Category Archives: Single life

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. 

Manchester Singles: Do this one thing to find Love.

Manchester Singles? Finding love is simple

Manchester Singles? Finding love is simple

With Valentine’s Day approaching it is natural that many Manchester Singles start to turn their attention to finding their true love.  Everywhere you look there are matchmaking apps, adverts from dating gurus, and speed-dating events in Manchester. Yet for many a relationship still  proves elusive. So if you are looking for love- read on for a simple, but effective strategy.

Swipe Left on online dating.

The dating industry is booming, with apps such as Tinder and Happn bringing in a staggering £11.7bn to the UK economy alone. Yet swiping right seems to only bring in new ways of being heartbroken.  After hours of texting and screening out those ‘wanting fun, it can be a punch in the guts when the nice normal person who you had a date with seems to disappear off the face of the planet.

It is no surprise that people are feeling fatigued when considering dating.  Increasing numbers of Millennials and Gen Y are resolving to stay single. But what about those of us who still are hanging onto the hope to romance following the breakdown of a long term relationship or divorce?

Have you actually tried meeting new people?

We know you have been asked this a million times.  We could hear you eyes rolling.

Maybe you are already switched onto the idea that getting out and meeting new people is the best way to find a date.  Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman, would agree.  

“The biggest advantage to meeting potential dates in real life is getting to experience their vibe right away, which is something no online dating platform can deliver,” “This increases your odds of making good choices on who to go on a date with. There’s no better way to gauge attraction and chemistry than to be physically present with someone.”

This is why various speed-dating events and singles nights are so popular.  Yet from our experience, these events are lacking. The combined time pressure, expectations and eyes on the rest of the room could quickly kill off any romance.  

Time to phone a friend?

It seems the secret to finding lasting love seems to be to ask a friend.

This traditional approach to love was the number one way to meet someone special in 2018.  39% people found their partners this way –  beating online dating and hanging out in bars combined.

But what if you have exhausted this option too?  

It is our friends who often introduce us to other singles when we say we are lonely.  For some this may have been successful, but you may also have had some cringe-worthy moments.

Good news Manchester Singles. The solution is oh so simple

You just need to expand your social circle.

Our advice is to start by joining in activities you enjoy.  Perhaps you like to go to the cinema, or even walking in the country (or both!). Either way, you are more likely to find new friends by connecting with like-minded people.  It even led our founder, Steve, to find his true love too.

To make it even easier to meet new people, we have organised a special mingle party for those who are single on Valentines day.  It is not a dating event. Just a chance to relax, meet and mingle with new people and find new friends at one of Manchester’s hottest venues.

The Pros and Cons of Travelling Alone.

Travelling Alone has its perks - but what are the downsides?

Travelling Alone has its perks – but what are the downsides?

What? You are going on holiday alone?”  I recently took myself on a beach holiday to Egypt. As usual I was travelling alone – something that still surprises my friends apparently.  When you are in your thirties – and your friends are married with families – then it can seem like you have little choice. It need not be all bad so here is my advice on the Pros and Cons of travelling alone.

Pro’s.  It is your choice entirely.

One thing I love about solo travel is that everything from where I travel to the activities I do is my choice.  When I have travelled with friends I have often got frustrated when they want to shop or spend hours getting ready for the evening when I would rather be out exploring a ruin.  When you travel alone there is no need to negotiate or consider others wishes and needs as I am an entirely free agent. For me, this means I can truly relax and build an itinerary around my interests.

Cons:  Single Supplements.

Prices are often based on sharing, so be prepared to pay more for travelling alone.  The quality and service you receive can be mixed as well. Iceland Air upgraded me to first class on my trip to Reykjavik, whilst other airlines have put me in the middle seat.   I have been given suites with views, and single beds for twice the price as when I was in a couple. Some services are not even available to solo travellers. The fact is travelling with others means you can often get better deals on accommodation and flights – and splitting the bill at dinner comes in handy too

Pros:  You meet new people.

You won’t be the only person travelling alone. If you are a positive and friendly person you will get talking to people and make new friends. Certainly I have met some amazing people on my travels and am proud to say we are still in contact.  I have even enjoyed the odd holiday romance!. I have found that most people are generous and kind in spirit. Fellow travellers and locals alike will look after a solo traveller. So whether that is inviting you to join them at dinner, or striking up a conversation – be prepared to make new friends.

