Making friends – how can tradies do it?

Having a good social group is important. But it’s easier said than done. Here are some tips if you’re feeling a bit ‘socially isolated’.

In this Article:
Science has proven the importance of having good friends
As we get older, making friends can be tricky
Here’s 10 ways you can expand your friendship group today

Friendships. We seemed to have loads at school and as young people, but as we get older and partners and kids – and work, of course – take priority, our social circles can dwindle.
Yes, we have the people we work with who we can have a bit of banter with, but genuine friendships may be few and far between.
And, if you’re in a situation in which you might not have too many people you can genuinely call friends, it’s a good idea to take some proactive steps to address that now, and make some good friends.
Why? Because one day you’ll need them. And you need to find them before that day comes.

The importance of friendship

The notion of friendship and connection has been established through the ages, and it’s not just a social construct – a load of studies have underlined the importance of good friendship groups for our physical and mental health.
Research conducted by the Mayo Clinic has shown that friendships play a crucial role in reducing stress, boosting happiness, and enhancing self-esteem. Strong social connections can mitigate the effects of stress on the body, leading to lower blood pressure, healthier immune system function, and a decreased risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease.
More than that, friendships are linked to increased longevity, as people with good, strong social networks tend to live longer, healthier lives.

The science behind good friendships

Studies have also highlighted the impact of friendships on mental health. Meaningful friendships contribute to a sense of belonging, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
According to the American Psychological Association, having close friendships can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, providing emotional support during challenging times.

Friendships also stimulate cognitive function, potentially reducing the risk of cognitive decline as we age.

But – and here’s a big but – making friends is difficult. After all, when you get to a certain age, friendship groups are well established, and it can be difficult to break in. And trying to do so is just a completely unappealing prospect.
Look, we’re not suggesting you go out with the intention of forming lifelong connections and having people around for a BBQ next Sunday, but putting yourself out there to meet new people and form some casual acquaintances could naturally lead to a good friendship.
And, at some point in the future, that could be really, really important.

10 ways you can make new friends in your local community

Want to make some new friends without feeling as if you want to vomit in every single direction? Here are 10 ways you can meet new people, well, naturally.

1. Join community groups

An obvious one to start with, but by participating in local clubs or community organisations that align with your personal interests, such as a sports team, you can meet new people who might share them. If lacing up the boots is past you, why not get involved in the management side of things – local sports clubs always need a Treasurer or someone to organise things.

2. Volunteer work

In a recent issue of Electrical Gems, we talked about the local emergency services, and volunteering for that type of thing can have a big impact on your life. Whether it’s a local charity, animal shelter, or environmental group, volunteering can lead to friendships while making a positive impact in the community.

3. Attend classes or workshops

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn or participate in? Learning a musical instrument, taking up art or learning how to cook? By enrolling in classes or workshops related to hobbies or interests, you’ll meet people who are interested in the same type of stuff that you are.

4. Utilise social media

We’re mainly talking about meeting people ‘in real life’ here, but platforms like Meetup can help you connect with others in your area who share common interests, making that dreaded first step less daunting.

5. Regular exercise groups

Join a gym or fitness class. Participating in group workouts not only promotes physical health but also creates opportunities for social interactions and friendships. Check out our article on page 35 for more!

6. Networking events

Attend professional or industry-related networking events. Building connections with other people in your field can lead to both professional and personal friendships.

7. Be open to a new conversation

You’ve got to be open to having a chat, so initiate conversations with neighbours, colleagues, or acquaintances. Simple interactions at the local coffee shop or dog park can develop into something more.

8. Attend local events

As contractors, we’re pretty good at getting involved in local events, but make sure you’re physically there as well as sponsoring things. These gatherings provide a relaxed atmosphere for meeting new people.

9. Start your own hobby group

If there isn’t an existing group for a particular interest, consider starting one. Whether it’s a weekly games night or a hiking club, organising activities can bring people together.

10. Reach out to old contacts

Reconnect with old friends or acquaintances. Sometimes, reigniting previous connections can lead to renewed friendships or introductions to new social circles.

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