“Find your tribe.” It’s a popular phrase in wellbeing circles but is it as easy as it sounds? Cultivating a supportive group of friends should be a fulfilling and transformative journey rather than a disappointing frustration. Here I’d like to share some practical steps and insights that I hope will help you find like-minded people.

At the end of this post, there’s a list of local groups (in and around Bognor Regis) that you might like to join, depending on your interests. I’m sure there are many more so please feel free to add them in the comments.

But first, let’s look at why it’s important to find your tribe.

Why Your Tribe Matters?

Surrounding yourself with empowering people can create a meaningful support system – a space where dreams are nurtured, laughter echoes, and shoulders are there to lean on.

Research shows that people with a good social life and some close friends who they see regularly, live longer, are happier and less likely to suffer from depression.

In Okinawan in Japan, many people belong to a Moai – a group of friends who have made a lifelong commitment to support each other. They meet a couple of times a week or even every day. These aren’t just social groups though they also offer financial assistance as well as supporting each other’s health and spiritual well-being. This is one of the main reasons it is believed that people here live longer and are healthier than almost anywhere in the world.

Emulating this model, might not be feasible for most of us so what should we aspire to? Experts recommend women, for example, meet up with their girlfriends, twice a week, to improve their mental health and happiness so that’s certainly something to aim for.

Of course, life has a habit of getting in the way but if you can’t meet in person make time to chat on the phone or online regularly. While I see friends regularly in person as often as I can, I also have a close friend who has moved away. We try and talk every few weeks on Zoom. I’m sure it does us both the world of good.

Friends drumming in the sunshine in the Hotahm Park, Bognor Regis

How to find your tribe

For many of us, making new friends doesn’t come easy or the friends we make are pretty superficial. It can be especially lonely if you’ve moved to a new area. Making close friends takes time. Here are a few tips that I hope will help.

  • Explore Interests:

Join clubs, groups, or activities that align with your hobbies. You’ll find a list of some local groups below. You should also look out for events related to your interests to meet like-minded people. I know not everyone is on Facebook but it is a good tool for finding events and meet-ups.

  • Online Communities:

Explore social media platforms, forums, or online groups that focus on your passions. Engage in conversations and build connections with people who share similar values.

  • Be Open and Approachable:

Approach social situations with an open mind and a positive attitude. Smile, make eye contact, and be receptive to conversations. Listen. I find writing people’s names down in a note on my phone helps me remember them and people do appreciate it if you remember their names.

  • Build Genuine Connections:

Focus on quality over quantity when building connections. Look for individuals who not only share common interests but also align with your values and principles. However, keep an open mind and respect other people’s opinions. We all have our faults, and we need to respect and accept both our own and other people’s.

  • Let Go of Toxic Relationships:

That being said, assess your current relationships and distance yourself from those that are toxic or do not contribute positively to your well-being. Don’t expect people to be perfect but the positives must way outrank any little negatives.

  • Vulnerability and Authenticity:

Be authentic and true to yourself in your interactions. Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability; it can deepen connections and foster authenticity. Embrace your quirks, strengths, and individuality. They say your vibe attracts your tribe, so let your authentic self shine.

  • Give and Receive Support:

A genuine tribe is built on mutual support. Offer help and support to others and be open to receiving it in return.

  • Patience and Persistence:

Building meaningful connections takes time. Be patient and persistent in your efforts.

Remember that finding your tribe is not just about finding people who share similar interests but those who appreciate you for who you are. It’s a reciprocal process where both parties contribute to the growth and well-being of each other. Embracing your authenticity and allowing your true self to shine will attract those who resonate with and appreciate the real you.

Local groups in Bognor Regis and beyond

Here are some of the local groups in and around Bognor Regis that I’ve come across that are a great starting point when looking to meet like-minded souls from Pagan moots to art clubs, cold water swimmers to choirs.

