After long work days, sometimes the only thing we want to do is come home and have quality time with our pets. This is totally normal. But for some people, a line gets crossed and what was a reasonable amount of time to devote to a pet becomes extreme, causing other facets of life and relationships to suffer.  Here are a few healthy tips on how to balance your interactions with both your pets and your human relationships.  

Healthy Social Life Tips

  • Make room for love. One of the primary assumptions about people obsessed with their pets is that they were unlucky in love, which is what drove them to find solace in feline or canine companionship. Whether or not this is ever strictly the case, it doesn’t matter, since the assumption irreversibly persists. Don’t let that apply to you! Even if you haven’t met the right life partner, or you have been burned and jaded in love, don’t shrink away from the opportunity of finding it. Go out on dates, have fun, meet people and challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone.  Your devoted dog will be waiting for you when you get home!
  • Keep the chat relevant. While on a date, notice if your go-to topic is about your kitty, or if you reach for your phone to look at images of your dog whenever you feel socially awkward or nervous. Resist these urges! Be present, enjoy the conversation, and if the topic of pets come up, you can spill about your little darling. Who knows, you might find they have a soft spot for animals too, and you can throw a few of these casual conversation starters about cats into the mix. Bingo! Match made in heaven.
  • Stay active socially. Are your friends doing a wine tasting this weekend? Don’t miss it! Did your co-worker invite you to that art show downtown tonight? Don’t stay in to play with your cat or cuddle with your dog. Some people constantly make excuses about why they can’t do something, and then blame it on their pet. This can communicate that your dog or cat is more important than the humans in your life, and people will get over that really fast.
  • Limit your stories, comments and show-n-tell. You know your pooch or kitty is the most incredible creature in the world. You know he is worth every second of devotion you give him… but people won’t always get on your level of enthusiasm. Cut them some slack and dial down the comments. When given a chance, your pals might surprise you by even asking about your fur-baby!
  • Hanging out with pregnant friends or people who have kids? Do not empathize with their stories by comparing their kids to pet parenthood. Just don’t.  You might have a very similar experience that is a perfectly logical connection, but for some reason, parents really seem to resent that. Nothing will advance you down the road to cat-ladydom like making this conversational faux pas. Instead, intentionally work on being an active and encouraging listener. When people feel listened to and cared about, they are much more open to hearing about the things in life that matter to you. This kind of discipline does not mean you care about your pet less, it just means you are more focused on the person in front of you in the moment.  Simply being present will pay off in the long run, and will help solidify your friendships in a whole new way. After all, don’t you appreciate the way your kitty or dog listens to you?