For all that it has taken away and destroyed, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with an opportunity to reflect. And not just about the world we live in and all that still desperately needs fixing, but about our own lives, and all that still desperately needs fixing. That’s why in this four-part series, I’m going to be giving you tips and tricks to becoming the very best version of yourself, starting with developing a more active social life.
Perhaps the most significant of all the core principles to becoming the best version of yourself, developing and improving your social life is absolutely imperative. Back in 1993, an Oxford genius professor theorized that you could only have 150 meaningful relationships in your life. He totally, arbitrarily picked 150, but that’s okay. Because what it means is that there is plenty of room for you to expand your social life, or even disband the parts of it that are disrupting your backbone.
DEVELOPING A SOCIAL CIRCLE
When developing a social circle, you want to surround yourself with people that bring value to your life. You want friends that don’t just worship your every word, but challenge you to be better. You want friends that you can rely on when the roller coaster of life goes down with everyone’s hands in the air screaming “aaah!”. You want meaningful relationships – as that Oxford guy called it. So I challenge you to think about your social circle right now. Think about who is adding value to your life, and who is not. Then seek out likeminded individuals, who share a passion for things that you are interested in, and expand that social circle back up to include more people of value. There is an event, a team, a club, or a meetup group, for virtually anything you are interested in, in your city. They already exist. You just have to find them. So the first step to establishing a better social circle is to follow your passions and seek out new experiences within them.
If you’re stuck on where to start, check out various activity groups on Meetup.com, find people your age with similar interests to you on Bumble BFF, and check out events happening near you on Eventbrite.com. Not only will these apps and sites expand your social circle, they will also help you live a more interesting life, which is crucial to developing your confidence and sense of identity.
Another thing that you can do to build your social circle is to reconnect with old friends. It’s so easy to lose touch with people from your past, and we often neglect those that used to care about us, thinking that they no longer do. The reality is, it takes two to tango, and there’s nothing wrong with you being the one to reach out and ask if they want to hang out. Maybe your old friends have all gone separate ways. Maybe they live in different cities to you, with kids and a whole new life. So what? Stop making excuses, and travel to see them. Besides, when you travel to new places, you’ll gain new experiences, and you might even meet new people that can become part of your ever-growing social circle. At the very least, try to make time to hang out with at least one friend a week, outside of the hours in which you might normally see them (e.g. work, social group, sporting activity, etc.)
FOCUSING ON FAMILY
As important as expanding your social network is to growing your sense of self, having a better social life isn’t just about having high quality friends. It’s also about bettering your family life. For years, I didn’t want to look my father in the eye. The tension between us only made me angry, upset, and a worse person to be around. It wasn’t until I actively tried and actively learned how to handle the tension between us, that I started to live a better life. My romantic life instantly improved. The confidence I had in my ability to handle difficult situations and tension in other areas of my life instantly improved. And most importantly, my relationship with everyone in my family improved. I didn’t realize, for twenty-three years of life, how much the baggage of everything with my dad was holding me back. And now that I’ve actively tried to do better with him and learn to focus on the future of our relationship rather than the past, I’ve become a closer version of Rhys 2.0 than I’ve ever been before.
From my example, you can see the importance of trying to repair broken familial relationships. But it’s also crucial to find a balance in your life where you can focus on family and be around those that love you the most. Chances are, your family will know you better than just about anyone else in your life. As a result, they may have advice tailored specifically for you as to how you can become that best version of yourself.
DATING AND ROMANTIC LIFE
Once you’ve improved your friendship and familial circles, you’ll naturally begin to improve the third aspect of your social life – your dating/romantic life. This is quite the ordeal and a process that can only truly be done once everything else in life is in place. In other Dr. Seuss words, an optimal dating/romantic life is dependent on everything else along your spine already being aligned.
Most people in the dating scene already know this, and that is why there are hundreds of dating coaches who focus on improving not only your dating life, but the entire history of who you are as a person. Nick Notas and Julian Reisinger of Reconnected.com are a great duo for anyone of any gender to get started in the world of dating. While I am not a dating expert like them, I know how I feel about myself when my romantic life is thriving, compared to when it’s not. I know the importance of putting yourself out there, and improving all of these other principles FIRST before you can get to where you want to be when it comes to love.
If you’re not in a situation where you’re meeting high quality, available people at work or in your social life, online dating is a must. Get some professional photos taken, put together an engaging bio and start swiping. You should also work on talking to strangers wherever you go (e.g. the grocery store, the gym, restaurants and bars, etc.). You can do this without even having the intention of scoring a phone number or going on a future date with them. The benefit to this is that it will help you work on your conversation skills, and the ease at which you can talk to high quality people, such as your future dates. If approaching strangers is too much for you, strike up a conversation with someone you already have to talk to (e.g. a waitress, a grocery store cashier, etc.) rather than just the mundane small talk or awkwardness as they take your order or check you out. Then work your way up to strangers and potential partners.
If I could leave you with one piece of dating advice, especially for all the singles out there, it would be to remember that YOU are the prize. If you need help getting into that mindset, check out this article. But recognize that often when we fall for someone, we put them on a pedestal. We treat them like they are the best thing to ever grace the face of the earth. The truth is…they aren’t. You are. There are plenty of available people out there for you to find, but there’s only one you. So focus on you and developing who you are, and you will see the results.
So there it is! Improving your social life on the path to becoming the best you. Be sure to check out more in this series, and follow on social media via the links below. Thanks for reading and see you soon! You might also enjoy…
- Part 1 – Improving your social life
- Part 2 – Improving your health
- Part 3 – Improving your work life
- Improving your KSA’s (becoming the best you)