10 Ways to Survive (and Thrive!) in Quarantine

How to Stay Sane & Make the Most Out of Lockdown

How’s everybody doing out there? We hope you’re living life well at home, but if you need a little help getting through, we at Social Circle are here for you!

Now, we’ll be the first to admit, as a business grounded in social interactions (“social” is in our name, after all), it’s been tough to stay positive, but we’re doing our best, and channeling our hearts and minds into working on our new online Social Circle Community. Soon we hope to bring you fun online events, like coffee catch-ups, quizzes, movie nights, and more, so be sure to check back soon.

In the meantime, we’ve put together our top ten ways to beat back boredom and combat loneliness while we’re all staying safely at home.

1. Find a routine and stick to it.
When you’re stuck inside, it’s easy to lose track of time. Nights, days, weeks… it all starts to feel the same, but one of the best ways to fight off that feeling of monotony is by establishing a routine.

Resist the urge to stay in your pajamas all day. Take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast… do all the things that keep you feeling human and as normal as possible. If you’re working from home, block out times for breaks, too. Then use those breaktimes to go for a quick walk outside if you can, or at least around your home.

2. Start a new book.
Dive deep into your been-meaning-to-read list and take your mind on a trip to a fantasy world. No list? No problem. Reach out to friends and family for their favourites, or check out goodreads.com for personalized recommendations based on the books you’ve read and loved in the past. LINK to social circle book club

3. Keep moving.
The physical benefits of exercise are well known. You know, benefits such as making you stronger, burning calories, and helping to prevent or improve conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. But regular cardio can also help up your mental game.

Through the release of endorphins, exercise can help boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve your sleep—all great moves if you’re looking to combat that cooped-up quarantine feeling.

There are many free workouts available on YouTube, and more can be found floating around Facebook right now as personal trainers and the like look to keep in touch with their clients online. You can even combine your activity with social time by video chatting with a friend and doing your favorite workouts together.

 4. Unplug.
Too much news—especially right now—can most definitely be a bad thing. Constant live news updates are a surefire way to disrupt your concentration and make it very hard to stay positive. Resist the urge to hit that subscribe button!

Choose a single news source you trust, then limit yourself to just a few checks a day—and the same goes for social media. Step away from the scroll and immerse yourself in other activities, whether that’s work-from-home or any of the other suggestions on this list, and give your nerves a break.

5. Get organized.
Been meaning to tackle that overflowing closet? Or finally organize the kitchen? Start now. There’s no better time to focus on straightening up your home life than when you’re stuck spending so much time there.

But first things first: choose your guru. From Marie Kondo’s mindful, joy-based method of Tidying Up, to the minimalist style of Joshua Becker, there are numerous ways to finally conquer the clutter and create a comfortable oasis in your home.

6. Put your sewing skills to work.
When your mind is reeling from the latest headlines, sometimes a sense of purpose can be all it takes to get you on firmer mental footing. One idea? Pull out that sewing machine and get to work sewing masks.

As hospitals the world over struggle to secure enough PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare workers, many are turning to homemade cloth masks for whatever protection they can get—and that means anyone with a sewing machine, some cloth, and a bit of elastic or hair ties can help.

A quick Google search will lead you to hundreds of how-tos for homemade masks, and YouTube is full of DIY videos as well.

7. Learn something new.
Make the most of your time at home to learn a new skill. Maybe you’ve always wanted to play the guitar or learn to sew. The internet is full of how-to videos, walk-throughs, and DIY guides to help you learn how to do just about anything.

If you don’t have a burning desire to try something personally? Consider some career development instead. Sites like LinkedIn offer premium subscribers a wealth of classes and courses to help you do your job better. And with experts predicting a tough job market once the pandemic has ended, it could be a smart move to give you an edge over any future competition.

8. Get social.
Social distancing doesn’t have to mean your social life is over. Now is the time to get creative while getting the gang back together—virtually of course.

Apps like Zoom, FaceTime, and others make it easy to gather for an online happy hour. But if that’s getting old, try other online gatherings instead. Perhaps a virtual dinner party where everyone makes (and eats!) their own dish. Or a virtual game night. The possibilities really are endless.

9. Take up a new hobby.
Maybe it’s the next great novel idea that’s been floating around in your head for years, a burning desire to bake, or a love for painting.

