Beeminder Forum

Beeminding social life


#1

What are some of the things I can beemind to improve my social life? I am an introvert and I enjoy being at home reading books or watching TV shows. I hardly meet new people or try to keep in touch with people I already know. I want to fix this and expand my circle. Does anyone have suggestions for things I can beemind? I have tried beeminding “number of hours spent in a social setting” but “social setting” is hard to define so it quickly gets weird.


#2

Glad to hear I’m not the only one who hardly ever keeps in touch with people…

Our biggest success story on the social life front has got to be that Nick Winter beeminded romantic/thoughtful gestures to his now wife… q.v. spiralling into control

I beemind ‘number of contact events’ which I define loosely as emailing someone that I’ve not contacted for a while. Replying straight away to something they sent doesn’t count, for me.

For specific people, like my mum, I beemind how often I phone her. She’s happy to get phoned more often, I’m happy I’ve got a system.

Definitely start with something pretty easy. Maybe go read your book in a coffee shop or something. Say hello and goodbye to the person at the next table. Baby steps.

Speaking of coffee, maybe think of other things that correlate with leaving the house and engaging in more social behaviour. e.g. spending more money than usual on coffee or eating out, going for walks, etc.

Worth repeating: always always start slow and easy.


#3

I beemind going to “events”, where an “event” is anything social that I’m not obligated to do. Work and the weekly dinner with my family (they live nearby) don’t count, nor do the sort of incidental social interactions I get while running errands. Pretty much everything else does. I figure that the key part is getting out and about so that I’m available for interactions - so I don’t worry too much about tracking what I do while I’m there or how long I stay.

The other thing I do is stay up to date with several meetup groups, clubs, and such. I put any interesting-looking events on my calendar so I don’t forget about them, but I don’t pressure myself to go out that night (unless it happens to be a Beemergency). That way I’ve always got specific options if I happen to feel social.

+1 to what @philip said about starting easy. My graph is set at a rate of 3 events per month (with a max safety buffer of 21 days), and I find that’s about right for me. You could even start with a flat graph and track your current behavior for a while, then set an appropriate rate and retroratchet once you know where you stand.


#4

I Beemind Swarm[Foursquare] check-ins that have are made with a certain hashtag [e.g. #socialising] via IFTTT.

Make it so that only one check-in with the hashtag a day counts [binary] and/or also auto-trim safety buffer. Has actually been pretty good to get me out the house and catching up with old friends.

Facebook Messenger has recently been added to IFTTT, haven’t checked out the integration but that may also be another source to force you to communicate with people you haven’t for a while. That usually leads to a catch up being organised in my experience.


#5

As a non-habitual check-inner, I also use Swarm to feed my goals, but without hash tags, because my every checkin is meaningful.

With Zapier, I think you can filter on the type of checkin if you want to feed different goals, e.g. gym vs socialising


#6

I have a lot of goals for individual people to contact them in some way at a certain frequency, but the more unusual goal is my general keep-in-touch goal. For this goal, I made a list of people who are long-term friends/acquaintances that I really like, but might drift away from. To get a point for this goal, I have to randomly select one name from that list, and reach out to them. (I use an app called Laza Lists in my phone because it was the first thing I found that easily picked at random from a pre-set saved list, but there are probably lots of options for this part.) No points for hanging out with friends not due to the list – the goal is specifically to do the list-based process of finding someone I haven’t naturally connected with.

When I first get, say, Brittany on the list, I might think to myself, “aaagh, I do really like Brittany, but it feels awkward, it’s been so long since we talked!” (If I ever decide, “no, I don’t really like this person, I don’t want to stay in touch” I can delete them from the list, but so far my resistance is always feeling awkward.) But it’s not worth $5 to not talk to a person I like, so I go check her Facebook to see what she’s been up to, and send her a message commiserating about something annoying that happened at her work, and she replies with another anecdote, and then an hour later we’ve had a really good conversation and made plans for me to visit her in South Carolina. (Or more often it pleasantly fizzles out after a facebook message or two, but that’s fine too, I still get the point.)

What I like about beeminding it is that usually “not talking to Brittany” is essentially a passive decision, but an eep day turns it into paying money to ignore Brittany, something I obviously want to make the active choice to avoid. (I’ve been thinking about starting up a second one for “networking” contacts, who I similarly want to be reminded to check in with.)

For me this is about keeping friends from fading away into acquaintances – in your case, it might work to pick some acquaintances that you think you might enjoy being friends with, and prompt yourself to initiate conversations or shared activities with them. As you do other kinds of social experiments, you’ll probably find new names to add to your list, which can be a metric of success. In my experience a good and rewarding social life is not just going out a bunch of places and always meeting new people – it’s also investing in and maintaining ties with your very favourite people that you found while you were out. So the experiment with extroversion can only need to be a temporary one :slight_smile:


#7

Now that I read more closely, this is a really similar setup to @philip beeminding “contact events”, except that mine is way more complicated! I guess it’s not as unusual a goal as I thought :slight_smile:


#8

I love that your method introduces randomness, so I’m going to incorporate something similar to mine. Would be doubly great if I could keep lists easily synched between iOS and my computer, e.g. via a dropbox file.

This is indeed a brilliant way of increasing contact with people you’d like to increase contact with. My contact goal is sufficiently generic that I don’t currently distinguish between work and personal contacts, but regular contact with people that I want to work [more] with is my underlying motivation.


Bonus script ‘pickone’:

#!/usr/bin/env perl
   
use warnings;
use strict;

# usage: cat my_file.txt | pickone
# usage: pickone my_file.txt my_other_file.txt

# select line from stdin at random, as per Knuth
my $line = <>;
rand($.) < 1 && ($line = $_) while <>;
print $line;