Join a club, hit the gym: Tips to fight loneliness in Milton


Published January 9, 2024 at 12:27 pm

It can be difficult to make to make friends when you move to a new community, and Milton is no different.

A recent study by the Toronto Foundation said more than 30 per cent of people in the GTA feel lonely and it can be exacerbated among groups like young people, those with a disability or who are unemployed.

The report says loneliness is a serious health issue, noting that a 2017 study found lacking a social network is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The same study found loneliness more dangerous than alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, obesity and air pollution.

The report says isolation can increase one’s risk of developing heart disease by 30 per cent and early dementia by 50 per cent. It also increases a person’s susceptibility to addiction, obesity and suicide.

One of the most common questions that pop up on Milton-focused social media groups is: I’ve just moved to town, how do I meet new people?

So we asked people for their experience making a new group of friends and the responses were wide-ranging.

Cindy, who’s in her 60s, moved to Milton six years ago.

“I knew if I was going to make new friends I would need to seek them out myself,” she said.

“I joined a group called Milton Ladies Unite and met the majority of my friends here. We do various things, crafts, pub nights, concerts, hikes, kayaking, breweries, wineries, comedy shows, charity events, etc.”

“The key to joining any new community, is to put yourself out there, swallowing your shyness or introverted self and going after what you want. I always say, you’re only strangers once.”

Susana said she made friends with other parents when she took her kids to local playgrounds. Twenty years later, she’s still friends with many of them.

“Join a baseball league, curling club, pickle ball league, lawn bowling, bowling, etc. join groups that have activities you are interested in,” wrote Debbie.

Cameron said he met friends through his hobbies, joining groups and visiting stores that cater to the hobby. He also said cultural community events are a great source.

Darlene said she met an awesome group of friends while exercising at a local fitness centre while Karine said Facebook groups, especially ‘mom’ ones, were her main avenue to making amazing friends.

Jennifer took her kids to a family storytime that she said was a lot of fun.

Another great way to meet people with similar interests is by volunteering at places like the hospital, Salvation Army or foodbanks.

A thread on Reddit suggested started a reading group or socializing at the dog park.

The common point of every suggestion, though, is to go out and make it happen. No one is going to knock on your door, so make a resolution that 2024 is going to be the year you expand your group of friends.

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