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.

A new year. A new resolution?

A new year. New resolutions. New challenges.

A new year. New resolutions. New challenges.

It seemed 2018 gave many people, including myself, a rough ride at times.  But with the new year comes a blank page and new opportunities to live our dreams.  New year. New Resolutions. Right? Given January is typically the most depressing month of the year, it’s a good idea to set yourself a challenge so you get a sense of  well-being and achievement when you smash your goal.

Life need not be spent working the same 9-5 job then slumping down in front of the TV night after night.

That is a life in dreary monochrome.

It is depressing and not fixed by setting the same old resolutions such as joining the gym or doing Dry January. Life should be a colourful and  glorious tapestry of all senses. To have a great sense of well-being you should aim to feel fulfilled in your career, have a good strong social network, get plenty of exercise and have lots of fun.

The secret to happiness is a life is full of rich experiences and great people. 

You don’t need max out your credit card on material possessions to keep up with the Joneses.  The latest diet, the new dating app and all the self help books in the world will not bring you happiness.

The first step  is to be totally honest with yourself about what you really love.

Now, I do understand that stepping into your dreams can be really scary at times.

I have been there.  

I moved to Manchester with nothing and no-one and then started a business from scratch.  But trust me when I say it can lead to amazing things.

If you have built a career in the office, it can seem too big a risk jacking it all in to chase your dreams. 

However, just taking small steps can reap big rewards.

Maybe a few dance lessons will light up your life.

Maybe a few dance lessons will light up your life.

Why not start that photography course? Take photos of friends, or when you are out walking in nature.  This will light up your life and all the wonderful windows of opportunity waiting for you.

Have you always poured over Strictly Come Dancing, and secretly wished you could dance?  Maybe you have always wanted to paint or learn more about art. Trying to pluck up the courage to get out and meet new people so you can find your soulmate?  

Well then I guess we are going to have to find a way of making sure you can do all those wonderful things and more 🙂

As for me, I focused too much on work and not enough play!  So this year I am combining my love of travel and adventure by taking myself and my fellow social circlers to the West Coast of Scotland to climb the mighty Ben Nevis.  It is definitely on my bucket list of things to do before I hit the big 5-0 in 2020.

Whatever your dream, it is important to take inspired action. That way 2019 can the best year of your life so far. 

So the big question is – what your your new year resolutions?

Want to get fit and lose weight? Ditch the Gym.

Getting fit and losing weight does not have to mean joining a gym.

Getting fit and losing weight does not have to mean joining a gym.

 

It’s that time again.  You look down at your slightly soggy bits and tell yourself that 2019 *is* the year you will achieve your dream body.  The ‘offers’ from local gyms look so tempting and you sign up for a year long contract without a second thought. The gym gear and protein shakes are on sales and on your shelves.   After all you will go this year, right?  Just stop. You know how this ends. If you want to get fit and lose weight this year: Ditch the gym.  Why waste money on expensive memberships when there is another way. 

Newsflash. Joining the gym is not the key to happiness.

Let us spell this out to you.  

Losing weight will not magically transform your life.

Your weight or shape does not define you, or your happiness. So don’t let any gym advert tell you otherwise.

You may feel miserable about the way you look.  But that is about a lack of self-love and compassion rather than what your body looks like. You deserve to feel happy and loved right now.  Just as you are.

We tell you this because if you tell yourself –I will be happy when …  you will put too much pressure on yourself which will ultimately lead to failure.

Likewise if you are putting off other goals such as joining a dating site or meeting new people until you see the magic number on the scales – you are placing too high a burden on yourself. Placing all those expectations on yourself a means that your inner bully has some real ammunition when you skip a session or have pizza. 

Ironically, allowing yourself to be happy and accepting yourself – just as you are – will lead to you taking steps to improve your sense of health and well-being.

So exercise  or lose weight because it makes you feel good – and in ways that you enjoy-  rather than pinning all our hopes on romance showing up when you hit that magic number.

Is it really a priority?

It is worth mentioning that even if you are carrying a spare tyre, be honest about whether you want or need to commit to achieving your best body now.  

You may find that your focus is best served by focusing on more pressing matters such as money or relationship issues as these often drain us of energy and resources.  Of course, regular exercise can increase your sense of health and wellbeing.  But over committing yourself only leads to burn out. 

