The surprising rewards of socialising

Updated: 10 Apr 2024

It’s no secret that friendship groups are great places to meet new people, but there are also some surprising and less obvious benefits to getting involved.

Supportive friendships

We spoke to three of our members, who shared how having nudges to do more, safe places to socialise and a sense of belonging also mattered to them.

Petra Cunningham, 66, a member from Burton-on-Trent Branch, was introduced to the Oddfellows a couple of years ago by her friend, Caroline. Feeling welcome has been a big part of her experience.

"It has become another facet of my social life," said Petra. “Being retired allows me to get more involved in activities, which is the main thing for me – knowing that every month there's a coffee morning to go to. I enjoy some of the other things like Bingo, quiz nights and the meals out, too. There's something for everybody. But it's also nice to belong and to always be welcomed."

David is out on a walk with two other members. They have stopped to smile at the camera huddled in a group. A tree-lined path in a park is in the background.ACTIVE: David, centre, believes friendship groups can keep you motivated.

Longstanding Oddfellows member from Nottingham Trent Branch, David Jones, 66, is a regular on the walks run by his local Branch. He believes it’s a great way to meet people but also that the accountability of being part of a group is a great motivator.

He said: “You chat about life events and you get to know each other. You also get the opportunity to go to places you wouldn’t normally have gone to unless it was an organised event.

“But, you know, some days you might look out your bedroom curtains and think ‘it’s a grey day and I don’t feel like getting up’, but you then have a purpose to get up. You’ve told the group you’re going and you feel obliged to do it. It gives you that extra nudge.”

The Oddfellows seemed a good place to start.

Having a safe space to meet is one of the reasons Clement Chakki, 63, thinks people enjoy being part of the Oddfellows. He become a member of the Birmingham Branch after trying an event in his local town of Sutton Coldfield.

"I wanted to increase my circle of friends," he explained. "I wanted to meet other individuals who had time on their hands, and to do other things.

“The Oddfellows seemed a good place to start. It’s a great avenue to find new friends that you can chat to and have a coffee with. But as a man, what’s also good is that it’s a safe environment and everyone’s relaxed. It’s not at all about dating. It’s just about socialising.

Clement sat at a table talking with another member at a social eventSOCIAL: Clement, left, values meeting other people with free time.

“If you’ve any apprehensions about giving the Oddfellows a try, I’d say put them aside. Everyone was so welcoming,” added Clement.

Oddfellows Friendship Month

Throughout September, the Oddfellows is celebrating Friendship Month and hosting hundreds of local taster events and online open days designed to show newcomers the benefits of joining a friendship group.

See what's happening near to you by using our Events Finder.

Find out the details of your nearest Oddfellows Branch.

Ask us to send you a free information pack and local events diary.

Read our guide on what to expect at an Oddfellows social event.