As men, we often take pride in our ability to handle things on our own, to be self-sufficient and independent. However, the truth is we are social creatures and we need human connection just as much as anyone else. In fact, connection with others is crucial for our mental and physical health. So, whether you’re feeling disconnected or simply want to expand your social circle, here are some reasons why it’s important build positive relationships and our tips to find your tribe.
Why connection matters for men
Studies have shown that social connection can increase our life expectancy and improve our overall health and wellbeing. Having strong social connections can help us to better handle stress, reduce the risk of mental health conditions such as depression, and even improve our physical health by strengthening our immune system and reducing the risk of heart disease. Some men find it difficult to express emotions or seek help but having a support network of close friends can make all the difference when facing challenging times.
Moreover, having social connections can help us expand our perspective and learn new things. We can find others who share similar interests or those with different experiences, allowing us to broaden our understanding of the world. Having close relationships with others can also bring joy and a sense of fulfillment to our lives.
How to find your tribe
- Join a group that aligns with your interests. Whether you’re passionate about sports, the outdoors, reading, or playing music, joining a group that shares your interests is a great way to connect with others who have similar passions. Consider joining a recreational sports league, hiking club, or music group. Take a look around in your local area on notice boards, in the newspaper or at the community centre for information or search online for community groups you can join.
- Volunteer for a cause that matters to you. Not only will volunteering allow you to contribute to a meaningful cause, but it’s also a great way to meet like-minded people who share your values. Look for volunteer opportunities in your community, whether it’s a local food bank, animal shelter, environmental group or simply helping out at a local community event.
- Attend social events. This can be a challenging one for many men, but it’s important to try and put yourself out there and attend social events to meet new people. Look for events that align with your interests, such as a gigs, book clubs, beer tastings, or movie screenings. You can also attend events at your workplace, such as happy hours or team-building activities. If nothing is around that interests you, consider running something of your own and getting the word out there for others to join.
- Make the first move. Whether it’s initiating a conversation with a co-worker or asking someone to grab a coffee, being the first to make a move can be a bit daunting, but it’s often worth it. If the person you ask declines, don’t take it personally and try again with someone else.
- Use social media, but don’t rely on it. Social media can be a great way to connect with others, but it shouldn’t be your only source of social connection. Consider using social media to find events or groups that align with your interests but be sure to attend these events in person to connect with others face-to-face. You can also use social media to reconnect with old friends you may have lost touch with. Send them a private message to say hello and suggest a catch up.
- Don’t be too harsh on others. Remember that no one is perfect, and people will make mistakes. Don’t set your expectations too high and remember to be patient and understanding when building new relationships. Allow others to be their imperfect selves and don’t forget to be kind to yourself as well.
What you can gain from finding your tribe
- Emotional support: Men often feel like they have to suppress their emotions to appear strong and in control. However, having close friends who they can confide in and share their feelings with can provide them with a safe and supportive environment to express their emotions without fear of judgment.
- Stress relief: Spending time with friends can help reduce stress levels and improve mental health. Being able to unwind and have a good time with friends can help you feel more relaxed and rejuvenated.
- Improved communication skills: Building close relationships with friends can help you develop better communication skills, as you learn to express yourself more clearly and listen actively to your friends. These skills can be useful in all aspects of life, from personal relationships to professional environments.
- Increased sense of purpose: Meaningful friendships provide a sense of belonging and purpose. Having friends who share similar values, interests, and goals can give you a sense of community and provide a support network that helps you achieve your goals.
- Positive role models: We can learn a lot from our friends and use them as positive role models. Being around friends who have achieved success, overcome challenges, and developed healthy habits can inspire us to improve our own lives and strive for greatness.
- Improved physical health: Spending time with friends can lead to increased physical activity and better health outcomes. Activities like sports, hiking, and even just walking can improve overall health and wellbeing.
- Personal growth: Meaningful friendships can help you develop self-awareness and personal growth. Friends can provide feedback and constructive criticism that helps them identify areas for improvement and work towards personal goals.
Building strong social connections is critical to our health and wellbeing as men. By taking the initiative to find our tribe, we can broaden our perspective, experience new things, and find joy in meaningful connections with others. So, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, try new things, and make the effort to connect with others.
MensLine Australia has professional counsellors available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing confidential and anonymous information and support for all relationship issues.
Call us on 1300 78 99 78 or access online counselling.