If this is the case be kind to yourself.

Focus on your main goals for now as you can decide to exercise more and be healthy any day of the year.

Even if you do want to focus on your body and wellbeing, you don’t need to go to a gym every day or go on a strict calorie controlled diet.  In fact fitness professionals advise against this as you need to rest and recover between exercise sessions. 

Sticking to a consistent routine gives better results in the long run.

Be SMART to be successful.

Do you want to know why most people fail their new years resolutions? It is often because their goals are not Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based.

Saying you need to lose 20lbs is missing key motivating factors. Dropping a dress size by the end of January may not be realistic either. Fails also come from joining gyms or trying out a new diet because you have told yourself you *need* to get fit, or lose weight, when you have no endgame in sight.

Therefore, figure out what you really want. 

Why do you want to get fit?

What will you be able to do when you achieve your goal?

Drilling down on your dreams will give you a better insight.

If you think ‘getting fit’ looks like being able to run a race then  it is better to say ‘I will run my first 10k by June 2019.  Likewise, the goal to lose weight a can be replaced by ‘ I will lose 10lbs by my holiday in April or ‘I will be wearing a size 12 dress to my best friends wedding in September.’  

Even just general goals can be made SMART. I need to get healthy can be ‘ I will incorporate exercise into my routine at least 3 times a week.’ or ‘ I will go out walking on a weekend’.

 

Find your sweet spot.

 Gyms are not bad places, but  be realistic about whether you want to go – rather than thinking you *should* go. For some, the gym is a personal retreat, for others it is clinical and isolating. If you are really undecided you could always get a free pass.

The good news is that there are  fun ways to get fit without joining a gym.  You can achieve your best body ever – but as a side effect of enjoying an overall healthier lifestyle.

walking can help you get fit and lose weight

walking can help you get fit and lose weight.

So lets look at how you could do this;

  • If you find yourself excited by the prospect of a goal such as climbing Ben Nevis, then the best way to train is to get out and walk as much as possible. In fact walking is said to be as effective for weightloss as running and carries less risk of injury.  You definitely don’t need a gym for that.
  • If you would rather exercise in a group setting rather on your own –  Joining a class will give you both a chance to try something new and an opportunity to meet new people.
  •  Signing up for a triathlon or a race?  you could join local running clubs where you will get excellent advice on training and preparing for an event.
  • Maybe you have always wanted to try a new activity and can incorporate that into your fitness goals.  Some of our members swear by Man v Fat football, we also have keen riders and dancers too.

Don’t forget to reward yourself.

No we don’t mean that you can inhale a chocolate bar for simply getting a sweat on.  But you do need to plan rewards for reaching major milestones.  

Aiming for a 10k race?  Why not have a nice massage when you are able to complete 5k. 

Wanting that beach body?  Take yourself on a city break  when you have lost 10lbs. 

Or you could do all these things, meet new people, and try all those healthy new activities right now.

No gym needed.

Surviving your family at Christmas.

Its the Christmas dream....until the kids start arguing

Its the Christmas dream….until the kids start arguing

Christmas is T minus 48 hours away. Many of us have put on our Out of Office, wrapped our presents, and are preparing for the annual family get together. But when the festive glow fades and you are all cooped up in a living room, a family Christmas dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.  We have had plenty of experience dealing with family drama at Christmas so we rounded up some great advice from Social Circle HQ. So here is our guide to surviving your family at Christmas.

Accept them for who they are.

Uncle Nigel may voice a few right wing opinions.  Grandma may ask if you have tried ‘batting for the other side’ because you have been single too long. Your brothers may get into a burping competition and Mum’s screams of frustration from the kitchen may be heard from miles around.  It is annoying being expected to help clean the kitchen whilst the teens are snapchatting their friends. Just breathe. Offer to help with cooking or even take them out if forty years of mum moaning that ‘she does everything’ is wearing thin.  

Whilst we are not saying you should put up with toxic behaviour,  it is far easier, for one day, to accept them for who they are and try and see the humour in the situation – any awkward or embarrassing moments will make for a good belly laugh when you meet your friends for post-Christmas drinks.  Believe us when we say we all have stories to tell.

Invite a friend (and use them as a human shield).

