Socializing with “normal” friends can help ebb eccentric tendencies and keep you from alienating your clients.
The Anti-Social Freelancer
Most freelancers, especially freelance writers, work from home. They pick their own clients and plan their own schedules. Unfortunately, many of us forget to schedule a little “free time” into our dayplanners, leaving us anti-social and isolated. (Or, if you’re like I am, being alone for long lengths of time can lead you to start humoring your more eccentric personality traits).
The Problem with Isolation
Isolation might not bother you. In fact, many of us enjoy being alone on our days off. However, the problem with complete and total reclusiveness from your fellow humans is this: Your detachment will start to affect your work.
Think of it this way:
- Your clients are probably humans/people.
- If you have no contact with humans/people other than yourself, you probably can’t relate to humans/people (or at least can’t in a way that’s considered “normal”)
- If you can’t relate to humans/people, you can’t relate to your clients.
- If you can’t relate to your clients, they won’t hire/pay you!
Keeping in Touch: What Can Help
I’m not saying that you have to start partying or even that you have to go out and physically see your friends every week. There are lots of ways to stay “in touch” with the human race…
- E-mail. Making an effort to e-mail a friend (or friends) each week—particularly one who’s on the “outside”—can help to keep you feeling “connected.”
- Phone. Same thing as e-mail, but with more talk-y and less write-y.
- Watch TV. No, they aren’t “real” people (I’m not telling you to start thinking of Quinn Fabray as your girlfriend and Barney Stinson as your best friend), but real people are watching these shows: By watching—or at least knowing about—what’s on television, you start to absorb the lexicon (most of humanity’s common “slang” originates from the media) and get to know what people are talking about around the proverbial water cooler.
- Know the News. One of the first “tip offs” that you’re “out of touch” is when you don’t know the news. For instance, if I had made a comment like “If we ever catch Osama Bin Laden…” after the events of May 1, 2011, I’d certainly get more than a few funny looks.
- Get Out of the House. People are EVERYWHERE. No matter where you go, you’re bound to run into someone. Even a simple “How are you today?” exchange with the bag clerk at the grocery store can give you some much-needed human contact.
- Hang Out with Friends! Hey, sometimes the classics just can’t be beat!