Something with which I find myself often struggling is planning friend dates, or what to do with friends when we’ve set aside time to spend together. At the same time, I also generally find myself in the plan-maker role, so I compiled a list of tips for planning a friend date.
“Something with which I find myself often struggling is planning friend dates.”
1. Know your friends.
First, it is really difficult to plan a fun date with someone you don’t know. At least try to find out something about them — dietary restrictions, common interests, how their week was, etc. You don’t want to plan a fun outing to a brewery with a friend who hates beer. And, you don’t want to take a vegan friend to the best local burger place. Nor do you want to plan a late night out with a friend who was up late nights all week doing schoolwork. So, even if you don’t know the person very well, try to think of your last conversation and anything you picked up on that you two have in common that translates to an idea.
“You don’t want to plan a fun outing to a brewery with a friend who hates beer. And, you don’t want to take a vegan friend to the best local burger place.”
2. Get out of your comfort zone.
If someone wanted to be solely my drink-wine-on-the-couch-while-I-clean-my-house friend, that’d be great because that’s what I feel is my default. It is difficult for me, even when I’ve invited a friend over for drinks, to stay still. I end up doing dishes, cleaning the house, etc., while my friend constantly changes position to be making eye contact while chatting. Then, my guilty conscience is in the back of my mind after said friend leaves, saying “You moved around too much. Why can’t you just sit down?”
But, that’s boring for the friend because women bond over doing things together. So, find something out of your comfort zone that sounds interesting. Here are some ideas:
- Go to a park to walk a trail and chat.
- Try a new restaurant.
- Get ice cream.
- Have a coffee date.
- Go to their house.
- See a movie/play.
- Go shopping.
“Find something out of your comfort zone that sounds interesting.”
3. Have a routine. OR Change it up.
For this one, I feel like there are two types of friends — friends you don’t see often but set aside regular, set periods of time for, and friends with whom you make plans often without structure. For the former, I find it fun to have a routine — always meet for coffee at your favorite coffee shop to catch up or a standing lunch date. Then, whenever you may run into them or despite how busy life may be, you can count on that time.
For the latter, the friends with whom you set aside time without any plan, change it up. When I’ve confined my friends to drinking wine while I clean for the past few “dates,” I try to make sure I notice that and find something out of the house to do for a change of scenery.
“Always meet for coffee at your favorite coffee shop to catch up or a standing lunch date.”
4. Sometimes it’s okay to stay in.
All of that being said, don’t feel like you always have to go do something or dress up. Last week I had back-to-back plans with a friend: Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Sunday morning, we were going to brunch with another friend so I knew we’d be out and about and “dressed.” So, at the risk of sounding lame, I offered to make cocktails at home while baking a new recipe—a low key night. Turns out, that was perfect for her too; we had a lot of fun.
Sometimes it’s nice to be low key but still have company. Here are some ideas for staying in:
- Try a new recipe.
- Do a craft.
- Watch a movie.
- Read a book.
- Do a puzzle.
- Play a board game.
Melanie Kalmanson is a double-Nole attorney living in Tallahassee, Florida. She lives with her boyfriend and two pups — Wrigley and Turner. Check out Wrigley the dog’s Instagram @wrigleytherescue.