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Are Married People Lonelier than Single People?

Are Married People Lonelier than Single People?

 

A recent study published in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships examined the relationships with friends, neighbors, and extended family members, and compared the connections that single people had versus married couples. 

They found that on average, single people spend more time connecting with friends, neighbors, and relatives than married people.

Single people are more likely to give help to, receive help from, and stay in touch with siblings, friends, parents and neighbors than those who are married.

In fact, even if someone has a divorce, they will still spend less time with friends and neighbors, suggesting that the effects of a less social lifestyle can last beyond marriage.

(And maybe we should all be reaching out to our friends who have just gone through a divorce - they might need the company more than they know!)

The study results were able to rule out other factors, like age, kids, education, and income.

So why are married couples so antisocial?

The authors of the study have a few ideas:

  •  People believe that their husband/wife is their soulmate, and should fulfill all social needs
  • Single people may need to make more effort to fulfill their social needs since there is no one to socialize with at home
  • Another theory? Maybe this is another one we can blame on our busy, modern society!

Married people might feel that by the time work/volunteering/the gym/whatever is caught up with (which is never), there is barely time left over to put into a good marriage relationship.

What do you think?

To see the study, check out this link:

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0265407515597564

 

If you are married, and worried that you are socializing enough, The Newlywed Handbook (written by the editors of www.thenest.com), has some advice about double dating for married couples:

 

Turn friendly casual friends into new couple friends 

Do you know any cool couples who might be fun to hang out with? These could be friends-of-friends, friends from work, or volunteering, or even neighbors. 

See how you all might enjoy hanging out by starting with a fun activity that gives you lots to talk about, like an "Escape Room", or a ghost tour, or a Teppanyaki - style Japanese restaurant.

Make sure both genders enjoy the company

At first, either the girls or the guys will dominate the conversations and planning - likely the person who set up the connection. But with a bit of effort, you can all enjoy good bonds with new friends at the same time.

The group time will be more satisfying if the girls and the guys get along great - so if the husbands know each other through work, the ladies should eventually make an effort to email each other, and meet for lunch or coffee without the guys too.

Expand your group again!

Four people at a dinner party is great! Three couples is even more fun! If you get four couples - eight people - now you can use your full dishes set from your registry! 

 

Are married people lonelier than single people

 

Make sure to check out our other blog post, "Social tips for Couples"!

 

Do you think married people are lonelier than single people?

 

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Simple Ways to be a Good Neighbour

Simple Ways to be a Good Neighbour

 Simple Ways to be a Good Neighbour

There is a known rule in the community-building playbook, "Start with Petunias".

If you want to transform your neighbourhood into the kind of thriving, safe, attractive, and pleasant community, it's best to start small. Plant flowers. 
Here are seven more small, simple things you can do to make your neighbourhood amazing:

 

1. Spend More Time in Your Front Yard or Front Step  

Jay Walljasper, in his book, "The Great Neighborhood Book", describes sitting on your front stoop a

"great city pastime that has become endangered", and notes that some historians feel that when we spend more time in the backyards, instead of our front yards, we are decreasing our connection with our neighbours. 

What are some ways to pass time in our front porch or steps? Watch the world go by, read the newspaper, have a beer, and wave at your neighbours! 

 

2. Go for Neighbourhood Walks  

You know that quote about how showing up is 99% of the effort you must put in? By strolling your neighbourhood, you are showing up, and that does a lot.

Not only is this good for your health, but it's good for the health of your community. When a community has locals taking regular walks, it is like having a neighbourhood patrol. An active and engaged neighbourhood is a neighbourhood that is monitored and safe - criminals usually prefer to go somewhere more quiet and deserted looking. 

 

3. Welcome New Neighbours

An old-fashioned tradition worth reviving! Drop by with a basket of muffins and introduce yourself.  Share helpful information about the neighbourhood. 

 

4. Celebrate Holidays and Seasons  

It's easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life, but the holidays and seasons are a good chance to be thoughtful and to brighten your community. 

The Great Neighborhood Book has many suggestions for ways to embrace the holidays and seasons; 

  • Swap seedlings from your garden in the spring
  • Organize a special trick-or-treat experience for the children at Halloween
  • Coordinate Christmas decorations around the block with your neighbours - make ice lanterns, or decorate all the lamp posts.  
  • Organize a caroling night complete with cookies and cocoa after.
  • Make note of #5! 

 

5. Give Small Gifts  

Gifts for neighbours do not have to be elaborate but they are so rewarding to give! 

