the Friday Night Meatballs website—Pinnacle Performance Partners. They’ve been absolutely fantastic.

JM: Yeah. It’s a great website, by the way.

SG:I ended up through them writing a website for the neighborhood association, and then met everybody who’s involved with the neighborhood association. It really broadened our roots right here in our neighborhood.

JM: Has Friday Night Meatballs inspired other gatherings among people who have shown up?

SG: We’ve had a lot of folks, particularly one from out of town, say, “I want to start my own!” My uncle and his fiancée last night were saying, “We’re going to start something like this in Jacksonville, Florida.” It’s great.

JM: That’s cool.

SG: There’s been a lot of that. You sort of direct transmission, and in talking about it on Facebook with people who don’t live nearby and decide to take it up. I had an article published about it on Serious Eats, which is a popular food blog. That post actually went really viral. It was one of their biggest articles of the year.

JM: Nice.

SG: Yeah, it was pretty wild. I was astonished at how much it spread, and I started hearing from people in all of these other countries. I’ve worked in translation, so I know a lot of people in different parts of the world. I wasn’t surprised when some of them started doing it, but to hear from countries where I didn’t know anybody—we had this family in the Ukraine send us these photos of this great big gathering in their dining room, where they’re all just smiling and having a great time.

JM: That’s amazing.

SG: There’s another family of American expats in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, that have been doing it regularly for almost a year now. They’ve been sending in pictures. People put it on Instagram. We have a hashtag, #fridaynightmeatballs. I check it every Saturday morning and see what people are putting up. That actually flows right into our website.

We get these messages from people in India, Malaysia. A friend of mine actually did one in Gaza.

JM: Holy cow.

SG: It’s really all over the world.

JM: [laughs] Yeah, I was reading your Facebook page and saw all of the recent posts you’ve made about interviews and people that have mentioned you. I’m really impressed with how it’s taking off lately.

SG: It’s been a real surprise for us and a real pleasure. We were profiled in Real Simple, which was extremely exciting.

JM: I saw that, too, yeah.

SG: My mom subscribes, and I always read it at her house. I was a little starstruck by that. [laughs]

JM: [laughs]

SG: I got a media request today through the website from a journalist in Cape Town, South Africa.

JM: Wow!

SG: …who’s writing for a crafting magazine. [laughs] It’s been kind of phenomenal.

You know, I’m a freelance writer. I want to publicize my writing. I have a brand that I want to get out there. Part of it for me has been, “Let’s see how far we can get this to go.” I actually—I have a book proposal. I want to actually go to some of the far-flung places where people are doing Friday Night Meatballs, and meet them and talk about what’s changed in your community, what’s changed in your life that you don’t have that regular gathering that you need to find ideas about it on the Internet.

There was a megachurch pastor in rural Arkansas who did a sermon about it. That was probably the biggest mind-blower for me. [laughs]

JM: [laughs] Just how many corners it can reach, yeah.

SG: Yeah, so many different—It’s right and left, rural and urban. There doesn’t seem to be any real barrier. Everybody loves it. It’s sort of something that I think that universally appeals to people.

JM: How has launching the website affected your own gatherings, or has it affected them at all?

SG: They haven’t changed much. I think the difference is probably that we talk about it more. People come over, and they sort of tease me, like “Hey, we saw you in Real Simple. We’re doing something famous!” I don’t think it’s changed the character of it.

Probably the only difference is that, because people have heard of it, I get a lot more people saying, “Hey, can I come?” which is great. Still, it varies from week to week. Some weeks, we’re overwhelmed. Others, it’s like we’ve got a pot of meatballs and we’re like, “Oh, everybody’s busy this week. We’ll just have three or four people.”

It’s definitely changed my work life.

JM: How so?

SG: I’ve met people from all over. I’ve been in touch with people I would have never been in touch with. I’ve had a lot of requests from food magazines, so I’ve had a lot of opportunities to do food writing because of it. Food journalism is a lot of fun.

