Social Goals

Inoffensive presence

Have an effective hygiene routine and look respectable according to the norms of those you’ll be regularly interacting with. Health food stores carry a variety of hygiene products without carcinogenic ingredients. 

Benefits: Shows respect to others; helps gain trust.


Setting interpersonal boundaries is an essential skill for anyone's life. Many people have grown up not seeing boundary-setting modeled well. Especially for women, the norm of approval-seeking and accommodating to others often leads to the view that we have to be nice and direct. It’s helpful to think of a role model, someone who is clear, who doesn’t get taken advantage of, but who also treats others with respect. There is a lot of help from books by therapists, but boundary setting is a skill that has to be practiced. It’s important to set boundaries early on in a relationship whenever possible. Without that initial dynamic of clear limitations, it's easy for someone to not take your requests as seriously. This is because they might have evidence that in the past you haven’t been clear or firm about your limits. It’s helpful to invite trusted friends and family members to point out when they see you not sticking and honoring to your limits. If you have a co-worker who consistently asks for more help than is appropriate, tell them directly that you have decided you will no longer help them in that way because it takes too much time from your responsibilities. If they keep asking for a variety of favors, and you’re uncomfortable saying no, sitting down with a supervisor to discuss the issue might be the quickest way to curb their behavior. This situation could develop in a social context or family, and you could similarly ask for others’ help.

Benefits: You’ll receive more respect and be less likely to be taken advantage of. You’ll have more time to devote to your own priorities if you aren’t letting others’ priorities clutter your to-do list.

Regular check-in

Start to prioritize constructive criticism and non-tactical collaboration from your closest partner, family member, or team. This can be about negotiating responsibilities, but it should also be a time when it’s safe to respectfully bring up emotionally charged issues. If it gets tense during these talks, getting a counselor or HR person could ease the pressure. For close relationships, many find once per week adequate. Re-scheduling for later is easier than scrambling to find a time in two packed schedules when you urgently need to resolve an issue. When you find yourself doing what you’ve agreed to try not to, a quick and lighthearted “Hey, can I have a do-over?” Can give you a chance to practice doing whatever behavior correctly without a potentially awkward apology. See the partner check-in worksheets. 

Benefits: This can prevent uncomfortable misunderstandings. Primary relationships can be a cause of intense stress but also a source of great support making regular check-ins a productive habit.

Time for friends and family

Schedule regular and designated time with your family. If you leave family or partner time to happen in “free time,” then it’s likely that competing demands will prevent this from being true quality time. If you aren’t living with a traditional family unit, you could count this category as a best friend or “significant other.” Combine with the recommended 2 hours per week in nature (which can be divided into smaller chunks). Psychology Today published a study  that shows the health benefits of spending time with loved ones.

Social media offers ways to find and connect with prior friends that were previously unavailable. You might use the Meetup platform to expand your circle of local friends and in-person connections. Eventbrite and internet searches can help you find ways to meet more people or plan fun ways to entice existing friends and acquaintances to congregate. Parlay House is an example of virtual community for women.

Benefits: An internet search for the U.S. National Institute of Mental health studies of health and social interaction will reveal many studies confirming many health benefits of remaining socially engaged.