Most people find the whole concept of organizing your social life odd. Organizing your business life makes sense, organizing your files makes sense, but why would your deliberately organize your social life? Isn’t being spontaneous and letting it happen naturally the whole idea of a social life?
Well, no. The idea is to have a rich and meaningful social life. To meet people, build relationships and enjoy them. This will happen naturally if you have a ton of free time to just spend it lying on the beach and hanging out with people.
But if you’re like the vast majority of people, and you a have a busy, dynamic life, it can be very easy to let your social life sleep through your fingers and either not have one, or not have one you really enjoy. This is where consciously organizing it comes in. Here are my essential guidelines to get your social life organized.
1. Make it a priority.
Things which don’t get a lot of attention from us are usually the ones which do not seem urgent or a priority. And meeting with friends, going to parties or doing a family picnic will often seem this way. But if you constantly push back your social life in favor of your business rapports, you quickly end up without a social life, and regretting it. So the first big step is deciding that your social life is important and you will not ignore it.
2. Keep track of social events.
Once you make your social life a priority, it makes sense to put it where all priorities go: in your agenda. The main idea is to write down your key social events, just like you write your business meetings. I actually write them in the same agenda. This way, you can prevent yourself from over-scheduling your agenda, forgetting about social events and ending up missing that important birthday, even though you had the good intention to attend it.
3. Understand the value of each relationship.
Not all your relationships are as valuable, not all the people in your social circle are as enjoyable to interact with. And if you want a fulfilling social life, they need time in correlation with this. But it can often be a challenge, as we all have that semi-annoying acquaintance who wants to meet us all the time. Organizing your social life also involves saying no sometimes to this kind of people, and focusing more on interacting with the truly important people in our lives.
4. Mix people.
If you commonly find yourself in the situation of not seeming able to meet all the people you want because you have too many things to do, one way to get out of this is to bring people together. So instead of meeting friends one at a time, meet 3 of them at once, introduce them and interact with all of them. It’s not as personal as a 1-on-1 interaction, but it can still be quite personal (especially if you mix the right people), and it’s time effective.
5. Put frequency before length.
The best way to build and maintain a solid relationship with a person is to meet with her or interact with her frequently, instead of doing it for long periods of time. A 30 minutes coffee together every week can have a much more powerful psychological effect on your relationships than a whole week together every six months. Keep this in mind and schedule your social interactions accordingly.
When I started applying these guidelines to my social life, I managed to gradually transform it from a mess into one of the most fulfilling parts of my life. I now deliberately meet with friends, acquaintances and business partners almost every day, and I consciously cultivate my social circle.
When you dedicate time, energy and attention in a smart way to your social life, you discover just how important a good social life can be. Constantly pushing it back because of work or other responsibilities, in hope of better days, is generally just a very bad life decision.