So catching up with friends is good for you, but what kind socialising should you be doing? Kate James says we need to consider our own personality profiles as individuals before we dive into commitments.
For extroverts, Kate says, it’s important to spend time with others. Spending time socialising is what fuels and feeds an extroverted personality.
For introverts, on the other hand: ‘[They need] time on their own and quite often you find that with an introvert, the extra pressure to be social becomes a negative, it’s something else to feel guilty about.’
We may not fall neatly into either of these categories, so Kate suggests asking yourself: What do you need more of?
‘Check in,’ she says. ‘Don’t just make the assumption that more socialising is the answer. It’s more a matter of understanding yourself.’
It’s useful to think about who you’re hanging out with. Are they important in your life and do they make it easy for you? Kate says friendship shouldn’t feel like an obligation.
‘I’ve had clients who have said that they had to move away from some of the more demanding friendships, and prioritise friendships where people understand that there are other priorities and don’t take it personally,’ Kate says.
Tom Rath, one of the authors of Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, says data shows, ‘A person needs to spend six hours a day socialising to have a good day.’ This includes ‘time at work, on the phone, instant messaging, e-mailing, and time with family at home.’
But don’t let the numbers overwhelm you. Kate James says it’s ‘balancing act’ and ‘it’s important not to put yourself under huge amounts of pressure,’ and turn it into a burden. The real key she says is to plan ahead and be proactive.
‘It’s good to be the person who initiates an event, because everyone’s busy,’ she says.
‘So don’t make the assumption that because you haven’t heard from your friends they’re not keen to catch up. It’s often just that people aren’t getting to it – even though it’s a priority for them too.
‘Pick a date, schedule something in and send out the invite.’