Category Archives: friendship

‘My Bff is a serial killer.’ The Dark Side of Social Apps

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The last few years has seen a rise in social apps, where you can meet new people at the click of a button. It seems a great idea to make socialising easy. But are they really the best way to make new friends?  Will swiping right lead you to meeting your soul sister or will your new BFF be a serial killer or crazy stalker. We give you the good, the bad and the ugly so you can reach your own conclusions. Our research makes one thing clear:Using Social Apps has a dark side.

The need for friendship.

Research suggests quality relationships with friends are correlated to increased wellbeing. Friendship is a major predictor of happiness, says Meliksah Demir, a psychology professor at Northern Arizona University who edited Friendship and Happiness, Across the Life-Span and Cultures. “In every age group, friendship quality, friendship satisfaction, intimacy and support are all positively correlated with individual happiness,”

Lets face it, whilst our cry-for-help facebook status may get a number of sympathetic likes, it can be increasingly difficult to find new friends as we get older.

 Changing jobs, locations and breakdowns in relationships can all cost us friendships.

In a digital age, it is not a surprise that we would reach for our phones and Ipads when we want to connect with people.  Apps like Bumble BFF and MeetUp.com have become go-to sources to people seeking friendship.

The Good: I met my Best Friend Through an App.

Bumble t launched Bumble BFF where people can connect for platonic friendship. One success story is  tells of how several women connected and now do everything from 5k’s to champagne tasting together. #SquadGoals indeed.  Now other apps are following suit, using algorithms and location to bring potential buddies together.

One thing that became apparent on many of these apps is you can only create platonic friendships with members of the same sex.

We get that this is a safety feature.

It seems such as shame that these apps perpetuate the view that the opposite sex is just for that…sex.  It rules out any meaningful friendships you could have had, that started out by meeting in person

Plus, how can you know who makes a good friend from a picture?

We find our friends in unlikely places and people. Only looking for people of the same gender, same age with similar interests would rule out the friendships we have.  That would seem a shame. Judging people on a short bio and a photo seems somewhat fickle and has an air of Mean Girls about it.

Swiping on potential friends makes us feel like Regina George

Swiping on potential friends makes us feel like Regina George

The Bad.  When Its Not just Friendship they Want 

Where there are people, there are also the creeps.

You only need to turn to Reddit, Trustpilot and SiteJabber to see the horror stories for yourselves.

One user on Trust Pilot tells of a MeetUp group that was advertised as a language group for expats. Instead of focusing on language, the organisor would creep on the girls.  Henri describes the organisor as offering free drinks to girls who would dance with him.

Of course it is not just women who are falling prey to unwanted advances.

 

Some of the Reviews of MeetUp tell a cautionary tale...

Some of the Reviews of MeetUp tell a cautionary tale…

A Reddit user tells of going to a writers group. He found himself  stalked on facebook by a group member who would constantly message him.  Whilst this may not be the worst tale of woe, it is disturbing behaviour and not what you would expect of someone seeking friendship.

How did this creep get their contact details?

Easy, when you connect via these platforms your social media is fair game to everyone in the group, including the organisors.

These groups, on MeetUp.com and similar, can be run by Anyone.

Let us repeat.

Anyone.

 

The Ugly.  The Best things in life are (Not) Free.

MeetUp advertises itself as free to join and to socialise.  Just download the Social App and get started.  Disturbingly, there are a surprising number of horror stories from people have been fleeced of their hard-earned cash.

Let us explain how this happens.

If you cannot find a group that caters to your needs it is very easy to start your own group.  Just name your group, write a description of who you want to meet and then…

What?  You have to pay $9.99 and $14.99 per month to run a group?!

A trend we see in reviews is that there is little support for organisers and delays in events appearing on the website have resulted in people feeling fleeced of their cash.   This is a real shame, as there are plenty of opportunities for people who love socialising and are great at organising events that sees them rewarded for their efforts.

Reddit is littered with stories from attendees who think they are going to a free event but then find themselves having to pay hidden costs or subjected to marketing spiel from those who are using MeetUp as a low cost way to network. .

