Photo credit: billygoverton.bandcamp.com

8 Tips for People Who Want to Have a Stellar Summer

Summer is funner. Yes, I know, funner is not a word, but that’s still an axiom I’ve subscribed to my whole life. And because I am someone who sincerely believes that expectation determines experience, the idea that May-August, 25+ temperature weather will always be more enjoyable than a Canadian winter is something I’ve always believed in, and it always ends up being true. But for those of you my age who aren’t so sure, here are a few tips to help you set your summer up to be the best it can be.

1. Not Everyone Is Looking for Romance

Do not assume that because someone asks you out for drinks, or texts you more than twice in one day, Likes one of your Facebook photos or uses a wink emoticon in an @reply to you on Twitter, that they’re in to you. I’m not sure whether men or women are more guilty of this tendency—it’s actually probably 50/50—but either way, stop it. Some people are just extra kind; happy and in the market for pleasant people to spend time with. Not everybody is after you, so no need to flee. Don’t spoil a burgeoning friendship because you can’t get your ego in check.

2. You Can Never Take Enough Photos and Video

Really, you can’t, unless you actually run out space on your iPhone, DSLR, or whatever you use to capture life’s precious moments, which, by the way, are exactly that: cherished and brief. This fact is what makes photos, Instagrammed or not, and videos, uploaded to YouTube or kept private, such valuable, treasured reminders of the richness of friends and family that we have in our lives, not only in the good times, but also in the bad.

3. Barbeque More

Everyone should know how to barbeque—well. You should feel comfortable cooking chunky slabs of meat on an unjustifiably expensive cooking machine, on a back porch, as your friends stand around, beer-in-hands, commenting, “Ahh yeah, those are looking good.” The skill is integral to being a good father, husband or well-rounded young bachelor. It’s also, for men and women, the easiest way to quickly put five or more close friends or acquaintances in debt to you. Hamburgers and hotdogs are inexpensive; same with the necessary beverages, whether they’re alcoholic or not. That and the fact that your guests will most likely feel obligated to bring something over—most will opt for 12-packs and Lays chips—make barbeques among the favourites in the hierarchy of options for summer social gatherings.

4. Summer Is Not an Excuse To Sacrifice Sleep

For most people, the summer automatically leads to an increased number of late nights, but not necessarily a corresponding increase in time spent sleeping in. Most of us still work all summer, which means that a lack of ZZZs becomes all too common. Sleep is important people. No, seriously, don’t skimp on it. Sleep deprivation negatively affects learning and memory, your metabolism and your health. What’s worse is that not enough sleep will affect your mood, stimulate irritability and potentially lead to impatience, and ultimately, deprive you of enjoying the time that you are awake to the highest degree possible.

5. Ban Drama and/or its Perpetrators

Everyone has friends—though they shouldn’t necessarily be referred to as such—that thrive on drama. These people are trouble, and as such, should be avoided at (almost) all costs. At the start of the summer, you and your group of closest pals should establish a rule, or an agreement, that formalizes your distaste for people who fuel avoidable provocation. And those who disregard the group’s creed should no longer be granted invites to your outings.

6. Get a Food Mate

Pick a friend—not necessarily your best friend, but at least a very good one—and have them commit to being your Food Mate. Your FM is someone you get dinner or lunch with every two weeks, but you take turns paying for each other. The first time you’ll pay for him or her; the next time your friend pays; then you pay; and so on. There’s great pleasure in taking someone out, and not just because the favour is going to be returned. Research has, in fact, shown that we get more pleasure out of spending money on others than we do on ourselves. This is the perfect way to test that hypothesis yourself.

7. Eat Somewhere New At Least Twice A Month

I seriously think that your social rank within your circle of friends is in part determined by your ability to recommend new (and good) places to eat. Being able to provide recommendations of the best restaurants and pubs in your city is similar to knowing gossipy secrets, but in a good way. We love those who have the power to enlighten us, no matter what the subject. Be the food gossiper and people will count on you to fill them in on what’s new, what’s good. Of course, in order to get to this state, you must first eat at new and good places. Your FM can help you with this. Pick two days of the month, like the second Tuesday and the last Wednesday, and block these evenings off in your calendar so you don’t forget. Use services like UrbanSpoon and Foursquare’s Explore function to help you pick and choose what’s next.

8. Get Over It

Just let it go; whatever it is. It’s time to hit the reset button on any and all feelings of resentment that you’ve been holding against people in your life—colleagues, ex-boy/girlfriends, lost friends or whoever. Plain and simple, in order grab life by the horns, you have to let go of that grudge.