Getting Connected Organised Groups: Although socialising can seem daunting, especially within a big group, joining clubs can be done in many different ways. For example, the internet makes it so easy to get online and start chatting to people before we meet up. That way, we can feel at more ease when everyone gets together. There are loads of organisations in Sheffield that plan perfect meet-up events. Girl Gang are very friendly and run regular ‘speed-mating’ events which make mingling with new people a lot less intense and a lot more fun. And there are plenty of opportunities for us gamers, who have so many online friends and opponents, to check out Patriot Games’ weekly gaming meet-ups. Try peer support: Making connections with people who have similar or shared experiences can be really helpful. For example, online communities like Mind's Elefriends can be a good source of support. Before making any online plans, check out these guidelines on how to stay safe: https://www.goodthingsfoundation.org/projects/helping-vulnerable-people-start-and-stay-safe-online Ways to Socialise: There's often an assumption that socialising is expensive as well as overwhelming, but we can socialise in many different ways according to how comfortable we feel. It could be as simple as having a natter with a friend over the phone or playing a board game with your family. Socialising is about enjoying and sharing time with other people. A common way to socialise is to get together for food and drinks (see food & mood) but this doesn’t have to be in an expensive restaurant. Trying out a new recipe on our friends is a great way to feel more comfortable around people and cooking for - or with - someone can be something to bond over. Alternatively, a picnic is another way to relax over some nibbles and appreciate nature without having to ‘fork out’ too much! Getting back into the swing of things: Many of us feel shy about socialising and there are ways to anticipate and ease this feeling. For example, if we’re nervous before meeting up with friends, a good way to make ourselves feel more at ease is to practise some conversation starters; that way we can know what to expect from the conversation. Try practising discussing a recent news article, or asking about a friend’s holiday. Also try having some paraphrases on standby so that the chatter feels more natural (football, telly, the weather). Most importantly, try to be yourself and soon enough the nervousness will cease. Friendly Friday: Don’t forget that Sheffield Mind runs an open-house, every Friday where everyone’s welcome to come and hang out, have a chat and play some games. Our Springboard recovery cafes are dotted around the city and offer support and socialisation during the week.