Whilst there are good people running quality groups.

There will also be people who just want to take your money and run.

It can be difficult to tell which is which.

Hillary Buck  left a 1 star review for a MeetUp group called Travel Buddies which organises short and long haul trips abroad. Her review says it all.

Buyer beware. It sounds as if these peeps didn't get what they paid for.

Buyer beware. It sounds as if these peeps didn’t get what they paid for.

These people paid to stay in Krakow.  The organiser did not deliver. They had to pay extra. Yet they  have absolutely no recourse?!  Disgraceful. Especially considering there are there are professional companies like Flashpack offering fully-insured singles holidays abroad.   

This is not an isolated incident either, we have first hand experience of a Social Circle member joining us after his MeetUP walking group left him stranded on Ben Nevis.  It was an unfortunate time to find that the leader had no first aid training, no insurance and little experience in leading these types of walks.

If you want to use social apps to meet new people who share similar interests; stay safe. Make sure you meet in public places. Let people where you are going and follow your instincts.  

Likewise, make sure any group activities are organised by a reputable organiser or company  If you are going on holidays or taking part in activities that involve risk – ask to see their insurance, their qualifications and check out other members testimonials before a cheap holiday costs you more than you bargained for.

What are your experiences of meeting friends on social media?

 

Is Laughter the best medicine? Yes, but watch out for side effects!

Is laughter the best medicine. Turns out laughing has some surprising effects.

Is laughter the best medicine. Turns out laughing has some surprising effects.

It is a saying that is as old as time itself.  Laughter is the best medicine. Even Lord Byron was quoted as saying you should laugh as often as possible, as it is a cheap medicine.  Most of us enjoy a good chuckle, but is it really a miracle cure-all? Well turns out the men (and women) in white coats conclude that laughter really is one of the best medicines available. 

There is a wealth of scientific research available on the internet, from research stating that laughter is essential part of preventing heart disease, increasing resilience to serious illnesses such as cancer,  to its well known positive effects on mental health and seems to be the secret to leading a long and happy life.

Phew!

All this from something you have been doing since you were about 3 months old. If only we knew this wealth of research when we found ourselves in detention for being the class clown.  

Did you hear about the introvert that held a party? Nobody was invited.

Whilst for some, the thought of a group outing can be more uncomfortable than having your prostate prodded, it seems that scrolling through memes or watching re-runs of classic comedy alone does not cut the mustard. If you want to get the full benefit of all those feel-good hormones when you are feeling blue then you are best heading out to a group setting. Psychology Today says that Laughter is essential for social bonding and maintaining good relationships, and is so essential that it is actually a reflex.  This would explain why laughter in a group setting or audience is so contagious.

Well if laughter is the best medicine, what are the possible side effects?

In a  particularly Scrooge-like Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal, authors Robin Ferner and Jeffrey Aronson came up with 15 unfortunate side effects from laughing.

“It turns out that what is called ‘the best medicine’ occasionally causes harm,” Ferner, a clinical pharmacologist, told TIME.  “Most of the time it makes people happy, but every now and again it kills them.”  

Oh Ferner, you are literally killing me.

Personally, if I am going to pop my clogs,  I would much rather go out laughing than any other way.  

Plus all medicine has side effects, how bad can laughing really be?

Apart from the occasional death from humour-induced heart attacks,  the more common risks of laughing include inhalation of foreign objects like gum and popcorn, actually peeing your pants, and ‘weakened resolve.’  We are unsure as to why this last effect may be a bad thing,especially if it increases your chances of scoring a date.

Like all medicine, turns out there are risks.  However, we feel the benefits of a longer life, better emotional resilience, stronger relationships and healthier heart outweigh tte small risk of death.  Take that Ferner! *blows raspberry*.  

Careful lads! all that laughing could kill you.

Careful lads! all that laughing could kill you.

But how do I get my fix? 

Oh let us count the ways…. 4 ways in fact, that you can get your funny fix.

