Dance... Even if you have nowhere to do it but your own living room
August 11, 2018 9:34 PM   Subscribe

My friends keep telling me to have more fun / go out more / enjoy my life. How do I get started?

I don't have that much free time - maybe 10 hours a week for socializing, and I'm really calm and rational all the time. I have a sense of humour too but what do people mean when they tell me to have more fun with my youth? How do I go about this? Anecdotes and advie please!
posted by Crookshanks_Meow to Human Relations (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe ask your friends what they mean? Everyone’s idea of fun is different. Some people prefer staying in and doing quiet or solitary things, and to them, going to a bar or out dancing seems torturous. To others, staying home looks boring and those that choose it are missing out. Neither is “correct.” The question is - What do you think about your life? Do you feel like you’re missing something? Or is it just that your friends think you’re missing something? Getting some clarification from them may help you decide if you want to change things, and if so, how.

When people talk about “having fun with their youth” it’s often because increased age can bring changes that can inhibit your choices. Are there things that you worry you might not get to do later in life? I liked going out dancing in my 30’s, and I’m glad I did that a lot, because my body is kind of broken down over the years and dancing would now cause pain and long-term damage. Maybe think about the types of things that may get more difficult as you age, and ask yourself if you will regret not having done them when you could?
posted by greermahoney at 9:57 PM on August 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Most people seem to be social (or pretend they are!).

Just be you. I spent too much of my time from oh, 8 years old till 26ish trying to be social and it was My social life is about 100% tied into my profession (which is also what I do for fun). You sound happy and balanced; why change anything?

I've tried leading, following and congregating and woe betide anyone who ties to manage me. Enjoy life on your terms.
posted by unearthed at 10:05 PM on August 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

One thing you can do is prioritise things that you can only do now over things you could do later.

So, Game of Thrones will still be around in ten years, but seeing a local band or theatre production has to happen when it's on. See also festivals of various kinds: going next year won't be the same as going this year.

Most people's mobility declines with age: if you ever want to do something physically challenging, get started now to make the most of it!

If you're single now, do things that people with families can't - disappear and wander around a city, flirt in bars, take last-minute cheap travel deals.

Right now, the Perseid meteor shower is falling into our atmosphere - not next weekend. Have you seen it? Those rocks have been around for billions of years and they're going to burn into dust before your eyes.

Not all of these may be applicable to you, and it's exhausting to spend every moment seizing the moment (sometimes couch time is great), but if you want one principle, think about what you can't do later, and do it now.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 2:27 AM on August 12, 2018 [12 favorites]

Well you put dancing in your title! Do you like dancing? Do you think you might like dancing? I have always loved to move my body to music but the venues I was aware of in my early 20s were terrible for me, too loud, all about hooking up, too late at night.

Now I dance every week at "Ecstatic Dance", a place that is really non-judgemental, for all ages, and over by 9:30 and it makes me so happy I can hardly remember what life before was like. Google your area and "ecstatic dance". Also "5 Rhythms Dance".

You could also try exercise classes like Zumba or Jazzercise or Nia, all lot of people I know seem to find a lot of joy in those. You could try some social dance like ballroom dancing, swing dancing, blues dancing, square dancing, contra dancing.
posted by Jenny'sCricket at 2:33 AM on August 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Fun definitely looks different to different people, but I think it's also easy to get stuck in a rut of things that don't necessarily fill you with joy or fulfillment or contentment. I'm thinking of, for example, ending up on Twitter or Tumblr a bunch while not really enjoying the things I'm scrolling through, which happens to me sometimes. I'm not trying to say that social media must be cut off completely, but it was easy for me to fall into the habit of Twitter by default, despite not enjoying it very much.

Part of seizing the day, I think, is trying a variety of new things. One of my best memories of my study abroad in New Zealand was going to the orchestra for the first time ever, even though I don't really listen to classical music at home. You don't have to go to things that you absolutely hate (like committing to running a marathon if you're not athletic, or going to bars or clubs if you're not into that scene), but don't just stick to your routine, either. "More fun" to you could mean inviting someone over to try and create a new recipe from scratch, or volunteering at the animal shelter's Adopt-A-Kitten event, or doing a deep dive blog series on RPGmaker games with female protagonists. To me it just means approaching life with a sense of exploration.
posted by storytam at 7:44 AM on August 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

When a friend says You should go out more ask them to call you the next time they go to a concert/ performance/ dancing. What do you like to do? Do you like to try new restaurants? Call a friend who encourages you to go out more and ask if they want to join you for dinner. If you like to stay home and play video games, stream movies, read, then do that.
posted by theora55 at 10:30 AM on August 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Everyone's different. Are you generally happy with your life? Are there things that give you pleasure to engage in?

I think this might be an extrovert's advice to an introvert type situation.

fwiw, my personal "keep telling me to have more fun / go out more / enjoy my life" friends - I ended up dropping en mass around my late 20s.

Because, fuck that, I don't enjoy and it takes a ton of emotional energy for me to pretend to be an extrovert.
posted by porpoise at 6:26 PM on August 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

On the one hand, there's something to be said for making time to seek out the occasional novel experience to break up your day-to-day routine. I do think that that's a thing worth pursuing. On the other, there's no reason why those experiences HAVE to fit a certain wild/crazy/party/dancing type of mold, other than it being generally more expected of younger people.

If that doesn't sound like the way you want to spend your limited free time, this internet stranger gives you full permission to not seek out those types of experiences. There are loads of options for breaking up your routine that involve exactly zero bars! You could take a noncredit class, host a board game night or group dinner, take up a new hobby, go to meetups for things you like, check out local events/art walks/ren faires/whatever. Heck, you don't even have to do any of that if you don't want to—there's loads of great stuff to do on the internet.

HOWEVER, a caveat: if specifically invited to one of the more party-type things by a friend or group of friends, I might also encourage you to not immediately decline the invite without giving it due consideration (which friends? what night? what's the rest of the week look like? etc.) because even if it isn't necessarily something you'd go for on your own, having a friend there with you can often completely transform the experience from overwhelming and frustrating to fun and memorable.

This is all coming from an ambivert type though, so YMMV.
posted by helloimjennsco at 10:10 AM on August 13, 2018

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