Chai n Love Club is a women’s circle held at the Green Door Centre in Bosham each Friday morning. The centre also offers twice-weekly free meditation groups and loads more. I hold monthly sound baths here.

Pagans West Sussex is a friendly group of pagans following a variety of paths, who meet up for a moot once a month. One of the organisers, Stevie, also runs Magick Dust – Pagan Wares, a pop-up shop in Grandad’s Front Room so do pop in there and say hello.

The Goddess Foundation is a voluntary organisation founded in 2009. They hold regular women’s circles in Littlehampton, Worthing, and Eastbourne as well as Bognor Regis.

The Arundel Moot meets once a month and welcomes all people who follow a pagan path.

Sons of AnxietySOA Talk is a support group for men who meet every Wednesday, 7 pm to 9 pm at Bersted Green Hub in Hazel Road, Bognor Regis.

Angels of Anxiety is a support group for women. They met every Monday, 7 pm to 9 pm at Bersted Green Hub in Hazel Road, Bognor Regis.

Fun Times in Bognor is a social group, aimed at the over 45s, who organises regular meetups including coffee mornings, pub quiz nights and live bands, theatre outings and movie nights.

The Recovery Choir founders are great believers in the therapeutic value of singing and the benefits of singing with other people and I couldn’t agree more. If you are recovering, living with an illness, or feeling isolated, this might be the choir for you. It’s organised by Music Smart who run several choirs as well as regular singing workshops in the area.

Bognor Regis Choir meet every Thursday morning at Felpham Community Hall. They are part of the Encore Vocal Choir group which also has choirs in Chichester, Pulborough, Rustington and Worthing as well as a Littlehampton Youth Choir.

If comic books, role-playing games and the like are your thing, there’s a fabulous shop in Chichester, CGC – Emporium (Comics, Games and Coffee). Check out their events page too.

Bognor Art Club is a relatively new group and I’ve not been along as yet. They meet once a month, usually on the first or second Tuesday of the month from 7 to 10 pm at the Rocks Bar & Restaurant, High Street, Bognor Regis.

Mandala Meadow I started a monthly online art club, in lockdown when we couldn’t get together in person, and we’re still going! Each month we draw a different pattern from around the world following simple step-by-step instructions. It’s very informal, we chat as we draw. You don’t need any previous experience. So if you’re not ready to join an in-person group or you simply fancy learning something new from mandalas to Celtic knots in the cosy comfort of your own home, please do join us.

Please sign up for my newsletters to hear about future online and in-person events, Mandala Meadow Newsletter and/or Meadow Therapies Newsletter.

Online particpants in a Zoom art class

Sea swimming groups

In recent years, several year-round cold-water swimming groups have popped up. I’ve found them a wonderful place to meet people and make new friends. There’s a real feeling of camaraderie when you brave the chilly waters together.

Felpham Dippers is an offshoot of the Bognor Bluetits which in turn is a group from the international organisation so if you are based in Bognor do check out the Bluetit Chill Swimmers website to find your local group. While they are open to all it does tend to be almost all women in the Felpham and Bognor groups.

Brass Monkeys, based in Pagham on the other hand started as mainly men but is now a fairly even mix I believe.

Good Vibes Only Cold Water and Meditation Group who meet in front of the Aldwick Beach Café, opposite Marine Park Gardens are another wonderful group with an equal mix of men and women. In the summer they met at 6 am every Friday and in the winter at 8 am at the weekend. They start with some Wim Hoff-style breathing exercises before taking a dip in the sea.

In the colder months do read up on my advice about what to wear both in and out of the water.

Each of the above groups stresses that you are entirely responsible for your own safety and the Bluetits in particular share some great safety advice.

 

And remeber, be patient and persevere. Life’s journey is so much sweeter when shared with those who genuinely understand and support you. I hope you all find your tribe.

How to find your tribe - a group of smiling, happy, cold water swimmers wearing over-sized winter changing robes by the sea on a cold grey day
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