JM: And that’s what you wanted to get into, I think. Right?

SG: Well, I’m primarily a book editor. I mostly do political science books.

JM: I see. So that’s a little different.

SG: It’s very different. I used to have a food blog, and I really enjoy writing about food. I actually think that food and politics mesh in a lot of interesting ways.

JM: Oh, what do you mean?

SG: There are a lot of things to think about politically in terms of how we get our food, how we grow our food, how we sell it and distribute it. I live in a neighborhood that used to be what’s called a food desert. There was one grocery store that was kind of crappy. People didn’t really have access to a lot of fresh vegetables.

In the time that I’ve lived here, that’s turned around a hundred percent. We have an urban farmstand, we have some quality grocery stores, we have gourmet restaurants. Not all of it’s as affordable as it should be, but it’s a process of change. Particularly, our urban farm, Greensboro, has been trying to make itself as accessible as possible. There’s a lot to think about in terms of how food and culture, and food and class, come together.

JM: I know you’ve touched on some of this already, but I wanted to ask how starting Friday Night Meatballs has improved your life. Would you say it’s been successful at doing what you wanted to do?

SG: Oh, absolutely. I feel much, much less isolated since since I started doing it.

JM: Good!

SG: I’m a real extrovert. My husband is not. He’s an introvert, I’m the extrovert. [laughs] I sort of do the social side of things. He’ll be in the kitchen putting the pasta on and having a beer with the other introvert, whoever decides to show up, which is nice. That makes it more accessible for people who aren’t really that into crowds. It’s given us a lot more opportunities to see friends.

We have a way to connect with people now. When I meet somebody new, I like them, and I want to invite them into my life in some way, it’s “We do this meatball thing, come on over.” There’s an easy way to kind of bring people into your life, and they’ve connected. I’ve seen a lot of people become friends over our table.

That’s really rewarding in itself, but it’s also—I think that, the stronger the network of people around you, the more you have to rely on. This winter, we went through a period where I was sick, my daughter was sick, it was snowing and we kept having these snow days, and I had deadlines. It was like, “How am I going to get all of this done?” My friends knew, and came and took care of us!

JM: Oh, wow!

SG: [They] brought us food, and took my daughter out for a movie so that I could get some work done. It’s things like that that have much more presence in our lives since we started doing this. We have community in a way that we didn’t before.

JM: I’m glad to hear that.

SG: Thank you.

JM: Initially, were you reluctant to let people into your home? I know most of them aren’t strangers, but clutter, for example. I’ve seen you mention that community should be more important than clutter—that sort of thing.

SG: Yeah, that’s been the big one for me. I am definitely not a neatnik. I’m terrible at housekeeping, and my husband’s not that great at it, either. That’s a bit of a challenge. One nice thing about it is that does force us to clean at least once a week. [laughs] So we’ve got that going for us.

JM: [laughs] Yup.

SG: I try really hard not to sweat the housework, and I try to emphasize that this is not about sweating the housework. It’s not about having a perfect house, right? It’s just about being who you are and being okay with that. This has forced me to come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to have the house beautiful—the kind of house that someone’s going to want to profile in a magazine or something. I’m totally okay with that.

JM: I like that.

SG: We’ve got a five year old! Yes, there’s marker on the couch. It’s okay! [laughs] Most people’s houses look like that.

JM: [laughs] That’s true.

SG: I feel like I don’t want that to be a barrier for anybody in terms of connecting with friends and community. If I’m going to preach that to other people, then I have to do it, too. I’ve kind of had to get over it and say come on in, even if I didn’t get a chance to vacuum.

JM: I like that.

Now, I know the success of the website has been a surprise. Has anything else surprised you since you started this?

