Psychology Chartered

September is Oddfellows Friendship Month!

Posted by Chloe Nunan

1st September 2018

True friendships help us grow. They help us become better people and help build a better society based on better values. They truly are priceless! These values are strongly believed and lived by at the Oddfellows. For over 200 years the Oddfellows have helped its members create friendships and offer help to them through times of need. They offer help to everyone- all walks of life across all ages. With over 314,000 members and over 126 branches nationwide, they do their best to improve the quality of people’s lives though care, charitable support and most importantly through friendship.

It has been very well documented that loneliness can cause depression lead to anxiety and have a very negative effect on health and even lifespan. Loneliness is a growing problem in the UK with more than 9 billion admitting to being lonely often or even always. The Oddfellows want to play a part in tackling this silent epidemic. They try to do this by providing an easy way for people to get involved, get together and get to know each other a little.

Every September their society celebrates friendship month- A time to remember and to remind the nation of just how important friendship is to our health and to our happiness. They hold and run fun, easy-going events across the country to help bring people together: young, old; new members, old members; male, female. Holding events such as sociabiliTEA, where individuals come to enjoy a cuppa, dance, attend craft workshops, go on walks all while surrounded by potentially new friends and many of their old ones too!

The link between our relationships and our mental health is a topic that deserves so much more attention than it currently gets. The social connections that we have can hugely impact our mental well-being along with our ability to survive major challenges that we may face.

If we accept the idea that mental health is all about having a sense of meaning and purpose within life, being in touch with reality, having the ability to cope with various stresses and being able to enjoy life (at least) some of the time- what is it about our relationships that endorse this more positive mental health? Numerous studies have looked into the benefits of friendships for well-being and from these we can get a better understanding of this topic.

Why friendships matter:

  • In friendships we can share and check our own perceptions of what is going on in comparison to others. This can help get any problems we may have into proportion and develop a stronger sense of meaning and direction in our own life.
  • Knowing that support is readily available from friends can increases feelings of security and it also helps to protect against undue stress. If something goes wrong- you know you’ll always have the support of your friends to make you feel better!
  • The simple pleasure of being in company with other people (that you like!). This can very often lead to laughter, activities that can raise emotional states that also provide a distraction from more serious and stressful topics.
  • The give and take is an important element in its pleasure within a friendship. People enjoy doing something for someone else and the exchange that’s present in a friendship seems to be a very important part of sustaining it.
  • Sharing difficulties with friends can help to reduce the emotional impact on individuals and can lead on to new ideas about in regards to tackling the difficulty.

Getting involved with Oddfellows Friendship Month: They’re holding around 100 fun community events  Month this September – which include tea parties and talks, friendship walks and quiz nights for EVERYONE. Take a look at what’s happening in your area by using their events finder here: https://www.oddfellows.co.uk/events/ .

Or if you’d like to play a part in bringing more communities together through friendship, get in contact with the Oddfellows by emailing them at: events@oddfellows.co.uk.

Happy Friendship Month!