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Get Ready To Spring Clean Your Social Life

Will I be able to hold a ‘normal’ conversation in a ‘normal’ environment? 

I don’t know about you, but my social skills seem to have taken a hit during the latest (and hopefully last) lockdown. Talking in a bit too much detail about random subjects, taking awkwardly long pauses and asking far too many questions are a few of my new traits. I’d quite like to get a grip on this.  

Like everyone, I can’t wait to get back into a normal (whatever that is) existence; one that humans were designed to thrive in. Naturally, there’ll be a temptation to accept every social invitation on offer. But after such a long time, this excitement has an underlying edge of uncertainty. Will I be able to hold a ‘normal’ conversation in a ‘normal’ environment? 

 I believe relationships are going to play a huge part in this. Surrounding ourselves with the right people is really going to help – people who make us feel safe, share our core beliefs, genuinely want the best for us and allow us to shine.  

Adapting in your own way...

Our social relationships (and every relationship, but that’s another story) have undergone immense pressure. Socially distanced or virtually connected, we’ve had to maintain them in the most unnatural conditions. Even the most solid of these will need care, understanding and patience. 

We’ve all reacted to this extreme social hurdle in our own way. There wasn’t a manual telling us how to interact with people from a distance during a pandemic. We’ve had to go with our instincts and do what we felt was right at the time. As we come through the other side, we’ll all adapt in our own way and at our own pace.  

But as we make this transition into the outside world, it might be a good opportunity for a social spring clean. Who do you want to share this long-awaited experience with? Who are the right people for you? If in doubt, here’s a quick checklist. Try to think pre-pandemic (if you can remember such a time) when answering.  

The right people

  • Do you come away from this person feeling happy and uplifted?  
  • Is this relationship two-sided (e.g. you both talk and listen)? 
  • Do you feel you can always be yourself with this person? 
  • Does this person give you good advice that instinctively feels right? 
  • Can you have natural space from this person without it being questioned 

If the answer to these questions is yes, you have a very special person in your life worth hanging onto. Let’s look at the flip side.  

When it's time to let go

  • Do you come away from this person feeling anxious and unsettled?  
  • Does this person control what you do? 
  • Does this person demand a lot of your time and get upset when you don’t give in? 
  • Do you feel like you’re always trying to please this person and say the right thing? 
  • Does this person disregard your feelings/thoughts/opinions?  

Answering yes to these questions should speak for itself. In theory, this may all seem fairly obvious. But an unhealthy relationship – whether it’s a friend, a partner or someone you work with – can creep up on youInitially, these relationships may seem exciting and fun. But as they take hold, and you increasingly end up in uncomfortable situations, the lows soon outweigh the highs. Looking back, I used to attract them. Once I spotted the pattern and took control, which took time and practise, everything changed.  

We’re going to have enough to deal with as we step outside, in anything but loungewear, once again. Make your relationships positive. Set your boundaries, stop saying yes when you mean no and give up on the thankless task of trying to please. The right people will respect your decisions, value your individuality and accept you for who you are.

Moving forward

Walking away from someone who isn’t good for you is always the best option. But people will come and go throughout your life simply because you both move on. You may have great memories with people who were there through a certain stage in your life. You change. They change. Life carries on. Ellie Tattam writes more about this in Friendships: Make it or break it?

The outside world will soon be ready to welcome us back. Dinner (in a bustling restaurant)drinks (sitting at the bar and without booking) and the cinema (with every seat taken and obligatory packetrustling from those around youare going to be the best things ever. Everyday social activities are going to feel like a treat. Just make sure you’re doing them with the right people for youThese people will accept the lockdown traits you’ve developed, and you’ll embrace theirs. Traits that will most likely amuse and entertain you both 

You will adapt to this new world together. They are lucky to have you in their lives, and you are lucky to have them.  


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