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‘Single’ woman goes on dates every week for a year



Moving from Adelaide, Australia to Melbourne, Jessie Wright imagined exploring her new hometown, meeting new people. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

When Melbourne finally emerged from one of the longest lockdowns in the world, she found only unfamiliar surroundings. She broke up with her boyfriend, with whom she had lived for five years, and was isolated in a city that she had little to explore.

“After two years of isolation and separation, I realized that I don’t have a support network here or even a routine to return to,” she said. Newsweek. “I knew I needed to do something about it, but it’s hard to go out and make new friends when you’re not feeling better.

Jesse Wright before dinner number 3. Now Wright looks forward to the weekly dinners and the potential they can bring.

“This year I decided to take action and make it a reality. I listened [former monk-turned-life coach] Jay Shetty’s podcast on New Year’s resolutions and keeping them. He explained how important it is to have a plan of action.”

Wright found the idea of ​​New Year’s resolutions a useful tool to get things done. But the goal she set for herself for 2023 was much bigger than anything she had done before.

“My goal was to make new friends in the city, and having dinner with someone new every Thursday was my plan of action to make that happen,” she explained. “I would be very lucky if I had new friends with whom I could go for coffee or dinner. So Thursday is lunch day now.

“I always like to have a focus or goal for the new year, but I’ve never taken on any decision in this way before and shared it publicly.”

Wright going on 52 dates
On the left is Wright before Dinner Number 4, and on the right is Hannah Collingwood, who joined Wright at Dinner Number 3.

Wright shared a video on her TikTok account (@jssirite) on February 18 in which she laid out her plan to have 52 friendly dates during 2023. She explained “struggle for new friends” in a video that has over 214,000 views. Wright then continued to post about her desire to make more friends.

The video continued to circulate video published March 19 even surpassing 2.1 million views. The growing attention helped boost interest in Wright’s weekly dinner dates and prompted many people to send her messages saying they would be happy to spend the evening in her company.

“I have already received thousands of great offers, this is insane. So, I go through my Instagram and TikTok posts and reply.

“I am currently booking a month ahead as I find it odd to text someone asking them to plan months ahead. real friendship.

“So I sit down for a month and address four new dinner guests at the same time.”

“Making friends was essential for my mental health”

Some of the dinner dates were with people Wright followed on social media for a while but never met in person, while others were complete strangers she hooked up with after she went viral.

Blind dates can often go awry and lead to unforgettable experiences for all the wrong reasons, but Wright said Newsweek that she has enjoyed every friendship date she has been on so far. She kept in touch with many of them and subsequently also went out to have lunch, drink coffee or walk with the women.

Wright plans to make 52 new friends
Jessie (right) with Larissa Williams at Dinner One. The duo met at the first of Wright’s 52 dinners.

While the idea of ​​going on a date with 52 new people over the course of a year is a fun concept, there’s a deeper meaning behind why Wright wanted to do it for herself.

“I used to go through very hard times,” she said. “I knew making friends and building a support network here was important to my mental health. Admitting that you are single or would like to make new friends is very difficult.

“Sometimes the only comfort you have in this loneliness is the fact that no one knows about it. Sharing your experience the way I do may seem counterintuitive, but it’s the only way to break the cycle.

“If you have a support network around you, you are very lucky. It’s so important to your mental health and enjoyment of life.”

How loneliness affects mental health

In the post-pandemic era, when lockdowns and security restrictions have been lifted, nearly half of Americans still socialize less than they did in pre-pandemic times.

According to a survey of 2,000 eligible U.S. voters conducted for Newsweek in January by Redfield & Wilton Strategies, 42 percent said they were “less outgoing” than they were in 2019, and 37 percent said their friends were less outgoing now.

A project at Harvard University called Making caring a habit conducted in October 2020 found that 36 percent of Americans felt severe loneliness as a result of the pandemic. While loneliness affects people of all ages, the project found that 61 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 25 felt incredibly lonely at some point during quarantine.

Loneliness can be debilitating and create serious problems for a person’s mental health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that social isolation and increased loneliness are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, addiction, suicide and dementia.

National Council Certified Counselor and Therapist Juliet Lam Kunley regularly offers counseling and advice on mental health and wellness issues.

She said Newsweek: “As humans, we are connected to others, so isolation and loneliness really affect us cognitively, emotionally and physically. When we are alone, we may experience decreased energy and concentration, mental fog, loss of confidence, helplessness, and irritability. .

“Vulnerability is a risk that is absolutely necessary in order to make a connection. It’s crucial to express yourself, so start with things that seem available to you, but also be willing to consider things that are outside of your comfort zone.”

Kunley suggested going to a coffee shop, a workout, or a dog park, ideally to see the same people repeatedly, which can slowly build bonds. She also suggested using online groups and websites to find like-minded people with similar interests and hobbies.

Wright plans 52 dates with friends
On the left is Jessie Wright, pictured before her date at Dinner 7, and on the right, Ray Jones from Dinner 4.

