|Okay. Maybe don't socialize quite this way!|
So take a wild guess what I'm going to talk about today.
I would recommend that everyone try to make sure they've got plans with friends at least once a week. It does not have to be anything grand or spectacular. You do not have to go out to dinner or to a play or do anything expensive. But I would suggest you do something with friends.
Maybe it's because it's too easy for me to slip into hermit-mode (for real, laziness is a thing with me and often it's easier for me to just laze around and read). I push myself to do stuff. If a friend invites me out somewhere, more often than not, I accept (unless I have something else planned).
Over the winter, I got together with my friend from work, her husband, and people she knew from work for trivia night at the local bar. We had a blast. I met people on the other teams--and while I can't remember most of their names, I know them by sight. I became friends with the people on my team. Even on the nights we bombed, we had a great time. Since it was the dead of winter, it was kind of a cheerful and fun thing to do midweek. (This place is hopping during the summer, so trivia was an ingenious way to get more business during the slower months.)
Now, a different friend from work and I are going in on a CSA fish share. Actually, it's her, her mother, and me. We figure out which night we're all free, get together and cook up the fish. We eat a good meal, usually invite at least one other person to join us, and relax. We don't freak out over cooking the fish the very best way (though there is a lot of discussion about what we want--fish tacos? Bouillabaisse? Grilled? Baked?). I joke that it's the one night of the week where I eat a proper meal. Not entirely true--I certainly eat proper meals at home, but let's face it, they're for one person, so they tend to be simpler. These dinners have the benefit of not only very freshly caught fish, but also fresh vegetables and/or salad, bread or rice, and a delicious dessert.
I really look forward to regular things like this. They aren't fancy but they are fun. If you're having a bad day or a bad week or a bad year, it's easy to stay home and not deal with people. It's also a mistake. Don't be a martyr. Getting out of your own head can only help if you're going through a bad patch, and going out and socializing is fun when things are going well.
So, my advice is to do something with friends on the regular. Play cards. Run. Eat. Play some sort of sport. Do something.
Sometimes we get so caught up in what things cost and Using Our Time Wisely In Ways That Require All Of The Words To Be Capitalized that we forget why we're careful with our resources. We're careful for our own well-being; it adds to our quality of life and to our security. Well, taking time to socialize also contributes to our own well-being. It's fun. And we do need it. (Even surly beasts like me.)