Social Ruggedization

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

You didn’t see any blog posts from me last week as life was busy and disrupted due to the coronavirus. Don’t worry, I’m fine, its just that there were a lot of changes.

I, my girlfriend, and a lot of people we know are working from home, which is a huge schedule change. We’re in a shelter-in-place order here. Then there’s the collapsing economy and so on.

You’ll understand the lack of blog posts and the large amount of junk food consumed.

So now a lot of us find ourselves in a disease crisis, not leaving home, and worrying about the state of the world. We’re all working to stay connected, stick together and make it through. So I wanted to talk about “social ruggedization.”

I’ve heard people use the term “ruggedizing” to refer to dealing with climate change – we need to make our cities and supply chains rugged in the face of disruption. The same goes for our social systems, from our world to our countries to our own social groups.

This crisis has shown the need to build resilient social systems. That’s not just my job, or your job, it’s everyone’s job. So here’s what I’m doing and a few suggestions from what I’ve learned.

Connect Regularly: People need some kind of regular checkin to connect. This could be a regular event like a weekly call. It could be a regular tool people use for communication like Discord. Sync up.

Overcome Space: Right now we’ve got to overcome the space between us, but remember there’s always space between us. It may be the space of a schedule change, or someone is laid up, or simple distance. Be pre-emptively planning to connect with people.

Share Events: There’s doing things together, but you can also share events passively. A lot of my friends and I do viewing parties where we just hang out, watch TV and do our creative projects, and so on. We’ll move those online – and streaming and so on make it easier.

Check In: Reach out to people to see how they’re doing regularly. Right now I post a daily update to some social media and check in with a few people via text messages. It’s a way to let people know you’re OK, hear from them, and encourage them to do the same.

Pool Resources: Start getting ready to share resources now. It could be food, it could be technology, or something. Start getting into the habit of helping each other and covering each other. We need it and have always need it.

Built The Society You Want: Focus on building real connections and social structures you want. Have a vision. Make it work.

Share and Promote Ruggedization: Share and promote making serious, surviving social structures. Share tips like this. Share technology that works. You want a stable society, share what you learned in making your own little stable society.

Meet New People: Go on and meet new people. YOu might make new friends and make new connections. Sure, be selective and have standards, but see who else fits them.

Connect People: In these tough times, I’ve been working to introduce people to each other. This way folks make more social connections and find allies and resources.

I hope you’re doing well in surviving these crazy times. Reach out to me with your thoughts and your ideas – or just reach out.

Steven Savage

Writer’s Sharing Good And Bad

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

As mentioned previously, I help run a group of writers who are current and future self-publishers. Each month we meet to discuss how to improve and focus on a given subject. Once again, I have a useful insight from the event.

In this case, our specific theme for November was thought-provoking – we discussed what we were our good and bad points as writers. The idea wasn’t venting or bragging – the idea was to see how we could help each other out. Someone’s good practices could make up for another person’s flaws.

So the first thing we did was go around discussing what we’re good at – and why. The results were productive because we went in-depth – not just what we did, but why and how we learned it. The group quickly had an idea of new ways to be better at writing and how to get there.

For example, we realized that several of us used a “when in doubt, power through” approach to writing. The idea was to write no matter what and edit later. Someone who spent three days straight writing an entire book’s first draft confirmed this worked.

And, yes, I am tempted to try that.

When we discussed our flaws, however, something became apparent. We had a lot of the same issues, just in different forms or manifestations. Not only did this build a sense of camaraderie – and relief – it let us share ways we dealt with our similar issues. We weren’t alone – and we had a wealth of tips to share.

I recommend this “Good and Bad” session for your writing group, team, meetup, or what have you. Come together, find what you do good and share it, see what you do poorly and help each other out. There’s a lot to be learned.

Now I have to find a free three days for an experiment . . .

Steven Savage

Making Friends As An Adult

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

I saw this fascinating Tweet thread when @itsashleyoh asked how people make friends as adult. This is something that’s often troubled me after college, and is an issue in ever-busy Silicon Valley.

Its hard to make friends past a certain point. You get busy with work. Some of your friends have kids and some don’t. Some of you are married and some aren’t. So I read the Tweetstream and added a few suggestions of my own. Think of it as my own way of combating some issues of loneliness all face.

Most of these are face-to-face, but a lot of this applies to online.

Here we go. Please add your own.


  • Have a hobby and follow it. This is good for you personally, and of course makes you more interesting.
  • Use that hobby to meet people with similar interests and go to meetups, drinks, dinner, etc.
  • Help people get into the hobby.
  • Hobbies also keep you from being boring and work obsessed.


  • There are all sorts of clubs out there you can find via meetup, game stores, hobby stores, etc. Find some and go try them out.
  • When you can, help out at your club.
  • Take a position at a club.


  • Get involved in good causes, and help out. This is also good for you mentally and emotionally.
  • If you get involved in a good cause, you may want to be “on staff” – that means reguarly meeting people.


  • Go to conventions and socialize.
  • Speak or run events at conventions.
  • Get on staff at conventions.

Go to places and hang out

  • Start hanging out at coffee shops, the library, gymns, etc. other places people gather. Sure you can write and read, but also its a chance to meet people.
  • Many places have regular events, bands, etc. Look for those.
  • Places you hang out may also have event boards, where people post different things going on.


  • If you go to events, go early so you can meet people in line, getting drinks, etc.
  • If you go to events reguarly, help out.
  • Go to events people you know throw and make new connections.

Specific events and organizations

  • Many pubs and places have trivia events and other great social opportunities.
  • Game nights are popular at various establishments, including game stores, bars, and meetups.
  • Libraries have lots of events, including book sales that you can go to or help out with.
  • Museums have events and need volunteers.
  • Writing groups and various creative groups often do a lot of events.

Throw events

  • Throw open houses, writing meetups, etc. If necessary, used
  • Do events for your club, church, work to nextwork with people you know.
  • Start your own Meetup.
  • Try doing “creative jams” at your place or nearby, where fellow writers/artists/musicians socialize.


  • Your job may have events that connect you with others, not just those at work.
  • Find people you like at work and hang with them if you’re comfortable.
  • Places of work often have charity connections that you can get involved in.


  • Pets are a common shared interest. There’s parks for animals, clubs, and more.
  • There’s often social events for pet lovers.
  • There’s charities focused around pets to get involved in

Be prepared

  • Have business cards or “social cards” to connect with people.
  • Choose the social media you use to connect with people so you can network.
  • is invaluable.


  • Be ready to reach out to people.
  • Rejection is OK. It happens to all of us.
  • If you’re seeing a therapist for whatever reason, they may have advice.

Be a good friend

  • Take an interest in others. It’s not all about you.
  • Help people out (don’t be used, just lend a helping hand)
  • Invite your friends to things. even if they don’t always show up, it helps.
  • Remember some people are in the same boat as you.

I hope this helps out.

Steven Savage