A basket of extra tomatoes from your garden will surely be appreciated by your neighbour who doesn't keep a garden.  Use your big snowblower to do your elderly neighbour's walkway. A box of homemade cookies. An offer to collect mail while your neighbour is on vacation.

Everyone has a gift to give. 

Be thoughtful with small gifts, and don't be surprised when you start receiving surprises and gifts too!

 

6. Take Your Kids to the Park  

It's another tried and true, old-fashioned action. Why mess with success? 

And if your neighbourhood park isn't that great... developing one might be a great project to pull together the community! 

 

7. Make it Great for Pets

Some green space, a safe walking path, a community water dish - according to Walljasper, a dog-friendly neighbourhood will have dog-walkers out at all hours. This is a wonderful way to prevent crime and meet new people.

 

 

 

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Australia to NYC: Making new friends as an adult

Australia to NYC: Making new friends as an adult

Recently, I moved from Australia to New York City. It was, and still is, incredibly scary and challenging. While I knew a handful of people, they were scattered between Manhattan and New Jersey, and most were friends of a friend- not my own connections. I didn’t want to pity-invited along to any event. In a city  of 8 million people, it doesn’t seem like it would be difficult to find, and make, friends but it was, and it wasn’t long before I started to feel a little bit isolated and consider a life where my only friends in the city would be the raccoons in Central Park.

Raccoons, and possible rabies, aside, I knew I had to do something about this feeling of disconnect from society, or I’d end up a lonely spinster in arguably one of the greatest cities in the world, known for its vivid social scene.

 

So I got to work. Thinking about how I’d made friends in my previous, Australian life, it dawned on me that not all of my best and closest friendships had been formed at school or work places- the two places I assumed were the time-honoured friend-making scenes. So, I put together a list of ways  to meet great friends in my new city.  Here are some things that worked for me:

 

Meetups

I discovered that going along to meet ups for something you’re interested in or passionate about is a great way to meet people. Not only are you mingling with other living, breathing hominids, but you’re also meeting people with similar interests to you, and because you have an inbuilt convo starter, you don’t need to make small talk about the local sports team or the unseasonable weather we’ve been having lately.

 

Book or Movie Review Clubs

Similar to meet ups, a book club or movie review club is a great way to meet people because you’re forced to not be a wallflower and to participate in the conversation. Maybe you’ll find your next bestie after you both give 50 Shades of Grey withering reviews, and bond over your shared highlighting of all the naughty parts in the book- (the only parts worth reading). The other benefit to making friends at things like this is that you’re still keeping up with your passions and hobbies. You get to keep your interests and make friends.

 

Helping people

Take a look around you, is someone struggling with a map or a Metrocard? Give them a hand. It won’t take much time and maybe you’re catching the same train, so you’ll have some time to chat.

This is exactly how I made a friend from Boston, after witnessing him struggle with the ticketing machine and offering my assistance.

Even if you don’t make a lifelong friend, you’ll feel good for helping someone and you’ll become well-practiced at approaching people, and with this comes confidence- good practice for more new friends!

 

Co-working spaces

I use a co-working space and I witnessed the blossoming of a new friendship right before my eyes recently.

Dan was casually working away at a desk in an open spaced area shared with others when Al, the eagle eye, spots some kind of gaming-card deck, the name of which is unknown to me, and asks Dan if he can “check out his deck”. Dan responds in the positive and the next twenty minutes they were dedicated to talking about the game, the styles they played and where. At the end of this brief encounter, the pair were Facebook friends and making plans to hook up to play said game in the future. While I wouldn’t advocate laying out a token of all the things you’re interested in like a weird, religious shrine for others to see and remark upon, open planned spaces encourage and foster these kinds of interactions and I have found them to be a good way to meet people.

 

Internet dating

I once met a group of guys out one night on the roller derby scene and as the night progressed, my best friend and I hung out with them more and more and we bonded quite quickly. Drunkenly insisting one of our new found pals couldn’t possibly make the late night commute to his home- in another town an hour away, we forced the poor guy to spend the night on our too-small couch. Waking in the morning to see he’d since left but had neatly folded his sheets and blankets, placing them on said couch, and hadn’t made off with our TV, made us think he was an ok guy. Later on in the day, I’m flicking through potential suitors online and see someone who looks awfully familiar to our new found friend- we were a match! We thought this pretty funny and laughed ourselves silly and then we forced him to move in with us and we’ve been great friends ever since. While we were never romantic, as the site had intended in pairing us up, that person is now one of my best friends, and I’ve met other friends through him. So while internet dating can be , it’s not entirely unreasonable to use it to make friends.

