Having a good social network has many mental health benefits such as being able to share experiences, have a shoulder to cry on and also to validate your feelings and beliefs.

So how do you develop this network?

The scene

There are always heaps of guys on the scene. While at first glance you might see all the people chatting in little cliques, when you look closer you will probably find others like you looking for someone to chat with. However, I have found that friendships made on the scene can be fleeting and superficial. If you’re not keen on the scene, where else do you go to develop a social network?

Peer education

Peer education workshops are a great way to meet new friends. We run Momentum, Young and Gay, Gay Asian Proud, and Relationships. These fun, free workshops are run weekly for six weeks after hours. They’re also a great way to increase your personal skills and knowledge. To enquire, call 03 9865 6700.

Friends of friends

When I came out, every time I mentioned I was gay, my dear friends would say, “Hey, I know this guy…”
At first it annoyed me that people assumed that two gay guys would automatically get along, however, I realised that while we might not become friends, there was an equal chance we would. I figured if they got along with someone I was friends with, there was a high chance I would too. I learnt to be open to being introduced to new people.

Social groups

The ALSO directory lists social groups for the GLBTI community that are great for meeting new people, particularly if you are looking for friends you can go out with.

Sporting groups

There are many physical health benefits to playing sport. However, Sam from Melbourne Chargers gay rugby union club talks about the benefits it can have on your mental health as well by increasing your social interactions and your confidence. Read Sam’s story at www.stayingnegative.net.au

By increasing your networks all-round you will come into contact with more members of the GLBTI community who you can befriend.

By Ilan Werbeloff

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