After more than a year of lockdown, it’s likely you’re itching to get back to your old “normal.” While the post-pandemic version of normal looks different than before, it’s still possible to embrace new experiences, try new social opportunities, and get back to meeting new people.
Interested in getting back into the social world but no sure where to start?
Here are Mai Tai’s Top 10 tips for re-entering the social world post lockdown.
1) You’re in good company.
Just like you, many are finding themselves fighting off nerves when it comes to getting back out to socialise. It’s important to remember you’re not alone. Even if someone may be belly up to the bar seemingly without a worry, it’s likely they’re experiencing the same apprehensions as you are.
2) Go at your own pace.
There isn’t one “right way” to get back to socializing post lockdown. With new rules and things to keep in mind, it’s natural to have your guard up as you ease back onto the social scene. You’re re-entering society, which is anxiety-inducing enough, so go at your own pace.
3) Set your intentions beforehand.
Check in with yourself and think about what you need and what you’re looking for. When it comes to socializing, is your goal to meet new friends? Maybe you’re keen to give dating a go? Or you just miss the post-work banter with coworkers? No wrong answer here.
4) Make a game plan.
If you know a vague plan will add to your post lockdown anxiety, set concrete plans. Even something as small as setting a date, place, and even an outfit (sadly the sweatpants lockdown look may not cut it) can take away one piece of the stress that comes with socialising post lockdown.
5) Ask about comfort levels.
Whether you’re meeting up with someone you’ve never met or meeting friends from work for happy hour, ask comfort levels beforehand to avoid wondering if you crossed an invisible line. Are they more comfortable eating outdoors or grabbing a drink at a rooftop bar? Would they rather go to a quiet pub over a crowded club?
6) Share your comfort levels, too.
After lock down, the thought of being social may intimidate you enough to make you want to stay curled up on the couch one more weekend. Sharing your comfort levels, while also accepting theirs, helps you get that connection we’re all craving without compromising what you feel is safe at this time.
7) Think of conversation starters.
We all have that one hobby or interest we picked up during lockdown. Come to the table prepped with a few conversation starters in hand. After all, after a lockdown where our social interactions took place through a screen, it may take some time to dust off the cobwebs.
8) Don’t be afraid to make the first move.
If you’re ready to get out, take charge. Send the email or the text and make the first reach. It’s likely others are nervous to make the first move as well, but if nobody makes the move, nothing happens. Press “send” and put your phone down. Chances are you’ll come back to a resounding “yes,” and worst case you hit radio silence and try again.
9) Take a deep breath.
As you wait for the tube, take a breath (or two) and let the nerves fall away as best as you can.
10) Try to enjoy!
Remember that you (and most of the world) have been waiting for this post lockdown socialising for a long time. Try your best to enjoy it. Though it may feel awkward or uncomfortable at first as we all recover from life behind a Zoom call, it’ll get better and better each night.