  1. Laughter Yoga.

Yes, you heard that right.  Laughter Yoga is actually a thing.  Apparently forced laughter has just as many benefits as spontaneous laughter.  From the Youtube videos, laughter yoga looks like my idea of personal hell. Chasing balloons, leaping around, pulling faces and speaking gibberish to strangers is not my idea of fun. Nope.  However, I also note that Isabelle Gerretson had the same fears when she had to carry out some practical research on Laughter Yoga for the Independant.  Turns out she had a ridiculous amount of fun, and left feeling relaxed and energised.

 

2. Watch a funny movie or play.

It may sound obvious, but maybe you just need reminding that taking time out to laugh uis just what you need.  Why not invite a good friend round, choose your poison from one of the many brilliant movies and series on Netflix and get chortling. Given the obvious health risks of laughing, you may want to skip the popcorn. 

Social Circle loved The Play that goes Wrong.

Social Circle loved The Play that goes Wrong.

Social Circle recently went to see the Play that Goes Wrong by  Mischief Theatre at the Opera House. Tears were shed, ribs ended up sore from laughing, and a good time was had by all.  You will be glad to know that the same theatre company are performing ‘A Comedy about a Bank Robbery’ at the Lowry theatre from 11- 15 September 2018.

3. Go to a comedy club.

If your funny bone is in need of a serious tickle, then you will be glad to know that Manchester has a number of comedy venues that can provide you with some much needed humour.

Early in the week, Xs Malarky run cheap nights showcasing up and coming acts on the comedy circuit. Mid-week, take yourself to the Frog and Bucket where you can order a curry and beer as a side to five acts of comedy or one of the comedy nights at your local pub.  If that isn’t enough then head out to the Comedy Store at the weekends to catch the big name acts.

Psst!! – Want to go to a comedy club and meet new people with your kind of humour? How about if we told you it was free?  Click here to find out more.

4.Turn Humour into a Holiday.

Sometimes you just need to get away from the grind and enjoy a weekend away from your troubles.  We can’t think of a better way to relax than to explore a new city and catch a comedy festival. In fact, it has become a  Social Circle tradition to spend the August bank holiday at the Fringe festival in Edinburgh. Steve organises it all, from the 4* accommodation to the fine dining.   This year we danced in the street to silent discos, used our mobile apps to generate laughs in Foxdog’s Studio’s  Robot Chef and had the privilege of seeing award winning comedians such as Harriet Kemsley and Mat Ewins. Of course, we also got to scratch our culture itch, by seeing the Tattoo, meeting emerging and established authors at the Edinburgh Book Festival.  

Social Circle @ Edinburgh Festival 2018.

Social Circle @ Edinburgh Festival 2018.

So what tickles your funny bone? Tell us your best anecdote, joke or even just share a meme in the comments.

Lonely Heart? Alone does not have to mean Lonely.

 

Yes, you can be single and not get lonely.

Yes, you can be single and not get lonely.

As Love Island finishes and churns out another hot young celebrity couple, it seems that the world is obsessed with coupledom. Despite the rising numbers of singles, we are portrayed as clueless wing-men or crying into our tubs of Ben & Jerry’s night after night.  Even scientists say we are so lonely we will die young.   Thanks for all the bullsh*t. Turns out it is easy to enjoy being single without getting lonely. 

Now don’t get me wrong. I want a relationship. Many of us do. 

 It is just that I am not prepared to settle for the same toxic behaviours that led me to spending 15 years in the wrong relationship.  Feeling lonely with the supposed love of your life next to you is Hell.   Nope. It is going to take someone incredible to make me change my single status.  But let’s be honest.

Being Single does get lonely at times.

There were times after a bad day I longed to come home to someone.  I wanted someone that would listen and care about my goals. I needed to go out and talk to someone who completely respected who I was. Don’t get me started on those times where you just need to get laid. 

But as the saying goes, there is no point wasting time wishing.

The fact is that right now. You. The person reading this. Like me. Are Single AF.  It need not be a bad thing.  The last four years have been the happiest of my life. 

How?

I learned how being alone does not have to mean lonely.

Here is how I did it.

  1. Take time to Meet the new YOU.  

If you have been in a long term relationship, then you are used to running every decision past your significant other.  From what film to watch, to bigger decisions such as the impact of career moves. Over the years you will have compromised on your goals and values at times. Maybe parts of you feel watered down, weak and unloved.