Really this one pays off all round.  One of our hosts is often kidnapped by friends who insist she shouldn’t be alone at Christmas. Rather than feeling guilty, she quickly realised she was saving her friends sanity too. Your family suddenly adopt their best behaviour and lavish attention on your friend – which is always appreciated – and you have a wingman/woman to turn to when everything gets a bit much.   

Remember that whilst your family may be a deep source of shame for you – your friend loves you for who you are – meaning that they are more likely to help you see the funny side of Aunt Magda’s quirks or point out that your cousins boasts about his promotion or new car may mean he is lacking in other areas. *snigger*

Put yourself first.

The ultimate survival tip is to put your own well-being above any traditions or guilt trips you may have been subjected to.  If your family relationships are really strained and toxic then you can make other plans if it is best for your well-being. You could visit friends or even take yourself on holiday. Spend the day on your own if that is what is best for you. (If that feels a bit raw due to a recent break upread this)    If you do go, don’t feel you have to stay – book a hotel nearby if necessary.

Even if you want to see your family – you can still need a little mental break.  Take the family dog for a walk. Take a book to read whilst the family watch the same Christmas films for the hundredth time.  Go for a nap.

Remember, it is just one or two days, and a great opportunity to make memories with your nearest and dearest. Even if those memories belong in a sitcom.

So share your own Christmas funnies below and have Merry Christmas from Social Circle HQ

25 Thoughts you have on a Santa Pub Crawl

Our lovely Social Circle ladies ready for the Santa Pub Crawl.

Our lovely Social Circle ladies ready for the Santa Pub Crawl.

The Santa Pub Crawl is one of the jewels in the Social Circle calendar.  Everyone loves it and we take bookings months in advance. So of course, Steve called me and told me to write a blog so new members knew what to expect . “It will be fun” he said “and you can do a funny blog like you did for the Mingle party. People loved that.”

Despite being a member and host for three years, I have previously shirked the pub crawls. There have been a myriad of excuses; ‘I will be tired after work’, ‘pub crawls are not my thing’ or my personal favourite; ‘ugh it will be really busy and there will be so many people around.’   Yes, the irony of wanting to meet new people and avoiding social interaction is not lost on me. But given I am a professional, I decided to don my Santa outfit and go undercover. Purely for journalistic purposes you realise.

So here the 25 thoughts you have on a Santa Pub Crawl and more.

On donning a Santa outfit.

The night I went undercover as Santa, in the name of journalism right?

The night I went undercover as Santa, in the name of journalism right?

*puts on Christmas music, places a mince pie on a plate and pours a glass of mulled wine to get in the mood*

1. I wonder if Christmas music is used to torture people in the same way Britney spears was?

 *Follows YouTube make up guide and perfects red smokey eyes with glitter.*

2. Wow. I look hot.  I wonder if I will get a kiss under the mistletoe.

*scoffs entire pack of Tesco’s finest mince pies*

 *Wriggles into Santa outfit and tightens belt one (1) hole.*

3. Oh God I can’t breathe.

4, *checks self in mirror*  How have my tits merged into a mono-boob?  

*downs rest of mulled wine.*

5. I don’t need my coat, it will just get in the way.

On using public transport.

 “Hey it’s  Mrs Claus!!  Are you out ho-ho-hoing tonight?”

6. Holy f*ck its cold.  

7.Why won’t anyone sit next to me?   

 Little girl, rather too loudly, Its Santa!  But she is a woman???

8.  Curses self for contributing to this 2018 snowflake debate of the year.

Just some of the Social Circle Santas taking Manchester by storm

Just some of the Social Circle Santas taking Manchester by storm

On getting into the festive spirit

9. Thank god.  I am not the only one.  

I make a beeline for the other Social Circle ladies at the Bar who are fortunately easy to spot.

10. OK just a small wine. Pace yourself.

*orders large glass of merlot*

 11. Why are there willy straws and blow up dolls on the table?

Steve tells us that there was nothing Christmassy in the pound shop.  We are not buying it.

Len arrives, in crisp collar under his santa suit.  Me:  “ Ha Ha you look like you are going to gift someone a pair of broken legs.”

12.  Why am I so awkward?

Richard tells us about his Santa hat which he bought off a dodgy bloke in a pub.  At the touch of a button it moves and plays a tune. It is a fun combination of festive and slightly pervy.

The ladies compliment my velvet red lipstick, which duly gets passed around for people to try.

