Boost your social life
Bored of sitting at home watching the TV? With a bit of effort you can transform yoursef from a couch potato into a social butterfly in no time.
There's nothing more likely to kill your social life that emerging from work or college at five thirty into a dark, wet, miserable night. This time of year is enough to put hardcore party girls like Jordan and Tara P-T off their champagne receptions, so how are the rest of us supposed to muster up the energy and enthusiasm to get up and go?
- Arrange to meet friends straight from work/college rather than going home first - it's too tempting to hibernate once you're in!
- Be imaginative - don't just arrange to go to the pub every night, do some research and surprise your friends with something different. Many museums and galleries do late viewings and have bars you can drink in, or try the theatre, gigs, comedy clubs... anything to make you feel pleased that you made the effort.
- Book tickets for events/exercise classes in advance, sign up to a course or join a team sport that you can't back out of at the last minute.
- If you really can't make it out, invite friends over to your place and make a night of it there. Spice up the evening by giving it a theme (such as a country) and ask guests to bring something to contribute like music, food, drink and films.
Explore your interests
Watching TV and feeling sorry for yourself don't count as hobby contenders, and everyone has something they'd like to do if only they could be bothered. Well, now that time has come. Whether it's rock climbing, amateur dramatics, ceramics or speaking Spanish, you'll find courses and clubs in your area (see your local paper, or adult education centre for more details). What's more, you'll automatically have a common interest with the people you meet.
A lack of confidence in yourself can sap your social life. It can leave you reluctant to meet new people or confide in people you know because you're worried about how they'll react. The way forward is to identify one thing about yourself that others like and admire, and build on it. We're not talking much here, say your smile or quick wits, but once you've accepted that people respond well to them, things will start taking off.
There's no worse time to realise how many of your mates are 'coupled off' than winter. They all start 'staying in' to watch videos and cook romantic meals, leaving singletons wondering where all their mates have gone.
Believe it or not, you can turn being single into a positive by incorporating dating into your social life. Get your 'smug marrieds' to set you up with all their wonderful single friends (they can cook you all a nice meal at their house to get the ball rolling), or consider online dating. It's big business at the moment, and as more people find their lives are too hectic to make room for romance, so the prospect of an agency playing cupid on your behalf seems much more appealing. Many agencies advertise in the classified section of the local paper, but do find out precisely what role they'll be playing before you hand over any cash.
Make room for a pet
A dog is a man's best friend, but you can bond with pretty much anything that has a mother and a heartbeat. From small-scale ant farms to cats or parakeets, another living creature in your life could be just what you need. Just don't take anything on without thinking through the consequences. A puppy is for life, after all. You can't take Rover into the city and lose him when your social life takes off and there's nobody at home to feed him. No really, you can't.
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