Cons:  Safety First.

I am blessed that I have never had anything happen to me when I am on my travels.  I have not even fallen ill. But admittedly I have to be hyper aware of my surroundings and not put myself at risk. In Amsterdam I had a hair raising experience when I was separated from a group tour to the Red Light District and a group of drunk tourists started heckling me.  Fortunately a security guard stepped in and no harm was done. These are not just considerations for female travellers. Some of my male friends who have travelled alone have been targeted and subject to robbery and assault. It can happen in any country.

Travelling Alone means you can do what YOU want.

Travelling Alone means you can do what YOU want.

Pros:  Travelling alone is good for the soul.

There is something about travelling solo that is really character building. Potentially because it forces you to step out of your comfort zone.  I am constantly being told that travelling alone is ‘brave’ and I suppose it does take courage – at least initially. You are entirely responsible for yourself.  Going on any trips or even out of the hotel requires a level of confidence. Of course, the pay off is the increased self esteem from actually going it alone and having a great time.  

Cons:  There is no one to share the memories with you.

The best thing about travel is the memories.  Photos are great but do not give you the feeling of actually being there.  I remember in Rhodes, being sat in a roof-top restaurant being given the finest seafood I have ever tasted.  The sun was setting over the deep blue sea and I experienced such a sense of peace. But then my next thought was that it would have been nice to share the experience with someone.  Certainly, memories are kept alive by the people who were with you. In April 2018 I travelled to Africa to horse ride across Botswana with other travellers. We experienced some incredible moments as a group and my heart lights up when one the group shares a photo or memory on Facebook.  

There is another way.

Given the increasing numbers of singles, a whole market has opened up aimed specifically at single travellers.  I think most people have heard of  Flashpack who organises adventure holidays for singles. There is just one problem.

Its f*cking expensive.

I am sure it is worth every penny, but my budget does not stretch that far. Now I know there are Meet Up and Facebook groups that organise cheap weekend breaks. But what worries me is that handing over my hard earn cash to these organisers does not guarantee me a better experience than travelling with friends.  I have heard horror stories of people being told they will be placed in a city centre hotel only to find that they are staying in a 2* hotel 3 miles out of town. Nope and Nope.

Fortunately, Social Circle have organised some great weekend breaks for those with an incurable case of wanderlust.  I can’t decide which to sign up to? Should I sample the wine in Porto or fulfil my dream of seeing the waterfalls in Croatia?  Hell from £195 for a weekend away- I may just do both.

Happy Travelling.

Your First Christmas Alone? Read This.

 

Single this Christmas? Make it your happiest yet.

Single this Christmas? Make it your happiest yet.

My friend reached out to me for advice on spending her first Christmas alone.   “Heather – I am dreading Christmas alone – how do you cope?”  This is her first Christmas following her separation and – as a long term single blogger – she reached out for my advice on best of it. She is not alone, as statistics show that the run up to Christmas is a peak time for break-ups.  

That is cold comfort when you are left out in the cold, whilst your neighbours homes seem to embody the warm and loving spirit of Christmas. I have been there. So when my friend reached out to me I looked back over how I turned what use to be a miserable time of year into an amazing period of fun, love and happiness even though I am single.  I promise you can have a very happy Single-mas.

The first Christmas alone is the hardest. But it does get better.

Breaking up leaves you conflicted.  There is anger, shame, guilt, depression, and confusion to deal with.  All of which are perfectly normal. Christmas brings that home more than any other time of year especially when once close friends seem to distance themselves.  For those of you in long term relationships it can feel like you have lost half your family.

So needless to say.  It is painful.

Firstly, accept that grief is part of the process. But it is temporary.  Do what you need to do to process your emotions in a healthy way.

For me, my first Christmas was spent asleep in my beautiful apartment. I was totally alone.  It was the first time I felt safe for a long time. I wasn’t ready to deal with people – and if you feel that way too – it’s OK.  

As those fluffy millennial memes will tell you. Self-Care is important.