Mark some items off your bucket list while you have the time, and you just might find something worth keeping up long after this is all over.

10. Watch something.
And finally, we couldn’t sign off without mentioning the streaming elephant in the room. From Netflix to Amazon Prime, and everything in between, the catalogue of film and television content waiting to be streamed is enormous.

So go ahead, grab a bowl of your favorite snacks and binge-watch that new series everyone’s talking about. Even better? Get some friends together for an online watch party and chat your way through the whole thing.

3 ways to beat Social Anxiety

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Rewind to be beginning of the year.  Remember when you told yourself that you would get out and meet new people?  Then the excuses started. You are busy at work, you are short of cash…the list goes on.  Deep down we know you are nervous, if not terrified. Social Anxiety can cripple any thoughts of socialising – and it is important you learn to manage it if you want a fulfilling life. 

You may have liked and shared social anxiety memes.  You know the ones which glorify our excitement about cancelled plans.  Whilst it is great to talk about mental health openly – and acknowledge the fact you have social anxiety – it is a form of anxiety which should be mastered.  Before you hurl abuse at me through the screen. Know this. I used to suffer crippling social anxiety.

Social Anxiety and Shyness are not the same thing.

You would not believe me.  I was quiet and introverted at school, yet I had a small group of friends who shared my imagination and interest in the natural world. I was shy when I first met people.  Yet this was somehow deemed as a fault and I was pushed into a drama group in order try and give me more confidence. Because there is nothing like being stood on stage in front of the whole school to cure shyness and introversion.  What I did learn is how to fake extraversion I suddenly started to care how others saw me. It was the start of my relationship with anxiety.

So, on entering a room, I was the one who talked a million miles an hour, would make others laugh with my self-deprecating humour and dressed to kill.  Yet – if you looked closely – you could recognise how anxious I was. I was often late. I wouldn’t be listening, instead over-analysing what I had just said.  If anything went wrong – it was met with diva-like tendencies.

So trust me in the advice that follows.

You cannot hide behind a screen.

Like many people –  your current friendship group have been with you since university. Back then, making friends  involved drunken declarations of affection in bathroom of a cheap club.  

As we grow older, our life choices means that we grow apart from our friends.

Maybe they are married with children, whilst you moved to another part of the country with your career.  

Maybe you are more content watching a play, than partying to the small hours.

Social media is great for connecting with like-minded individuals. But nothing beats spending quality time with friends and loved ones. Research suggests that forming strong social bonds is essential to good mental health.

So you have to get out there and *gasp* actually meet people.

As you consider the prospect of meeting new people, a million questions run through your mind.

Will anyone talk to me. What if they don’t like me? I really don’t want to walk into a room full of strangers and have everyone stare at me.

Soon all your worst nightmares are dancing through your mind and you find a reason not to attend the event you had been looking forward to.  Maybe next week?

Stop.  I have been there, I have made the excuses but then paid the price.  

I do understand.  Anxiety is an absolute nightmare.  But it can be overcome following these baby steps.

#1 Take a breath

When your body experiences anxiety, many changes can take place. The physical symptoms of anxiety include increased heart rate, pounding chest, dizziness and muscle tension. Learning to take a minute and slow down your breath can help you take back control of your body. There are several breathing techniques that can help to relax and calm the body.  When going to a social gathering, simply take a seat, get comfortable and take the biggest breath you’ve taken all day and hold it in for four seconds. Then exhale slowly, pushing out as much air as possible. Take another deep breath filling the stomach with air and continue until you feel your breath slowing down to its normal rate. Then, just focus on your next step.  Whether it is putting your coat away or seeking out the host. A word of warning, whilst it is natural to want to reach for a glass of wine to help with your nerves, this is not always helpful and can actually make you feel worse. Always drink responsibly.

#2 Don’t focus on yourself

It’s hard to stop the anxiety demons chattering when you’re in social situations. We often focus on ourselves and how others will perceive us, almost always assuming it will be negative. The thought that everyone will be looking at you when you walk into a room and judging you in one way or another. This isn’t the case. Stop focusing on yourself and what other people are thinking of you. Focus on other people, try to be present and make genuine connections.

Anxiety isn’t as visible as you may think. Chances are that there are others feeling the same way. Even if someone notices you’re a little nervous, they’re not thinking of you negatively. No-one is perfect. We all suffer embarrassment at some point.

