Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions? Were they about weight loss? Health and fitness? Perhaps money matters? Will 2018 be the year you land your dream job or maybe even kickstart your own entrepreneurial ambitions. Whatever your New Year’s Resolutions I wish you every success and happiness pursuing them, but they should come with a world of warning. We’re psychologically predisposed not to stick to them. We tend to aim too high, limit ourselves with ambitions that are too nebulous and difficult to achieve.
This leads us to inevitable feelings of guilt and inadequacy. While ambition should be lauded we, as a species, have a nasty habit of shackling ourselves with unrealistic expectations and get frustrated with ourselves when we fail to meet them. Moreover, we have an absolute pig of a time while in the process of supposedly enriching our lives.
There is one resolution, however, that everyone can make and stick to. One that not only enriches our lives and makes us better people but is a whole lot of fun too. And that’s to be more social.
And by social I don’t mean engaging with friends through social media. While Facebook and their ilk have their place they’re also proven to be damaging to our sense of self-image, particularly among young people. Think about it. Your social media persona is like your blogging persona. It’s you… but a very specific version of you. When you engage with others through the lens of social media you’re interacting with a stage managed persona, one that filters out inadequacy, failure and negativity and shows only success, prosperity and… Pouting. Lots and lots of pouting. While social media is great for checking in on people every once in a while, it’s no substitute for genuine human interaction.
Make new friends and nurture existing friendships
If “be more social” is a little too nebulous, let’s look at some ways in which we can quantify that. Perhaps you should set a goal of making a friend this year. Just one friend. That doesn’t mean adding a new friend on Facebook, it means making a new friend and spending time getting to know them. It can be someone from work or a friend of a friend or better yet, engage in a new activity (like a dance class) and befriend someone there. While you’re at it, take the time to nurture your existing friendships by picking up the phone and getting in touch with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while at least once a month.
Throw more house parties
Not only are you spared the expense, noise and exposure to the drunken idiocy of strangers that come with a night out, house parties allow you to become a social alchemist, bringing together groups of friends to engender new friendships between them. A house party doesn’t even need to be a raucous affair. It can be a sedate night on a leather corner sofa watching movies with friends. It can be whatever you make of it.
But by all means enjoy your own company
Your resolution to be more social should not, however, lead you to view time spent alone as a failure. Everyone needs solitude every once in a while and enjoying your own company is an important factor in determining your psychological wellbeing. Take some time out to enjoy your own company every once in a while, even if it’s only an hour spent reading a book or soaking in a long hot bath once every few days.