However, note the advice to deal with things healthily.  This does not mean exacting revenge on your ex or asking friends to take sides. It should not mean a war over the kids or pets.  It does not drinking/eating/spending your way into oblivion. If you feel this way then do not be ashamed to seek professional help.

Over time I came to accept  the fundamental truth. There is no changing the past. You cannot see the future.  

But you are here now and you can make choices that enrich your life and for your longer term happiness.  You can decide to have a very merry Christmas – whether single or not.

#1 Define what it means to have a Happy Christmas.

The truth is – we often compromise with our loved ones at Christmas.  Perhaps you always went to ‘hers’, Maybe he always insisted on putting the star on the tree. Perhaps you always had to cook and entertain the same people. Maybe she always mocked the need to spend the entire day in a Christmas jumper.

Well, here is the good news.

You can have exactly the Christmas you want.

I suggest starting by making your own list.  First, write all the things you will miss about Christmas with your ex.  Yes, this is painful but bear with me. Secondly, write all the things that you wanted to do – but never did.

Go through your list and do your best to give yourself everything on that list.

Buy yourself an advent calendar. Decorate the tree how you want. Take yourself to a beach if you want to.  Sing your heart out at a carol concert.

Just indulge that little boy or girl inside who is really in need of a lot of love right now.

Define what makes you happy - then go do it!

Define what makes you happy – then go do it!

#2 Find your own way to give to those you love

Separation does not just impact on your emotions, but your finances too.  Having to find a new place, pay childcare etc, often means you cannot be as generous with gifts as you once were.  

Now is the perfect time to let any creative talents shine.

Maybe you have taken beautiful photos on your phone – in which case give them to your friends as a gift.  Maybe you have green fingers and can give home-grown flowers to your nearest and dearest. Make cakes, or layer cake ingredients in jars for a pretty gift.  Perhaps write a thoughtful letter to those who have supported you. Make decorations for those you love. Perhaps give a second hand book or movie you loved to someone you know you will enjoy it.

True friends will understand this, and unleashing your creative side will give you a happy glow.

#3 Get that Christmas Connection.

It can be easy to get grinch-like if you are feeling lonely – but here is the newsflash.  You are not the only person who is single at Christmas.

Firstly, you may find that a flurry of invites come through your door.  

No one likes the idea of someone spending Christmas alone. Over the last few years my friends have ignored my protests and bundled me into the back of a fiesta.  Thereafter I spend the day being force-fed amazing food whilst my friends children let you play with their toys.  I am eternally grateful for my friends. 

Other single friends may suggest a Christmas dinner together.

Go to a fancy restaurant or take a dish round to your friends.  Get merry and laugh. Distance is not an issue either! I have skyped friends in the USA whilst they are preparing dinner.

Don’t forget that there are charities that work all year round – and are desperate for volunteers.  Helping out at a soup kitchen or visiting lonely pensioners can be rewarding for all involved. It also is extremely humbling so hear how much hope and gratitude  people living in the worse possible circumstances have.

#4 Just remember – It is just one day.

Give yourself the gift of a life well lived.

Give yourself the gift of a life well lived.

I am not going to pretend it’s not tough at times, even years later.  But it is just one day. Wipe your tears-and the slate – clean. Think ahead to what you want your future to look like.  

Do you want to relieve the pain of what may have passed, or do you want to give yourself a gift of a bright and happy life?

Do you want to laugh more?  Have more fun? Try new activities?  Maybe meet new people? There is nothing to stop you.

You can commit now to making each and every day special.

You never know – it may mean you get to kiss that special someone under the Mistletoe.

But in the meantime. Have a Happy Single-Mas!!

P.s You are still loved, and will be fine I promise. You just need to realise that. 

An Open Letter to Britain’s Loneliest Woman

Emily Fox, 32, describes herself as Britain's Loneliest Woman. (c) Caters

Emily Fox, 32, describes herself as Britain’s Loneliest Woman. (c) Caters

Yesterday I read about Emily Fox, a 32 year old single mum who has dubbed herself Britain’s Loneliest Woman.  The message that it is not just the elderly that suffer from loneliness resonated with many people across the world.  My heart broke when I read her story, so I wanted to write an open letter to her, and anyone else who may feel exactly the same.

