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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Why Mate Dates Are Important

A couple of weeks back (the bank holiday weekend) I had a few mate dates, and it kind of reminded me why mate dates are so important to me.

1. Catching up with friends I haven't seen for ages

So often we find ourselves busy with the day to day tasks, work and our routines. It is easy for weeks and months to pass without seeing friends.

I think its trying to work out what works for you. Some have weekly or monthly things they do; drinks, boardgames, whatever.

I have found that I have less a group of friends these days and more a lot of individual friends. So that arrangement wouldn't really work for me. This is were mate dates come in.

By booking in time and scheduling it, which I know sounds very formal and 'worky'. But it works for me and means I can see people even if they are not that close, like going to London, Bournemouth, Southampton and Winchester does take a bit of planning.

I really found that catching up with local friends too can need some planning too. Often one or both of you are busy, so planning in some time, I find, is a great way to make sure you meet up.

2. Going out

Sometimes I can get in a run of staying in. I will find things that need to be done in the house, theres always washing up to do, blog posts to write and photos to upload and check.

Actually getting out, going to another environment with different surroundings is good for your mind. Especially if it involves a bit of time outside. That fresh air is often much needed.

My depressive spells can become very isolating and sometimes spiral quickly. Having regular 'outings' helps me to have a focus, a change of scenery and potentially and physical outlet if theres some activity (walking, games, etc).

3. Having different conversations

Following that spiral of thoughts, just hearing different people talk I can find helpful. They speak with their own minds and from a different perspective to yours. That can be so needed. It helps to review and evaluate what you think about things. Why, how and what we do. It doesn't have to change them, just allows us a better opportunity to reflect, well thats what I find. This could be about small things like how good was that movie, or larger topics like politics and world/ life views.

4. Hearing about other friends

Online pals are amazing, but sometimes I need me a real physical human. Making time for 'real life' meet ups is important. It helps us to get out of our own bubbles and to interact with others.

It is great to hear about what other people have been up to to. Hearing about their lives: dates, relationships, house, work, hobbies, projects. I think you'll agree its always ace to hear about other peoples successes and it's good to be there for them if theres been some struggles too.

5. Looking back at what you've done lately

Too often I think we lose sight of all the cool things we have done. We struggle through marching from one thing to the next. When someone says "what have you been up to?" we reply with "lots" or more often "not much". Instead, by taking some time and chatting with friends you can actually reflect on some of the awesome things that you have done. Taking a moment is so important.

6. Connecting and Experience

In one of those, what is life moments of thought. I wonder, what is life? You may agree with one or both of these (I think at least one). Life is about experiences, trying, doing, thinking, really experiencing life. Its about standing in front that awesome view, tasting that new food, feeling the sun on your face, completing that task or performance. These things can all be individual and they can be amazing.

There is another side too. The side of life that is about people, interaction, connecting. Having those late into the night/ morning conversations, playing those games, supporting the team together, sharing a moment. There's something about that shared experience that is so important and it can play such a big part in someones life.

I think now of so many cool mate dates I have had in the last 3 or 4 years, and particularly the recent bank holiday weekend. It was great to have a Pompey Bloggers meet up with Alanna, Kim and Charlotte, to have lunch and bowl with Drew, to watch the Champions League Final with Mike and Ellie and hear about their little one, to catch up with Ally and talk student support and dating and to go photo shooting with Sophie (who took the beach photos in this post). Unfortunately my mate date with Jess was postponed, but still. So many lovely chats and chilled moments.

So yer, it may sound silly or worky, but planning in mate dates is super important for me. Plus I love them. It's really is a great way to actually catch up and just chat. Which I must confess, I don't do so well at in a group situation.

I hope you had a good bank holiday weekend a couple weeks back and that you survived the hot weather. Mmmmm, future blog post maybe...

What do you think about mate dates? Do you have them? Would you recommend them?

Let me know @Mike_DOuglas_

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