In a small study where three job candidates were being evaluated for the same position, they chose the interviewee with great scores who spilt coffee all over himself. Instead of choosing a perfect candidate they chose someone who made a small blunder. Their reasoning was that he seemed far more approachable!!

So remember.  99.9% of the people you meet are nice and would not write you off if you are nervous. Instead focus your attention on the person you are talking to and ask them open questions about themselves.  It takes the pressure off yourself and has the added bonus of making the other person feel great about themselves too!

#3 Seek out social situations.

Yes, you heard me. Making a conscious effort to be more social is how you actually overcome social anxiety. Little by little,  the anxiety starts to fade.  Soon it is replaced by genuine -and enviable – confidence.   Actively look for supportive social environments that can help you overcome your fears.  Perhaps start by looking at groups who offer events that appeal to your interests. You’ll also be engaging with people who have similar interests so you’ll know at least one thing you can talk about and will have in common.  If you are nervous about your ability to hold a conversation, then there are plenty of courses where you can work on your communication skills and build rewarding relationships slowly.

It can help to attend an event  or gathering with a friend, or even just let the host or organiser know how you are feeling.  I remember confessing my nerves to a host in advance of a Social Circle event. She was so kind and offered to meet me outside.   Of course, by that point I already felt I knew someone – which gave me a much-needed boost of confidence.  

Be kind to yourself

Social anxiety can have a massive negative effect on numerous areas of your life. From family life to education as well as work and close relationships. It can be helpful to list different situations from low anxiety to full panic attack.  Choose events that are in your comfort zone, perhaps that have minimal interaction like going to the cinema and then progress gradually from there. 

Overcoming social anxiety is a long journey and it takes time so be kind and patient with yourself.  On days where your anxiety is high, do not be tempted to overlook the progress you have made.  

Is your social anxiety is constantly interfering with your daily life? Then don’t hesitate to seek professional help in whatever form you feel comfortable looking for. There are great ways to help overcome your social anxiety including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Hypnotherapy. 

Although it seems like an impossible obstacle, it’s so worth overcoming so you can live your life to the fullest.

15 Reasons Why Manchester is so Great.

Manchester's nightlife is Buzzing.

Manchester’s nightlife is Buzzing.

Time Out recently announced that Manchester is the 15th best city in the World.  We could not agree more. Manchester is a City that has it all; from fine food to music venues to rock your socks off.  We have put a list together of 15 things that make Manchester Great so you can explore all this City has to offer.

#1 The Bees.

Manchester’s symbol is the Bee.  Originally chosen to represent the industrial heritage of this City, in more recent times it has come to symbolise how everyone seems to swarm together in times of crisis.  Since the terrorist attack in 2017, Mancunians have started to wear their bees with pride. Everywhere you can see tattoos that raised funds charity, to street art, to arts and crafts found in various street markets.  Why not have the honey-infused cocktail ‘Bee-Have’ at Malmaison?

# 2 Revolución de Cuba Manchester

Revolución de Cuba Manchester is a stunning two floor cocktail bar and cantina just off Manchester’s busy Deansgate. Drink, dine, relax and dream that you’re a world away. The exciting cocktail menu will take you straight to the heart of Cuban life. Live music and late night partying await in the downstairs Havana Club Room or sneak off to the exclusive Havana Club Bar and enjoy some of the world’s finest rums with table service all night long

# 3 The O2 Ritz

Anyone who grew up in Manchester will have got their ID at the ready for a night out at the Ritz.  The Social Circle HQ Team remember bubbles, chips and cheese and running around to the Dambusters theme on the bouncy dancefloor.  Now it is a venue for top class gigs and evenings out. Our favourite is the Ultimate Power Nights where classic tunes from the 70’s and 80’s make for an evening of air guitar and great memories.

# 4 Bring & Mix

Where else can you bring your own spirits and still have a great time?   Rated Number 1 on TripAdvisor. Bring & Mix is a unique but popular concept creating Manchester’s Most Unique Cocktails. You Bring your favourite spirits. They Mix them. Let the talented mixologist stimulate your senses by creating cocktails for you and your friends, right at your table. Combining fresh fruit and vegetable juices, home-made syrups, herbs and spices, bitters, sodas, and fruits. You will never find the same cocktails elsewhere.

#5 The Home Grown Booze.

