Tag Archives: Meet New people

Too Fat to Fit in? Why size shouldn’t stop you socialising.

When it comes to Socialising, some us feel too fat to fit in. It need not be that way.

When it comes to Socialising, some us feel too fat to fit in. It need not be that way.

Slimming World has recently come under fire for suggesting you should drop your fat friends if you want to lose weight. Well Thanks. What if you ARE the fat friend?  Are we are too fat to fit in?    The reality is that those of us carrying excess weight  are already put off  socialising and exercising out of fear of judgement and ridicule.   Yet it need not be that way. 

Having dropped 5 dress sizes (60lbs) and kept it off, I can confidently say that size has no influence on my friendships or social life.  At all.

Even today, my fellow social circle members have said how they want to introduce close friends to our events, but their friends put joining us to meet new people as ‘they had put on a few pounds.’

Its not a surprise that if we are reluctant to socialise given the daily fat-shaming we get from the media.

I was the same.

I used to proudly show my before and after pictures until one of my friends stopped me in my tracks. She called me out for body shaming myself.   I remember her words clearly:

“That girl was and is a friend of mine. I thought she was funny, brilliant and beautiful.”

Damn.  That hit home.

My size did not matter to my friends at all.

Some of my best friends are overweight. It does not detract from how I feel about them as friends, or the relationship we have.  In fact, my fat friends are often the ones who have been cheerleading the fact I am making healthier life choices,  encourage me to get out and socialise or ask the hottie out on a date. (“what have you got to lose?!)

Our true friends are those that share similar values and support you in this journey called life.  

Size is f**king irrelevant to that principle.

Being fat  does not mean you are a bad person, or any less worthy of love and respect and a life you love.

You are still more than your body and are perfectly entitled to pursue the life, career and relationships that you dream of.  

Love does not happen exclusively to thin people.  People of all sizes are making their dreams happen. Go anywhere and you will see a mix of people enjoying themselves.  

 

 Its true you know, and not dependant on what the scales say.

Its true you know, and not dependant on what the scales say.

I found that as I took steps to enrich my life,  I lost weight naturally.

 Instead of gorging on takeaways when I had a tough week, I went out to a restaurant with friends. Eating food with friends means you take longer and can share dessert.  I made healthier choices when deciding what to eat too. 

My trigger was emotional eating and I felt the need to reward myself with food.  I replaced comfort food with treats such as theatre tickets or would take myself to a movie.  Of course, I made space to reach out to new friends for coffee, as well as taking time to pursue other hobbies such as writing and blogging. 

I started going on walks and to classes with friends so I could increase my physical activity without feeling like the only fat person at the gym. You are never the only one at the gym who has to lose weight but I appreciate its nerve wracking.

You know what happened when I tried those things as a size 20?  

I had fun.  I felt great.  I made friends.

No one laughed at me.  No one shamed me for my size.  

Of course they didn’t.

 Because to mock my body size would be an extraordinarily sh*tty thing to do.  

There is a sliver of truth in the slimming world research though.

To keep the weight off you have to keep away from toxic habits and people who keep you in the mindset that would let you believe you are not worthy of a happy healthy life.

When I realised that;  I slammed the door in a few peoples faces, and cancelled my slimming world membership.

So, don’t put off what you want to do because you are packing a few pounds.   

You can decide to be accepting of where you are at the moment and pursue your a life you love. Right now.

If  you don’t, you may be missing out on spending people who love you for exactly who you are.

 

 

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

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

The need for friendship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We get that this is a safety feature.

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

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

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

Swiping on potential friends makes us feel like Regina George

Swiping on potential friends makes us feel like Regina George

The Bad.  When Its Not just Friendship they Want 

Where there are people, there are also the creeps.

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

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

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

 

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

Some of the Reviews of MeetUp tell a cautionary tale…

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

How did this creep get their contact details?

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

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

Let us repeat.

Anyone.

 

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

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

Let us explain how this happens.

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

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

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

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

Whilst there are good people running quality groups.

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

It can be difficult to tell which is which.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your experiences of meeting friends on social media?

 

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

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

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

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

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

Phew!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh Ferner, you are literally killing me.

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

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

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

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

Careful lads! all that laughing could kill you.