Being single removes the validation that a decision is the right or wrong one.  That is scary I admit.  But it also removes any restrictions.  This is a good thing. It is a life-affirming thing.

Think about it.

You can now be unapologetically and authentically you.

You can now go for that promotion if you want.  You can go to that fancy restaurant. You can ignore the pots and go out for a walk. You can learn Italian. You can spend all day reading – or writing – that book. You can put yourself forward for the football team, or the local theatre group.   You can say no to that film and yes to that one. You can make the decisions as to whether you should invest in property, or a new business venture, or a holiday. There are endless possibilities and no one to answer to but yourself.

You call the shots,  and in doing so, you are discovering who you really are.

In building a life that makes you happy, you feel alive rather than lonely. So take time to try out new activities or work on that breaking those bad habits. Trust me, it will pave the way to a happier future whether you are single or in a relationship.

2. Adopt a furry friend.

Life never gets lonely with a furry friend.

Life never gets lonely with a furry friend.

One of the best things I did to beat loneliness was to adopt my cat, Luna. 

Even though my sofa has been wrecked and there is fur everywhere, I adore the endless loving purrs, head butts and cuddles.   There are countless animals in shelters that desperately need loving homes. It is a two way relationship that reminds you of what love is again. Even science says that having a pet around can reduce symptoms of depression and lower blood pressure.

However, maybe owning a pet just is not practical for you. Maybe you travel away a lot or you can’t have pets in your building.  Don’t worry! One of my friends signed up to Borrow My Doggy and now has a fun-loving friend to take on walks on his days off from being a GP. Another friend adores horses but her time and money is spent on her PhD currently, so she rides as often as she can at a local riding school.

Either way, animals are a fun distraction from the single life and are good for you too!

3. Expand your Social Circle.

One the biggest challenges I faced during my relationship breakdown, was seeing how small and stagnant my circle of friends were.

Now I love my friends to bits, but a break-up changes you.

You soon feel stymied by the same old routine with the same people.  I needed to meet new people who I shared my new-found interests with.  Fortunately I bumped into Stephen at a networking ‘do’. A few cocktails later I was signing up for my first free event.  

Three years later I have social life that makes my married friends turn green with envy. Just last night I was out with an amazing bunch of people  and chatting away as we sampled the exquisite menu at Tattu in Manchester. After a hard week, it was just what I needed. We still all chat about the memories from the various weekends away we have been on. More importantly, through Social Circle, I have met a great bunch of new friends who remind me how great life can be. 

Meeting new friends at Tattu in Manchester!

Meeting new friends at Tattu in Manchester!

Happily Single, or Desperately Seeking Someone?

 

Single and Searching? But what for exactly?

I have lost count of the amount of friends have told me that they ‘envy’ my freedom as a single woman.  ‘Oh to be single again’ my friend Becky laments as she feeds her rosy cheeked toddler. “ You can go where you want, when you want, have long lie-ins on a Sunday and no in-laws.”My colleague, Sarah, tells me. “After 15 years with the same man I would love to be single again, do my own thing. You are so lucky

Sure, there are times where being single is great.  I have travelled to exciting places, I have my own routine and can spend time with who I like – even if that is just me, myself and my favourite movie at times.   I genuinely am having the time of my life and I imagine the increasing population of singletons in the UK would agree.  Research also confirms I am on track for a longer, more fulfilling life as a single pringle than my married counterparts.

But let’s face it. Sometimes it just sucks to be flying solo.

I want to share all these great experiences with someone special. I want someone who loves me exactly who I am, just like Mark Darcy did with Bridget Jones (even if it did take ten years and having a child for him to commit.) Dammit give me my happily ever after – even if I am influenced by generations of societal conditioning. But hey I am not the only one, the online dating industry is booming with almost half of all singles trying to find their match online.  So much for the single life being the best life.

The advice you get when you are single and searching varies from the  well-meaning to the genuinely disturbing.  If I had a pound for every time someone told me ‘it will happen when you least expect it’ I could afford my next bucket-list trip without relying on my credit card.

