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The Reason Why I started Social Circle.

 

Recently I questioned the reason why I started Social Circle

Recently I questioned the reason why I started Social Circle

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

#1 I was just like you.

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

#2 Being Sociable is a Life saver.

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

#3 Life does not revolve around a single interest.

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

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

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

#5 I wanted to explore the world with others.

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

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

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

#7 Because I just love bringing people together.

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

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

I just love seeing people find happiness.

So tell me, what is your Why?

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