Monthly Archives: April 2018

Questions to ask single people

If anyone you know is unhappily single and has complaints about it, or they’re losing hope about finding love, worrying about whether they’ve got something wrong with them, instead of defaulting to platitudes such as ‘no-one will love you unless you love yourself’ try instead to find out a few details about their situation. You WILL make them feel better.

Do they have much of a social life?

It’s one thing being single, but another kettle of fish to not even have a social life. If their social life is slow & they’re socially-isolated as well, then that can be sheer misery. Find out whether they spend too much time on their own or whether they at least have a social life and friends to meet up with. Many may complain about being single when really they’re socially-isolated & their social life is slow. They may not be in a rush to get in a relationship but may have worries as to whether a relationship will be a possibility for them in future. The thing is such worries are many times worse when isolated.

Do they have any opposite sex friends?

It’s infinitely better & less painful to have regular opportunity to mix with and hang out with people of the opposite sex. If people are complaining about being single. I can tell you having that sort of social life vs. not makes being single significantly less painful. Just hanging out socially with people of the opposite sex can be far more fulfilling than not at all.

How often do they get to meet new people?

A major factor affecting the pain of being single is the degree of social opportunity we have and how many doors are open to us to meet new people. If you have a limited, dead-ended social circle whereby everyone you know doesn’t know many people and you rarely or never get to meet new people, then you’ll feel like doors are closed & have less grounds to believe you’ll meet someone. If on the other hand we have regular opportunities to meet new people and get into new social circles then there is a certain sense of assurance and excitement that we might meet someone new just round the corner. We have more grounds to believe that ‘you never know who you’ll meet’. This can profoundly affect how painful being single feels.

How much control do they feel they have over their social circumstances?

Another major reason we fear we’ll never find love stems from how much of a sense of control over our social circumstances & over opening doors to meet new people. If you only get to meet new people very heat death of the universe you’d want to get into social circles that have more connections & that give you more opportunity. Sometimes we can feel that we have a lack of control over taking steps to changing this. It might be helpful to help find out what might be getting in the way of expanding in their social circle, what’s stopping them from taking steps.

Understanding the fear of never finding love

There are four simple steps to finding a partner, three of which the same as making friends, the additional one being if you’re attracted to & fancy someone, you need to express it & show it. In summary;

1. Put yourself in places to find some potential partners

2. Start conversations, find common ground & connection

3. If you hit it off & enjoy someone’s company arrange to hang out and get contact details

4. if you’re also interested in them romantically then express the fact that you like them that way

When you hear someone fancies you, you naturally feel more curious and interested in them, especially if it’s from someone who is is cute or hot to you. If you let them know & they also feel the same about you, then fantastic, things will take off from there & love will grow. If not, oh well, there will always be someone else. Wait, what grounds have I got to believe that it’s possible?

A major reason people fear never finding love is that they may feel a) they have a lack of control over their opportunity to meet potential partners (what this post is addressing) b) They’re worried about whether it’s possible for someone attractive of the opposite sex to find them attractive, whether such interest being reciprocated will be a possibility only if they drastically change their personality, whether the changes they might need to make are realistic. More on that in a future post.

Conclusion; good & bad practice

Good practice; sending used engine oil to a hazardous waste site

Bad practice; tipping it down the storm drain

Good practice; find out more about their situation & don’t criticize. You WILL help people if you do this & brighten their mood.

Bad practice; tell an unhappily single person that they’re undateable, that that they’re zero value to people of the opposite sex, that they’ve got nothing going for them that a prospective partner will find attractive, tell them that they’re losers because they’re feeling lonely.

Should you consider moving for a better social life?

I you’re wanting to meet new people and expand your social circle, the steps to take are pretty simple, find new people, talk to & get to know them, then arrange to hang out with those who’s company you enjoy and get on with and take it from there. The social environment of where you live can have a profound impact on each and every one of these stages. If an individual has a social problem, we tend to blame them to the degree that we don’t even acknowledge external factors.

Characteristics of good cities for meeting people & building a social life

  • Meeting people isn’t restricted to bars and clubs
  • They have a wide range of good quality alternative ways to meet people outside the bar scene; a lively meetup scene, plenty of classes, dance classes, activity groups*
  • You CAN actually find people your own age through those channels not just people your parents age
  • They have a significant demographic of younger single people also looking to meet new people and expand their social circles
  • There are places and events you can call into alone without having to be with friends
  • They have a social culture whereby people readily accept new people into their social circles & where people are open
  • The bar scene is varied, you’re not limited to loud, edgy intimidating places, there are quieter, laid-back places

Characteristics of cities that are bad for meeting people and building a social life

  • Meeting people is restricted to bars and nightclubs
  • There is a lack of good quality social avenues to met people outside the bar scene; lack of a meetup scene, lack of classes, activity groups, dance classes, clubs to join etc.
  • Even so, you can only meet people your parents age through those channels outside the bar scene
  • They lack the segment of young adults looking to expand their social circle & meet new people, people largely have their lot
  • There is a lack of things you can drop into alone without having to be with people
  • They have a relatively closed and cliquey social culture
  • People do not readily invite each other into their social circles
  • There is a lack choice within the bar scene; loud & intimidating places dominate with a near absence of quieter laidback places

If you want to expand your social circle and have been actively taking steps to do something about it, have any of the following experiences and disappointments been true for you?

