Be Social During These Trying Times

How to make it through these trying times by being social.

Good Attitude

The Secret Life of Bee-ing Happy

Keeping your social life abuzz in tough times

Sally Horchow

people at a partyListen up, party people. We may be in a recession, and soon a depression, with little or no cash to fund nonessential activities. But just like Warren Buffett said of the stock market, I say of our social lives: This is no time to panic. If you have to, don’t go out as much. Spend less on entertainment. But, for God’s sake, if you’re going to stay home, DON’T NEST – HIVE!

Nesting is what we do when we’re depressed, inwardly focused or – funnily enough – preparing for a baby. It’s the instinct we have to hole up in our houses, apartments, RVs, tepees, whatever, and hibernate. In trying times, humans crave comfort through connection, not isolation. And retreating can create a social depression on top of the already horrific economic one.

So, instead, you can be at home, but make it your very own hive. No matter the size, your home can be a place abuzz with group activity. A place where you can engage with other people through interesting, fun things to do. A place that impacts your social life – without impacting your credit card.

Here are a few ways to start hiving:

1. Transform your regular outings to “in-ings.” Just because you can’t cover the cover charge at a club doesn’t mean you can’t keep dancing. Play iPod DJ instead, where everyone gets a three-song DJ stint. And bypassing the bar doesn’t mean you can’t Cheers it up on your own with a make-your-own-Bloody-Mary bar, with all the fixins, or a BYOB2, where your guests bring their own bottle and a new body – that is, someone you don’t know.

2. Eat, drink and enlighten. Staying in doesn’t mean having to lose out on intellectual stimulation or higher learning. Host a salon, a cooking club or a craft night, and you won’t even miss the lecture series, gallery opening or five-course meal.

3. Pick a theme. Host a gathering with a focal point instead of just throwing a straight-up celebration – try having an old-school game night, with Chutes and Ladders, Parcheesi and Connect Four, or a potluck hors d’oeuvres party, where everyone brings a small nibble that they pass around. This will make people feel invested in the gathering and it will be more memorable.

4. Party with a purpose. Since everyone’s holding back on charitable giving, give your gatherings a higher purpose. Ask friends to bring over unwanted books for the local library or canned goods for a food donation. Who wants to go to an expensive rubber-chicken charity dinner anyway?

Staying at home may be the first sign that Americans are worried about their finances, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of our social lives, meaningful connections or having fun.

Fun – surely that’s one thing that is recession-proof.

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