Why adults should hang out together (without an agenda)

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NEW YORK — It’s well-documented that friendships improve our physical and mental health. I was inspired to make it easier to see friends after reading “Hanging Out” by Ms Sheila Liming, which argues that unstructured time with others can improve our relationships.

It’s well-documented that friendships improve our physical and mental health. I was inspired to make it easier to see friends after reading “Hanging Out” by Ms Sheila Liming, which argues that unstructured time with others can improve our relationships.

Ms Liming acknowledged that it can feel daunting to spend time together with no agenda. Here’s how to get started.There are different forms of hanging out, said Dr Jessica Ayers, an assistant professor of psychological science at Boise State University, who researches adult friendships. If you like a face-to-face hangout, you can spend time in each other’s homes or sit on a park bench. If you would feel more comfortable doing something active, grab a friend and run errands. “I’ve gone with my best friend to get gas,” Dr Ayers said. Or look for places in your community where people gather, Ms Liming said.If hanging out in your messy living room or at a carwash makes you feel a little vulnerable, start small. Tell a friend you’re going to drop by for 20 or 30 minutes.

“One thing that freaks people out about hanging out is that it feels open-ended and they don’t know how much time it’s going to take,” Ms Liming said.It’s natural to feel a little discomfort in the beginning, Ms Liming said. But one of the advantages of hanging out is that “it allows us to see a more three-dimensional side of the people we see and interact with,” she explained.

If you’re in their home, you might get glimpses of their domestic lives, histories or hobbies. “If we can be in a room doing nothing with someone else, that is a pretty sincere form of intimacy,” she said.Once you’ve hung out a few times, consider making it a habit that grows easier over time. Regular meet-ups can alleviate the pressure of having to orchestrate a perfect hangout, Ms Liming said: “If it doesn’t work out one week, you can try again the next week.

Source: Healthcare Press (healthcarepress.net)

 

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