How the New BuddyHub Clubs Will Improve Our Friendship Offer
8 min read
People need people. And becoming a member of BuddyHub is an investment in your own well-being as well as that of others. Giving you the opportunity via our innovative Friendship Wheels to make new local friends who share your interests. Experience the good and bad in life with like-minded people. And feel a sense of belonging in an uncertain, ever-changing world.
All as part of a growing community of purpose bonded by kindness and friendship.
But we know that the Friendship Wheels, which are based on groups of three or four people, are only part of the story. For sure, we have the closest relationships with our inner circle of friends. But it doesn’t end there.
Evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar is an expert on the social science behind the formation of friendships. He’s best known for ‘Dunbar’s number’, which he defines as the typical number of stable relationships people can sustain at any one time.
He defines this number as 150. But it’s not really a single number. And it’s worth drilling down into the detail which underpins it to fully understand the significance of Dunbar’s thinking.
It turns out it’s actually a set of concentric circles, which go from 1.5 to 150. As you move from the innermost circle towards the outermost circle the strength and the qualitative nature of the relationships change. The innermost layer represents your main social partner. The next layer of five you’d consider your closest friends. And the next circle of 15 your best friends (each layer, after the first one, includes the previous layers). The circle represents our main social companions. The people we spend most of our time with. Who we trust, have fun with, and support us in difficult times.
Birds of a feather flock together
In parallel, Dunbar has identified what he calls the Seven Pillars of Friendship. These are the cultural factors we have in common that bring us together. And includes hobbies and interests, moral, political and religious views, and sense of humour.
Reflecting this social science in the design of our service has played an important part in deciding how to take BuddyHub to the next stage. The logical outcome was to use these findings to further improve our service and enrich the lives of our members. So, we’re developing what we’re calling ‘Friendship Clubs’.
These are designed to give our members the opportunity to meet more people in the BuddyHub community. Bringing together anyone who is a part of our community, face-to-face, in larger groups of up to 15 members.
The aim is to cover a variety of shared interests. We currently have a few Clubs up and running. Including Nature Club, centred on exploring London’s green spaces. Pub Club, an opportunity to have a pint and a chat while sampling London’s rich pub heritage. And Football Club, which, as you might expect, will focus on the beautiful game!
All BuddyHub members are welcome to join some Clubs. And we are always on the lookout for new ideas of activities people might like to undertake collectively, to help them connect with others in their area.
We anticipate these Friendship Clubs taking place on a regular basis, which might be weekly or monthly. But this is really for the members of each Club to decide for themselves.
Crucially, they’re being co-created with members. Not only does this give them an explicitly democratic flavour. It gives members the opportunity to influence their design and shape their operation.
We have given this practical expression by a series of co-design events and by:
– Allowing members to experience different types of Clubs at our Christmas party.
– Providing a place for members to meet informally so that relationships can flourish naturally via the Pub Clubs.
– Hosting weekly ‘Community Connect’ sessions to give members the opportunity to have their say on the conception and direction of both new and existing clubs.
Our main task in life is to give birth to ourselves
We anticipate the Clubs having a very positive impact on the mental well-being of members because of the amplified opportunities they provide for social interaction which mirror how we form and sustain our relationships in real life.
In this process, it’s worth noting that they are a positive illustration of the continued relevance of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. For those not familiar with the theory (not without its critics but still a very helpful tool for understanding behaviour) psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one of the best-known theories of human motivation. Arguing that our actions are motivated by a number of defined physiological and psychological needs that progress from a basic to a more complex level.
As you might expect, the higher levels include:
– Social needs, which help us feel loved and accepted by others.
– Esteem needs, which revolve around self-respect and self-esteem, and are an important contributor to our potential for personal growth.
– Self-actualization needs, which describe the fulfilment of our full potential as a person, including development of our talents, capabilities and potentialities.
Maslow later added three additional needs to his original hierarchy, including what he called ‘Transcendence needs’. He believed that we are driven to look beyond the physical self in search of meaning. In his words:
‘Transcendence refers to the very highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness, behaving and relating, as ends rather than means, to oneself, to significant others, to human beings in general, to other species, to nature, and to the cosmos.’
That’s really rather wonderful! We wouldn’t claim that our Friendship Clubs will necessarily deliver a higher spiritual dimension. But they definitely provide the opportunity to care for others, seek greater meaning in our lives and experience personal fulfilment.
Why not give the Friendship Clubs a try?
If you’re already a member, why not try joining a Club (or two!)?
To find out more, you can connect with our community platform hosted on Circle, and use this to share your thoughts and feelings, as well as stay up to date with upcoming club events.
If you’re completely new to BuddyHub, why not join us at an upcoming event and get a feel for what it’s all about? Or, if you’ve already decided to join us, fill in your registration details here and a member of the team will be in touch.
Whatever route you choose, this is your opportunity to find out how we can help you make new friends, feel good about both yourself and the world around you, and get on with life in the way you want.