Dear Emily.

It takes great courage to admit that you are lonely, and to reach out to people in order to make friends.

I know this, because I have been there too.

Just over 10 years ago, my marriage broke down and I moved halfway across the world from Australia to the UK.  A  father of two and in my thirties,  I didn’t know a single soul in Manchester. 

I could have easily isolated myself and simply gone about my routine.  

Get up, work, watch TV, have a drink, go to bed. Repeat.

Emily says shopping is the only chance she gets to interact with others. But it need not be that way  (c) Caters.

Emily says shopping is the only chance she gets to interact with others. But it need not be that way (c) Caters.

I know many people that shut out their loneliness by doing the same thing.

But I didn’t.  Instead I decided that I was being given a clean slate to find myself and build a dream life.

I know it can be difficult socialising when you have children.

Family comes first in my book. You have three beautiful children, and dedicate your time to them, but there are still lots of things you can do.

You are not the first parent to crave adult conversation, and you will not be the last.

 Family fun days, inviting other parents out for a coffee, or organising a walk in the park with dogs and children will enhance your life and theirs. Even when you are doing the weekly shop, go with someone and chat over the groceries.

Reaching out is the first step.

I know since sharing your story, lots of people have reached out to connect with you.  So your courage in speaking up is already leading you down the path to fulfilling friendships.

Social Media is great for finding like-minded individuals.  Personally, I find that fulfilling friendships are formed from meeting in person. There is something really special when you find a connection with someone who laughs with you and shares your passion in life.

I found great friends  (and my dream career) by reaching out to others.

I found great friends (and my dream career) by reaching out to others.

I put an advert up inviting other professionals to join me for a drink.

“What if no one showed up?”  But they did.  Men. Women. Every single one of them just like you and I.  Craving connection and friendship with others.

My new friends and I went from our weekly Friday night at the pub, to going abseiling in wales to going on holiday together.  I loved every minute.

It was how I founded Social Circle.  Now I have my dream career helping people, just like you, meet new people and find new friends.  I even found the love of my life this way.

Finding friends need not be difficult.  You just have to know where to look.

Finding friends need not be difficult. You just have to know where to look.

It is important to carve out time in your diary for you.

I know you say you don’t have much support, but it is out there. Whether it is an hour or two, use your family, willing friends or a childminder to give you a much-needed couple of hours break from the kids.  Use that time to try out new activities and do the things you have always wanted to do. Don’t feel guilty (or let anyone make you feel that way). Taking time for you is important and benefits the whole family.

Always wanted to paint? Look for art workshops and PopUp painting in your area.

Want to travel?  Learn a language of a country you want to visit.

I promise you will inevitably start making friends with people who share your passion.   

Do you fancy letting your hair down and going out for a drink with a few adults?   There are plenty of ways you can achieve. Start looking for groups like Social Circle – or do what I did. Start your own.

I wish you the best of luck Emily, now is the time for a glorious new beginning filled with friendship and fun.

Lots of Love.

Steve x

Cuffing Season: The Survival Guide for Singles.

Brace yourselves. Its cuffing season and annoying couples are everywhere.

Brace yourselves. Its cuffing season and annoying couples are everywhere.

I love autumn.  Out come the chunky knits, long boots and I can kick at the fallen leaves whilst drinking my pumpkin spice latte.  But it also brings another horror alongside Halloween; Loved up couples are f*cking everywhere. Its cuffing season and if you are Single AF like me then you need a survival guide to get through it.

To the uninitiated, cuffing season is a phrase used to describe that time of year where our biological hardwiring makes us want to settle down and find a significant other.

It’s really is a thing.

Everywhere, newly ‘cuffed’ couples are changing their relationship status on Facebook and looking at each other with that dewy eyed look of love, and taking cute couple-y pictures.

 Why am I so bitter?  

Because I am uncuffed, and the person I want to be cuffed to, after telling me he did not want anything serious  is  now cuffed to someone else. Facebook status and all.  FML.

I am perfectly prepared to accept the fact that my laments as a singleton are borne out of a deep desire to be with my one true love.  But hey, I deal with my pain with humour m’kay.

