It is all too easy for our social life and family time to end up as the ‘thing we do when everything else is done’. And yet if people were asked on their death bed, what they wished they’d done more of in their life - very few people would say ‘worked more and cleaned the house more’...
So how does it happen that so often they get squeezed in to our busy agendas. For most people, our friends and family are important to us and so how can we make the most of this area of our lives?
Understand your own needs
Take time to understand your own needs with relation to our social lives - everyone is different and we don’t all enjoy the same things. If you are busy with work and then end up socialising in a way that exhausts you, this will only add more stress and pressure into your life, not enhance it.
One key factor is understanding whether you are more introverted or extroverted. There is a lot of myth about these preferences, that introverts prefer their own company and extroverts and fun, friendly and love to party. This is not strictly true, so it’s important to know the difference and where you fit. The question to ask yourself is - ‘When I need to recharge my energy, do I prefer to be with other people or alone?’. Introvert/Extrovert is more to do with what gives us and drains our energy than how much we like people.
Learn more about how to manage your energy threshold in Karen & John’s no 1 best selling book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever.
If you recharge your energy by being alone, you are more introverted. This means that you will generally be happier and healthier socialising in small groups with people you know intimately or with significant others. It’s important to plan time when you can be in your own sometimes.
If you recharge your energy by being with other people then your are more extroverted. This means that being around other people gives you energy, and the more extroverted you are, the more people you need around you.
This is why after a tough day at the office, some people want to go out partying whereas others just want to get home. So know your own needs and work with them, if you work against them you will wear yourself out.
Your social circle
How wide is your social circle? If you are more introverted you will prefer to have a smaller circle of close friends who you know well and trust. Big groups of people you don’t know will be stressful for you if you put yourself in those situations too often. You will prefer quiet bars and restaurants where you can talk properly.
If you are more extroverted you will enjoy a large and varied group of acquaintances and friends. You will prefer busy, buzzing places with lots of opportunities to meet new people. You will find seeing the same group of people too often a bit dull and unstimulating.
Often opposites attract so it is very common for partners to have different preferences. This can be stimulating and challenging for partners and it can also contribute to stress and communication difficulties. The important thing to remember is that these are just preferences and not to make unhelpful judgements about the other person.
If you are opposites, find a way of communicating with each other so that you can manage your social life and work out how you can compromise so that both people get their needs met.
Questions for consideration and discussion with Partners
• Do you recharge your batteries by being alone or by being with other people? What does your partner prefer?
• Remember we are not either introvert or extrovert, so where on this scale would you both put yourselves?
Introvert -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Extrovert
• Do you prefer a few close friends or a wide and varied social circle?
• Do you prefer quiet places where you can talk or busy buzzing places with lots of opportunities to meet new people?
• What is a balance which will work for both of you?
The key in a relationship is to be open about your needs and wants, and also to respect the other. Together you can work out compromises that support you both. For example if you are more introverted and your partner is more extroverted, you could decide to go to one important social event which will be stimulating and busy this week (so a stretch for you) and they can go to one other on their own, while you have a night in reading your favourite book. Problems mainly occur when partners try to second guess each other or mind read the needs of the other person.
How real are your relationships? Take the real relationship test to find out and discover ways to transform them.
What’s your work life balance type? Have you and your partner or friends take the quiz and then compare your similarities and differences.
Watch our short video on how you can create a better work life balance today.
Blog Photo by Ben Duchac on Unsplash
Founder of Monkey Puzzle and an INLPTA NLP Master Trainer, Karen is also a UKCP registered Psychotherapist and author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World. Her new book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever is out now.
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