Earlier this month I shared my intentions for 2019, and one that I feel most excited about and committed to is building and strengthening relationships. It feels to me like social media use is at an all-time peak right now, and at the same time, science is also starting to suggest that this isn’t a great thing when it comes to our health. We’re learning that there’s a positive correlation between increased social media use and tons of less-than-desirable symptoms, including reported anxiety, depression, trouble focusing and poor sleep quality. I don’t know about you, but reading more about all this has certainly made me think twice each time I pick up my phone – and my use of social media in general.
There also seems to be a general notion out there that making new friends as an adult is hard, but I’m determined to make that not be the case. Despite being an introvert who needs a solid amount of ‘me time’ every week, I can’t deny that spending real, face-to-face time with friends leaves me feeling far happier, fulfilled and connected than texting back and forth. One of my focuses right now is pushing myself to do more than my usual amount of in-person socializing, and I’m pleased to report that this goal is off to a strong start!
Of course, one of the questions that comes up for in-person get togethers is “well what shall we do?”. Personally, I often default to the very predictable suggestion of a coffee or tea date, and honestly, on some days this is exactly what I want to do. I love being in a more quiet setting where we can just focus on chatting and catching up, as opposed to dealing with other things happening around us. But on other days, even to this introvert, another tea or coffee date can feel a little stale.
With this in mind, here are 10 fun indoor friend date ideas that aren’t coffee. I’ll save the outdoor ones for another post because as much as I love being outside, I don’t love being cold! Indoor friend dates take weather out of the equation, so there’s no reason to bail if mother nature isn’t on your side.
1. Power through meal prep together
This one might be particularly attractive right now at the start of the new year, when lots of us have strong healthy eating intentions. Rather than doing your meal prep alone, you could meet with a friend to pick 4 recipes, and prepare 2 each while chatting in the kitchen. Make each recipe to serve 2 people, and by the end, you’ll each have 4 different meals ready to eat throughout the week (and you only had to make 2 of them!) Or, if the recipes you choose are good big-batch ones, you can make even more leftovers and freeze portions for later.
A few meal prep recipe ideas to get you started:
- Sesame Ginger Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Lentil Walnut Taco Bowls
- Trailblazer Quinoa Salad
- Chipotle Chicken Buddha Bowl
- Crispy Harissa Chickpea Power Bowls
- Roasted Chicken Salad with Curried Yogurt Dressing
- Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad with Red Curry Chicken
- Moroccan Grain Bowls with Harissa Orange Chicken
- Tuscan Bean + Quinoa Salad
- Detox Salad with Ginger Miso Tahini Dressing
Not only is this a great excuse to spend time together more regularly, but cooking healthy meals together, you’re also using each other as accountability partners for your wellness goals. You might also find yourself eating a wider variety of foods than normal and enjoying recipes you wouldn’t normally make for yourself.
2. Have a clothing swap
Last month I attended a clothing swap that one of my friends was co-hosting, and it was an amazing opportunity to 1) declutter my closet, 2) meet a whole bunch of new friends, and 3) give back to those in need, since all remaining clothing went to victims of the California wildfires. I also left with a few new pairs of jeans and a dress to take with me to Hawaii next month – for free!
3. DIY spa day
Of course you could go out to your favourite spa or mani/pedi spot, but if budget is an issue, a fun alternative is an at-home spa day. You could make your own body scrubs and body butters (or just bring some of your favourite clean body care products), then do manicures, pedicures and facials.
4. Do something crafty
Pick a Pinterest project, or find a location that offers classes that allow you to create something artsy. Ideas include ceramics/pottery, candle making, painting, succulent arranging (on my list for this spring!), etc.
5. Take a fitness class together
This probably isn’t the most chatty of options, but if it’s a friend you catch up with regularly and you don’t need to fill each other in on the last 4 weeks, months or years of your lives, it’s a fun option!
6. Plan a trip
Yes it may be winter, but having a sunny holiday to look forward to can help make the cold a little more bearable! If you both have travel goals for this year and have a destination you both want to see, start putting together an itinerary.
7. See a comedy/improv show
This is something I did with my sister recently, and until she came to visit me, I hadn’t even thought to explore the comedy scene. As it turns out, there are tons of venues (which probably surprises nobody – it’s LA after all) and tickets can be super cheap. A little laugh therapy? That’s something we can all do with more of!
8. Play board games
Do people still do this?! I haven’t played board games in for-evvvv-er, but I loved them as a kid and even now, would never turn down a game of Life or Taboo.
9. Go to a museum or art gallery
If this sounds like the most boring thing E-VER, just hear me out. Before my sister came to visit I hadn’t been to any LA museums or galleries, but this turned out to be a lot of fun and I learned a lot! We went to the Hollywood Museum’s Max Factor exhibit, where we learned all about the history of Max Factor makeup and the early stars that used it like Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Gretta Garbo and Bette Davis. I left with a very strong appreciation for the skincare and makeup products I use today (things have come a LONG way!) and an appreciation for Max Factor – he was a pretty innovative and clever dude back in the day!
Hot tip: Many galleries and museums have super cheap admission, or special days when tickets are available at reduced rates. Some art galleries also offer free classes, so check out event calendars on their websites before you go. If you’re looking for entertainment on the cheap, this is a good place to find it!
10. Make epic Sunday brunches
Going out to brunch is one of my favourite things to do on the weekend, especially if it’s after a good sweat of some kind and i’ve worked up a solid appetite. You could go out to a restaurant, or, why not take inspo from your favourite brunch spots and try your hand at making your own? You’ll likely save yourself some money, and this can be even more fun if you invite a few friends to join. The menu might involve…
- A build-your-own avocado toast bar – toast, avocado, hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced red onion, smoked salmon, radish, cucumber, fresh dill, basil, cherry tomatoes, hummus or crispy roasted chickpeas, microgreens, sprouts, dukkah, hot sauce, sea salt, black pepper
- Omelette bar (just have others bring more frying pans if necessary) – eggs, non-dairy beverage of choice, chopped bell peppers, mushrooms, shredded greens, scallions, cheese of choice, fresh herbs, hot sauce, salsa
- Breakfast burrito bar – tortillas, black beans, scrambled eggs, sauteed bell peppers, diced tomatoes, guac or diced avocado, salsa, cilantro, hot sauce
If you have a group of friends into this idea, you could take turns hosting and pair up so that the prep isn’t always on one person. Or, go full-on potluck approach and have everyone bring their fave brunch dish.
Right – what am I missing? What do you love doing with your friends? Have you recently had any super fun indoor friend dates? Tell me all about them in the comments below!