How do we make friends after 30?
How do we balance friendship, family, and work?
What part does community play in a meaningful life?
You know the people
The one’s who’ve stuck around through thick and thin. You’ve got dumb jokes that won’t die. You’d do anything for them, as they would for you. They’re part of what makes life worth living.
or maybe you don’t
All of us have less of these people than we did twenty years ago, and 1 in 4 of us don’t have any close connections at all.
It’s because we’ve changed as a society. We live in suburbs. We move further. Work more. We’re more connected through new technologies, but we’re forming weaker links than ever.
SO WE Interviewed PEOPLE
from 18 to 80 and read all the research we could get our hands on to understand what it takes to find and keep close friends in the modern world.
In support of Banyule Council’s Older Adults Strategic Plan, we ran a half-day session to allow community members to provide input into how the council might work to better improve community connection.
We started by exploring people’s personal experiences of friendship over time through two mapping and conversation exercises. We then used those personal stories to connect to the broader context and themes that we’ve uncovered in our research.
Finally we discussed specific ideas for Banyule. To structure the conversation, we shared twenty-two “idea starters” to help participants add in, change, re-mix, and combine ideas for what the council might do in the future.
We ran a three-part workshop series for people who wanted to intentionally invest in their personal friendships and community.
We shared insights from our research (containers, connecting through, bids) and participants supported each other to plan small actions to deepen existing friendships or build new ones.
Participants did things like connect with neighbours in their new apartment block, join a choir, or re-establishing regular contact with overseas friends.
Beyond the content, many participants found the validation and support of the group valuable to help them get over the emotional energy needed to reach out and make a bid.
We’re using what we learned to develop a toolkit that people can use with friends.
Street anchor neighbourhood role prototype
In a divided political landscape and over-stressed culture, we’re excited about the neighbourhood as a key unit of change.
We’re currently looking for partners to help us prototype a new paid volunteering role for local councils. We want to acknowledge, deepen, and reward the role of hosting in our communities.