During May, the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission is shining a light on men to raise awareness on the issues, causes and symptoms around male loneliness. As community connectors, we know the value in having good relationships with peers nearby. So this month, we want to celebrate the beauty and the benefits of male/male nextdoor camaraderie. Let us introduce: the neighbro.
Research from the Commission estimates that in the UK eight million men feel lonely every week, and that 10% of men don’t feel able to tell anyone about it. So if you feel like you could use a neighbro, but don’t know where to start, chances are that other men in your community are feeling exactly the same.
A neighbro might be someone who’s up for watching the footy, or loaning you a wrench, or inviting your kids to play with his so you can meet your work deadline in peace. He might be someone with the same musical taste, passion for photography or gardening, an obsession with gaming or interest in Taibo. He could be someone older than you and wiser, or someone who always makes you laugh. He’s a neighbour yes, but more importantly he’s also a friend. Sound good? Do you need a neighbro in your life?
These are our top tips for making it happen:
- Hold a sports night and watch a live game, whether you’re same team supporters or friendly rivals.
- See if he’s interested in creating/joining a fantasy sports league (or the real thing if you’re up to it!)
- Offer to ‘dog sit’ or look after his pet when he’s away.
- Start or join a Men’s Sheds group
- Take round old DIY equipment or offer to lend anything he may be looking for. This can be useful if you’ve got a new piece of equipment and want to pass on an old one. You could even start a ‘library of things’ for your area by sharing useful items.
- Use your kids as an ‘in’: take them round to meet his kids and strike up a conversation. Birthday parties are also handy for this.
- Got space for a ‘garage gym?’ Explain that you need a work out buddy for motivation and invite him to use your equipment. Or ask him if he fancies joining a gym with you or even going out for a run or walk.
- Host a BBQ in a park or in your garden.
- Volunteer for a local cause or join a community group, and ask your potential neighbro if he’s interested in joining.
- Ask for his advice or get his opinion on something: gardening, painting, neighbourhood issues. Everyone likes being useful!
- Offer to mow his lawn while you’re doing yours.
- See if he’s up for helping you organise a Big Lunch.
- See if you can gather enough players for a social sports team or pub quiz team to represent your street.