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Take control of your life - Part 4
How is Your Social Life?
“Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes ~
While we are on the subject of your personal life, let’s not forget your friends. Everyone has them and everyone needs them.
Friends are a necessary social extension and they provide an outlet, a group of like-minded people who share values, though perhaps not always every opinion.
Time out with friends, whether they are old high school buddies or friends you’ve made at work, is important. A movie, a cup of coffee, an occasional dinner, perhaps even sharing an activity you both like, such as bowling, golf, baseball, slot machines, a book club, or going to the movies, the theater or the ballet.
All of the techniques we discussed for your family life can also be applied to your friends. Above all, keep in touch. Schedule events and get-togethers with a realistic eye to what you can achieve.
Many people work long hours, have demanding jobs and still manage to participate in monthly groups, or scheduled activities. And, this is a welcome relief from their grueling work schedule.
Put the appointments on your calendar just as you would any business meeting, and be dutiful about keeping the appointment even if it seems a guilty pleasure during that critical crunch season at work.
If you must cancel, communicate clearly with your friend(s) and let them know why you have to reschedule.
Don’t leave it to chance or you will never get together.
When you go out with friends, even if they are co-workers, use your newly learned skills in self-discipline to keep you out of the realm of work discussion.
Don’t talk shop, or you will not get away from the stress you tried to leave behind at the office. It is a hard habit to break, and it may take some time and focus to learn the new habit.
You can make it fun by agreeing that the person who breaks the ‘don’t talk shop’ code first will have to buy a round of drinks or coffee, or has to pay for dinner.
You’d be amazed at how quickly your co-workers will learn the lesson!
If you have a friend, or a group of old college chums with whom you love to socialize, try to pick a monthly or weekly date – the second Tuesday of every month, for example – and get together then.
Everyone will look forward to these occasions and you won’t feel so deprived of social contact.
During times of high stress and long hours, take the time to go out for a walk or get a cup of coffee or have lunch with someone outside the office.
Get away from the people you see in the halls every day and get a breath of fresh air.
You’ll feel much better.
Don’t give up the activities and friends you love. Exercise and socialization are key to balancing your life and even though you may feel they can be postponed until a time when your career is not on high speed, your health will benefit from the short breaks and scheduled visits you insist on taking.
We’ll talk more about stress and exercise later, and how these figure into life balance.
Right now, let’s focus on your friends.
If your friends have fallen by the wayside with the advent of your most recent and most hectic job, you need to get some more friends fast.
Man does not live by work alone!
And though your family is very important to you, your friends serve a different purpose.
They are often more honest with you than your family can be and they will forgive and forget without the same intimate emotional attachment of a spouse, a mother or a brother.
You can count on them to make you laugh and to share your successes and failures. They are part of your psychological armor and a necessary part of your life’s balance.
If you need to reconnect with friendship, you can often find someone with whom you share common values at work, or in an industry association or club.
Or you may find a friend that shares a passion for a sport or an activity while attending a sporting event or on line at the movie theater.
Seek out friends actively and don’t be afraid to invite your new friend for a drink or coffee. There is no harm done if the friendship does not blossom.
Friends make you more interesting and expand your horizons.
And, they keep you from becoming a boring, ‘all work and no play’ kind of person.
Again, you have to be disciplined, have a plan and pay attention, to take advantage of these opportunities.
“Work is the greatest thing in the world, so we should always save some of it for tomorrow” ~ Don Herold.
Abraham A L
21th April 2016
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