How to get on board the friendship…

How do we create and sustain friendships? Like any relationship, friendships take some effort, but are well worth it. How can we invite the best friends into our life? And once we have established a group friends, how do we keep these people in our lives? How can we know who are the right people for us to be with? Here are some quick tips!

 

Be a Friend First

The late author, Maya Angelou, said “to have a friend, you have to be a friend first”. This is very good advice as if we want to invite new wonderful things into our lives, such as friends, or a new job or improved health, we must start with ourselves. We must open our hearts to life’s gifts and be ready for wonderful new people and things in our lives. We must be the person who we would like to be around.

 

Take a Look Around

The entrepreneur, Jim Rohn, said, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Who are these people in your life? Are they family members, flatmates, partners, children or friends? Do they have a positive influence or a negative influence on you? This time next year, would you like to be surrounded by these same people or would you like to make some changes?

 

Choose Who to Befriend

With people, we have a choice who we wish to befriend. We can create our own social sphere to our own liking. One of our greatest freedoms is the ability to let go of people who bring us down and invite in people who we wish to be in our lives. We can choose the cast of people in our lives. As we grow as a person, we will naturally change the people who surround us.

 

Learn to Let Go

As we go through life, we grow as people. And as our personality develops, we change our likes and dislikes. This is a totally naturally process and means we are discovering more about ourselves. However, it can mean the end of some friendships. Sometimes a friend may say to us “You are not the person I thought I knew” or a relationship can come to an end. Even though the relationship was beautiful, if it feels right to end, then we must accept the loss of old relationships. We need to make way for new ones.

 

Go and Explore!

This is your chance to discover who you are, who you want to be with and who you want to become. Each person likes a different set of friends, perhaps a small number of close friends or a large number of acquaintances. Some people like to socialise daily and some prefer to meet once a month for a catch up. Find what works best for you!

 

 

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What we Can Learn from Disney Heroines

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I have many friends who dismiss Disney as childish, anti-women or cliched. However, I believe that children’s stories can reveal to us astute messages if we are willing to see them. Movies that are directed at children often have poignant moments which reveal great truths, the kind that are the most difficult to admit to ourselves. And I remain a huge fan of all things Disney, so here is my toast to the women who inspire the little girl in me.

  1. They did not have it easy in the beginning.

Most of the classic Disney ladies had it tough when they grew up. Belle was viewed as aloof by everyone who knew her, Cinderella had her awful step-sisters and Rapunzel was cooped up in a tower. It is inspiring that despite their difficult beginnings, the Disney princesses did not let their personal circumstances get in the way of their dreams and their destiny.

2. They stuck true to their beliefs of what is right and wrong.

The Disney women did not appease people they did not approve of. Snow White didn’t take any prisoners from the seven dwarfs. Belle turned down the egotistical Gaston who came chasing after her. Cinderella left behind her cruel family to live happily ever after. As the song says “I never bother with people I hate. That’s why the lady is a tramp”.

3. Their Princes fought for them.

The men who chose these Disney princesses were not after riches or status. The Princes fought dragons, went against their social differences and pursued their love interest until they could unite. They were daring, bold and brave. They could see how wonderful these Princesses were and were willing to fight fantastical and social challenges for them.

4. They appreciated the good things in life.

Pursuing true love, caring for nature, and being true to themselves, the Disney women are elegant ladies with social tact. Although life presented many issues, the Disney women would power through and life would bring them to the right place at the right time. They were able to flow with life and trust that all will work out well in the end.

5. They believed in the power to choose good or evil

There is a good deal of magic in Disney stories, which helps to change your life. But when you take out the metaphysical or witchcraft elements of the stories, what you are left with is a battle between pure humanity and wickedness, caused by envy or hurt. The Fairy Godmother gave the gesture of kindness and mercy by giving a helping hand in an hour of need. The Wicked Witch was simply to be pitied for harnessing so much hatred against Snow White. Fairy tales are of course fantastical, but they show us how people have a choice in how the choose to respond to life’s challenges.

I understand my friends who do not approve of Disney. But I hold steadfast in my beliefs. Despite what other people think, I believe in happy endings, I have faith in the goodness of people. Although I may not change the world, I will be the heroine of my own life… with a touch of magic!

10 People Who Dine Alone

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All over the big cities, in restaurants and coffee shops, there is an epidemic spreading faster than E. coli. Health inspectors have overlooked the records up until now. But of late the numbers of people dining alone has hit an all-time high. Is there a limit to how many loners can eat in the one restaurant at the same time, before the tension has been built too high? Is there a way to give them their own emergency accommodation during these times of date scarcity? Is there any light we can offer to them at the end of the tunnel, which is brighter than the single candle before them? I beg of you, this holiday season to consider the lonely who eat among us.