There is a lack of alternative ways to meet people outside the bar scene

It seems perfectly logical to follow standard suggestions such take up hobbies and look for clubs and meetup events for things you’re interested in. What if there isn’t much or anything going on in your town that appeals to you?

You never get to meet people your own age outside the bar scene

So you try a few ways to meet new people that take your fancy, meetup events, classes, clubs etc. You’re hoping to turn up, meet & mingle with people your own age in a more laid-back environment, find new people to hang out with, get into a new social circle. You try all that and consistently run into dis-appointment; they’re mostly people your parents age or worse, they’re very low on numbers, or they fold up & stop happening entirely due to low numbers. What if you’ve done that tons of times and found the same results are true? That just plain sucks.

There is a lack of more pleasant laidback bars in your town

Not only is there a lack of viable ways to meet new people your age outside the bar scene, there’s a lack of choice within the bar scene; the majority of bars in your town are intimidating & unpleasant largely catering to people who want to just get as drunk as possible. There is a lack of laidback, quieter, more pleasant bars that you’d want to become a regular in. Maybe there are pubs like that, but those nice places only cater to a much older demographic. There’s a shortage of pleasant places to become a regular at that are frequented by people your own age group.

There’s a lack of things you can drop into alone

Even if we have a big social circle, there will always be times when we don’t want to be shut in yet have no-one available to meet up with. If you have a small (and shrinking due to structural factors) social circle & if the only other choice besides staying in is being sitting in a pub by yourself where you don’t know anyone due to having no other choices. If there were things like activity-oriented events, salsa nights, games nights, folk sessions, or anything that people can drop into alone you’d happily be out the door in a flash. Good cities for people to meet new people have an abundance of opportunities fulfilling the above criteria. You’re never ‘forced’ into social isolation if you have no-one to meet with.

People on the whole are not very open to meeting new people

In your community, people are generally polite but distant, going their own separate ways when an event is over, shooting off quickly and not sticking around to chat. Everyone seems to have their little clique and doesn’t want to expand it. There’s an expectation that you shouldn’t want to meet new people too & that you should have your lot. They’re not open to have new people tag along, nor accept invitations to do things together. People taking until the heat death of the universe to get to know, to get to the point of making plans and meeting up.

So the grass is greener?

If you’re dis-satisfied with your social life AND you’ve actively been taking steps to improve things yet been consistently met with the same disappointments talked about above, then it’s a surefire sign that your local social environment might not be ideal. If your local town largely fits the description of a poor-quality social environment, the good news is that there are plenty of cities out there that have a greater abundance of good quality ways to meet people.

Imagine living somewhere in which the following is true;

  • There ARE other ways to meet new people your age outside the bar scene
  • You CAN actually meet people your own age through those other suggested channels
  • You CAN meet people your own age with similar interests
  • You CAN meet people who also know other people & who’ll give you access to further social circles
  • The bar scene isn’t just limited to intimidating places, there’s a choice of nicer chilled back places you might want to become a regular at
  • There are events you can drop into alone where there’ll be people your own age; when you don’t want to be shut-in and have no-one to meet up with, you can just check out meetup, coushsurfing & others and find an event of your choice to drop into; no more forced social isolation, isolation will be a CHOICE
  • There are plenty of other people your own age in the same boat, looking to expand their social circle & open to meeting new people

Mini rant

It’s no fucking wonder online dating is rapidly replacing IRL channels of meeting people, especially if many people’s social environments fit my description of a poor social environment.


Whenever anyone has a social complaint it’s common practice to just assume that it’s 110% the fault of the individual to the degree that we overlook the social environment (where individualism goes too far). It’s easy to blame someone who’s facing those social frustrations for not having confidence or having poor social skills. The above factors will affect a confident and socially-skilled person just as much as a super shy and socially-unskilled person. Given such circumstances, both individuals are likely to agree on such points. The fact is some cities & towns are better and worse than others. Sure, we can learn coping skills to handle tough situations like cliquey people, but ultimately it’s not our responsibility. If you’ve been taking steps to try and improve your social circle but have consistently been met with the above disappointments, especially if you’ve traveled outside your city and had better results from the same degree of effort, then you should definitely consider moving to a city that has more and better social opportunity or is closer to my description of a good city for meeting people.

Why people shouldn’t think it’s weird if you’re not good socially

Imagine if you were in a band and you had a gig coming up in 2 weeks & you were the lead guitarist. Imagine you’ve just learned a brand new song that you’re still unfamiliar with, you went through it a few times in the practice session, but there’s one caveat, your guitar has been nicked earlier in the day and you’re borrowing someone else’s. You haven’t found another guitar to practice on, you’ve had work getting in the way, the dog playing up & other nonsense. Two weeks later the gig comes round. You do a rubbish performance because, you haven’t been practicing. Why haven’t you been practicing? Because you don’t have a guitar to practice on.

Same is true of social situations, why are you rubbish at social situations, simple because you don’t practice. Why don’t you practice? You don’t have those social situations to practice in. That’s the practice part

People who are good are socializing must be talented

It appears that most people have an in-built, installed-from birth talent to ‘know’ how to navigate social situations perfectly, flawlessly, without error, never making mistakes (or so it can seem in a room full of people mingling and happily making small talk). People don’t think it’s weird if you cannot pick-up foreign languages instantly, they don’t think it’s weird if you can grasp the declension system of Russian within a few weeks, they don’t think it’s weird if you cannot pick up a melodeon and figure out how to play the Drunken Sailor & Galopede the first time, but for some reason, it’s considered weird if you cannot learn to handle certain social situations like the above. Some of us have talents in different areas. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the talent of effortlessly working a room downloaded into our brain since birth.

