You’re knackered. You spend most Friday evenings passing out in front of Gogglebox, unable to string even the most basic sentence together. How can you possibly make time for a social life? Workingmums.co.uk has some suggestions for squeezing some time for a social life or at least faking it.
1. Use the opportunities you do get to go out wisely. If this is the first opportunity you’ve had to go out all year, resist the temptation to tell in great detail what you’ve been doing for the other 364 days to the first person who stops to talk to you.
2. If you don’t get out much, work can offer important opportunities for socialising. Networking is all the rage and it’s basically talking to people dressed up as something more executive and with business cards thrown in. The most effective networking involves some form of social bonding so that the person actually remembers who you are when they look at your card three weeks later. Find something you have in common and away you go. It could even open up a new avenue in your social life.
3. This does not apply to internal work functions. Do not mistake things like leaving dos and office Christmas parties for real life parties. This is just office politics with a bit more alcohol and, if you’re lucky, a glitterball.
4. Date nights. It seems a good idea in theory to schedule in your social life because it is the working parent law that what is on the list gets done. Except that it is all too easy to cancel at the last minute because you’ve had the norovirus, the kids have had the norovirus, everyone’s got the flu or nits or both, the cat has got fleas, work deadlines have been brought forward, the car has broken down, etc, etc. Events, as they say in politics. Then six months pass by and your conversation has become limited to listing your entire to do list and 85 ways to say the phrase “I’m knackered”.
5. Populate your social media by searching out people you used to know from the pre-children days. Who knows, it could lead to job opportunities and the return of a social life in years to come. Plus your lack of updates may give the impression that you have such a burgeoning social life that you have no time to actually post.
6. Most of your new Facebook contacts may very well be work-related due to your lack of social life. These may be younger colleagues who go out a lot. Do not spend a lot of time reading their updates on social media. It will only make you feel a total social failure.
7. School can be a bit of a social life mirage. While parents evenings promise the prospect of getting out and talking about your child’s brilliance and amazing personality, the reality is that the teacher will have five minutes to read out a list of incomprehensible targets to you and no actual conversation will be involved. Similarly fetes etc will basically be spent chaperoning children around the various stalls and trying to stop them spending all your cash on the tombola only to win a tin of oxtail soup and the bottle of vinegar you donated last year.
8. Watch programmes like First Dates to keep yourself up to date with conversations which last beyond ‘can you leave work early on Thursday to pick up x from after school club’. Who knows, one day this may come in handy.
9. Don’t feel under pressure to make those rare occasions when you do get out memorable – that may require more energy than you currently possess – but do make sure the events you do go out to involve people you actually like. Remember how important just having a laugh is and how it helps make even the time the entire family were struck down by the norovirus simultaneously and you had a work deadline to meet feel like a hilarious comic interlude.
10. Invest in pets, where possible. They won’t talk back, but taking them out for walks or discussing world events with them can pass for a profound emotional exchange. Even when all they really want is some of that expensive food in a pouch.