A random passerby, approximately 30, presses his nose against the window and looks at us in the same way a 5 year old would look at a new puppy.  His girlfriend was not impressed and drags him away.

13. “How do you go to the toilet with Rudolfs head between your legs?”

Gemma decides to put on a blow up doll puppet show for those passing by the window.  

Traumatising those passing by the Portland Bar and Grill

Traumatising those passing by the Portland Bar and Grill

Santa Goes Singing

Steve leads the way to China town. A few of us are nearly  taken out by passing traffic in Manchester’s festive live action version of Grand Theft Auto.

Steve tries to take a picture.  A plastic willy is trying to escape from the Tesco carrier bag. Because every little helps.

We are shuffled past some bouncers up some steep stairs into a dimly lit smokey bar.

14. What is this place? Are we in a karaoke bar?

Sally and Steve in the Karaoke Bar.

Sally and Steve in the Karaoke Bar.

15. I am not drunk enough for this. *downs sourz shot*

A man in a flashing Christmas jumper takes to the stage, brimming with confidence as he winks at the ladies and lifts the mike as the words to ‘we will rock you’ flash onscreen. 

Sally leans into me.  “He looks full of himself but you know it’s going to be sh*t.”

16. His performance is, indeed, rather sh*t.

Steve bounces over. “I have signed us all up for a Christmas song.  They only had Mariah Carey. We will be on in a minute.”

17. I am not drunk enough for this. *downs further shot.*

*looks up lyrics to All I want for Christmas because goddammit I am a pro.*

All 15 of us cram onto the tiny stage and Steve hands someone a camera.

Feed the World comes up on screen.

18. I am not drunk enough for this.

Two verses later.

19. *grabs microphone*  FEED THE WORLD LET THEM KNOW ITS CHRISTMAS TIME

Takes pictures with Dave against the Manchester Bee.  These Santas are getting ready to Slay (Sleigh).

Sleighing it as Santa - despite monoboob concerns.

Sleighing it as Santa – despite monoboob concerns.

Steve lines us all up outside a massage parlour for a headcount.

20. Where’s Nigel?

Festive Fab-ness.

We found Nigel!

We found Nigel!

“Someone make Nigel festive.” Steve yells.  I have somehow been given responsibility for the bag of willies, dolls and Christmas hats.

  I hand Nigel a Santa Hat and promise him we won’t lose him this time.

 

21. O-M-G fab cafe!  Please be taking us to Fab Cafe?!?!

22. He is, he is taking us to Fab cafe. *squeals*

You been here before Heather? Someone asks.  I don’t respond as I am too busy running inside to see if they have made the Darlek festive.  I was not disappointed.

23. Minimum £5 spend on cards. Fek.  Orders a Guinness and a tonne of retro sweets.

24. Perhaps I can give these out to handsome men.

Looks around bar. Average age 20 and already visibility suffering an existentialist crisis brought on by the price of housing and avocados.

Gives haribo to boys in party who give to other santa-ettes.

*scoffs rest of sweets*

Annette tries to persuade everyone that Alice Cooper would be much more festive than the Smiths.  Everyone agrees. Except the DJ.

We love Fab Cafe.  Even if they didnt play Alice Cooper.

We love Fab Cafe. Even if they didnt play Alice Cooper.

25. Lines up for photos. Checks photos.  Ugh mono-boob strikes again.

“Where do you get your dress from?”

Tesco. Hence why I look like a bit Basic.” *laughs at own joke*

Suddenly feel tired. “Steve I got to go.”

“But we are going to ultimate Christmas power Ballads.  You know how you love that.” Steve protests.

“Last time I ended up breaking up a fight and snogging a 25 year old.”

“Exactly! You love it.”

I call it a night and say my goodbyes.  Annette asks why I am leaving.

“I am tired and old.”

“F*ck off I am older than you.”

Off they went into the O2 Ritz to have a grand old time singing their little hearts out and bouncing around on the dancefloor.  

Founder Steve with Resident Host and Blogger, Heather.

Founder Steve with Resident Host and Blogger, Heather.

But this Santa had to be home to wrap her presents and write her list of the naughty things those social circle Santa’s got up to on their night of debauchery.

Merry Christmas from everyone at Social Circle!!

Christmas Party Do’s & Don’ts.