The reality is that despite the thousands of apps and dating sites,  it can be difficult to find the right person. Just before Halloween my friend, Natalie, called me in floods of tears having been unceremoniously dumped by a man I was convinced was going to propose to her.

I took my resentment out on cuffed up couples on the dance floor at Ultimate Power. Everytime they got in our way with their kissing and squeezing of each others butts  I walloped them over the head with an inflatable microphone.  Fortunately, they were so into each other no one hit me back.

Cuffing season also brings the desperate and needy to your door.

 I have been online dating for a while and recent weeks saw me hit record numbers of messages and likes from various men.  I chatted to a few but the desperation was evident. It got creepy. From the guy photo-shopping pictures of me to the one talking about meeting his family and going on holiday before we had even met.  I decided that being single is better than cosying up to the insides of a body bag.

So I was left with one option.  I had to choose to be happy and in love with life.

Whether I was cuffed or not.

So I needed a plan.

Be grateful for everything you do have.

Be grateful for everything you do have.

Cuffing Season Survival Tip #1: Take stock of what you DO have.

If you are reluctantly single, it can be easy to focus on the one thing you lack: A relationship.   Law of attraction principles state what you focus on brings more of the same. So if you focus on your lack of a relationship you will forever remain single. It figures.  Even if you don’t buy into The Secret and all that.  Focusing on what you lack rather than what you have makes you miserable.

So I decided I needed to shift my focus from being single to all the areas where things are going extraordinary well.

If you live in Manchester, with its relatively low cost of living and have a good job, you can have a great life.  For example, I live in a stunning apartment in media city, enjoy my work as a lawyer, have a side hustle as a blogger and novelist, travel when I want and enjoy a hosting a variety of activities with Social Circle.  I look better than I have ever done and I am fit and healthy. Any of those things could be taken from me at a moments notice.

So its wise to look at your life with gratitude and not focus on the things you don’t have.

Because really, being single does not prevent me from the privilege of having a good quality life.  

Word from the wise.  If you are not happy with any aspect of your life- apart from being single – then it makes sense to deal with that area.

Work on giving yourself a rich and fulfilling life and indulge your interests.  Start that fitness regime, start writing that book, learn cake decorating, plan your travels. You don’t need to wait to share your interests with your perfect someone. In fact being single is the perfect time to try all those things you always wanted to try.

Spending time with friends & family in nature is good for the soul.

Spending time with friends & family in nature is good for the soul.

Cuffing Season Survival Tip #2: Focus on Friends and Family.

One of the reasons being single can be hard at times is that we are social creatures by nature.  There is a wealth of evidence to suggest those with strong social networks live longer.

But you don’t need a romantic relationship to enjoy the health benefits.  

The great thing about autumn and winter is the opportunity to connect with friends and family. 

Football season has brought with it the opportunity to spend time with my dad and go to my first football match. I am not a football fan, but I love my dad and will relish the time spent with him. Hey I may even enjoy it!    I met up with new friends to go walking in Heaton Park and enjoyed a vegan picnic. Both allowed me to take part in important parts of my friends and families lives and expand my own horizons.

FYI spending time in nature is great for the soul. Why not join me for a jaunt in Styal Woods?

So go out with friends to a film or even join your fellow single social circlers in laughing at how  awful dating can by joining us for True Dating Stories.  If you are watching the pennies ahead of Christmas check out last weeks blog for Socialising on a Shoestring.

But if all that activity is not beating the Singletons blues, then you need the ultimate antidote to loneliness.

Single? You got to Love yourself baby.

Single? You got to Love yourself baby.

Cuffing Season Survival Tip # 3: Love Yourself.

I am perfectly aware that you have just rolled your eyes at this bit.

I do too every time I see this advice.

Why ?

Because what does that actually f*cking mean? 

I wasn’t sure myself. Not really.  

Which is why I was chasing after love externally.  I didn’t know how it felt to love yourself.

I have been breaking through some bad habits with hypnosis and came across a download called ‘How to love Yourself’ .   It is amazing!