Careful lads! all that laughing could kill you.

But how do I get my fix? 

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

  1. Laughter Yoga.

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

 

2. Watch a funny movie or play.

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

Social Circle loved The Play that goes Wrong.

Social Circle loved The Play that goes Wrong.

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

3. Go to a comedy club.

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

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

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

4.Turn Humour into a Holiday.

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

Social Circle @ Edinburgh Festival 2018.

Social Circle @ Edinburgh Festival 2018.

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

Lonely Heart? Alone does not have to mean Lonely.

 

Yes, you can be single and not get lonely.

Yes, you can be single and not get lonely.

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

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

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

Being Single does get lonely at times.

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

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

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

How?

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

Here is how I did it.

  1. Take time to Meet the new YOU.  

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

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

Think about it.

You can now be unapologetically and authentically you.

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

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

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

2. Adopt a furry friend.

Life never gets lonely with a furry friend.

Life never gets lonely with a furry friend.

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

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

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

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

3. Expand your Social Circle.

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

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

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

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

Meeting new friends at Tattu in Manchester!

Meeting new friends at Tattu in Manchester!

Want to meet new people in Manchester? I did and my life changed for the better.

 

Social Circle celebrated 10 years of introducing friends in 2017.

Over 10 years ago, I found myself alone in Manchester after my life and marriage fell apart. I took the first job I could.  I was a divorced 30-something father-of-two in a strange city with no friends locally. I missed company on a weekend. I realised that had to change and I needed to get out there and meet new people. 

My days of picking up strangers in a club were long behind me. I wanted something meaningful.  Something real that happened naturally. Even today, the large majority of people find their significant others through friends. I decided my social life needed a boost.

I told myself that whatever was meant for me, whether it be love or friendship, would not pass me by.

I set up dating profiles on every website going.   I even downloaded those apps and got swiping. But what could I bring to the table?  All work and no play made for awkward and dull conversations and my profile was like every other out there.  I got tired quickly of it all. I am a romantic at heart and believe that a good relationship starts naturally, without pressure, between friends sharing mutual interests.  

So I joined existing social groups. But  they were lacking in so many ways.  I could not find a group that suited my needs as a thirty-something.  It was either boozy nights out for students, gentle health walks for silver-haired retirees or clubs for semi-pro runners.  Come Friday, after a busy week at work, I just wanted fun on my doorstep with people who had similar interests to me. I did not want to be stuck to doing one thing on one night. I wanted my social calendar to work around me.

There had to be more people like me? Right?  Surely other singles were looking to meet new people?

Fortunately my hunch was correct.  Before long I had found other funny, genuine and smart men and women who had also experienced a major life change and wanted to meet new people – but didn’t know where to start.

 A pint at the Slug and Lettuce  turned into hiking adventures, meals out at restaurants and evenings at local comedy clubs.  I found there was always a new friend willing to join me at the cinema or share a laugh at the Frog and Bucket. As my social circle grew, so did my confidence. I found I wanted to try more events as my new friends introduced me to their friends.

It turned out I was doing everyone a favour by starting Social Circle.

 We all want to try something new, but we are often time-poor or exhausted from work (or both!) to organise anything ourselves.  Word soon got around that you could just book an event and turn up. I went from Billy-no-mates to always being the centre of attention at parties. I always had offers of dates.   After all, I seemed like a fun and interesting guy who found it easy to meet new friends!

Soon I had built an action packed calendar with events taking place at top Manchester Venues every night of the week and lots of new people joining us.  People, just like me and you. Soon I had to recruit a team of  hosts to make sure each event ran smoothly and that everyone got a warm welcome.  Of course, all our hosts are also members so know exactly what it is like to be a nervous newbie.

Yet, I am proud to say that after all this time, I am still close friends with the people who took a chance on having a drink with a stranger on a Friday night.

In fact it was one of my Social Circle friends,  who suggested that I organise a weekend away for Social Circle to Barcelona.   It just so happened that a new member Louise, decided that she would book the trip.  It was love at first sight and 2012 she became my wife.

Steve and Louise on their Wedding Day. A Social Circle Success Story!

Who knew that within years after turning up to my first event, that I would have a thriving business,  great friends and have met the love of my life?

So take a chance and step out there.  You never know where it may lead.