Alone in a crowd

When you’re in a crowded room or party, it can feel like everyone is so perfect at socializing, everyone’s perfectly talented and rehearsed at it, flawless, everyone’s a complete maestro socially (so it seems). Everyone knows everything you don’t, and you feel the odd one out. You feel everyone around you is making friends and building rapport quickly and you feel left standing. You feel no-one else worries about whether they’re talking enough or being too quiet, you feel like the only one in the room feeling that way. If such social genius was translated to music, it would make Bach & Beethoven look like a pub gig.

Conclusion; it’s not weird not to be good socially

It doesn’t even occur to people that social situations they take for-granted have been practiced and rehearsed many times over & that someone who’s a bit unsure and unconfident may not have had much practice. If I was to ask someone whether they can play the tin whistle, & do a jog or two and ask if they’ve had any practice. Response is ‘err no’. If I gave the tin whistle to the chap and they couldn’t play a note, it wold be unfair to say he was rubbish at the tin whistle. He’s not touched the instrument before let alone had any practice. The same is true of social situations. Why don’t people see it that way?

Are carbs fattening? The facts

Much of the debate over the ideal diet is framed as a binary carbohydrates vs. fat; it’s either all carbs bad, all fats bad. The reality is, any macro-nutrient eaten in excess and out of balance with other nutrients will lead to weight. Fats contain on average 2½ times as many calories per gram as carbs however, the caveat is, the presence of fats in a meal can help lower the glyceamic index & can help to satisfy hunger which can have implications for reducing over-eating. This is not an argument to say one is better than the other.

Why do carb-rich foods have a reputation for being fattening?

A few simple reasons

  • Firstly, people often eat them in excessively large portions (see what a sensible portion looks like)
  • Processed, white varieties of starch (lacking fiber and/or protein) have a high-glyceamic index, meaning that they have implications for not keep you full for long and thus leading to over-eating (see below)
  • Some people don’t eat carb foods rich foods in balance with other food groups; they may leave the veg and the protein groups out of meals (e.g. the majority of a plate rather than less than a 3rd), this also has implications for how long you can go without feeling hungry
  • People often add excess amounts of fat with carb-bearing foods (e.g. butter on jacket potato, rich sauces on pasta) this bumps up the calorie count of a meal beyond a reasonable level

How much per meal?

As a rough guide you should avoid having more than the following per meal;

  • Rice; 2 tablespoons uncooked, 4 tablespoons cooked
  • Pasta; 3 tablespoons uncooked, 6 tablespoons cooked
  • Spaghetti; 1 coin sized bundle uncooked
  • 1 Jacket potato
  • 4-6 new potatoes egg-sized
  • 2 slices of bread or toast
  • 1 pitta bread

The glyceamic index & hunger

When carb-bearing foods are broken down they release glucose into the blood stream. The glyceamic index is an index of how quickly the glucose is released. A high glyceamic index means that food releases glucose into the blood quickly like a surge, but doesn’t keep the energy sustained for very long. A low glyceamic index means glucose is trickled into the blood slowly over a longer period of time.

The glyceamic index is affected by the presence of other nutrients and fiber within the fodstuff or meal. Foods that are pure carbohydrate (sugar or starch) will have a high glyceamic index. The presence of other nutrients, such as fats and proteins will help to slow down the rate at which the food releases glucose into the blood & thus lower the glyceamic index. Fiber-rich sources of carbs such as wholegrain products, and potatoes with the skins will have a lower glyceamic index than foods that are pure starch. When these foods are eaten as part of a balanced meal, complete with vegetables and protein-rich foods, & fats, the glyceamic index is lower still. The lower glyceamic the diet is, the longer we’ll feel full and the less prone to frequent hunger and over-eating. A low GI diet is a safeguard against hunger and over-eating & is often used as part of a treatment for obesity for this very reason.

The importance of balance

It’s important that carb-bearing foods are eaten as part of a balanced meal, complete with vegetables and sources of protein. Both fiber and protein in the diet have implications for staving off hunger. The presence of those things lowers the glyceamic index and helps sustain the energy, satisfying hunger & staving off food cravings. A meal should contain the following food groups;

  • 1/3rd or less of carbs (high-fiber/wholegrain varieties)
  • 1/3rd or more vegetables
  • 1/3rd protein rich foods

For more information of food groups and what sensible portions look like, click here

Why sugary snacks and soft drinks are fattening

People who regularly consume too many sugary snacks and soft drinks, especially between meals often become overweight, it goes without saying. The reason sugary foods & soft drinks are associated with weight gain is that they don’t satisfy hunger, don’t keep people feeling full for long & leave people prone to over-eating. So when people come to their next meal, they will consume their normal meal’s worth of calories on top of the calories from the sugary foods. This can result in fat gain, especially if coupled with other patterns and factors, such as being accustomed to excessive portion sizes, a sedentary lifestyle & lack of physical activity.

What about low carb?

