“What’s a good way to stop feeling left out in a world of couples? I’m heading to a picnic in a little while, party of one. At least I am going, proud of myself for that!”
One of the members of my wonderful Thriving After Divorce Facebook group posted this a few weeks back and it struck a nerve. When you’re divorced, it can feel like everyone but you is coupled up. Never is this more in your face than when you show up to a gathering on your own.
I applaud her for her “party of one.” Going solo can be hard after years of being a twosome, but it gets easier with practice. And, as my FB friend discovered, putting yourself out there makes you feel good about yourself. Also, there’s nothing wrong with bringing a friend along.
It’s Time to Reclaim Your Social Life
Divorce changes everything, including your social life. You can make it a positive change by giving yourself a variety of opportunities to do enjoyable things with nice people. Reclaiming your social life will add immensely to your quality of life during your divorce recovery and beyond. Here are some suggestions for filling up your social calendar:
1. Rekindle Your Friendships
We tend to prioritize time spent with spouses and children over maintaining strong connections with friends during our marriages. That’s normal, and most people don’t take it personally. Now’s the time to reengage. Don’t wait for them to call you. Reach out and reconnect with friends you want to keep in your life for the long haul.
2. Embrace the New
Now is the perfect time to experiment with trying a new hobby, taking a class or joining a social activity. Whether it’s ballroom dancing, a cooking class or a book club, you’re bound to meet plenty of new and interesting people. Even if you can’t gather in person yet, plenty of groups offer online options.
I’ve found that MeetUp.com has groups on nearly every topic you can think of. You’ll find photography buffs, theater goers, meditation enthusiasts, kayakers, contra dancers, board game fans, knitters, and hundreds more. If you’re serious about making new friends, sign up for Bumble BFF (a dating app with a friend feature that helps you connect for friendship only) and find a hiking buddy, travel partner, or dinner companion.
3. Share Yourself
If you aren’t already, volunteering is a fantastic way to get involved and be a part of your community. It’s very healing to help out even when you’re hurting yourself. There are several sites that connect volunteers to opportunities. Here are a few I like: Volunteer Match; Idealist and All for Good.
4. Run the Show
You can also expand your social life by being the host. When I was newly divorced and feeling socially isolated, I created monthly events called Deb’s Happenings. Each month I planned an activity and invited my friends and family. I knew not everyone would come every time–that wasn’t the point. For each outing, I had a different mix of people who were interested in the activity and available on the date. I also told everyone to bring friends if they liked. I did everything from a day hike, to a backyard movie night, to bowling (photo above), to a poker night, to making dinner for guests at a local homeless shelter. Everything I planned was easy, fun and inexpensive. I had a blast!
5. Check Your Mindset
Being single doesn’t mean being “less than” coupled people. Our culture reinforces the belief that we are somehow incomplete without a partner, but we don’t have to buy into it. Sure, single people get lonely but guess what? So do married people.
You can decide to appreciate being single. Enjoy the luxury of alone time to heal, strengthen your sense of self and self-worth, and get clear on what you want out of life. Relish your freedom to pursue your interests and live your life on your terms without apologizing or asking for permission.
You deserve a rich, satisfying and fun social life. Go out and get it!
- Join my new Thriving After Divorce Facebook Group!
- Get a free copy of my top-selling book Something Gained: 7 Shifts to Be Stronger, Smarter & Happier After Divorce for tools and insights to recover, heal and thrive! (You just pay for shipping.)