Fortunately for you, I have sifted through all the bullsh*t to find bring you some great advice that will both increase your happiness regardless of relationship status, and hopefully introduce you to the love of your life.

Live Life in the Moment.

My four years as a single woman have been some of the best in my life.  However, the trouble with single life – for those who aim to be out of it – is that one never knows when it might end.   I say ‘trouble’, but it is also one of its many highlights. For, really, there is nothing like stepping on a plane and finding your single self upgraded to first class and sat next to a handsome stranger like I did in 2016. One thing is for sure, time will pass whether you are sat in your apartment block tower wishing your prince (or princess) will come, or whether you are skinny dipping with strangers in the Seychelles.  So relax and enjoy life without worrying what the future holds. If you do happen to end up coupled-up, these are the days you will look back on with nostalgia. 

Be Uniquely You

The best thing about being single is that you can take time to do some soul-searching and make decisions about your own long-term happiness.  It is those major decisions which tell us which relationships continue to serve us, and which are holding us back. For example, I am glad I took time to rediscover my love of travel and it took guts to book holidays without my friends at first. However, when I went searching for trips that suited my interests, rather than appeasing my beach-loving girlfriends, it opened up new friendships with people  who are just like me.

I also kicked a few toxic habits (and people) despite protests from my former friends who had done their best to discourage me from doing such crazy things as going to the gym regularly and eating well in my pursuit to be healthy and happy. I would like to think that living my life my way has built the foundations for a great relationship with a kindred spirit, rather than having to settle. Either way, choosing to set sail by my own star, rather than someone else’s, has lead to a new found confidence and fulfilment – which I am told are very attractive qualities.

Create a Dazzling Social Life.

Socialising can be a double-edged sword unless you do it right.  On one hand, if all you do is hang around with the same married couples you are rarely going to meet anyone new.  If all you do is swipe right on Tinder then you are just going to end up on more dates with little to talk about other than Love Island.

So how do you build a social life that will make you look fun and interesting and introduces you to potential partners?

I found by joining a social group that offered a diverse range of activities locally suited me down to the ground.    I found a great bunch of people to act as my wing-women (and men) as I flirted my way across the dance floor, and to drag me a few hungover miles around Cheshire the following day.  Soon, my weekends were full of fun and I was planning holidays all over Europe with my new found friends.  My social life has benefited more than my love life.  When I was interviewed for my dream job at a Times 100 company, my dazzling social life and varied interests was what landed me the job.  After all, I seemed fun and interesting compared to the usual legal types.

A little savvy research from local  Relationship Coach and Author, Sam Owen, in her article ‘What your social circle says about you‘   suggests that if we keep our ‘ideal self’ in mind when socialising we will soon begin to attract people and experiences that reflect our ideals. Like attracts Like after all.  For me, this involved stepping outside my usual social circle, and comfort zone, by going to places and events that appealed to my new found sense of self.

As Sam sagely says:

The people we surround ourselves with impact virtually every aspect of our life.  Is it time to think about what your circle says about you and what it’s doing to you and your chances of success, health and happiness?

Auf Wiedersehen Berlin. Highlights from the Social Circle Weekend.

Berlin, the German capital, is renowned for its exceptional variety of attractions, its flourishing cultural scene and a way of life that’s both fast-paced and relaxed. It’s hard to believe that barely a generation has passed since Berliners tore down the Berlin Wall, and since then, the city has resonated with open-mindedness.

In February, Social Circle visited this fascinating City to learn the history of Berlin, grasp some culture and view some of the most beautiful and interesting monuments of Europe.  We caught up with our host, Emma, to find out more about the weekend.

 

Hi Emma, I believe you volunteered to host the Berlin weekend?

Indeed I did!  Having lived in Berlin, it was amazing for me to be back. I felt really at home and it brought back memories of being 21 there in December 1994. A weekend away gave me enough time to show our Guests the Highlights. I definitely think some of the group would go back again to see more of the city.

Tell us about the Highlights then.