Seven Bro7hers make their beer at the brewery in Salford near Media City and serve it in their Bar in Ancoats. Rumour has it that they throw open the doors of the brewery once a month and let you have a cheap pint whilst listening to live bands. If Gin is your thing then you can have a tour of Three Rivers Distillery (and bring home a bottle).

#6 The Washhouse.

Probably Manchester’s worst kept secret.  To the outsider, the Washhouse looks like an ordinary launderette complete with soap powder and washing machines.  But book a special cycle, phone for entry and head through the dryer and you are soon immersed in the ambient atmosphere with an amazing cocktail in hand.

#7 Frog & Bucket.

Manchester is known for its Comedy Clubs, and one of our favourite places is The Frog & Bucket. Offering a unique blend of the best of new and international stand up comedy. Every week the best comedians on the circuit take to the stage. You can grab a curry and watch rising stars try to beat the frog too.

#8 Cloud 23

Cloud 23 is more than just a bar, it’s a unique venue located at the highest point in Manchester. Find your silver lining at Cloud 23 with the finest champagnes, signature cocktails, decadent afternoon tea, and panoramic city views.

 # 9 The Drama.

Manchester has become a hub for showcasing and creating the best in TV and theatre. Even Jude Law was spotted wandering around Piccadilly when filming Sherlock Holmes. The City Centre boasts several theatres, and Media City is the new home of Coronation Street, The Voice and BBC News.  You can even fulfil that dream of becoming an actor, writer or dancer at one of the many evening classes around the City.

Coronation Street is filmed in Manchester

Coronation Street is filmed in Manchester

#10 The Refuge by Volta

Nineteenth-century architect Alfred Waterhouse designed this grand hotel, bar and restaurant, and what a job he did. The iconic joint on Oxford Street has long been a landmark and made even more so by new owners and a million-pound face-lift. The bar was put into the capable hands of DJs-turned-restaurateurs Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey. Expect similar fare at their award-winning eatery, Volta in Didsbury. Think small plates, cocktails and an inspired wine list. A fairy-light lit courtyard and fabulous DJs in the basement mean there’s no need to go on anywhere else.  We will be visiting the Refuge as part of our Epic Easter Pub Crawl – why not join us?

#11  The Curry Mile

The Curry Mile is the nickname for the part of Wilmslow Road thought to be the largest concentration of South Asian restaurants outside the Indian Subcontinent. Within a length of half a mile there are least seventy curryhouses!  Whether you visit at the start or the end of a friday night, it is always bustling with activity. Why not join us at Indique when we next head that way?

#12 Alberts Schloss

If you haven’t danced on the tables at Schloss, have you even been to Manchester? The bohemian pleasure palace doubles as a bar, bierkeller and entertainment centre – and it gets  rowdy. Throw in Alpine cocktails, homemade Schnapps and hearty bar meals (plus regular showcases from the Haus band) and you’ve got one of the best (and busiest) bars in town.  We love the Sunday Service where a fantastic Sunday lunch is served with a side order of Soul Music.

#13  The Football.

Whether you support Manchester City or United, Manchester is home to two premier league teams so do catch a match during the football season. Both teams support the local communities, giving opportunities to young people in Manchester.  Even in the height of summer, you can visit the football museum. Remember, football is not just for the professionals. You can join us in Didsbury for a game and get fit in the meantime.

#14 The History.

From the first computer to the discovery of Graphene, the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry has a number of fantastic exhibitions where you can learn more about the rise and rise of Manchester’s industrial heritage.  Don’t miss the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in St Peters Square, the People’s history museum, or the gothic architecture of John Rylands Library or the Town Hall. Come join a walking tour and learn more about this amazing City.

#15 The People.

What is the one thing that everyone says about Manchester?  The people are so friendly!  We will treat you like family before we even know your name.  So if you are new to the City, and want to meet like-minded people then why not come to a free event in one of the best Cities in the World .

The Reason Why I started Social Circle.

 

Recently I questioned the reason why I started Social Circle

Recently I questioned the reason why I started Social Circle

I recently listened to a Tedx Talk on Finding your Why.  It really got me thinking. It reminded me of why I started Social Circle in the first place – and my vision for the future.  Believe me I needed the reminder. When Taxes are due and I am having to explain myself three times to get stuff done, you can easily lose sight of your passion.   So I sat down and thought carefully about the  reason why Social Circle exists, and why it will always be my passion.

