Sunday, December 22, 2019

The social side of model railways

A couple of weeks ago, this video caught my eye on LinkedIn.

The maker explains how he knows lots of people, but has none he would consider a friend. This is sad, but not untypical, especially for men.

However, I think this is where model railways and boats can help. If you embrace, at least partly, the social side of joining a club, then you get to skip the end of this film where he goes off to what I suspect is an awkward session in a pub with people trying to come together to force a friendship.

Instead, a hobby gives you common ground. You have something to talk about. Yes, there are idiots that will bore the arse off you, and it's worse in a hobby home to many on the autistic spectrum and lacking in social skills, but that's life. Move on and talk to someone else.

I'm a massive fan of clubs. Joining one at 14 helped a very shy kid come out of his shell a bit. I'm a long way from gregarious (although I can pretend sometimes) but it helps. Maybe I know very few I could call at 2am with a problem, but at least I know that once a week I can go (to quote the opening of Cheers) somewhere where they know my name and sometimes even pretend I am interesting.

So, if you are feeling isolated, find your local club. Accept you'll need to muck in a bit and the members are not there to entertain you and you'll be fine. No skills are necessary - if someone is cutting a piece of wood, the person they like most will grab the other end to help. You don't need to be an expert to do this!


neil whitehead said...

Excellent advice. I'm not a memeber of a model club as yet as we only moved to our new location a year ago but have joined two painting societies and we arrange exhibitions in pop-up galleries in empty shops in Lowestoft.
Merry Christmas and may your blog reign supreme in 2020

Andy in Germany said...

Can be good advice. I've never managed this here because local clubs are very Märklin obsessed, but the general point that having something to do outside of yourself is a good way for men to get to know people.
Certainly when working with clients I fond the men open up more readily when working on a problem solving task. If I try and talk to them in an office, most of them just clam up.
Actually, the "meeting group" seems to be unnatural,as if they've taken the way women get to know each other, and applied it to men because that's the "acceptable" to get to know people, and moves from a cafe to a pub.

James Finister said...

I like the "Man Shed" movement. Especially if you live in rural areas you are unlikely to meet too many people who share a specific interest and are also a social fit with you. One of the advantages of a club is that it can make any of us feel useful in some way, without having to know all the answer.

And at this time of year, just a quick reminder that help is out there