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    GOING SOCIAL OUT WEST

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    By Cyan Night

    One of the simplest pleasures in life is to have a group of close friends to share your journey with – whether it is travelling together, going on an adventure, or just hanging out in your local park for a weekend picnic. The desire to have companionship is universal across people of all ages, professions, wealth, marital status and sexual orientation.

    Trum On, is a single lady and an aspiring artist based in the western suburbs. She grew up in Australia and has many friends she loves but she finds herself in a position where most of her friends are now married with families. It’s become challenging to catch up with friends with complicated schedules and nothing happens without months of planning ahead.

    “I wanted new experiences and to try out different activities, explore, go cafe hopping, do road trips. I just want to do things on a whim. I wanted to find people who lived locally… who were in similar shoes and who, like me [felt] like they were in a rut with their lives,” says On.

    Sometime in late 2022, On created several posts across various Facebook groups expressing how she felt about her situation. She was hesitant about posting, initially fearing it would put her in a depressive light. When she finally created those posts, she received an overwhelming number of replies from people expressing solidarity.

    “It’s not easy to meet people, and [one] can easily get stuck into a routine. Good to see your post and so many positive responses,” says one of the respondents. “I had to get myself in gear and find some new friends this year for this very reason. Happy to hang out locally too, what a great post,” says another. Fueled by the encouragement, On decided to set up her own social group named “Inner West Socials”. In spite of the promising feedback, the group didn’t take off straight away.

    “At the start, it was a slow burn,” says On. Nobody met for the first few weeks after the group was set up. On then organised a dinner in a busy restaurant in Yarraville to which nearly 20 people RSVP’d.

    On had no idea what to expect as an organiser, whether it would be her sitting alone in a huge table where no one had turned up, or if there would be awkward silence throughout dinner.

    “All eyes were on me seeing as I was the organiser. Meeting a whole bunch of strangers was very much out of my comfort zone,” says On.

    In the end, most of the attendees turned up and everyone was friendly and engaging. “It also made me realise that despite thinking I’m shy, I can interact with strangers and I’m able to talk freely which has given me a bit of confidence,” says On.

    The group has grown to more than 400 members and On has found that running a group of this size is not without difficulties. Even though there are many members, it is always “the same members posting or commenting,” says On.

    She describes herself as someone more introverted, thus the group was meant to push herself and others out of their comfort zones to try new activities and meet new people. “What I would like to see is for people to start organising events themselves without having me create them.”

    At the time of writing, the group has ventured into several social dinners, a pub trivia, a local board game enthusiast bravely hosting others in their home, outdoor picnics, lawn bowling and a Galentine’s Day dinner.

    This social group may be located by searching in the Facebook Groups section for “Inner West Socials”. Photos by: Trum On and Jean Ng

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