Eat, sleep, work, repeat. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut where you spend your entire schedule just working and surviving, and no social life can easily turn into a pretty boring lifestyle that results in burnout pretty quickly.
Instead of just ploughing on and getting your conversations with the people sat around you at work, it really pays to actually get out and socialise with pretty much anyone. Even if you end up talking about work.
If you’re naturally shy, or generally struggle to actually get time to go out and do it, these following ideas may just be enough to kick start a social life that doesn’t revolve around starting at a WhatsApp group, waiting for a message or asking your boss about their holiday over email.
This one is an absolute shoe-in for meeting new people and having a natter. Unless you’re a solo yachtsman or woman, you’re going to end up speaking to someone at some point if you partake in exercise, especially when it comes to team games.
Even if you’re totally useless, sports like Rugby, Netball, Cricket and Hockey usually have some sort of social side that means you can still get involved.
If giving up your time to go and stand on a field on a freezing cold day sounds like a nightmare, then join a gym. Surprisingly, gyms can be pretty social places, especially if you become a regular and get a similar routine to others, and you may just find that new group of friends who treat the gym as their second home.
Get a hobby
From cross-stitching to DIY, it’s actually pretty amazing just how many societies and get-togethers exist that bring together people interested in even the nerdiest solo hobbies out there. Hobbies are not only proven to improve your mental health but are also a great talking point in any social situation. Shared interests are a great foundation for new relationships and help people to trust each other, so your model trainset may just be the key to making some brand new friendships with like-minded people.
Who thought that a game of cards could be such a draw? Strangely enough, poker night is an extremely popular option for groups of people to get together and have a few drinks and a general socialise, before trying to take money off each other. Learning how to play poker isn’t too difficult, after a bit of reading and a few hands, you’ll soon get to grips with it.
The nature of poker means that it can take place while people have a conversation and the win / lose cycle (or just straight win cycle for those who are good) it breaks down barriers and creates talking points. The beauty of poker is that it can be played pretty much anywhere with a flat surface, but if you can’t think of anyone to invite to your home, then there are plenty of public games that are easily accessible.
Casinos up and down the country offer poker pretty much every night of the week and your local pub might even have a poker night that is open to everyone. If you’re still feeling reclusive, then you can always try online poker. Granted, you won’t be sitting face to face with anyone, but most online poker sites have a chatbox where you can interact with your opponents.
Go to the pub
The Great British institution has long been the favoured meeting place for all walks of life, but even if you don’t have anyone to meet, you can still develop a decent social life just by heading out for a drink. Depending on what kind of pub your local is, if you’re friendly and approachable you’ll probably end up speaking to someone new, or at least interacting with people who may be in the same boat as yourself. If all else fails, the bar staff may even end up having a chat with you!
Alcohol and socialising can be double edged sword however. Associating drinking with having a good time can create a false perception that socialising requires alcohol to be fun, which can in turn lead to poor lifestyles and a reliance on booze to get us out of the house. Tread carefully with this one and maybe treat a jaunt to the pub as an irregular treat, rather than a replacement for a healthier (and less expensive) way of socialising.
Get in touch with old friends
Ever found yourself with literally nothing to do on a Saturday night? Well, there’s a good chance that someone you haven’t seen or spoke to for a long time is in the same position and might even appreciate a phone call or even an invitation to do something in the near future.
People naturally lose touch over time if their lives end up being slightly different, so don’t feel guilty or awkward about popping up out of the blue and offering to do something together – the worst thing they can do is politely decline!
Socialising doesn’t just have to be about filling in your spare time by having fun with friends. You could actually end up totally changing someone’s life by simply offering them your social skills and having a conversation.
Initiatives like Age UK’s befriending service puts elderly and even just lonely people in touch with those who are happy to give up even just an hour a week to chat about anything and everything, creating a great social opportunity that isn’t just the same old chat around the table at the pub.
No matter how you end up socialising, the key thing to remember is that like anything, good socialising requires a bit of work and some thinking outside the box. It’s easy to get stuck in the same routines and even find energy to want to meet people and do things, but as soon you’re there doing it, you’ll realise that it isn’t so bad at all. So stop reading this, get dressed and go and meet a friend for a coffee!