Oh there are so many.  One of my favourite parts of the weekend was the walking tour around the City. We visited Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to Murdered Jews, Hitler’s Bunker, Checkpoint Charlie & Museum, Gendarmenmarkt, Hackescher Markt and more.  Despite living in Berlin, there was still so much to learn about its history and our guide was very knowledgeable.

What about the basics? Hotel, flights etc?

We all met at the airport on time, had breakfast and arrived in Berlin  around 10:00. Social Circle HQ had organised the transfers, so we were greeted by our driver at the airport and a short time later we were checked in at the Mercure Hotel Berlin City West.  The Hotel was 4* and near some of the main highlights so it made for a comfortable and convenient stay.

Germany is known for its great beer and food.  Which restaurant would you recommend?

The group would agree that the best meal was definitely Schnitzelei on the Saturday night. It was near the hotel, affordable and had a great selection of craft beers as well as great food – tradition with a twist!

Any unexpected changes?

We had planned to visit the Charlottenburg Palace & Gardens , but it was so cold that weekend we agreed it would not be much fun.  I managed to grab us a bargain with the hop-on hop-off City Sightseeing Bus who gave us half price tickets and an extra days touring free.  It was a great opportunity to spend a little more time seeing the Highlights from the walking tour as well as exploring new places, such as the street art in the East Side Gallery.

Many Thanks to Emma for Hosting this weekend. But what did our Guests say?

Sarah Hobbs says  “I really appreciated having Emma’s experience and knowledge on this trip. It was a great group and the company was most enjoyable aspect.”

If you love nothing more than getting away for a few days but find it difficult to organise or your friends don’t share your idea of a holiday, we offer the perfect solution. We offer numerous  group holidays with like-minded people each year, to such destinations as Milan and Barcelona. You simply need to click here to book and you’re on your way to Destination Fun!

Come Join the Easter Pub Crawl!

One of the highlights in the Social Circle Calendar is the Easter Sunday Pub Crawl which starts with Sunday Lunch and moves on to some of the best bars in Didsbury Village.   There are prizes on offer this year for joining in the Easter Scavenger Hunt or wearing Social Circle colours.   

Sunday Lunch at The Didsbury

We will meet at The Didsbury pub restaurant, a former coach house has retained many of its 18th century original features, including exposed wooden beams and open fireplaces. It makes a perfect starting point for our Easter Sunday activities and this Sunday you can enjoy two bellini’s for the price of one.

Sometimes a scrumptious traditional sunday roast is the only thing that will hit the spot.  Choose from a variety of roasts including beef rib and lamb, and enjoy with buttered seasonal veg, homemade Yorkshire pudding, goose fat roast potatoes and premium gravy. Nom Nom!

The Bar Crawl

Starting at approximately 4pm, we will head into Didsbury Village and visit as many bars as possible. Our bar crawls are relaxed and friendly. We have something for everyone so whether you like cocktails or craft ales you will enjoy yourself (especially if you drink responsibility!).

Some of our favourite places include:

Ye Olde Cock Inn.

The oldest pub in Didsbury, this ancient building is said to be teaming with spirits. Only joking, the only spirits found here are the extensive range of Gins. The perfect place for a swift one and a quick selfie.

The Head of Steam

A new kid on the block, having only opened a few weeks ago, The Head of Steam is becoming a firm favourite with its eclectic interior decorated with beer bottles and wide range of craft ales.  This pub has a great atmosphere and is perfect place to try out something new.

Fletcher Moss

Decked out with classic dark wood tables, stools and booths it’s a comfy fuss-free venue with the emphasis on its quality service and warm atmosphere. Enjoy their great selection of cask ales, draught beers and bottled ciders as well as a strong selection of wine and spirits. On a rare Summer’s day, have a drink out on the patio and enjoy the relaxing nature of this gem.

The Botanist 

A star in Didsbury’s crown, the Botanist brings the outside inside. Above the piano and huge fireplace opposite hangs a huge chandelier pieced together from rakes and fork, while around the corner a greenhouse-style conservatory area opens out onto an outdoor terrace. The cocktails follow the same quirky theme.   There will be live music from 8pm so we get to dance the evening away.

