Five Ways to Make New Friends

September 21, 2018| Our Community /

Whether you’ve moved cities or are just seeking companions with different interests and pursuits, making new friends can feel a little daunting at first.

But rest assured there are plenty of ways and places to find them, and your social calendar won’t be the only thing that benefits.

Making new friends and forging strong social connections is great for your health, and can boost self-esteem and empathy. It can also help lower anxiety and depression.

  1. Volunteer
    Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded people and contribute positively to your community. You can volunteer short-term or for longer periods, applying your skills and experience to a range of worthwhile causes across the state. Jump onto Volunteering Victoria or SEEK Volunteer to find your fit, or become an Epworth HealthCare volunteer! From patient support to customer service, there are many ways to participate in an enriching volunteer experience that supports patients, staff and the community alike.

  2. Join a sports club
    Tennis, AFL, rugby, netball, lawn bowls—whatever sport you’re into there’s sure to be a club across Victoria to match it. The great thing about sports clubs is there are many ways to participate, so even if you’re off the field, you can support in other areas like training, club administration or fundraising.

    If you’re not feeling ready to jump in boots and all at a club, try a couple of group fitness classes instead to whet your sporting appetite and discover activity you like most.

  3. Go to a gig
    Melbourne is renowned for its thriving live music scene and on any night of the week you could find yourself immersed in music of all genres.

    Try Melbourne’s premiere music venues like the Northcote Social Club, The Corner Hotel and The Forum for an impressive range of local and international touring artists. For regional shows, drop into Castlemaine’s Bridge Hotel, the Workers Club in Geelong or Karova Lounge in Ballarat.

  4. Learn a new skill
    There’s no shortage of new skills to learn across Victoria, and these classes present great opportunities to make new friends too.

    If you’re into cooking, try Free to Feed, where you’ll learn about food and culture from settled refugees and share stories while preparing (and eating!) dishes from all over the world.

    If you’re not a foodie, there’s weaving guilds, circus schools, DJing classes, beer-making courses or wood-working to make your skill-set truly impressive.

  5. Say yes!
    A huge part of making new friends is being open to new experiences and people. Embrace the opportunity to let your social connections flourish and say yes to as many new encounters as you can. Though sometimes challenging and a little nerve-wracking, making friends at all stages of life is important for overall well-being, and isolation can carry considerable health risks to everyone in the community. Disrupted sleep, increased presence of cortisol (a stress hormone), and overall mental decline can be some of the symptoms, so try saying “yes!” to making new friends.

For some people, making friends can be extra tough. If you need immediate care, have thoughts of self-harm or are worried about someone you know, then contact a crisis support service like Lifeline (13 11 14), beyondblue (1300 224 636) or headspace (1800 650 890). Always call 000 in an emergency.

Epworth also have a mental health clinic that specialises in helping people improve their mental wellbeing through focusing on community treatment and skill-building. Ask your healthcare professional for a referral.

Izzy Tolhurst


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