#1 I was just like you.

I was in my thirties when my marriage broke down, and I made a life-changing decision to move to Manchester with my job.  I had no one. My colleagues were nice enough but going out for ‘ a swift one’ after work wore thin. I decided I needed to take action to go out and meet new people. Back then, there was little to cater for my age group and interests.  So I put an advert out inviting people to meet me in my local pub and the rest – as they say – is history.

#2 Being Sociable is a Life saver.

As much as you can enjoy the single life, loneliness in a big city can pave the way to depression and other mental health issues.  Having people around you that share your humour and interests can be lifesaving at times, and the key to a long happy life. My friends from the early days of Social Circle are still by my side – and kicking my ass.  It gives me great pleasure in seeing Social Circle members form deep and meaningful friendships with each other. #Notallheroeswearcapes

#3 Life does not revolve around a single interest.

There are plenty of social groups catering for a single hobby, such as hiking or photography.  I joined a few walking groups myself. However, I was quickly discouraged by the fact that when it came to exploring life outside the ramblers group that people were not so keen.  I wanted to meet people like me, who had a thirst for life and all it offers. As it happens, my Friday night drinking buddies were also up for exploring life outside the Slug & Lettuce. Soon, I was arranging walks, nights at comedy clubs and meals out.  Today we offer 100+ events every month.

#4 It takes f**king courage to introduce yourself to others.

So you want to meet people. Great. Then the fears kick in and before long you have talked yourself out of going. You find your excuses and then Boom! Another year has flown by without you meeting anyone new. I get it.  Truth is that it takes a lot of courage to introduce yourself to anyone, never mind walk into room full of strangers. It’s the reason why –  when I could not be in 100 places at once –  I enlisted the help of our expert hosts. Our hosts will run out into the rain to rescue you when you are frozen with nerves at the doors of a restaurant. I make sure they send everyone a text, or call nervous newbies, because I know exactly what it takes to turn up to that first event.

#5 I wanted to explore the world with others.

I love travelling.  It feeds my soul. I am happy to travel alone, but some experiences are so much better shared with others.  I found that travel for single professionals can be a little pot luck at times – you can be changed through the nose, or have an amazing time.  So when my Social Circle members suggested we organised weekends away, I jumped at the chance. It is through these budget friendly weekends away that I have managed to travel extensively, tick off a few of my bucket list activities and meet the love of my life.  This year, we are going to so many exciting new places I can hardly contain myself. I am even gatecrashing the Galway trip as a co-host as I have always wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher.

#6 I got sick of small print and hidden costs.

I am a man who likes to keep things simple and straightforward.  No – I don’t want to read 100 clauses of legal mumbo jumbo. I certainly don’t want to turn up to your free event and find I am being charged for the privilege.  And if I am paying something, I expect to get what I paid for. I found a lot of places short-changed me, so I was determined to be open and honest with my own members.  That the reason why you get unlimited free events with your membership, and anything that does cost that little bit extra is clearly marked on the calendar.

#7 Because I just love bringing people together.

When it come down to it, I am a big ol’ softy at heart.  I love bringing friends and family together, and still regularly rally them round to mine for pancakes or a movie.  Over the years I have run Social Circle, I have seen shy wallflowers bloom into confident socialites. People stepping out of their comfort zone and finding their passion and purpose through trying new activities.  I have introduced many husbands and wives to each other. Everyday, I hear what a difference being a part of Social Circle is making to our members.

Its that, when it comes down to it, that is why I battle through the hard times.

I just love seeing people find happiness.

So tell me, what is your Why?

Q & A Why should I join Social Circle?

Why join social circle? Well for starters we are your kind of people...

Why join social circle? Well for starters we are your kind of people…

 

In my last blog, I invited you to send me questions you wanted answering as part of my regular Q & A spot.  You didn’t disappoint! Many of you asked ‘Why should I join Social Circle?’ I am glad you asked. With so many free groups like MeetUp out there, it is a question that will cross the minds of anyone thinking of joining.  So I put together a little list of reasons that makes social circle so good.

Firstly, it is important to know why I set up Social Circle. After travelling and living abroad during my teens and twenties, my life turned upside down when my marriage fell apart. I found myself moving to Manchester to accept another job.  In my thirties, totally alone and in need of company, I put an advert up to meet like-minded people. The rest was history. From that, I built a business, found the love of my life and introduced hundreds of people to their best friends and significant others.  Social Circle is my passion and life purpose.