  1. The Chronic Singleton

We all know one. He has been single practically since birth. Despite what Mammy says about him being the best catch in the Midlands, he remains closer to his work than the ladies. He is an overachiever, with little time for romance but enough time to make a public display of an inbuilt allergy to affection.

  1. The Old “Friend” from School.

Should I talk to them? Maybe it’s not them. Then again we never got on. Is it even them? While all these questions mill through your head, the old “friend” has felt you staring at them and looked up to see you perplexed and totally at a loss for their name. Just like in secondary school, they spent lunch time alone. Today in this restaurant they blend into the background, as they had blended into the school’s canteen. Maybe next time we will stop to chat. Maybe.

  1. The Sporty Guy

University hoodie? Check. Gym bag? Check. Mobile phone in hand, pretending to text? Check. The lonely lad may be waiting for the bus home on a Friday night to get back for training. He is ready. Just text him.

  1. The Artsy Butterfly

Dressed in flowing capes and adorned with jangly home-made jewellery and what seems to smell like home-made perfume, the artsy type will unashamedly sit in the middle of the restaurant floor to accentuate their unique aloneness. She knows no bounds and no social limitations. One would almost applaud her for her courage for standing out, but not as to draw attention to oneself.

  1. The Tourist

Not a word of English and still looks for some reason quite astonished at how a restaurant works in this country. They just came from the Cliffs of Moher and will trek the country in chaotic directions. After one week of travelling the island they take a moment to reflect on their insane decision to come to Ireland, on their own and feel for a moment a sense of achievement as they tick of one box on their bucket list. Next stop, Ireland’s Eye.

 

  1. Staff on a Break

As they are not alone by choice, they appear as the only “normal” alone-eaters. Observing and judging, their Staff T-shirt gives them the right to sit comfortably while they eat alone without the need for a phone, newspaper or other paraphernalia.

  1. The Single Mother

Not technically alone, the stressed and tarried parent insists on sharing the musical talents of her 6 month old. She feels morally compelled to give to the kind strangers a chance to hear what their lives would be like in her shoes.

  1. The model

She sits like a beautiful vase, elegantly on display at her table for one. She is not waiting for a date and she has not been stood up. The world’s most beautiful woman is not to be approached, unless you are George Clooney or similar. A careless perfection would suffice but can only be pulled off if you have accidentally fallen into the restaurant to avoid adoring fans from the street. If this is not the case, please leave the beautiful lady to eat alone.

  1. The Binge-Purger

A little known creature who can be found to eat alone is the person with an eating disorder. If you are very quiet and sit still, you will notice there is one beautiful girl, shoulders hunched over a second slice of banoffee pie. See how she savours every mouthful, in pure bliss of spoon after spoon of velvety caramel sweetness? See how she begins every meal with vigour and delight, but finishes every meal with a visit to the bathroom. The meal got two thumbs up but her esteem gets two fingers down.

 

  1. Once-off Lonely Eaters

These are the temporary players of the part of alone-diners. They will not reappear for another act. They strut about on this stage once and are neither seen nor heard again. They have missed their train or due to weather conditions, have found themselves among the lonely diners. This type of once off mistake is quickly corrected and they will never, repeat never eat alone again after that one time.

 

 

Whether you have seen once of these characters or perhaps can admit to being one yourself, it is clear, the alone-diners walk among us. With the amount of people now eating alone, could it become a trend? Or should special restaurants be dedicated purely to the Artsy type and her monophages? Dear reader, I do not inform you of this epidemic to leave you on your own with no protection against the lonely elements. Below, please find a detailed list of instructions of how to treat this affliction of alone-eating.

 

How to Survive Eating Alone

Build your fort. Use anything you may find to build an imaginary wall. Keep the wine menu as they are normally twice as large as the food menu and can make a good portcullis when the waiter arrives to take the bill. Newspapers are also welcome, broadsheets are best. Shopping bags make excellent walls, which stand without the need to hold on. Place them on the table, one to the left, one to the right and one behind the dinner plate in front of you. The fortress has been successfully secluded.

Posture is key. For women, hair may be worn down, hanging in long curtains about your face to shield you from on-lookers. Men may choose a hat of their choice, but try to keep within the dress-code of the restaurant.

The mobile phone is paramount to surviving a meal alone. I cannot stress this enough. Ensure it is fully charged and on silent. Open your contact list, beginning with A for Auntie Kate and start texting about her cat.

Choose your place. The choice of seat is also important. With the exception of the artist, who takes aloofness in her stride, choose a seat in the corner of behind a wall. Do not sit to near the bathroom as the traffic of customers will be made more aware of your aloneness. Avoid sitting in front of mirrors. Ditto. And one last word of advice, avoid all other alone-diners. They will, however, naturally sit as far away from each other as possible. And then again, they are not alone, they are one of many.