This may have it’s place for fat loss. If you’re getting energy the normal way, from carbs, then the body will use the glucose as a fuel, meaning that the fat reserves hardly get touched. The body can also store glucose temporarily in the form of glycogen within the muscles and liver. The glycogen reserves can be quickly released when the blood glucose is insufficient to fulfil energy requirements. If you don’t consume any carbs, eventually the glycogen reserves run dry and the body will start a variety of complex processes which will allow it to use the fat reserves directly. If carbs are omitted, eventually the body will enter a state called ketosis. Carb restrictive diets are employed for people who’re already overweight as a way to reduce body fat.

To round off

A healthy diet is not a question of cutting out carbs or cutting out fats, it’s about everything in the right balance and in sensible portions and proportions. Sources of carbs should be high in fiber or wholegrain, there should be lean protein which helps to satisfy hunger and plenty of fruit and veg. If you’re trying to lose body fat, then reducing the carb section of a meal to less than a third can be helpful for speeding it up. Hopefully by now, it should be loud and clear that it’s not one single nutrient that’s a demon responsible for all ills.

Summer and loneliness

I know this is a bit early in the year to be summer, but the early heat wave happening in England as of writing has reminded me of a few things about summer holidays. My social life is tumbleweed territory at the moment & I’ve been finding it painful. It’s been reminding me of summers from times of my life when I was very isolated. That’s why I’m talking about it this time of year.

Apart from the Christmas and new year period, the summer holidays must be the other peak time of year for loneliness. Many people look forward to summer and the hot weather but, if you’ve got little or no social life, it can be a miserable hell. I would even argue it can be THE loneliest time of year.

What makes summer so lonely?

If you walk around and you see large groups of friends and happy couples, people enjoying the beach, people having barbecues, people in the park, everyone appearing happy, summer romances it can really rub it in when you’re isolated and lack a social life. What’s worse, it can feel like you’re the ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD who’s feeling like that. At no time of year is that feeling any stronger than in summer.

What’s even worse is that it can feel even more like there’s no-one to talk to. After all, people are busy with their action-packed social lives, they have even less time. The last thing they want to hear is that someone’s lonely don’t they?

When I was younger in that situation I used to nick-name the summer holidays the summer ‘hell-o-days’. Being socially-isolated in summer is HELL for these reasons.

What factors dictate whether it’s heaven or hell?

If you’ve got no-one to meet-up with, if there’s nowhere to go where you can ump into people, if you’re on your own and doing things on your own not by choice, that’s just misery. If you’ve got people you can meet up with, if you know there’s events on that you can pop to, if you get to go out regularly and go to barbecues, then that’s heaven (though there are the social problems and loneliness in a crowd that can come with large groups but still, that’s better than being cooped in). If you regularly get the opportunity to meet and mix with people, then summer can be heaven. If not, it can be hell on earth. Having been in both situations I can draw comparisons. If the former scenario is true of you, the you’re not alone.

Feeling left out & excluded

Another thing that can make summer painful is if the above is combined with feeling left out. If you hear that there’s an event on, a barbecue, a party or what have you and you haven’t been notified by your friends, that left out feeling can be MILLIONS of times stronger than at ANY other time of year.

Feeling like you’re the only one

The worst thing about all loneliness and isolation is that it can make you can feel like you’re the only one in the whole world who feels like that. Not only do you feel lonely, it makes you feel like the only one in the world feeling that way. At no time if year could this be any more true than in summer.

Relief of the rain

Another experience of summer loneliness is feeling a great sense of relief when the storm clouds roll in. If you’re isolated, it can feel so much more peaceful when the rain comes. You don’t feel guilty of wasting the warm whether, you’re not exposed to people flaunting their amazing social lives, you don’t get that feeling you’re missing out, you no longer feel like you’re the only one. If you have a full life on the other hand, the perspective will be quite different.

Why some people say they dislike warm weather

Not liking heat might be one reason, but another more important reason might be having no social life, having it all rubbed in, having how you’re missing out rubbed in and worse, having no-one to talk to about how you’re feeling. That is torture, that is misery. Nobody wants to admit that they’re lonely, it’s something people will go to great lengths to keep hidden. What will people assume about me if they found out about my situation?

So you should distract yourself and stop thinking about it?

If you’re cooped-up in the house day after day and have no social life, trying not to think about it, distract yourself or ignore it is a bit like having itching powder put in your underwear and trying not to scratch. Distraction only works to a degree. If one could just simply ‘stop thinking about it’ then one would have done. Talking about it and normalizing the experience is what really helps.

Some hope; an example of summer loneliness acknowledged

On the radio a couple of years ago during one summer, they were going on as usual how the weather was great how there’s tons to do, about lots of things that can be done to make the most of the weather etc. What was also mentioned was that not everyone has people too meet up with to make the most of the weather, and that warm weather can make people who’re isolated feel particularly lonely. The station I was listening to said if you need anyone to talk to, we’re hear.Just the fact that there’s acknowledgement can really take the edge off.


The different degrees of being single

There are pros and cons of being single vs. being in a relationship. Everyone knows the main con is course loneliness. It’s one thing being single, but what about whether or not you even get the chance to mingle? It’s one thing being single and having an active social life, regularly getting the chance to meet & mix socially with people of the opposite sex, yet a totally different kettle of fish to never even get the opportunity to meet, interact with and mix socially with people of the opposite sex. The question I want to raise is, what factors influence how painful & frustrating being single is?