  1. Time Saved Scrolling.

Today, people are still craving connection with others.  We look to modern technology to help us make friends.  You can either meet individuals or groups with a single common interest. Firstly, there is not just one group on MeetUp or similar, but hundreds in some cities.  What if you want to do more than one activity? Are you meant to spend yet more hours finding other groups? At this rate you can easily spend more time on the app than you can out socialising. Then there are the various charges for tickets, or admin costs!   

I know variety is the spice of life, which is why our events calendar is jam packed with wonderful events from meals out to cinema nights and it is all included in one price. We are web and phone savvy too, so you can just book on any event with a single click.

2. No Drama

Have you ever tried to organise a night out with your friends?  How about a weekend away? First there is the alarming rate at which people develop a mystery illness and have to drop out. Then there is always someone who wants to go to someplace else and is very vocal about it.  Or you end up the only single one amongst couples. At Social Circle there is none of that. When we organise our calendar, we book everything. The tickets, the table and the time. Our weekends away are organised with military precision.  If you want to join us – great! If not, then there will be something else you fancy.  All you have to do is show up and meet people who like the exact same things.

3. Help with the nerves.

I am a confident and sociable guy, and I get nervous when I meet new people.  I can completely understand how terrifying it must be if you have anxiety in social situations or are more introverted.  Can you rely on amateur organisers to understand? Some will be sympathetic, but others may not have a clue and it can be difficult reaching out and asking for help.  

Our hosts always call and text ahead, and will run out and meet you if you have an attack of nerves at the door. I am also proud to say we have members who are warm and welcoming and will always take any nervous newbies under their wing.

4. Fresh and Familiar.

Part of why we reach out to social groups is to meet new people.  So imagine you meet a kindred spirit on an event, forget to swap numbers, and never see them again. Ever.   Lets face it, we don’t just want to meet new people – we want to make new friends. It can be difficult when there are so many people attending an event that you end up being the new guy (or gal) at every single event.  So what is great about being a member is that other people are members too!

We have a members facebook group and regular events means that you will start to bump into the people you gel with more often. Some people have been members for many years and have met their best friends and partners through social circle.   For me, providing a membership encourages people to attend events regularly so you get to meet new people and see some familiar faces, that way friendships can really start to blossom naturally.

5. Your kind of people.

The hardest part of using apps is trying to find people who are – well – more like you!  Maybe you moved to Manchester with your career and are looking to set down roots.  Perhaps you are the only divorcee in a social circle of smug marrieds.  Either way, hanging out with a group of twenty somethings may not bring you the friends you seek.   When looking for friends – we not only want to share interests – but values and life experiences.  We know our members well and many share stories similar to my own. Like attracts like right?  Social Circle is full of great, friendly professionals, aged thirty plus who are just as keen to meet you.

Still wonder if it is for you?

You can reason with yourself, mull it over, and ponder the pros and cons all you want.  Its not getting you off the sofa and out there. If you want to see Social Circle for yourself, meet other members and hear about their experiences, and see how events are organised then come along!  You can attend an event for free

Is it a bad idea to date someone at work?

Is dating someone at work a bad idea? Oh just where do I begin..

Is dating someone at work a bad idea? Oh just where do I begin..

A friend of mine needed an urgent catch up over coffee. She has just started a new job and one of bosses seems to be giving her a lot of attention.  “There is real chemistry there. Is it a bad idea to date someone at work?” I drew my palm away from my forehead and looked at her. “ I get it. When you are in your forties – and spending your life in the office – then feelings can develop.  But in my experience, dating a colleague is a bad idea.

I saw her smile drip and her heart sink.

I know yours has too.  

You wouldn’t be reading this blog unless you have a crush and were wondering whether to take it further.

I feel it is only right I declare my interests here.

I am very aware that people meet at work and live happily ever after.  My parents met at work and have just celebrated their ruby anniversary despite a considerable age difference.  

But as a HR professional, I have had to help employers deal with the inevitable mess. In many cases it has involved one party moving into a different role, or in some cases, out of the company completely.

I have also dated people at work over the years.  My single status should you something.

So let me break down the risk factor.

Absolute No-Go.  The Boss.

This goes both ways, I will add.

