Social Media sometimes gets a very bad press. It’s full of trolls, people lose their politeness and inhibitions and feel able to say anything they like. Don’t post about yourself, you never know who’s reading your posts, it increases isolation because you’re online not meeting up in person etc. etc. etc.
Okay, I’d be a fool not to agree that parts of the Interweb got very nasty in 2016 whether you were in the UK or the USA. People were cross and angry and divided and altogether not happy with each other whichever way they voted. I found Twitter the worst, perhaps because it’s easier to be scrolling and see something that you agree/disagree with and it’s easier to comment. I think the trolls mostly like less than 140 (or 280) characters to get their witty, pithy response in and then pass on to the next bridge.
But I also believe that there is a happy, friendly, comfortable side to social media that we miss out on at our peril. I believe that some groups on Facebook can be a real source of friendship and support. If you have a problem and the A Team aren’t there to help you, then you will be able to find a support group on Facebook that can. Or if the support group isn’t there, you can start your own. From minor issues like an unreasonable fondness for hamsters to big life-changing situations like divorce and widowhood, there’s a group on Facebook. Having a place to post the problems that nobody but another guinea pig owner would understand is a bonus. Being able to share and to get validation back in the replies you get helps a person to know they are not alone. You are not alone.
I started The Hygge Nook as a safe space,a place to share the happy side of life, to talk about things that make you feel hyggely, cosy, comfy. I didn’t know how much time it would take, or how much of my Facebook feed would be occupied by a whole host of posts shared by different people, different ages, sexes, locations, interests, religions, everything. I love having a group of nearly 5,000 sharing little snippets of life, mostly happy, sometimes not, and getting responses from people who have been in the same situation and survived, or who know what the next step should be or… most often… just want to post and say thank you for sharing, for putting up something bright and cheerful and happy.
I got to talk a lot about the Hygge Nook at the weekend because I met up with another member face to face on my trip to London. We’d been hoping that there would be about 4 of us, but circumstances conspired and two people had to call it off, but there were two of us, together, at Scandinavian Kitchen where we sat and talked and ate and talked and drank coffee and talked.
Any member of The Hygge Nook will tell you that Eileen Lavender is a regular contributor. She posts morning greetings and night time farewells, and other snapshots of her life in between. I won’t tell you her age (ladies never do divulge her age) but I hope when I reach her number I am as lively, bright and spritely. Eileen is a cracking person to spend an afternoon with.
And she is such a good advert for the positive side of social media. Eileen says that having The Hygge Nook there has helped to make her feel less alone. With the multi-national aspect of the group, there is always someone awake and ready to respond. And, to date, we have very few cynical or nasty comments. The most controversial comment usually is somebody saying that they don’t like X, but they realise other people do, so live and let live.
I had a brilliant afternoon, and spending time was so easy because we started off as friends and ended up as even closer mates. That’s what the Hygge Nook is for me, a place to share and to make friends. I can’t pretend to know everyone in there, but I recognise the names that share most or comment most. When I met Eileen I already knew that she does shabby chic furniture very well, that she has a brother in Denmark and that she is a very kind lady. She’s even nicer in real life!
And…. you want to know what we ate? For lunch we had meatballs with either mash and gravy or salads, and for afternoon tea (yes, we were there that long!) we had Princess cake which was delicious. I will probably never make it at home, but it is definitely one of my favourite Danish desserts.
Eileen, you are a superstar! I had a blast. And the funny thing is, I think I could meet any of the Hygge Nook members and we’d have a good time. I would like to believe that being a part of the group would give us a head-start on being friends. Why not give it a go? Arrange to meet for coffee one Saturday, go for a walk in the local park, grab lunch in the big City. Drink coffee, talk and enjoy spending time together.*
Want to read more about how hygge has helped me be a happier person? My books are available on Amazon.com and .co.uk. You can find details on how to order them here.
*Be safe, though! Don’t go meeting anywhere private, or saying you’ll visit homes. Meet in public places and in groups of more than 2 if you can. The next time I’m in London we’ll try again and hopefully more Hygge Nookers will be able to meet up. I can hardly wait.