The best case scenario for a single person

The type of single life that you might enjoy is one where you have a good quality social life that gives you regular opportunity to meet & mix with people of the opposite sex & to meet new people; single but at least get to mingle;

  • you at least get to hang out socially with people of the opposite sex
  • you have opposite sex friends and acquaintances
  • you know people who know people you could meet people through,

You at least get the opportunity to ask people out & go on dates more frequently than once in an ice age. If that’s the case, then you probably won’t feel all that frustrated & dis-satisfied. If that’s the case, then you probably aren’t overly worried about being single forever & aren’t losing sleep over the thought (as in the latter scenario). You’ve got a satisfactory social life and have some sense of assurance that doors are open for you & sooner or later you’ll find someone. When people think of ‘free and single’ and when people in relationships romanticize about the single life, this is probably the sort of life that comes to mind & what they might be assuming you’re living.

The worst case scenario for a single person

The worst scenario is where not only are you single, but don’t even get the chance to mingle. The worst case is when;

  • You have a small social circle
  • You don’t have opposite sex friends & acquaintances
  • Everyone you know doesn’t know many people and are a ‘dead ends’ as far as meeting people is concerned, never or rarely bringing new people into the fold
  • you rarely or never get to meet new people your age
  • you rarely or never even get to meet new people of the opposite sex

You never get to ask people out on dates because you never even get meet people to ask out in the first place. If that’s the case, that’s not free and single, that’s plain shit, that’s is misery! If this is combined with having not dated in years or worse still, not having had a relationship before, then that’s just misery. If this is the case, then it’s no wonder you might be living in fear of being alone forever & losing sleep. If a person in this situation feels they have little control over it, even more so. That’s not happily single life, that’s a MISERABLE, frustrating hell! Let’s get to the meat (no metaphors intended) of the article.

The factors that influence the degree of loneliness and frustration for a single person

If someone is complaining about being lonely and is worried that there’s no-one out there who’ll like them, the degree to which they’re worried about this will be affected by the following factors;

  • How socially isolated they are
  • How much opportunity they have in their life to meet new people
  • Whether or not they get opportunities to meet and mix socially with people of the opposite sex, whether they even get the opportunity to mingle at all
  • Whether or not they have opposite sex friends
  • How long they’ve been single for
  • Whether or not they’ve even had a romantic relationship before
  • How much control they feel they have over their social circumstances

The reason people give platitudes to single people

If you complain about pain, loneliness or frustration of being single, or even if you complain about lack of friendship or not even getting the opportunity to meet mix socially with people of the opposite sex, people will often give platitudes such as ‘enjoy being single’, ‘don’t go looking’, ‘it’ll happen when the time’s right’ etc. Many of these are based on the assumption that your situation must be akin to the ‘best case’ scenario illustrated above. You must be free and single right? You’re partying all the time, have an active social life, have a big social circle, meeting loads of new people left right and center, getting to ask people out, going on the odd date, why would you be complaining? It often doesn’t occur to people that this might not be the case at all.


It’s one thing to be single and at least get the chance to mingle, to be ‘in the game’; e.g. to have the sort of social life that at least gives you the opportunity to meet, mix with, hang out with & ask out people of the opposite sex. It’s a totally different ball game to be completely ‘out the game’ & never even get the chance to mingle; e.g. you have a poor quality social life that doesn’t give you much or any opportunity to meet, mix with or hang out with people of the opposite sex your own age. It’s even worse if the latter scenario is combined with not having dated in years or even worse still, never having had a relationship before. If your circumstances are more akin to the worst case scenario illustrated, then you’re quite right in believing that improving the quality of your social life will make your situation significantly less painful & frustrating. Being single and never getting the chance to mingle is a legitimate reason you maybe unhappy with your social life. If your social circumstances are like that, you’re well within your right to want to change things for the better, it’s not feeling entitled to want better social circumstances. Many say they want a relationship when really just simply having more opportunity to mingle can make all the difference.

How satisfactory is your social life?

There’s far more to the quality of social life than just whether or not you have people to hang out with. What’s satisfactory for you & what meets your needs is ultimately subjective and will depend on your preferences. All the factors talked about here will impact on how satisfied you are with your social life. All the reasons below are perfectly legitimate reasons to want to improve your social life.

Likely reasons you may be dis-satisfied with your social life

  • You’re frequently on your own when you don’t want to be
  • You often end up doing things on your own due to not having a choice. Seeing large groups of friends or couples around you in public makes you wish you had people to do things with
  • When you’re in the mood for going out in the evenings you find yourself faced with the stark choice of going out alone or being cooped-up at home alone, you’d prefer things to be different
  • Your social circle is small and limited, you would like more friends & simply want to expand your social circle
  • Perhaps many of the friends you have are flaky, unreliable, difficult to get in touch with and make plans with. You would like people in your circle who’re more reliable and less flaky
  • You like meeting new people yet almost never get to do so through people you know. People you know don’t know people themselves, don’t go out, don’t have gatherings, don’t bring others to tag along to things, don’t parties. You’d prefer to have a have the sort of social life that brings new people into the fold on a more regular basis
  • You rarely or never get to meet, mix with and socialize with people of the opposite sex your own age. You’d simply like opportunity to do so on a more regular basis
  • You don’t have a lot in common with existing friends/don’t have enough friends on your wavelength, & would simply like to know more such people in your social circle
  • Possibly you don’t like loud bars, but are currently faced with the stark choice of either hanging out in that environment, or being socially-isolated. You’d prefer to know people you can meet in quieter settings
  • It could be possible that you’re the sort of person that doesn’t like big groups and prefers smaller groups or one-to-one settings. You’re currently faced with the choice of that setting or no social contact at all. You’d like to meet people with similar preferences
  • Perhaps you even end up hanging out with people who don’t treat you very well, who put you in uncomfortable situations or who you don’t even trust. You only hang out with such people due a limited social circle & a lack of alternative options

