There are plenty of activities we can involve ourselves in, providing not only a change of scenery (cabin-fever anyone?) but also the opportunity to connect with the people around us. As spring gets closer, warmer weather is on the way and now is the perfect time to get out and get social. What does getting social mean? Most of us are constantly checking Facebook and Twitter to see what’s going on with everyone else and would be completely lost without our smart phones. We like to think of ourselves as being socially adept and connected to the people in our lives, but are we really? The original meaning of being social meant interacting with people face to face, and it’s important not to lose sight of that. Let me give you just a few examples…
Let’s say exercise is your thing. Maybe you like to run or walk to stay in shape. Instead of using your treadmill at home, try walking around your neighborhood or a nearby park. This gives you the opportunity to meet and get to know people who live in your area. Or maybe sports is more your thing. Find out if there are any local softball or basketball leagues in your area. Not only will you be getting a work out, but being a part of team sports can really help people feel connected. Taking your dog for a walk in the dog park gives you a chance to meet new people who share at least one of your interests. And who doesn’t love a walk on the beach or a hike though nature?
What about those of us who really enjoy a great meal out with friends or family? Take advantage of a sunny day and have a meal outside. Whether it’s a picnic in the park, sitting outside at your favorite local restaurant or a family BBQ in the back yard; all of these will get you outside in the fresh air, opening up a realm of possibilities and again, the chance to interact with people you know and people you haven’t met yet. Let’s be real, you aren’t going to meet people or keep many friends if you never leave your house.
Or maybe you’re more of a doer. If you’re someone who always likes to be busy doing something productive, spring is a great time to catch up on some outdoor projects around the house that been need attention. While you’re doing your spring cleaning, keep a lookout for items around your house you aren’t using. Do you have enough “stuff” to have a yard sale? Not only is it a quick way to put some cash in your pocket, but it’s a great way to get to know your neighbors. Gardening can also be a great springtime activity. Not only are you cultivating and nurturing the earth, but you are in tune with the world around you. Making yourself more visible around your home or neighborhood increases the chances for more connections.
How about something the whole family can enjoy? An outing to the zoo or local park can be an excellent choice for those looking for family friendly activities. The warmer weather makes this an ideal situation for those of you with a rowdy bunch. Or maybe a trip to watch the local baseball team in action. Peanuts and crackerjacks anyone? The beach or lake can be a great way for your kids to expend their energy and create lasting memories.
So, let’s break this down. How can you make sure you are making the most of your social activities?
S: SCENERY – Take advantage of the warmer weather and initiate a change of scenery. It doesn’t have to be a major change; research and take in some of what your community has to offer locally. Sometimes the best activities are right in your back yard.
O: OUTSIDE – Get outdoors and take in the world around you. There are so many more opportunities to meet people and be social when you expose yourself to the world.
C: Take a CHANCE – Do something you wouldn’t otherwise do. Take in and experience things you aren’t familiar with that pique your interest. Who know’s, your next favorite thing could be waiting just around the corner. You’ll never know if you don’t take the chance.
I: Be INTERACTIVE – You will be amazed at how much people will open up to you if you open yourself up first. Strike up a conversation with a stranger; you may just be surprised at the outcome. Just saying “hello” or asking someone about themselves is all it may take to make a new friend.
A: Be ADVENTUROUS – This is like taking a chance, but on a larger scale. Don’t be afraid to do something outside of your comfort zone. Often times, our best experiences come from things we never thought we would do. Don’t be timid when it comes to trying new things; after all, how can you find your next favorite thing, if you’re not willing to try?
L: LOVE life. It is so much easier to enjoy things when we are looking at the positives instead of the negatives. Whatever you chose to do, love what you’re doing and the people who you are sharing these experiences with. Because sometimes what you are doing doesn’t really matter, as long as you are enjoying life withe people you love. Our most precious memories are those shared with the ones we love.
Keep these tips in mind as you go about your day and don’t forget that being social beings is part of what makes us unique. Take time to get to know the people around you and know reaching out to someone and sharing a common experience can make all the difference. Interacting and connecting with people on a personal level helps all of us feel like we are in this together. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to make a new friend, take a chance and get social!