SG: Oh, that’s a good question. I’ve definitely been surprised by how much it resonates with people. I sort of thought this was the most obvious thing in the world. It’s dinner with friends! What’s the big deal? I think the fact that we’re talking about doing it in a way that isn’t labor intensive, or is a lot less labor intensive than other ways of doing it, and trying to find ways of building community that fit with the way people’s lives are now, that you can do this even if you don’t have family who live nearby. It doesn’t have to be family: you’ll make family.

A lot of old traditions of dinner parties and that sort of thing counted on one member of the family staying home and doing housework all day, or staying home and cooking. That’s not the reality of most people’s lives.

JM: I never thought about it like that.

SG: There are certainly stay-at-home moms, but the majority of us are juggling five thousand things and trying to get something on the table when we get home from work.

JM: Right, right.

SG: This is a way that you can do that. We cook the meatballs the night before and put them in the slow cooker that day. It’s all done beforehand, and I take maybe an hour on Friday afternoon to clean. The rest of the day, I’m working.

JM: That’s way more simple that it might seem on the surface, at least to me. When I think about having people over, I think about all of the little things I would have to do, like it’s a whole process, but it sounds like you solved it almost. Your way is much easier.

SG: After awhile, you kind of get down to a science. The other thing you can do when you’re doing it regularly is you can plan ahead. You might cook up a really big batch of sauce and meatballs, and freeze a bunch of it. Then all you’ve got to do is throw it in the slow cooker. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

There are certainly weeks where we’re stressed out, and it gets to be a lot. We’ve generally found that, even when we’re having a stressful Friday afternoon—”Oh, no! We’ve forgotten the tomatoes!” and we’re running to the store at the last minute or whatever. By the time everybody gets there, and we’ve all settled down and said hello, the stress is gone. At the end of the night, we’re glad we did it.

JM: That’s good.

Now, I don’t want this whole thing to come off as too good to be true. Have any problems come up or anything that you didn’t anticipate?

SG: There have certainly been times where it’s been a little overwhelming. I think particularly in the winter we tend to get overwhelmed with snow days and illnesses and what have you.

There have been occasions where somebody didn’t get along and we’d have a great big political argument over the table or something like that.

JM: Oh, I see.

SG: We try to defuse those things and make everybody feel comfortable. Occasionally—people are people, and those things happen. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from it is how to roll with it. I’ve gotten better at managing things when my plans get disrupted in some way.

JM: Given everything you’ve learned, would you have any advice for those of us who would like to start something like Friday Night Meatballs in our own neighborhoods?

SG: I think the biggest thing is don’t be afraid. Go ahead and take the plunge.

JM: Did you have any initial fears, like “I don’t know if I can do this”?

SG: Oh, yeah.

JM: How did you handle it?

SG: I was a little worried that it would just be too much, that it would be too stressful, in particular that cooking every week would be too much. I was sort of like, ‘Is my need for company putting too much of a burden of work on my husband?’ We’ve talked about that, and there have been times where we felt overwhelmed, but he’s consistently said and I’ve agreed that it’s worth the work.

I think it looks more intimidating than it is, particularly the first couple of times. You’re trying to figure out how to get everything done. After a while, you start to get a mental checklist, you know what’s going to happen, and you feel more comfortable. It becomes part of a routine that you don’t want to live without. I feel like if you can get past that initial barrier of intimidation, you find that it’s really, really worthwhile.

JM: That’s great. I like hearing you say that.

SG: Are you thinking about starting one?

JM: Yes, actually. I have been.

SG: Excellent!

JM: Yeah!

So what has doing all of this taught you about people?

SG: I think it’s reminded me of how important it is for people to actually see one another face to face. I’ve been doing everything basically over the Internet for the last four years as a freelancer. A large part of my social life is online, and I always thought, ‘Oh, that’s no big deal.’ Certainly, online social life is a real thing and a wonderful thing, but there’s really no substitute for face to face and sharing a meal together, and being in someone’s house in their real life.