It is the time of year where the invites roll in - but do you know your Christmas Party etiquette?

It is the time of year where the invites roll in – but do you know your Christmas Party etiquette?

Social Circle attended our annual Christmas Ball this weekend.  Typically, there were a number of companies and groups in the same place. It served as a rather eye-opening reminder of the etiquette of Christmas socialising.  We have put together some Christmas Party Do’s & Don’ts so you can truly relax and have a great time without f**king up your career or relationships.

DO: Wear something that makes you feel gorgeous and comfortable.

The ladies in attendance at the Ball looked stunning in their various plunge line jump suits and high heels but it was not long before the discomfort started showing.  Constantly pulling at your top or staggering on your heels is a sure sign that you are not 100% confident and comfortable which will impact on your memories of the event.   There are beautiful clothes for every size and occasion.You can be both elegant and comfortable, so choose wisely and let your confidence shine.

DON’T: Make a tit of yourself in respect of the dress code.

It goes without saying that you should observe the dress code for any event.  Yes, you may be a person who gives zero f**ks and maybe you are known for being a bit quirky.  However, if you are at an event with your colleagues and others in your industry then a failure to follow the rules could cast doubt over your professionalism and affect promotional prospects.  Even socially, putting two fingers up to social norms or failing to observe attention to detail can cause difficulties when socialising and alter people’s perception of you.

Wearing a coloured suit and paisley shirt when everyone is in black tie has all eyes on you for the wrong reason. Likewise, not checking the fit of your dress before you go bouncing around on the dance floor did lead to one woman repeatedly exposing her boobs to everyone in the room. All credit to her, she didn’t let the wardrobe malfunction phase her but it could have been avoided by a little attention to detail (i.e tit tape and tighter straps).  

Maybe this sounds a bit judgemental – but if you genuinely did not care you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

DO: Pace yourself.

When the prosecco is on free flow and numerous rounds are on the boss, knocking back the drinks becomes a little too easy.  However, know your limits. You don’t have to drink alcohol, and if you do make sure you drink slowly and have plenty of soft drinks too.  Pacing yourself will mean that you recover quickly the next day, and have some great memories.

DON’T. Drink to oblivion.

Alcohol impairs your judgement. The temptation to tell your boss what you think of her or make a move on your office crush may suddenly seem like the best idea you have ever had.  (spoiler – it’s not) Drinking to the extent you black out or throw up is not only a social faux-pas, especially with colleagues, but could compromise your safety. If you do find you hit your limits, call it a night and get a cab home.

Looks like fun, but will they regret it in the morning?

Looks like fun, but will they regret it in the morning?

DO:  Take the opportunity to chat to new people.

Even if you are at friends or a work function, the fact that so many people are in the same room is a really good opportunity to meet new people. Maybe you have never met  or they are only the voice at the end of a phone. Go over and say hello. We found asking people to take photos was a good icebreaker, as was finding a mutual favourite tune on the dance floor.  Avoid talk about work, politics or religion and try to find thing you have in common.

DON’T:  Be the Christmas Creep.

Alcohol, everyone looking their best, and the prospect of another single-mas seems to bring out the desperate and downright creepy in some people.  Flirty eye contact, if reciprocated, can be fun. Full on death stares are just scary. By all means dance closer to your intended and try and strike up conversation. But gyrating behind your intended or the constant slut drops on that good looking colleague just strikes everyone as a bit needy and is a source of unwanted gossip.  The worst case scenario is that you could lose your job for getting a bit touchy-feely with the gorgeous Nicole because you did not take no for an answer.

DO:  Relax and Have a great time.

Christmas is a great time to relax with friends and colleagues and share a sense of achievement at another year of success. Have fun, enjoy the surroundings and laugh and dance to your heart’s content.

DON’T: Prioritise social media

Yes – parties are challenging for those who prefer online to face to face contact.  However, it is time to physically tear yourself away from your phone. You don’t have to check in online, constantly take pouty selfies or ignore your friends and colleagues in preference to social media. Of course, take photos and get silly in the photo booths. But you cannot build great memories if you are glued to your phone and not in the room.

So have fun at your Christmas Party, and have a very merry Christmas from all at Social Circle.

Social Circle at the Ball. As captured by a very nice but tipsy bystander.

Social Circle at the Ball. As captured by a very nice but tipsy bystander.

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.