Auf Wiedersehen Berlin. Highlights from the Social Circle Weekend.

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

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

 

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

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

Tell us about the Highlights then.

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

What about the basics? Hotel, flights etc?

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

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

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

Any unexpected changes?

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

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

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

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

Your First Time? Advice for Nervous Socialites.

 

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

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

We are not buying it.

Deep down we know you are nervous, if not terrified.  Your current friendship group have been with you since university; when making friends was as easy as spilling your pint down their shirt and apologising profusely.  But it is different now.  As you consider the prospect of meeting new people, a million questions run through your mind.

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

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

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

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

Who are Social Circle?

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

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

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

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

Emma Hodson, Host & Member

What to expect.

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

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

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

“Relax….you’re in safe hands!”

Sarah Hobbs, Member.

Your first event.

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

 

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

Annette Fontaine, Host and Member.

 

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

 

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

Wendy Skelton, Member.

5 Ways to Exercise for the Gym-Phobic.

Rather hide under the duvet, than head to the gym?

It’s that time of year again.  That dreaded time where we stand naked in a cold bathroom and stare at the scales in utter disbelief.    We all know the importance of keeping fit and healthy.  If your doctor has not recommended you lose a few pounds, then the endless stream of media telling you that weight loss will make you irresistible/an internet celebrity/immortal* will probably have burned itself to the inside of your eyelids.   

Admit it. You hate the gym. You would rather gnaw off your own arms off than lift weights, and you cannot see the appeal of pounding the hours away alone on a treadmill.

Fortunately, there are numerous gym-free ways of exercising in Manchester that are so fun you may actually enjoy yourself.

 

Get some Action on a Night Out.

 

Not that kind of action! We are talking about bringing a bit of sporting fun to your weekly social with friends.  You can burn 68 calories** playing a crazy golf for half an hour at places like Junkyard Golf.  Hit the bowling alley to lose 100 cals over a few rounds, and tone up those bingo wings at the same time. Just swap the usual beers and nachos for healthier alternatives m’kay.

Strictly Come Dancing.  

If you enjoy Strictly then you may secretly harbour ambitions to get on the dance floor yourself.  We do.  There are lots of dance classes popping up around Manchester where friendly teachers will show you a few smooth moves and let you work up a sweat and meet new people on the dance floor.(197 cals per half hour to be precise)  The good news is you can bring a friend and grab a (low calorie) drink at the same time.  Those of you who love salsa  should join us for a free class. 

Appeal to your Adventurous Side.

If you have always wanted to try more adventurous sports, there are some great places in Manchester to learn the basics.  You can try Kayaking (186 cals)  or Wakeboarding (223 cals) at the Helly Henson Watersports Centre in Salford.  There are indoor rock climbing facilities that can literally show you the ropes whilst you burn off 298 cals.  In Trafford Parks Chill Factore you can learn the basics of Skiing and Snowboarding (up to 298 cals) and go shopping (130 cals!) for your new clothes afterwards.  

Walk the Weight Off.

Walking is free, and you can already do it!  Even better is that it is recommended by medical professionals due its extensive benefits, from reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes to improving mental health. Make time in your diary for a 20-30 minute brisk walk (83 cals for 30 mins) even if it is just around the block at lunch time.  If you fancy more of a challenge, and want take in some great scenery, why not join us on a hike?  You can burn a whopping 225 cals every 30 minutes which means you can enjoy Sunday lunch with new friends knowing you haven’t ruined your diet.

Pay-As-You Go Fitness

Ok. We admit it. This is slightly gym-like but group exercise can be a great way to work out and meet like-minded people. In Manchester, you can find everything from Ashtanga Yoga (176 cals)  to Zumba (350 cals) available on your doorstep where you can join in with zero commitment, so you could try something different each week until you find a class that suits you.

Psst, on a budget?  Did you know if you cut out a latte and a shop-bought sandwich per week you could not only save a whopping 500 cals per week, you would have enough spare change to go to a class.  If you want to try over 150 leisure activities including gym-free fitness for less than a fiver per week. Click here.

*Slight exaggeration, but it feels that way.

**Cals based on 150lb person for 30 minutes of exercise.  You may burn more or less than this, but it’s all good.