My friend had developed the classic crush on her boss – I will add he is married.  She dreams of her fairy-tale romance. I had to be harsh. As a new member of staff, if things turn sour I can guarantee she will be the one at risk of receiving her P45.   Even if things go well between then, gossip will mean that any well deserved promotion will be tainted by people saying she slept to the top.

She worked hard for her career and this role.  

It is not worth it.

Even if you are both single, a difference in seniority can cause all sorts of problems. If you are a senior member of staff, then avoid dating junior staff.  I have known plenty of people claim sexual harassment against their bosses because they have felt unable to ward off unwanted advances.

The only way it is slightly forgivable is if the ‘boss’ concerned is responsible for a completely different department, and in a different building, or preferably in another part of the country.

Absolute No-Go.  The Married colleague.

When marriages go wrong, it is natural to turn to colleagues for support.  Hell – some of my best friends are former colleagues. Sometimes those friendships, especially fuelled by alcohol at the the office do, turn into something more steamy.

But here is my considered professional opinion.

This is a f*cking terrible idea.

An affair with a married colleague is going to end – badly.  Maybe her husband is neglectful and the spark has gone. Maybe he is sleeping on the sofa whilst he sorts his own place out.

Not your problem.

In both these examples, at best neither of these people are ready for a fulfilling relationship. At worse they are spinning you a yarn.  If you are in it for the long haul you will end up hurt and have to continue working with them.

Maybe you want some casual fun too. Good for you. I am not changing my advice. Get on Tinder.  I have known plenty of people having to fend off angry wives at the gates of the office car park because she found the sexy texts you have been exchanging.

Your colleagues? It depends.

Classic lawyer speak. I know.

Whilst you may have found your prince or princess at work – the truth is many relationships fail even when you both have the best of intentions. Certainly, there is less risk if you are in different departments or even at the other end of the office.

I think we can all be clear on the possible fall out – it is why many companies have a policy against relationships at work.  Plus there is the gossip and comments from others. I will let this article spell it out for you.

The difficulty with romance at work is that your crush may be heavily influenced by something called ‘vicinity attraction’.  As in you start to catch feelings because you are spending hours a day with someone who shares your mutual hatred of the Monday morning meeting.  

Do you really have common values and interests?

All I can say is if you have a crush on someone – get to know them as friends first.

I dated an office hottie once. The kind of guy that caused other women to swoon when he walked into the room and all the men wanted to be his best friend.  Needless to say I was quite taken aback when he declared his interest in me.

So we went for a drink.  A drink lead to a few evenings together to feel out the possibility of something more.  He was a total gentleman.

But we had nothing in common outside of work.   

The truth is the best way to meet someone is to get out and enjoy your life by indulging your own interests.  Look to meet new people and expand your horizons. 39% of people meet their significant others through friends.

It truly is  best way to find your soulmate.

So book a few days off work and throw yourself into your hobbies and interests.

Did you find yourself daydreaming about your colleague now?

I didn’t think so.

3 Brilliant Ways to Meet New People.

Ready to Mingle? Find out the best ways to meet new people.

Ready to Mingle? Find out the best ways to meet new people.

 

I think most people know that expanding your social circle is key to finding fulfilling friendships and romantic relationships.  As a social guy, I am often asked for advice on how to meet new people. Of course, Social Circle was founded on the principle of bringing like-minded people together.  However, over the years I have learned that certain events make it even easier for people to get chatting and make new friends. So here are my top 3 activities to meet new people and make friends.

#1 Go for a Walk.

Walking is one of my favourite activities.  Whether it be a leisurely stroll around local woods or something more challenging, walking has several benefits.

  • it gets you out of the office and moving which contributes to your health and wellbeing.  
  • Fresh air and great views are great for mental health.
  • You can talk to other walkers at the same time!

There are loads of MeetUps and similar groups that focus on walking, although our members tell us they prefer the way we do things rather than going it alone in a crowd.  However, the fact is however you you do it, it gives you time to chat to other people and exchange details. This makes it a winning activity for meeting new people.

#2 Find your Foodie Heaven.

Lets face it, we are a nation of food lovers.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a food snob then it is easy to find kindred spirits in Manchester.  Firstly, have you tried signing up to group cooking lessons?  It is a perfect way to meet people who are also refining their skills.  Foodie events like food tours of Manchester and taster evenings also give you a chance to mingle with other food lovers.  Finally, look for events at your favourite restaurants  – what better way to get to know people than sharing a meal?