In essence, loving yourself involves having a relationship with yourself that you would envisage with another.  One that is fulfilling and playful where you are loyal and kind to yourself.  Be compassionate if you do fall back into bad habits. Apologise if you do criticise yourself too harshly. You are whole and unique regardless of whether you are in a relationship or not.

It’s amazing how such a simple shift in mindset has a profound effect on my mood and the way I go about my life.   I am now starting the day with the thought;

What is the most loving thing I can do for myself today?

Here is what that looks like in practice.

  • I went to the gym, and I have had my hair done,  because those things felt good.
  • De-cluttering my apartment.  Not because anyone may drop around – although they do! – but because I value how good I feel when everything is tidy.
  • Saying ‘No’ to needless expenditure because I am now focused on my long term financial security.
  • Dealing with the pile of paperwork regarding taxes I have been ignoring for months.
  • I gave myself a genuine compliment when I looked in the mirror.
  • Buying books on politics  because I am interested in the subject.

Now previously, I may have forced myself to do those things because it looks good on my relationship CV, but not really immersed myself in them.  My motivation to find a relationship was so strong, I was ignoring how much I enjoyed those activities.  I have started to recognise little acts of self-love – such as buying myself flowers or having a lazy lie in – rather than feel guilty about it. 

In short, I was putting the prospect of a relationship before myself.

Not healthy.  

This was also the real source of my pain and angst at being single.

So trust me on this. Regardless of your age, gender, ethnicity or current relationship status.

Learn to Love yourself.  It is the only way to survive and thrive if you are single.

25 Thoughts you have when you attend a Mingle Party.

 

Ever wondered what a Mingle Party is like?

Ever wondered what a Mingle Party is like?

 Thanks to the huge number of singles nights in Manchester, people have mixed thoughts about what a ‘Meet and Mingle’ may entail.  Given last night Social Circle hosted its annual Mingle party at the Portland Bar & Grill, I thought I would share the thoughts and conversations you have when you attend a Mingle party so you know what to expect when attending an event to meet new people in Manchester.

On deciding whether to turn up

  1. Do I want to go?  I feel terrible, I don’t feel sociable,  drinking is only going to make matters worse.

2. Maybe I will just cancel.

3. Moping won’t help.  Perhaps I should go out?

4. Ok I will go out, but I am not drinking.  A hangover will only make matters worse.

5. Oh god what if I see my ex and his new girl on the tram on the way there. I will arrive an emotional wreck.

6. I will stay for an hour, two hours tops.  I have stuff to do tomorrow. Plus self care and all that.

7. *Spends an hour getting ready*  Glad I only had salad for lunch this dress is unforgiving.  Definitely no drinking though.

Social Circle Members Pete and Angela discuss travels with Host Ruth

Social Circle Members Pete and Angela discuss travels with Host Ruth.

On Arrival

8. Do not trip up the stairs. Do not trip up the stairs.

I am greeted by Steve at the top.  Who tells me to go get a drink from the bar downstairs.  I tell him I am not drinking and not staying long.

9.  Do not fall down the stairs. Do not fall down the stairs.

10. She looks familiar.  Is she from social circle too?

11. “I will have a double Gin and Tonic please”

12. There are lots of people here.  Who do I know.? * Makes bee line for Matt who has been on a few events with me.*

Aida, Pauline and Vanessa were only too happy to talk friendship and getting the most out of life.

Aida, Pauline and Vanessa were only too happy to talk friendship and getting the most out of life.

 

Doing the Mingle Thing

Peter comes over to me. “Are you my honey?”  Before I get creeped out he shows me his Moshi monster card.  We all have them.  There is a bottle of champagne up for grabs for the team that find each other.  I have jeepers. “Sorry Peter, I am not your honey.

Harvey comes over and shakes my hand warmly.  I ask what interests him. He reels off a number of exciting sounding interests from dancing to rock climbing.  He asks me the same. “errr….I like the meals out??” God I sound boring.

13. Where did that Prosecco appear from?

I am talking to a couple of people who are recent joiners.  Turns out they are also lawyers. How do we find each other.  Lawyers always manage to find each other in a room. Start talking shop.  “I am an employment law specialist” escapes my lips. No. No I am not talking shop.

