In November 2023 the Cha in the City Open Group for Punjabi men met virtually to discuss the topic of Friendships in the Modern World. Here are some reflections from the brilliant team who facilitate and contribute towards those conversations.
This month the online forum topic for discussion was ‘Friendships in the Modern World ‘this was a topic for discussion including the experience of forum members. This month was a smaller group but still created a rich conversation around the topic.
As usual there were some questions to guide the discussion on the topic, although the questions are posed to support the discussions, the conversations often are led by the participants. The questions this month that were offered included – Do friendships change with time? What are the challenges of maintaining contact with friends as you get older? How does it affect your mental well-being when you lose a friendship?
As a group we used the questions to think about the discussion and to get it started but didn’t stick just to the prompts that were offered.
Everyone shared their own personal challenges around having friendships in the modern word, especially post covid and in a world where technology has changed the landscape of social interactions. We recognised that this is a problem for the whole human race but can be magnified for men from South Asian communities.
As we travel through life and get older, we discussed the competing priorities around friendships outside the immediate family units. This changes how and who we socialise with as we get older, as well as being a real challenge in developing new friendships as an adult.
We talked about some of the barriers around socialising and making/maintaining friendships.We looked at cost in the current climate, travel when that is required as well as time in this busy world. Whilst here are barriers that are external to us, we also acknowledged the internal/individual barriers that sometimes stop or reduce the opportunities for friendship and social engagement.
What we all agreed about was that in this modern world, the importance of friendship and that it requires an effort and investment for our wellbeing, but the pay off is not just about helping our health it’s also a positive experience.
The forums are a great safe place to explore issues that have an impact either directly or indirectly to our wellbeing. Participating in the facilitated spaces are a great opportunity to share and hear about a range of subjects, and we are always keen to hear from participants and those considering participating, about subjects for future forums. The online format makes it convenient place to engage and all participants new and returning are welcome.