When asked what she thought of Wright’s way of making 52 new friends this year, Kunley said, “I haven’t heard of anyone creating a deliberate plan like this, but I love it.

“I like structure and built-in responsibility. I so admire this person’s commitment to her values ​​as she wants a connection so she goes after her.”

“They are the main event of my week”

Wright now looks forward to dinner dates every Thursday night, which she might never have done had it not been for the breakup and moving to a new city.

“I didn’t have the support network here that I expected to have, so I had to build one from scratch,” Wright said. “This is what I look forward to every week and I have had the best time to connect with all my dates.

“They are the highlight of my week. I love planning where we’re going, what to wear, and then meeting someone new every week.

“Everyone who does this is so selfless and they are such good people. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have met so many incredible women that I sincerely wish I could befriend through this.”

If you have a personal dilemma, please let us know at We can turn to experts for advice on relationships, family, friends, money and work, and your story can be published on Newsweek Section “What to do?”.


The hometown of the Ukrainian group “Eurovision” was attacked during the performance



Russian rockets hit the hometown of Ukrainian electro-pop duo Tvorchi during their Eurovision performance, officials in Kyiv said late on Saturday.

After the couple took to the stage in the city of Liverpool in northern England, Ternopil, a small city in western Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, the head of the administration of President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in a Telegram message what happened.

“It happened just at the moment when the Ukrainian group “Tvorchi” from Ternopil performed in the Eurovision final,” he said, adding that two people were injured.

Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said two people were injured in a “rocket attack” in a separate post on its Telegram channel. According to preliminary data, the couple received “shrapnel wounds and burns.”

According to the report, “fragments of a cruise missile hit the warehouses, causing a fire.”

In a later statement, the Ukrainian Air Force on Sunday said three cruise missiles and 25 drones were destroyed during the attack.

NBC News is unable to independently verify these claims.

Following his speech at an event in Liverpool, which took over the holding of the event after the organizers decided that Kyiv was not safe enough, Creativity spoke about the attack in a post on his Instagram channel.

“Ternopil is the name of our hometown, which was bombed by Russia while we sang on the Eurovision stage about our steel hearts, indomitability and will,” they wrote, adding that the post is dedicated to “all the cities of Ukraine that are bombed every day” . day.

The sights and sounds of Ukraine were featured throughout the show, starting with the opening film, which saw the 2022 Eurovision winners the Kalush Orchestra sing and dance in the Kiev metro, and the tune was picked up by musicians from the UK, including Katherine, Princess of Wales, who was featured playing the piano.

As a result, Creativity took sixth place in the competition, which was won by the Swedish singer Loreen, who performed her song “Tatu”. She became the first singer to win the competition twice.

The Russian Ministry of Defense later confirmed that it had attacked Ternopil in a statement released on its Telegram channel on Sunday, saying it “delivered a strike with air- and sea-based long-range precision weapons.” He added that he was targeting storage sites for “ammunition, weapons and military equipment obtained from Western countries.”

The attack came after Zelenskiy traveled to Rome, where he met with Pope Francis and Prime Minister Georgia Meloni.

He then traveled to Berlin on Sunday for a meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

There, he thanked Germany for its announcement on Saturday that it would provide Ukraine with nearly $3 billion worth of military aid, including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition.

“You can rely on Germany,” he wrote on Twitter. “Together we bring the world closer!”

Inside Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said Ukrainian forces had made “massive attempts” to breach defenses in the key eastern town of Bakhmut over the past 24 hours as pressure continued to mount on their forces.

It said that Ukraine attacked the north and south of the city, but did not break through the Russian defenses. “All attacks by units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been repelled,” the message says.

NBC News was unable to verify this claim.

This raised new doubts about the Kremlin’s hopes for a symbolic victory in the city and heightened the fears of Russian observers about the position of the military on the front line.

For months, Russia has been anticipating a Ukrainian spring counter-offensive that is expected to target occupied lands across the country. Moscow’s own winter offensive ended in public infighting as it suffered heavy casualties on the battlefield, with more than 100,000 Kremlin forces killed or wounded since December alone, according to US estimates.

Associated Press contributed.

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Zelensky meets with leaders in Berlin over Germany’s military aid package



BERLIN (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was greeted with military honors by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Sunday on his first visit to Germany since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Zelensky visits allies seeking additional arms shipments to help his country fend off a Russian invasion and funds to rebuild what has been ravaged by more than a year of devastating conflict.

A Luftwaffe plane brought Zelensky to the German capital from Rome, where he met with Pope Francis and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

On the eve of his arrival, which is taking place amid strict security measures, the German government announced new military aid package for Ukraine worth more than 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion), including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition.

“Already in Berlin. weapon. Powerful package. air defense. reconstruction. EUROPEAN UNION. NATO. Safety,” Zelenskiy tweeted on Sunday, clearly referring to the key priorities of his trip.

anus initially hesitant to provide Ukraine with lethal weaponsGermany has become one of the largest weapons suppliers to Ukraine, including Battle tanks Leopard 1 and 2and the sophisticated IRIS-T SLM air defense system Modern Western equipment is considered critical if Ukraine is to succeed in its planned counter-offensive against Russian forces.

