If there’s not a lot going on in your social life this can be quite distressing and leave us feeling lonely, bored, or generally unhappy. It can seem sometimes like everyone we know has got a somehow more active and more exciting life than us and that we’re somehow left out. At the same time when someone asks ‘what have you been up to lately?’ and you follow the question with a long silence it can be quite embarrassing even. Conversely if you do have an active social life and if you manage to engage yourself in lots of fun activities, you will find that it improves your overall mood, your social skills and even your health – it has been demonstrated that lots of social interaction is highly beneficial for our immune system.
So how do you go about improving your social life so you’re not embarrassed when someone asks what you’ve been doing? There are several methods, each of which we will look at here.
Accept invitations: Many people who have less active social lives bring it about themselves and keep themselves shut away – refusing invitations to go out when they receive them. This of course results in a less active social life as there’s not much you can do for someone who doesn’t want to do anything. Eventually people will then start to stop inviting you as they presume you are no longer interested in those social activities, or even that you don’t like them.
Of course it’s not just that simple and many people refuse social invitations for a reason and there are several reasons this might be. One reason for refusing social events might be that you are very shy and that you struggle with large groups or meeting new people. The problem is with this, that the more you refuse to go out, the worse this will become as you get used to your comfort zone in your room and stop socialising with others. To avoid this, you need to force yourself to brave it a few times out in public and as you do it will get easier. You might be suffering from a phobia such as agoraphobia so if this is the case make sure to get help and see a psychologist who can help you. But just think, what’s the very worst that can happen?
The other reason might just be that you’re introverted and that you enjoy time to yourself. Why go out when you could curl up by the fire with a book right? This is tempting for many of us, but if you keep doing it then you will find it starts to lose its appeal and you start to develop ‘cabin fever’ (why else are you reading this article?). As such then you should learn to view social events as leisure time and enjoy them for what they are. Then when you do get time to read, you’ll find that you enjoy relaxing all the more because of the contrast. Balance is really the key to contentment here.
Make arrangements: As we’ve said, if you’ve been off the scene for a while then people may stop inviting you places. It’s pretty hard to meet people if you don’t get any invitations so in this case you need to start making the invites yourself. Have a party, organise a trip somewhere, or do anything that will entice other people to come and socialise with you and that will show them that you’re open to invites too.
Meet new people: It might be that your social life has gone quiet because you don’t know anyone in your area. This is often the case if you’ve moved home, or if everyone else has moved away and it can be very hard to make new friends and acquaintances once you’re past a certain age (and it’s not that easy when you’re young either). One sure fire way to meet new people though is to go to a club or an organisation. Pick a new hobby – be it breakdancing, karate or knitting – and then start going to classes. If you choose the hobby well then the people you meet should be like minded, and as you’ll be going on a regular weekly basis and working with them in pairs and groups, you’re likely to find that you start making friends in no time (and many of the other people there will be there partly for this reason too which helps).
Another way to meet new people is to meet friends of friends. It can be embarrassing telling someone that you’ve not got much going on, but if you’re honest with one of the friends or family members you do see then they should start inviting you out in groups and introducing you to people. Again you have some common ground – the mutual friend – meaning you’re likely to get on.
Don’t forget family: The great thing about family is that in theory they should always be there for you. If you fall out with friends, then you are no longer friends, but if you fall out with family then they will always still be your family. These are legitimate social engagements too, so if you haven’t done anything interesting for a while, organise to go out with your family for the day or to go to the cinema with a cousin or sibling.
Use Facebook: Facebook is a great way to strengthen and recreate old ties. To start getting to know someone again all you have to do is drop them a message – if they don’t answer then it won’t matter, but if they do then you can start to build on your old friendship and if things go well maybe start doing things together again.