While I hated
most things basically everything about working in an office, the only thing I did like was that I could speak with other human beings any time I wanted. That may sound like a silly thing (“Um, hello Emma? There’s something called a phone?”), you don’t realize how huge it actually is until you spend day after day alone in your house with only plants and maybe a pet to talk to.
Seriously. It gets grim.
So how can you enjoy all the perks of working from home without turning into a crazy person who assaults your roommate/boyfriend/wife with chatting overload the minute the door opens? Unlike office workers, us remote workers have to be super conscientious about our social time. Here’s how to do it right.
1. Join a group. Really, any group.
DIY is all the rage these days, so if you’re a crafty type, learn a new skill. Make pickles. Knit. Build things. The activity doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you’ll be thrown into a group of people who you have an excuse to talk to.
If you’re not into crafts, check out local intramural sports teams. Most places have co-ed kickball teams at the very least these days, so even if you haven’t brushed up on your soccer skills in years, you get out and get the blood pumping while making friends over post-game beers.
2. Don’t let your friends be flakes.
Make plans with your friends and don’t let them flake. I know that in the age of cellphones and internet no one ever makes solid plans but, trust me, there are only so many times you can get cancelled on before your lonely brain starts going down the “I AM UNLOVABLE” k-hole.
If your friends are extra flakey, make plans that they’ll feel guiltier about bailing on. Offer to cook them dinner at your house or do something that requires buying tickets ahead of time. It’s more important that you hang out than it is for them, remote working friend, because they probably see people all day every day, whereas you are super pumped to run to the corner store when you run out of TP because it means you get to talk to someone.
3. Spend less time on Facebook.
This might seem counter-intuitive; it definitely did to me for a long time. Facebook felt like my water cooler and although I knew it wasn’t the best alternative to face-to-face interactions, it made me feel like I wasn’t totally alone.
But. But, but, but. Facebook is not real interaction. It is a glossy, cleaned up version of life. You think you’re interacting with people but ultimately you end up feeling worse about yourself and your life. I learned this lesson the hard way so you don’t have to: Stay. Off. Of. Facebook.
4. Utilize online messengers.
Unless, that is, you’re using more than just their messenger. I’m an extremely outgoing person and something I really think that the only thing that gets me through the day is chatting with my boss and friends on Gchat, Facebook messenger, and Skype. There’s a fine line between distraction and harmless chit chat, though, so make sure you don’t over do it.
5. Happy hour.
Booze. People. Not your house. ‘Nuff said.
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