Skylar: Maybe we could go out for coffee sometime?
Will: Great, or maybe we could go somewhere and just eat a bunch of caramels.
Will: When you think about it, it’s just as arbitrary as drinking coffee.
That is one of my favorite lines from Good Will Hunting (one of my favorite movies!); I love that Will calls attention to the fact that our typical date ideas are just sort of…bizarre when you think about it.
I mean, grabbing a drink or doing dinner and a movie is fine and all — it has its time and place — but I prefer to mix things up a little. (I talk too much for movies anyway.) My suggestions will work with love interests or with friends. (I actually feel like friend dates are more fun than real dates because girl friends are so often up for outside-the-box activities.) They are a little different but they all ultimately help you achieve your goal: enjoying someone’s company!
1. Go out for breakfast on a weekday morning. I love breakfast food and going out for breakfast so this is one of my favorites! I feel like everyone thinks of doing weekend brunch, but no one considers the five other days in the week. You might have to get up a little earlier to get your breakfast and make it to work on time, but it’s so worth it. It always puts me in a better mood for the rest of the day. It’s also a good way to make time for people when you both have a lot going on in the evening. I love this as a replacement for “date night” or as a way to beat the Monday morning blues.
2. Go for a walk. This seems so simple and yet people forget about it or think it’s boring. It’s actually one of my favorite activities, especially when the weather is nice and when you are getting to know someone. It can be a sweaty, heart-pumping walk if you and your person want to go that route, but I prefer a casual walk in flats and a cute outfit. Walking gives you things to see and react to which can be great for conversation starters when you’re just getting to know someone. Plus there is always the option to stop and add in other activities — you can always pop into a shop to look at books or get a snack.
3. Have an at-home happy hour. This is one of Leah‘s favorite activities and I love it. Get some cheap appetizers and some yummy wine or beer, put on good music, and hang out on your couch/deck/patio from 5 to 7 after work. It’s cheaper than a real happy hour but just as fun!
4. Read out loud to each other. This seems so cheesy but it’s actually really fun. A while back, Eric and I bought A Practical Guide to Racism from the bargain shelf at Barnes & Noble and started reading it together…out loud. The book is hysterical, and it’s just a new thing to do that’s fun and different from watching a show together. We’ve also done this with audiobooks.
While it might seem weird to invite a friend over to read a book out loud with you, but it can definitely happen organically with girlfriends. For example, when I was reading Why Him? Why Her? I found it so interesting that I kept reading excerpts to my roommate. After a little while, I handed it over to her and she started reading passages out loud too, and we just took turns. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend like my best friend Beth, you could also read aloud from old Bab-ysitters Club novels for a really entertaining time.
5. “Can you help me pick out…?” If you have something specific to buy that you know the other person would enjoy helping you pick out, invite them along! This is especially great if you need to buy a gift; it can make the whole process more fun if you’re not that excited about it. And people are usually really flattered when you want their help/expertise.
6. Run an errand together. This is great for time management, and again, it gives you an opportunity to get to know someone in a different setting. It can be an errand you both enjoy — for me, grocery shopping dates/friend dates are the best — or an errand you both dislike. If you both have some annoying thing to do, just do it together! I mean, no one likes spending a Saturday in the laundromat or renewing her passport, but having a buddy with you (and the promise of brunch afterward!) can make it way more tolerable.
7. Go to a shooting range. I have yet to cross this off my to-do list, but I really want to! There are always Groupon or Living Social deals for handgun courses and such, so keep an eye out and when you see one, invite a friend or your SO to go a-shooting with you!
So if you’re TGIF-ing and planning some weekend fun, try one of these ideas! Or please share your own — I’d love to hear more ideas!