Zelensky met for the first time with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s head of state. which was neglected by Kyiv last yearapparently because of his former close ties with Russia, which caused a chill in diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Germany.

Since then, both Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Ukraine, assuring Zelensky of his support for his country’s fight against the Russian invasion. Announcing the new arms package, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that Berlin would help Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”

After meeting with Scholz and other senior officials at the office, the two leaders are expected to fly to the western city of Aachen, where Zelenskiy will receive the Charlemagne International Prize. awarded by him and the people of Ukraine.

The organizers say the award recognizes that their resistance to the Russian invasion is a defense of “not only the sovereignty of their country and the lives of its citizens, but also Europe and European values.”

While German leaders have expressed strong support for Ukraine, German voters are divided over whether the country should provide the additional weapons, in particular the advanced fighter jets, that Kiev is asking for from its allies.

Follow AP reporting on the war in Ukraine:

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Czechoslovak doll told me about happiness and its dark side | toys



TueWhen I was a child in communist Albania, happiness was called Anyushka. Anyushka was a big Czechoslovakian doll that belonged to my neighbors. They were party members who were once allowed to go to Prague and brought Anyushka to decorate their bedroom. It was not on sale in any Albanian store.

She had thick black hair pulled back into a chignon and wore an imperial orange satin dress adorned with lace. Her lips were bright red, her eyes were deep blue, and her long dark eyelashes gave her a dreamy expression. She sat majestically on the bed, the edges of her dress turned up on the mattress, which gave the simple communist furniture a solemn, Habsburg air. I watched for hours, longing to touch her. Sometimes I sat in a chair at the doorstep of the bedroom – which was as close to her as I was allowed – and we talked about whether she would ever want to be a toy and not a decoration.

After the fall of communism, many people began to modernize their homes and buy new Western-style beds and wardrobes. Anyushka’s time had also run out, and the neighbors asked if I wanted a doll. “You loved him so much when you were little,” they said. But I didn’t want it anymore. Perhaps I was too old for toys. Perhaps it was difficult to imagine regal Anyushka placed anywhere else but on the harsh communist bed of my neighbors. But maybe also because there is something unsettling about the memory of strong desires that fade with time, as if they were never so strong or as if they were never ours.

Did Anyushka really personify happiness, or in the nature of happiness, our idea of ​​it is focused on those things that are by their nature inaccessible?

So thought the German poet Johann W. Goethe. happiness, hey This is the ball that we run after wherever it rolls and kick it with our feet when it stops. Ball or doll, I find his point of view plausible. I am perplexed when the pursuit of happiness is presented as some kind of obvious understanding that we should all share. Take the popular saying that became a fixture on people’s T-shirts in Albania just after the end of the Cold War, accompanied by a smiling yellow face: “Don’t worry, be happy.” Why? It’s hard to imagine what will be left of happiness when you get rid of anxiety. Every action involves a mixture of self-doubt, inconsistent efforts, the temptation of evil, the insecurity of satisfaction. If we abstract from all this in the pursuit of happiness, then it is hardly possible to determine at all what is left of happiness.

Things get even more confusing (and somewhat unsettling) when the pursuit of happiness, from a personal goal, becomes the basis of political life. Take the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, which presents it as a “self-evident truth,” an inalienable right with which all Men were endowed. A critic might object that there is a fundamental problem with the exception. The historical accuracy of this judgment is reflected philosophically in the shortcomings of moral theory, which promotes “the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people.” This is one of the most famous phrases of Jeremy Bentham, the founding father of utilitarianism, and one of the biggest influences on liberal economic thought. One might ask, what about the smallest number? What to do for those who do not know what their happiness is? Can happiness be measured? Is it really possible to achieve the happiness of one person without causing suffering to another? What if the nature of happiness were to include the satisfaction of desires, which are always comparative and relative, and sometimes destructive?

There is only one view of happiness that I find convincing, but it is only convincing because it is not about happiness at all. The Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant argued that happiness can never be the guiding principle of action, it is the most that we can hope to enjoy. if we fulfill our obligations. We do what is right only because it is right and not in the expectation of a reward. Happiness may or may not come as a result of virtuous behavior, but it should not be made a condition of knowing how to act.

Some find this look unbearably sad, unbearably Protestant, or both. Are they draining the joy of life, they ask, turning our relationships with others into a list of moral obligations that relegates feelings and satisfaction to second place?

But I have always found the view both liberating and inspiring at the same time. You focus on the world as a whole and interact with others, aware of your finiteness, aware of the arbitrariness of inclinations and the randomness of desires. It encourages acceptance of anxiety and appreciation of aspiration, as well as seeking the meaning of life beyond personal pleasure. I don’t think it’s sad at all either… And in general, what could be worse than “Don’t worry, be happy”, an order to achieve what is, by definition, unattainable?

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