A tip - while you may be tempted to invent romantic scenarios with this new person, or people, in your head- don’t. It isn’t that actively dating someone is a bad way of meeting friends, but you want your own friends and not temporary friends you’ll have to give up if the relationship doesn’t last. So you may have to sacrifice one hottie, and the relationship potential they have, in order to make, and remain, friends. .

 

So while it may seem daunting and an impossible task, it isn’t always doom and gloom when it comes to making friends as an adult. I hope this list has inspired you to look outside the box when it comes to making new friends. What did you think of this list? Have you tried any of these things? 

 

About Jamie-lee Owen

Jamie-lee Owen is a writer and raccoon lover. More of her work can be found at jleeowen.com

 

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Yearly social calendar for couples

Yearly social calendar for couples

Do you know that problem you have as a couple where you just can't find something to watch on Netflix?

Wait a minute!  Maybe it's time to call up some mutual friends and go out! (With any luck, your friends will have some suggestions for new shows to watch..)

If you're wondering what a healthy, active and fun-filled social life might look like for a married couple, here is an infographic that can help you plan your free time and social life as a couple. 

What do you think of this schedule? Is it realistic for you?  Chime in below!

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Tips and Ideas for an Amazing Holiday Vacation with Friends

Tips and Ideas for an Amazing Holiday Vacation with Friends

Group trip? Consider renting an amazing house

There are some beautiful dream homes on Airbnb, and through other services such as Luxuryretreats.com, and dreamexoticrentals.com, you can rent an amazing mansion in a beautiful travel destination.

Once you split the cost among a group of friends, it can be very comparable to staying in a hotel or all-inclusive resort - sometimes it's even a much better value.

In some rentals, like this house rental that sleeps 24 and is priced between $1,500 - $5,940 per night, there is even a private chef included!

 

See the rest of this listing here: http://www.luxuryretreats.com/vacation-rentals/mexico/riviera-maya/soliman-bay/hacienda-caracol-111850 

 

Remember to take some good group photos

You don't have to do this for every meal, activity, or even day, but try to put aside a bit of time to take a couple of group photos, with everyone in the shot!  You will treasure these photos for years after your vacation. 

Or, just post them on Instagram, whatever makes you happy.

 

 

 

Don't do Everything Together on vacation

Whether you are a group of friends or a group of couple friends, it's important to put aside time for people to do their own activities and to get some time for themselves. 

This gives everyone a chance to rest for the next adventure!  Some friends might prefer to take a nap in the day, while another friend might prefer time to do a workout.

Couples who are vacationing with friends might appreciate a romantic dinner or excursion on their own once or twice.  If you mix up group and solo activities, everyone can spend their vacation doing what they love.

 Plus, if you are all together every second, you might run out of new things to talk about!  

As a recent article in Forbes online put it, "Not every activity needs to be a group activity." 

 

If you don't want to do an activity on vacation - skip it!

This is a bit like the above point, but it's important for group harmony.

If you would rather sit by the pool than go to an art gallery, let your friends know you'll catch up at dinner. You'll be better company if you are happy and relaxed than dragging your feet!

 

 

 

 

Have a planning meeting before the trip

Planning a trip is part of the fun! Meet before the trip to talk broadly about what kind of vacation everyone is hoping for. This will really help to make sure that everyone can get the kind of vacation that they want.

Maybe one friend wants to spend a good chunk of time sitting on the beach, while another wants to explore and sight-see. Talking about it ahead means no surprises while travelling!

You can also make the larger decisions about the trip while together in person to discuss it, ideally.

 

Talk about money before the trip

Because who wants to talk about money while on vacation? For ultimate harmony, Sonia Prades in an interview for Hindustan Times suggests that you work out a fair split of the major expenses; accommodation, transportation, and groceries.  

Other expenses, such as entertainment, drinks, and restaurants, should be individual expenses, not group expenses.

Keeping friends is easy when you don't split every cheque!

 

One more thing about Money and other details ..

Don't worry, be happy!  Tell yourself that anytime you feel a bit annoyed that one friend seems to tip less, or eat more, or whatever annoying quirks..  Just remind yourself that you're on vacation, so you will not let little things bug you!

If you don't like a behaviour of one of your travel companions, just be the bigger person and lead by positive example!

Be the friend you want to have - and that includes extra patience sometimes!

 

 

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