Why change can be the best thing ever.
When you get the chance or opportunity to start over or make a change, make sure you do it the way you want to do it.
Seems like an obvious statement to make doesn't it? But we're human beings and often we gravitate towards the things we know - even if they're not great for us. How many times have you gone back to THAT slimming club saying "this time will be different!" or gone for another bad boy thinking "this will be the one that changes for me, I'll be the girl of his dreams and he'll be my prince charming".
Let's be honest we've all done it, maybe with different examples, it could be with friends, activities you take part in or even family. Don't beat yourself up about it, we're all human and it's just what we do.
BUT I implore you if you decide to make a change or an opportunity comes up to change your life for the better DO IT.
My life has changed drastically this year because I didn't want to repeat the same mistakes, heart ache and general unhappiness over and over again anymore.
It's hard to admit, but at the beginning of this year I didn't really have many close friends. I would say I had one, we messaged all the time but modern day lives are busy so seeing each other was like booking a board meeting 3 months in advance. The old "I'm free in three Wednesdays" and they're free in four Thursdays. When we got together it was great and we were always only a message away - but actually doing things together was always a bit difficult. Having said this, this friend has changed my life this year (hello best land lord ever!) and I'm incredibly grateful for a random cup of tea with her 4 years ago!
But when it came to doing "stuff" you know the booking tickets to events you wanted to go to or random trips to the pub or going for dinner with friends - I just didn't have that and it creates a lonely life. I wouldn't say I'm a massively sociable person - I'm a massive introvert, in fact, but I do like to dial up my extrovert energy a few times a month but without people around you to do it with makes it quite difficult!
One show this year changed my life. I took part in an amateur pantomime this year, like I do most years (excluding covid years!). It comes around I do my bit, go to the after show get together, I enjoy the social side for the few months we're working on it and then I "park" that show and move on to the next.
But this year, I was part of a double act with a girl I'd known for a few years but we hadn't really been close friends. The 8 months, or so, before we'd been working on a few shows together so we were starting to get closer but this show it really ramped up. We were messaging about more than the show and indulging each others' crazy ideas, tagging each other in memes (because that is a solid declaration of friendship these days you know?!).
Now normally after the show, I would have then let this slide thinking "oh we're only friends because of the show" or "I'm sure she doesn't have time for other friends in her life, she's always out with other people" or "who needs me, I'm boring and don't like to go out that much".
However, I was determined to change my life this year. So I kept messaging her, checking in with her, tagging her in more memes and indulging more crazy ideas and a friendship has blossomed as a result of this. In fact as a result of this I've ended up as part of a wee three, we've been friends for years but now we're all that little bit closer.
For anyone that is great at making friends this probably sounds a bit ridiculous but for those of you out there who are feeling lonely or struggle making friends. It does take work but it is possible and you can change your life for the better.
Bringing me back to my point at the beginning, if you get the chance to change your life or you want to grasp the opportunity to - do it. We only get a limited number of trips around the sun and we never know how many we will actually get so it's important that you do what makes you happy!
This year I've taken part in so many things I would never have done, I've been paddle boarding (faceplanted the board but didn't get wet - taking that as a win!), done an escape room, been to a show in London, been out for drinks with friends, been to a pride event, gone to a burlesque night (I was bright pink the entire night, but it was fun!), seen Cirque du Soleil, gone shopping with friends and so many more things that make me happy but I was scared to do or didn't want to do because of fear of judgement.
The problem with not doing things because of fear or fear of judgement is you'll never be happy. Living with a "what if" is much worse than living with a "I did it, but it wasn't for me".
So ... take the risk or lose the chance, it could be the best thing you ever did! I know it was for me and look how happy we look at Pride!
If I had done my usual of "parking" the show and the friendships I'd made during it, I wouldn't have this memory and that would be a massive shame!
My top tips if you're struggling to make friends are:
Find an activity you enjoy and join a club. There are plenty of free or cheap ones, like running, am dram, crafts, the WI or you could volunteer your time with groups that need you like Scouts or Guides or even a charity shop.
Try messaging old friends that you've lost touch with, even if it's just to get into the habit of talking to people again.
Don't be afraid of rejection. I know it's hard and sometimes all we want is a friend to go shopping with but like all relationships it just doesn't work for another person.
Don't let your inner demons take over your brain! Sometimes that wee voice in your head can be hellishly loud, try and find a way to quiet her/him and remember thoughts are not facts!
And my inbox is always open if you want a chat or looking for some advice!
Have a great day Andi xx