You find yourself on your own more often than you’d like

You often have no-one to visit or hang out with in the evenings. Maybe you find yourself doing things alone because you have no other choice. This scenario could result from being in a new area, structural changes to your existing social circle (people moving away, setting down and becoming busy), existing friends being highly flaky and unreliable (see below) & lacking a social circle entirely. Another reason could be a lack of places & regularly occurring events in your local that you to can just drop into without having to go somebody. Regardless of the reasons, the result is the same, you’re on your own without social company more than you want, you’re cooped-up at home more often than you want to be.

Your friends are flaky & unreliable

You find people you know are consistently difficult to get in contact with, cancel at the last minute, flake out & become uncontactable or turn up hours after they’ve agreed to meet you leaving you on your own. This happens consistently. Some of this behavior is just plain unacceptable. Perhaps one of the reasons you might bother meeting up with people who’re like this is because you have a limited social network & feel you have a little choice. You’d simply like to have friends that you can count on.

You have a limited, ‘dead end’ social circle

Perhaps you want to meet new people, you currently have a small social circle & want to expand it. You know that people often meet new people through the friends they already know. You’re in the frustrating situation whereby not only do you have few friends, but everyone you know has limited social horizons themselves or lives in a bubble. Perhaps they don’t go out, don’t organize get-togethers, parties, nor invite new people to tag along, nor introduce you to new people. You’d prefer there to be people in your social circle who are ‘social connectors’; e.g. people who know other people, people who you could meet other people through, who will invite others to tag along, who will bring new people into the fold & give you the opportunity to meet new people on a more regular and consistent basis. You would prefer to have that more vibrant sort of social life.

You don’t have a lot in common/same wavelength/stimulating conversations

Even if you do have people you hang out with, you can still be dis-satisfied if there is no-one on your wavelength in your social circle. If the people you’re with don’t share similar interests, don’t have a lot in common, or if they don’t see things similar to you, you probably won’t find them the most stimulating of company, nor will you find the conversations very stimulating. If that describes all or most your friends your age, it’s reasonable that you’d want to find people who’re on the same plane as you.

You would like to mix with people of the opposite sex

If you are single, and particularly if you’ve been single for a long time, it’s understandable that you’d like the opportunity to meet, mix with & hang out with people of the opposite sex your age range. Maybe you don’t know many or any people of the opposite sex in your social circle and worse still, tying in with the point above, rarely or never get the opportunity to meet, interact with and mix socially new people of the opposite sex of the opposite sex. It’s one thing to be single yet have the opportunity to mix with & hang out with people of the opposite sex on a regular basis, but never even getting the opportunity to meet & mix socially, being on a totally separate planet; that just plain sucks, that really is rubbish. If this situation applies to you the it’s understandable that you’d want to change it.

You have friends who only hang out in places you don’t like

Another circumstance that can be unsatisfactory is when you do have friends, but where your only option is to hang out in settings you don’t particularly enjoy. Perhaps you prefer quieter meeting places to loud bars and clubs, or you’d prefer to hang out in quieter less intimidating bars than the ones they hang out with. Perhaps you’re sick and tired of drinking and want a change. You’re often faced with a choice of either being in that environment or being isolated and shut in due to a lack of alternative options. You would like to have people to hang out with who prefer to hang out in different settings.

Choice of ‘toxic’ friends or no company at all

Some people are in a situation whereby they don’t have many friends, and the friends they do have are toxic. By ‘toxic’ friends, I mean people that treat you bad, that are hyper-critical, that are manipulative, that make you feel guilty when they don’t get their way, that only meet-up when they want something from you, people who show you up and humiliate you, who put you in uncomfortable situations, who try to sabotage your romantic interests or otherwise don’t treat you right. Perhaps the only reason you hang out with such people due to a lack of choices, you either have a small social network, or you want to go out but the only people in your social network available are like this. If this situation is the case, you deserve better. This is a perfectly legitimate reason to want to meet new people. You deserve to have better choices of people to hang out with.


If one or more of the above describes your social circumstances or applies to you, then you damn well deserve better. All of the above are signs that your social needs are not being met & shouldn’t be ignored. Have you noticed how a lot of the above signs of dis-satisfaction stem from having a limited social circle & through feeling like you don’t have any other options? As we meet people who’re more compatible with us, we tend to naturally drift apart from those we don’t have much in common with, or those that don’t make time for us, and those that don’t treat us well. If any of the above apply to you, it’s not surprising you maybe unhappy & dis-satisfied. Never let anyone tell you that you’ve got no right to be dis-satisfied or you don’t deserve to have a better quality of social life. Everything above is a legitimate reason to want to take action.

