So you’ve forgotten how to socialise? Here are 3 tips to consider now you’re back in the game
So, pubs and restaurants are reopening and normality is set to make a long-awaited comeback. It’s all very exciting, isn’t it? Along with that excitement, however, some of us are also feeling a looming sense of dread about the prospect of socialising outside of the comfort of our own home. Socialising is like riding a bike, in that you never really forget how to do it, but if you haven’t done it for a while there’s a chance you might stumble and land on your face.
As we’ve discussed before, Britain has long had a cultural and historical relationship with alcohol. Now that things are gradually opening back up, it’s no surprise that people are clamoring for places in pub gardens across the country. If you are one of these people, here are some handy tips to consider as you get stuck in again.
1. Probably not the best idea to wear white
During the endless lockdowns, a lot of people have taken solace in online shopping to break the monotony, and I’d be willing to bet that a fair few of those people have entire outfits ready that they’re itching to wear out.
Picture this: you’ve just bought a nice white shirt or dress for summer and you’re dying to flaunt it. That’s absolutely fine, more power to you, but we strongly urge you to consider where and what you’re wearing it to. This is a great option for a civilised afternoon tea with your nan, a picnic with your nearest and dearest, or a leisurely stroll in a park. What it’s probably not good for is a long stint of day-drinking in your favourite boozer.
Wearing new clothes out is a great feeling, but it’s never worth ruining those clothes forever. You go out with the best of intentions, then a few drinks and nibbles later, the afternoon becomes increasingly more boisterous. Before you know it, that blank canvas of an outfit that you’re sporting starts to look like an abstract painting of smudges that would make even Bob Ross shed a tear. This leads us nicely to…
2. Be prepared for when ‘one drink’ doesn’t end up being just one
We’ve all been there before. We tell ourselves and others often and loudly that tonight will be a quiet one. Sometimes we say it with all the misguided optimism in the world, truly believing that this time will be different. For the most part, we know deep down it’s not going to transpire that way.
This is fine to do, and at this point, it’s almost a tradition for us Brits, but the best way to avoid it becoming an encumbrance is to plan. Going out for ‘just one drink’ at lunchtime with your pals is fine, but doing that when you have a dinner booking with the inlaws could be catastrophic. All it takes is one mention of Brexit and suddenly all the self-control you’ve maintained when discussing politics goes out of the window and you’re calling your father-in-law a brainwashed git.
The best thing to do is either clear out your schedule entirely or have an effective exit strategy. The old ‘smoke bomb’ exit is less useful now that people are in smaller groups and have to book in time slots at the pub. Fake a phone call, slip into an oscar-worthy performance, and scarper before they can reel you back in with the false promise of ‘just one more.’ It’s never just one, and the expenses can start to stack up, so remember…
3. Don’t bankrupt yourself for a night out
These lockdowns have been tough on a lot of people financially, especially those still in junior positions. Some people have done alright for themselves through lockdown and even managed to save some money, but I’d be willing to bet that plenty of their friends aren’t in the same position.
If you are one of those people, don’t be afraid to admit it. Own it even. When your mates want to spend all day drinking £6 pints in a pub garden, suggest a few park tinnies beforehand. You could be saving at least a hundred quid by making a day in the park the main event and you would still be doing almost the same thing you were going to do anyway. Just without the table service… Or the toilets.
If you’re in a solid place financially and can afford to go to the pub, by all means, inject that cash right into the veins of the hospitality industry. God knows they need our support. But spend within your means. You don’t want to revert to your university diet of pot noodle sandwiches for the rest of the month.
It’s been a stressful time for all of us this past year, but it’s been heartening to see so many people being able to go out and feel normal again.
Here’s hoping that all of you little so-and-sos enjoy your time getting back out there and that these tips have been helpful for people that are feeling somewhat overwhelmed.