As restrictions ease across Australia and we all feel The Busy reentering our lives, it’s worth considering how much you really need to reboot your social life. During these months of social distancing, some of us have rejoiced in our empty calendars. Others of us have quaked in horror at the potential lack of connection. That goes for our kids as well.
You wouldn’t be the only one if you started in one camp and found yourself in another. Where the pandemic’s silver linings eventually became oppressive, or what you thought would be tyranny turned out to be terrific.
There’s been plenty of time not just to think about the nature of our social lives, but also to observe what we have missed and what we clearly can do without. You might have noticed that in the past you’ve been way too busy with the wrong people, or you might have realised that your social life has been neglected and needs more attention.
A new way to be social
You may have learned that you don’t need to socialise the way that you have in the past. You might have reassessed who you spend time with and discovered how nice simply hanging out in the cosiness and convenience of home can be. Perhaps you reconnected with your kids and family during those quiet times at home. You may also have enjoyed how much money you’ve saved on eating out and pricey drinks when you head out.
Conversely, you might have come out of lockdown with the realisation that your social life is dead and its time to resuscitate it.
The great news is, we all have a clean slate right now. As the restrictions ease, there’s an opportunity to architect the social life you want. Maintaining a nourishing social life is an aspect of life admin that takes conscious planning and organisation. Here’s how to work out what you need from your social life and how to engineer the kind that nourishes and supports, rather than frazzles.
Reboot your social life
Social connection is a foundation of happiness and knowing the right balance for yourself is crucial. Ask yourself these questions to help prioritise your time.
- Who do I want to give more attention to?
- Who did you miss? Did you miss the person or the activity you normally do with them?
- Where did intimacy come from? Who checked in on you during the pandemic and is around when you’re going through a hard time?
- Who can you simply let go? Which relationships are you holding onto because they boost your ego, or they keep loneliness at bay, or you feel obligated? What transactional, or “filler” relationships can you step away from?
Who would you like to make more time for or get to know better?
- Is there someone you feel resentful about if you’re always the one initiating things? If you struggle with the level of reciprocity maybe you really don’t want to hang out with them that much.
- Who is a fairweather friend who can only be relied upon for a party and fun? How much time and what kinds of activities will you invest in these types of friends?
More tips from Mia on the Life Admin Life Hacks podcast:
How do I want to connect with people?
- When is your social activity a ‘people priority’ and when is it an ‘event priority’, where you care more about what you do than who you do it with?
- Who do you want to spend time one-on-one with versus in a group or as a couple or family?
- Who are you happy to connect with via a phone call, video call or messaging to give you the social hit you need?
Have you been reactive in the past and just gone along with other people’s suggested activities?
- Could you initiate more of the activities you’d like to do with the people you’d like to see? Could you reciprocate and recommend something?
What do I want to do?
- What kinds of things do I most like to do with others?
- What past times and appreciations do I share with my current social circle?
What activities might I take up to expand my circle?
Outings with like-minded friends are a great way to reboot your social life in a gentle way. Subscriptions to ‘what’s on’ newsletters from Time Out, Broadsheet, and cultural institutions like cinemas and galleries can help you flag things to do that can potentially broaden or deepen your social connections.
Try some of these ideas: 50 cheap or free ways to have fun with friends
A shared digital calendar, like Google Calendar, helps you organise your social life as an individual, couple, family or even circle of friends. There is a single source of truth and everyone can see who needs to be where when, so you can plan events confidently and spontaneously. Doodle Poll is the ultimate app to find a date that works for a whole group. Use this when you’re trying to lock in a date and have a bunch of people to work around.
Take it slowly
This pandemic period has forced many of us to reconsider the way we live and nudged us to move towards a more nourishing, authentic way of being in the world. Applying some life admin life hacks to your social life will keep you connected in ways that are positive and pleasurable.
Don’t rush to reconnect, but rather take time to reflect and consider what will truly suit you best. Work in time each week to spend with your family so you can hold onto the bonds you forged during lockdown. Keep space for the people you love and make space to forge new connections.
How do you plan to reboot your social life?