Group Chat is a weekly series where HuffPost UK writers address the diary dilemmas we all face and how to reclaim our social lives in a busy world.
What day are you free next week, they ask. Tuesday and Friday, I say. Only with slight reservations because yes, I am free Tuesday and Friday next week, but I am only free Tuesday and Friday next week. And it’s taken me nearly 29 years to realise that filling up my diary with social events every evening does not bring me joy.
It’s not that I don’t want to socialise. I love evening drinks, spontaneous theatre trips, brunch on the weekend, coffee meets, yoga classes with pals and dinner around a friend’s house. I don’t want to spend every evening at home with a cup of tea in bed at 9pm – but I need a few of those evenings, nestled in between the busy ones, to make me feel my best. It’s my winning formula.
Those evenings – the ones spent alone, doing sweet FA – recharge me like nothing else can. Sometimes they involve writing in my journal or doing life admin. Other times I lie on my bed, staring into space for an hour, before I realise it’s time to cook. And most of the time, they end in a solid dose of uninterrupted sleep. I feel instantly refreshed after one night of it – doubly so after two. And then I’m ready to meet, drink wine, laugh far too loudly, and forget it’s a school night with my friends again.
So it seems simple – give yourself days off for “me-time” and see your friends when you want to see your friends, right? That’s where it gets tricky.
My friends are scattered around, from every little corner, milestone and journey in my life. It’s not a case of one big meet-up each week with my pals in one go, then happily using the rest of the week to do Absolutely Nothing by myself.
In the city I live in, I have friends from my old job that I’ve never lost touch with; flatmates I lived with for three years who moved on, but whose lives and news I still want to know...