Establishing Your Third Place

clear drinking glasses on table

What is This?

Like me, you may be wondering what is third place. It’s turns out it is a vital ingredient in your mental health tool kit. 

But before we define it we need to clarify what first and second place are.

First place would be considered where you live. Second place would be were you attend school or where you work.

Leaving third place. This is literally any other location that:

(1) does not fall into the first two categories,

(2) where you can engage in social interaction,

(3) where you can engage in public relaxation, and

(4) easy to get to in your normal routine without having to go too far out of your way.

This concept was developed in 1989 by Ray Oldenberg a sociologist. He talked about having places for public gathering, socialization, and regular connections. Places that met his definition for a third place included, bars, hair salons, and local coffee shops.

As we are wrapping up the summer, children have headed back to school, people are returning to the office, now is the time for you to identify a place to that will be your third place or reengage with a former one. 

Some examples include:

  • In-person attendance of weekly services at your place of worship—celebrating your faith with like-minded individuals.
  • Going to the nail salon—catching up with your favorite nail technician. 
  • Getting back in the gym—connecting your old gym buddies or making new connections with people in the new class your joined.
  • Join a group with a shared interest.

There is a group for everything. Do you like cooking? There’s a group for that. Do you want to start hiking? There’s a group for that. Do you like eating? There’s a foodies’ group for that. Do you like plants and want to experience plant exchanges…yes, there’s literally a group for that too!!!

Where can you find these groups?

Here a few suggestions:

  • Check out Meet Up
  • Facebook also has groups
  • Your local library offers classes on shared interests
  • Your place of worship: several church offer groups outside of weekend services around a shared interest.
  • The local community center

What are some non-interactive third places?

Are you interested in places where you don’t have to speak to other people? Here are some options that will still give you the same benefits as the engaging third places.

  • The movie theatre: being in the company of other people that are also interested in the movie you want to see counts as a third place environment.
  • The same is true for going to a baseball game, a soccer/football game, or an American football game.
  • A park

Your third place will become a place you become excited to go to outside of work and home. Finding a third place may sound like an extra step or another thing to add to your list. But I assure you, it is worth the investment in you and your mental health. For help developing a personalized plan schedule an appointment.

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