That’s something that I think we’ve lost a lot, especially in cities. We gather in restaurants or we don’t gather at all. The less you do it, the more it becomes this psychological burden, like “Oh, maybe I’d rather just sit on the couch instead.” Once you actually start doing it and get used to it, you realize there’s a reason that human beings have always done this.

JM: Makes sense.

SG: You know? It’s not all that natural for us to be alone or in small groups all of the time. It’s really kind of reminded me this is what being human is all about. I think the fact that it’s caught on so universally says something about that.

JM: Very good.

Obviously you have the website. What are the best ways for us to follow you online?

SG: We have fridaynightmeatballs.com, which, yes, is our website. We also have a very active Facebook page, and that’s facebook.com/fridaynightmeatballs. You can follow us on Twitter—we’re at @FNMeatballs. We’re also on Instagram. We’re fridaynightmeatballs on Instagram, and we love it when people use our hashtag. If you tweet or Instagram a photo, we will happily put it on our website. We actually have the website set up so the Instagram account flows into the website, so we’ll repost you.

JM: Oh, nice.

SG: Yeah, and we also have a little form on the website where people can submit a photo and a story. We’ve got a gallery of people’s photos from all over talking about how they’ve taken part in Friday Night Meatballs, and how they’ve adapted it. People do tacos, people do brisket, people make it a Shabbat dinner. There are all sorts of ways, and it’s sort of what works for you: what you like to eat, what your culture is, what you’re comfortable with. It’s really pretty inspiring to see everything that people have done with it.

JM: What if someone wanted to contact you. What would be the best way to do that?

SG: You can always email me. I’m at sarah at greyediting.com. We also have a contact form on the website. People can fill that out and it comes right to my email.

JM: Great!

SG: And you can also tweet me.

JM: Sounds good. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

SG: I think that’s about it. I hope you’ll let us know how yours goes!

JM: For sure, yeah. I’m looking forward to it. What you said about getting over that initial intimidation, I think that’s what I’ve been hesitating about, but you’ve broken it down for me. It doesn’t have to be as challenging as I’ve made it out to be.

SG: Yeah, it’s really easy to sort of build it up in your mind as this great big thing that you’ve got to get done.

JM: Yeah, like it has to be perfect and that sort of stuff.

SG: Right, right. Once you get over that and you realize that it totally doesn’t have to be perfect, and nobody actually cares whether there’s dust on the windowsill.

JM: [laughs]

SG: This is one of the benefits of candlelight! [laughs]

JM: Ah, I see!

SG: Right? Nobody sees the dust in the corners. They just see your faces and what’s on the table, and that’s what matters.

JM: [laughs] I’ll have to borrow that. That’s a good tip.

SG: [laughs] Well, thank you. Please do.

JM: Well, thank you so much, Sarah. It’s been a lot of fun talking with you. I’m honored because I’ve been impressed with how successful this has all been for you.

SG: Well, thank you so much! Thanks for having me. It’s been a lot of fun.

JM: Okay. That’s all I have.

SG: Thanks so much. I will look for your podcast. I’m enjoying listening to it.

JM: Oh, thank you! I appreciate that.

SG: Alright, take care!

JM: You, too.

Conclusion by Josh Morgan

This episode of The Plural of You was produced by me, Josh Morgan, in sunny Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Mike Martinez created the music.

Visit PluralofYou.org for transcripts, show notes, and other resources. Subscribe by searching for The Plural of You wherever you get your podcasts. If you’re listening through iTunes, please take a moment to rate and review The Plural of You to help others find it. About thirty people across five countries reviewed the podcast on iTunes last month. Thanks to everyone who did that. It really means a lot to me.

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In closing, here’s a homework assignment.

We all have people who have made our lives possible, so take a moment to think of at least three names who have helped you reach the point where you are today and send them a thank-you message. A simple message like “Thanks for being my friend” or “Thanks for supporting me” would be enough, but it’s up to you. I’m going to take my own advice on this one and thank a few people, too.

That’s all for now. Thanks for listening.