14. My Prosecco somehow refilled itself.

I go to talk to man with epic tash.   He is called Dave and loves the walking retreats. Dave tells me “ I love  the fact you can just turn up to a walk or a weekend away and it’s all organised. So many great memories.”   I ask for a photo. He negotiates a selfie.

Mingle Party Selfie!

Steve comes over.  Tells everyone about that time I went to a whisky tasting festival and was ill for about a week afterwards.

15. I am not drinking the whisky.

16. *drinks the whisky*

Pauline, Nicola, Aida and Heather discuss life, love and everything over a glass (or three) of bubbly.

Pauline, Nicola, Aida and Heather discuss life, love and everything over a glass (or three) of bubbly.

On Friendship and Dating

I head over to Pauline, another familiar face, and tell her about the blog.  “Oh Social Circle has given me so much”  She gives Aida a big hug “I found my best friends here”.

I gatecrash their conversation.  Aida is approaching a major birthday and Pauline wants to throw her a party.  Aida has some sage advice for me “Don’t wait for some birthday or event to live your life.  Material things are not important. Live your life. Spend time with good people.” #truthbomb

17. Ohh chocolate.

I get talking to some new faces, including Alex.  Turns out me and Alex cancelled the exact same Pilates class which was run by Nicola.   Must be fate.

Three ladies who should have met at a Pilates class, but instead met at the Mingle Party. Must be Fate.

Three ladies who should have met at a Pilates class, but instead met at the Mingle Party. Must be Fate.

Alex tells me that she was in two minds about coming, and almost cancelled but decided to give it a shot.  I completely understand how she feels and I have been a host for 3 years. I decide to introduce her to some other people.

We enter the conversation at the moment where Robert  is saying “And that’s how I ended my Friday evening covered in chocolate”.  Oh god what is this.

18. *Opens another bottle of prosecco*

Founder Steve with Social Circle Member Vanessa.

Founder Steve swoops in for a photo.

19. I must go soon it’s already 10:40.

Steve hands me the camera and tells me to take a selfie.  He actually meant to take a photo of him and Vanessa Now feel like a double chinned muppet.  *Takes pictures*

Chat to Robert about Social Circle.  He has been a member for a couple of months but talks himself out of events. “I like to go out with someone I have met before” I tell him he has to come out first so he gets to know people.   He resolved to come out to this one and is enjoying himself. He gives us permission to nag him into attending more events. #challengeaccepted.

 

20. No more Whiskey Steve you know I can’t handle it.   *Drinks more whisky.*

21. Talk to Pete and Nigel about blogging. Pete confesses to enjoying them. It does give me a little boost. Get talking about last weeks blog and how people are really shy when socialising if they have gained a bit of weight.  Tell everyone it really does not make a difference. 

22. What time is the last tram?  12:34. Ok it’s 11:15 I best head off soon.

23. “Have you taken some good photos?”

*I try to take more photos as Steve also decides he will take photos and gets in my way*

The group at my table start talking about dating and my recent heartbreak.   Turns out most people have a similar story of falling for someone only for them to ghost you and move onto their next ‘true love.’

24. We all agree dating is sh*t regardless of your age or gender.

 Maybe it’s the prosecco or maybe it’s just because Albert Schloss does the *best* Sunday lunches I ended up telling all about how much I am looking forward to hosting next week’s event.

Continue talking to Alex and Robert.  We decide that given we have been talking all night and want to go to the same events we should keep in touch and exchange numbers.

25. It’s now 12:15.  I really must go but by this point I don’t want to.

These three lucky ladies won a bottle of Champagne in the Moshi Monster Meet Up challenge.

These three lucky ladies won a bottle of Champagne in the Moshi Monster Meet Up challenge.

 

 

The Morning After. 

It was a fantastic event as usual, with a good mix of new faces and regular Social Circle members.  Whilst the majority of members are single, most have not joined with dating in mind and just want to meet and socialise with people who are at a similar stage in life.  Far from the awkward and forced conversations you get at ‘singles’ events, or the tense ‘networking event’ it was a relaxed and fun party where I was able to let my hair down and forget my troubles for a few hours. The Mingle party proved great way to chat to new people about life, love and everything over some free flowing Prosecco.