An example of lack of empathy; impatient customers

On Wednesday night down at the local pub, there was an occasion when I went to the bar to order a pint. The bar girl was on the phone dealing with bookings, since this pub is also a B&B. What’s more, she was the ONLY member of staff in the pub. Not only that, people from the pool team were starting to mis-behave as well. What made me cross was when other guys who were waiting to be served started complaining, saying the bar person was incompetent, swearing. I told them the pub was also a b&b, that the reason the bar person was on the phone was that bookings were being handled, that there’s only one member of staff handling everything, and to have a bit patience. I told them it’s not her fault, that there should be more staff on duty, that it’s the fault of management for deciding to have just one person on duty. The typical English business obsession of cutting staff to a skeleton crew is. It’s not the fault of the person serving, it’s the fault of the cretin who decided that cutting staff numbers is a good idea to save money. That’s a rant for another day.

Why am I saying this?

Because I’m aware of what it’s like to be in the position the bar person was in at the time. I’ve been in customer-serving roles in situations where I’ve been left on my own, had to deal with phone calls, and had customers waiting to be served and the worry that they’re getting impatient. That this person might be feeling like this was on my mind at the time.

Why would people get impatient? What was on their minds?

First, in their defense, they probably didn’t even know that this pub was a b&b, and assumed the girl was just gassing to her boyfriend. I reassured them that this wasn’t the case, telling them she’s handling bookings. Their reaction changed slightly. Still they seemed impatient. That’s what bothered me.

Perhaps they haven’t had experiences of being in similar situations. Perhaps those people waiting hadn’t had much in the way of struggles in their life to be able to put themselves in the position. The fact that they hadn’t even noticed that there was one person serving juggling all that responsibility.

How I responded

I reassured the person serving us that it wasn’t her fault when she apologized. I reassured her that it’s a stressful position to be in, with customers waiting, dealing with booking and people in the other bar starting to misbehave. Still, I find it shocking how people are not aware of things like this.

If service in any place is slow..

First, take note of the numbers of staff that are on duty. If there’s just ONE person having to take care of multiple serving points, then it’s not surprising. Second, are they caught up with other duties? If the place is busy and service is slow, it’s because there’s not enough staff on duty. It’s not t individual members of staff to blame. It’s usually poor management cost-cutting decisions. Do take all this into account and do reassure the front-line staff that they’re doing a good job.

To end

Having suffered from debilitating social anxiety through much of my youth & having struggled in workplace situations has made me more able to put myself into other people’s shoes. I’m thinking that people living the easy life of always having been confident, always having had whatever they want, whenever they wanted has lead some people to become spoiled.

The moral of the story, patience is a virtue.

Why alcohol isn’t a solution to social anxiety

To shy and socially-anxious people, alcohol can feel like some liberating magic wonder
potion. It helps you think of things to say, it helps get rid of self-consciousness, it makes it
easier to speak up, it helps get rid of unpleasant thoughts of being the only one feeling the way you do, it helps you to speak your mind. What more could you want?

When people are socially-anxious they may fear experiencing the effects of anxiety, such as appearing visibly nervous, people noticing signs of anxiety and nervousness, doing things wrong, mind going blank, not being able to get their words out & other demons. These things are feared because we’re worried that people will judge us, think badly of us, reject and
dislike us. It seems perfectly logical & understandable to try and prevent any of these things from happening within social situations.

Alcohol as a ‘safety behavior’

In light of the possibility of that happening, socially anxious people may go out of their way to prevent anxious feelings, hide signs of nervousness or anxiety, try to perform perfectly, avoid quietness and try to stop the very or even avoid the social situations entirely (safety behaviors). This all seems very reasonable and understandable, but, there’s a dirty little catch.

The ‘benefits’ of alcohol in social anxiety

Alcohol appears to do a grand job of preventing those undesired effects of anxiety;

  • it helps prevent our mind from going bank & helps us to think of things to say
  • it makes it easier to speak and project our voice, it makes that tension go away
  • it helps prevent us from jumbling our words up (at least initially)
  • it helps get rid of those signs of nervousness that we don’t want people noticing

In addition it can also help us feel less self conscious, to forget unpleasant upsetting thoughts such as the thought that we’re the only one experiencing these feelings. What a wonderful little liquid miracle (or so it appears).

The vicious circle of social anxiety

Social anxiety is a very devious, deceptive, counter-intuitive little beast. The truth is, the very things that we employ to protect ourselves from negative judgments might actually be part of the problem. A big part of what keeps social anxiety going are the core beliefs we’ve picked-up about being seen as anxious, quiet, shy or awkward. The trouble is, by trying to avoid anxiety, it’s effects on our performance, and people noticing, we actually keep these beliefs intact. Common beliefs include;

  • That people always notice signs of nervousness, anxiety or social mistakes
  • That people always think badly if they notice nervousness or if you make a mistake
  • That if people comment on signs of nervousness, anxiety, quietness or social blunders, they think something mean by it
  • That if people do think badly of it they will do so for a long time
  • That if anyone does judge you, reject you or give you a hard time they’re somehow right & it’s ‘proof’ that you’re no good

Whilst employing various safety behaviors might make you feel you’ve narrowly escaped a negative impression or rejection, the reality is they’re doing nothing to help improve your
social confidence.