How to Join.

If you want to join the full days activities you will need to register for both the meal and the all day pub crawl. However you are welcome to join in for as long as you want and you can elect to come for Sunday lunch or join us for drinks later too.  If you are thinking of joining, you can come along to this event for free.

 

Heather has been a host for over 2 years and will help ease any nerves and answer any  questions that you may have about the days events.  Remember when it comes to the prizes, she is a lawyer, so will judge fairly but her decision is final!

Here come the Girls! Our Top 5 Women-owned Venues in Manchester.


This week we celebrate the ladies in our lives, not only by celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday 11th March but we are also #PressingforChange for International Women’s Day on March 8th.   International Women’s day this year is about addressing gender parity and increasing visibility of women.  

Therefore, are doing our bit to support our female friends and have put together a list of our favourite venues in Manchester which are owned by women.

Menagerie

This Glitzy bar and restaurant is known for its opulent interiors including a giant golden

birdcage booth, and for hosting live entertainment on the weekends, including wild and wonderful performers on and around the huge catwalk at the heart of the main restaurant. Needless to say dining is a multi-sensory experience that you will never forget.

Owner Karina Jadhav knows the restaurant business inside out.  After all, she co-owned the swanky Neighbourhood with her ex before they split.  Menagerie has had extra attention in the media, as it was revealed that stars of the Real Housewives of Cheshire became investors.  Forever Unique fashion boss Seema alongside artist Stacey, the wife of millionaire businessman Dave Forsey join Karina which should see these ladies dominating the restaurant scene across the UK.

If your mum prefers to be treated like the Queen that she is, Menagerie are offering bottomless cocktails to mums on Mothers Day with brunch, lunch or dinner for just £20 per person and enjoy a catwalk show as well.

 

Annies Restaurant and Tea Shop.

Located just off St. Ann’s Square in the iconic Royal Exchange building, tucked away from the hustle and bustle, this award-winning restaurant is the perfect setting to eat good old fashioned food and relax in comfort and style.  Actress Jennie McAlpine and her partner Chris Far own this comfortable, stylish venue. So if your Mum is a Corrie fan then you can treat her to delicious Afternoon Tea and feed her fandom by letting her know that it is owned by ‘Fizz.’

Wahaca

Founder Thomasina ‘Tommi’ Miers says she ‘fell in love with the incredible vibrancy and freshness of real Mexican food’ whilst living and working in Mexico.  After a winning Masterchef in 2005, , she teamed up with co-founder Mark to create Wahaca’s menu, constantly looking to the markets of Mexico for inspiration. Now Wahaca has a wealth of awards and great reviews for its constantly evolving, seasonal menu which is especially kind on the pocket.   Housed over 2 floors in the city’s historic Corn Exchange building and spilling onto Exchange Square, Wahaca Manchester brings award winning street food to this bustling new dining quarter in the heart of Manchester. If you are heading out to a concert at the Arena, why not swing by this gem of a place and get the party started by ordering  a  sharing platter and some shots of house tequila.

Sweet Mandarin

Sweet Mandarin is a lovely Chinese restaurant in Manchester owned by sisters Helen and Lisa Tse,  using recipes passed down three generations and memorized by heart as if they were nursery rhymes. If their names sound familiar, they were contenders on Dragons Den which saw them launch a range of sauces. The impressive menu boasts gluten-free and vegan alternatives so it is perfect for an early evening catch up with your friends after work.  We love the cocktails, inspired by the Chinese Zodiac. Try ‘Dog’ which is a refreshing mix of Vodka, Ginger, Mango, Soda Water & Lime.

Matt & Phreds

Matt & Phred’s is without doubt one of the names synonymous with the Northern Quarter and is a regular haunt for Social Circle Members. This Tib Street venue has for years now been bringing stellar performances by artists from the worlds of Jazz, Folk, Gypsy, Electro, Swing andmore who all love playing this special, intimate little venue.