Plus you can check for any disgusting habits before you take someone on a date.  Sloppy habits can be dealbreakers for some you know!

#3 Mingle All the Way.

If you are looking to meet new people then take the bull by the horns and get out there.  There is literally zero chance of you meeting new people if you are sat at home.

Maybe you can initiate a conversation with a random in a bar, but if that makes you nervous, then why not meet up with others as part of an organised night out?  

Just a reminder – meet and mingle parties are not all about dating – they can be a great way to let your hair down and meet new people in Manchester.  So if you are keen to expand your social circle then why not look for a few mingle events in the area? Maybe you will be lucky enough to join in the fun at one of Manchester’s hottest venues, totally free of charge (hint, hint)   If you have never been to a meet and mingle event – then we tell you what to expect here.

Of course, rather than searching for various events, you could just join us and chose from 100s of fun events each and every month. 

Reasons to take a break in Galway

Galway is a holiday haven on the West Coast of Ireland

Galway is a holiday haven on the West Coast of Ireland

We love exploring Ireland. If you are thinking of a short break from Manchester then you cannot beat the Emerald Isle.  In a few short weeks we will be in Glorious Galway on the west coast of Ireland. Galway has something for everyone’s. If you are wondering where the craic is then just take a look at the reasons to take a break in Galway.

Traditional Pubs, Music and Dancing.

Galway’s got one of the liveliest pub scenes in Ireland. Step inside the warm wooden nooks and crannies of Tigh Neachtain’s on Cross Street and you’ll happily lose hours listening to traditional irish music whilst sipping a glass of whisky or guinness. Other great spots in the city include Murphy’s and Garavan’s. We will be sniffing out the liveliest spots across the City. Truly enjoy the Craic as talented dancers use the bar as their stage as the fiddlers play a lively tune.

Glorious Galway Food.

Galway is a foodie heaven. The food scene includes incredible cafés, bistros, traditional pubs and fine-dining restaurants that are kicking the culinary ball right out of the park. The markets give us ample opportunity to sample some homemade delights and haggle for a bargain.

We are fortunate to be based within a few minutes walk of some great restaurants.  We fancy the traditional fayre and music at McSwiggans, as well as trying the Oysters and Seafood Platter in Galway Brasserie on The Corner.  Have you ever dreamed of eating at a Michelin Starred restaurant?  Now is your chance to check it off your bucket list! The award winning Loam is a stone’s throw from our hotel.

Walk along the Beach

Who would have envisaged a beach holiday in Ireland!  We can stroll along the 2km-long sandy promenade at Salthill, and watch the brave (or stupid!) dive from the harbour.   Tradition dictates that you should “kick the wall” at the end of the promenade for good luck. If you don’t fancy that, then why not just grab some fish and chips, sit on the beach and watch the light change over the Atlantic.

Explore Connemara (& Meet its Ponies)

The wild beauty of Connemara is just a short journey away, so we can stretch our legs as we discover the castles, beaches and rugged coastline of Connemara. The Connemara horizon is dominated by more than fifty magnificent mountains in four tightly packed ranges, the Twelve Bens, Maum Turks, Partry and Sheffrey. There are various walking routes for all levels of fitness that lead to some hidden gems.

A highlight of Connemara is its wild Ponies

A highlight of Connemara is its wild Ponies

Of course, no one can talk about Connemara without mentioning the free roaming ponies. Horse lovers can ride out in the moorland – even if you have never ridden before. Find out more about these beautiful animals at one of the many studs dotted around Connemara.

Breathtaking Beauty in a Day.

Fancy a day trip? Galway has some of Ireland’s most exciting attractions right on its doorstep. We’re talking the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, the Aran Islands and the wild beauty of Connemara.  We fancy this trip to the colourful village of Doolin where you can cruise to the Aran Isles, pick up a sweater, and marvel at the Cliffs of Moher on the boat home.

The Cliffs of Moher are breathtaking

The Cliffs of Moher are breathtaking

Why not join us in Galway?

We are jetting off to Galway from Manchester on Friday 5th April 2019 . Why not come and join us?   Social Circle offers Manchester-based professionals the opportunity to meet new people, try new activities and enjoy short breaks in the UK and abroad. There are no hidden costs and our weekends away are hassle-free