How safety behaviors keep social anxiety intact

If you’re artificially preventing anxiety, or doing things to prevent people notice the visible signs, and hindrances, you never get the chance to find out that perhaps people might not be noticing as much as you think, that perhaps people might not care as much about your gaffs and slip-ups as you imagine they do, perhaps people don’t care or think as much about nervousness as you imagine, that even if they comment, perhaps they don’t mean anything bad by it. If you’re employing safety behaviors you don’t get to learn any of that. As a
consequence, you fear these things such as people noticing, people thinking badly or people passing comment about these things in future just as much as you did before.

There’s also a subconscious element of social anxiety. Some situations are anxiety provoking because the lower brain has learned to put you in fight flight mode over time whenever you’re in those situations. Safety behaviors also help to keep this conditioned response

In order to overcome social anxiety and break the cycle

We’ve got to learn and have experiences that prove;

  • That maybe people are probably not noticing signs of nervousness and anxiety as much as we imagine they are
  • That even if people do notice, they probably not thinking as badly about it as you
    imagine they do
  • That people might not care as much about a slip up or mistake as you imagine they do
  • That if people comment on things like quietness, shyness, nervousness or awkwardness, they don’t necessarily mean anything bad by it
  • That even if we don’t make the best first impression that they will think badly of us for all time
  • That if people do judge you or give you a hard time for it, it’s not a reflection of you

It’s only through gradually giving up our crutches that we can give the opportunity to learn that any of this might be the case. Paradoxically, when you become comfortable with the fact that you’ll feel anxious or nervous, that you’ll make mistakes and that people might notice, you’ll feel less pressure not to be anxious and hence be less anxious.

Even if you logically know that people won’t reject you or that being nervous and awkward is not that bad, our lower brain still registers those situations as dangerous & makes us anxious when in them. A major part of overcoming anxiety is to reverse the conditioning process by putting ourselves in those situations that were anxiety provoking, staying in them until the anxiety dies down. We have to do that REPEATEDLY. Using safety behaviors including
using alcohol prevents this re-learning process from taking place.

Does alcohol give you confidence?

It should be clear by now that the confidence you get from alcohol is an illusion. Whilst it’s true that it can give a much-needed taste of the freedom of confidence, it’s not real confidence. When you put yourself in those very same situation again when you’re sober, the
situation is still just as anxiety-provoking as it was before. You’re still just as uncomfortable about the prospect of feeling anxious, of people noticing your signs of nervousness and
anxiety, of undesired effects of it such as your mind going blank, of your voice playing up, of your words getting jumbled up. Paradoxically, when you can learn that these things happening are generally OK & become comfortable with the thought of these things happening, you’ll feel less anxious in those situations.

Alcohol’s Dirty Tricks

Too much alcohol makes you stupid right? It gives the impression that it’s making you clever. Alcohol has an initial stimulant effect (speeding up/making you chatty/making it easier to think of things to say) and a depressant (slowing-down/ stupefying/impairing) effect. It’s that initial stimulant effect that can trick people. It’s the euphoria that prevents you from identifying the point. It’s very powerful. It’s a very clever trick.

The stimulant effect only lasts for 1 or 2, maximum of 3 drinks. In greater doses cognitive function declines below sober levels, we start becoming stupid as evidence from a taxi office at 3 am on a Saturday night will illustrate. The filthy tricks are;

  • the initial stimulant effect can increase our performance beyond sober levels
  • the euphoric feelings make us think that those initial effects are going to get even  better with more drinks (this is a LIE).
  • We’re not aware of the point when our cognitive ability has declined below our sober level of cognitive ability. The euphoric effects trick us into thinking that another drink will make them better

What a lying little bugger drug it is. The euphoric uplifting feelings carry on with greater doses, but our judgment & actual ability gets impaired. It is the euphoric effects that trick us into thinking that another drink will make us be even better.

The dirty trick that’s played is that we may not be aware of the point where our cognitive function is starting to decline. It’s such a dirty trick because in small doses, alcohol does have benefits, but in larger, the effects are very negative. The thing is, when we’re drinking, it’s INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT to be aware of the point where we’re becoming stupid. Sometimes when we reach that point we’re convinced that the stimulant effect will keep on getting better. This is the illusion.

The sweet spot

There will always be a point in a drinking session when we’re dis-inhibited enough to be ourselves (the desired effect), yet still able to function.

Why we carry on drinking

When those initial euphoric feelings of the first drink kick in we think ‘ah, another drink will make these feelings better’. We drink, feel better, drink another one, then think another one will make us feel even better. We can drink beyond the sweet spot. Now;

  • the euphoria and sense of confidence might improve, BUT
  • the cognitive function, declines with more drinks AND
  • our awareness of when we’re getting stupid is shutting down

The reality is, we are feeling so euphoric by the time our cognitive function starts to decline, that we’re not aware of when we’ve drank past the point where it has declined to stupefying territory. We think that another drink will make those initial stimulant effects even better. It’s an illusion.

What does alcohol give us?

What we perceive as our sweet spot will depend on what we think alcohol gives us & what we are using it for. We find it hard to talk to people, think of things to say, feel self-conscious and want to feel less so. There are a huge variety of reasons we can drink beyond the sweet spot.

To round off

When you’re next drinking, it might be helpful to be aware of the point where you’re becoming more stupid than you are sober. There’s a trade-off between loosening of inhibitions and declining cognitive ability. It’s incredibly difficult to recognize the point during a drinking episode, but if you can, that should be of great help. If you drink beyond the sweet spot, I want you to be aware that it’s playing a dirty trick on you. It’s no longer a friend.