As well as being able to see some amazingly talented musicians 7 nights a week, the bar and kitchen team at Matt & Phred’s are also at the top of their game. With an enviable cocktail selection, a cracking wine list, some of the best pizzas in the Northern Quarter  and some delicious sharing plates a night at Matt & Phred’s has pretty much every food craving covered. They have Happy Hour every day which can see you getting a free pizza with your cocktails. 

This amazing venue is owned by Claire Turner, who was named one of Manchester’s Most Inspiring Women IN 2017.

That is not all!

We have some great events lined up this week which focus on all things Femme. From the informative guided walk which explores the suffragette movement in Manchester, to the hysterical ‘Menopause the Musical.  All our events are female-friendly with professional hosts to make you feel welcome and members of all backgrounds and ages. So whether you come with friends or step out on your own, come join us at a free event.

Your First Time? Advice for Nervous Socialites.

 

It’s several weeks since you made that resolution that you would get out and meet new people. Maybe you want to try new activities, maybe you are new to Manchester and want to connect with people or maybe you want to expand your social circle in the hope you will meet the love of your life. At this point, the why’s are not important. However,we know you haven’t been out yet. 

Sure, you maybe telling yourself the same excuses that got you through last year.  You are busy at work, money etc, you threw yourself into a whirlwind romance that fizzled out just after Valentines day and …the list goes on.  

We are not buying it.

Deep down we know you are nervous, if not terrified.  Your current friendship group have been with you since university; when making friends was as easy as spilling your pint down their shirt and apologising profusely.  But it is different now.  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?

We have been there, we have made the excuses but then swallowed our fear, pushed ourselves to go to an event and never looked back. 

We understand.  So we thought we would let you know what to expect along with some wisdom from our existing members. 

Who are Social Circle?

Well we are a group of socialites who wanted to meet new people and make friends, for all the same reasons as you do now.

Social Circle was started when founder, Stephen Sutherland, had just moved to Manchester as a single guy and wanted some mates to hang out with at the pub on a Friday night.  Over a Decade on and oodles of members later, we have over 150+ events to choose from per month, from cinema nights and restaurant meals to holidays abroad.  

Many of our members are single professionals aged 35-55 who are  living and working in Manchester. Whilst we all have our personalities you can be assured we all share one unique quality.  We want to meet new people, including YOU!

Everyone has been in your shoes so don’t feel nervous, enjoy it!

Emma Hodson, Host & Member

What to expect.

When you first book on an event, you will be contacted by one of our lovely hosts.  They will tell you everything from what they are wearing(!),  to which table they are sat at, so you can find them.  If you are super nervous then tell them, you can arrange to meet them earlier or at a specific place so you are not arriving alone.  Your host will chat to you to ease any nerves and introduce you to the rest of the group.  Most of our existing members know exactly what it is like to feel nervous and many will go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

Remember there is no pressure and there is no obligation to swap numbers or connect on social media. You will not be walking into a huge group of people who all know each other, and nor will hosts be pouring booze down your throat or making fun of you to help you to ‘loosen up’.  Each of our events are warm, friendly and very welcoming. You can stay for as little or as long as you want and even non-drinkers are welcome on pub crawls.

You are in complete control the whole time, just like any other outing with your friends.

“Relax….you’re in safe hands!”

Sarah Hobbs, Member.

Your first event.

Our suggestion for your first event is choose something that is familiar that you know you will enjoy.  If you  have a passion for the latest movies then come join us for an outing to I, Tonya.  You will certainly have a lot to talk about with your fellow cinema lovers in the bar afterwards.   If you like the idea of chit-chat and laughter over some of the best food in Manchester then maybe our Saturday night jaunt to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant is would be perfect for your first time with us.  Or throw caution to the wind and join us for our VIP night at Mahiki and enjoy some Tiki cocktails after work, we promise you will enjoy yourself so much you will be partying until the early hours with new friends.

 

“You’ve done the hardest part…. now just turn up and enjoy! We all had a first night, so know what it’s like and will make you feel welcome. You have absolutely nothing to lose but much to gain!”

Annette Fontaine, Host and Member.

 

Best of all, you can try out an event for free. So you really cannot lose.  

 

“Make sure you face your fears, and just come along.”

Wendy Skelton, Member.