“Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued–when they can give and receive without judgment.”–Brené Brown
It has been a hot minute since I’ve posted on the blog. A few announcements: starting this month, I will be posting on Tuesday evenings. Also go ahead and follow along on my Instagram @thehonestpursuit for daily encouragement and community. This month I will be sharing ideas about meaningful ways to spend time with friends, and how to maintain long-distance friendships. I will also be sharing some of my poems about love and its different expressions since this is the month of love and romance. Lastly, at the end of the month, I will be sharing my book review for my February book of the month: “Atlas of The Heart,” by Brené Brown.
So without further ado, let’s get to today’s focus: “12 meaningful ways to spend time with friends.” These ideas are meant to spark creativity in how we can spend time with friends whether that is weekly, or even monthly. Spending time with friends should be fun, as well as a time to connect and share what is really going on in our lives. As a post grad adult, I am always looking for budget-friendly hangouts that also make the best use of my time and my friend’s time. However, it is always fun to splurge every now and then!
Genuine community is a priority in my life because life is not meant to be lived alone. Make time to see your friends. Enjoy a night or weekend to unwind, be vulnerable, and try something new!
12 meaningful ways to spend time with friends:
1. Start a Book Club
Last year a group of my best girl friends and I started a monthly book club where we took turns choosing the book of the month and met at the end of the month to discuss the book and cook a meal on theme to the book. We read (or mostly read) The Nightingale, Mere Christianity, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, Yes Please!, and Where The Crawdads Sing. We made so many fun meals such as a Southern homestyle classics like fried chicken and fried pickles, French beignets, quiche Lorraine, French onion soup, and New York cocktails. I think one night I wasn’t there the group ordered in pizza too. We all love to read, but as life goes, it was hard to finish the books in some months during life transitions. We still have our book club group chat and this year we might try something different to do monthly, but I love this idea!
Also fun is having a weekly or monthly Bible study with a friend or a group. Take a book of the Bible to deep dive into and really savor the time together to grow spiritually and in knowledge of God’s Word.
2. Cooking night at home
Here’s Michelle with that French onion soup and my quiche Lorraine! (so good!) My advice with cooking at home: everyone bring something decided on ahead of time, have drinks ready, an easy appetizer, and play either fun jams or chill music for the ambiance of the kitchen. Make eating and cooking an experience, one to be savored and perceived with all 5 senses. I’m learning that food brings people together to share about life, laugh, and feel full of good food and belonging. So, try a new dish, a new region/ genre of food, and learn how to create something new to add to your cooking menu.
3. Weekend road trip to a local find or nearby city
My absolute FAVORITE place on Earth is New Orleans, Louisiana. Michelle and I went for my 24th birthday a few years ago and it was spectacular. I love going to new places, exploring the eateries and music venues, and getting out of familiarity for a while. Some fun places to go in Texas are Dallas, Ft. Worth, Fredericksburg, Austin, San Antonio, Denton, Waco, and our lakes and nature reserve parks. My best friends in grad school also got together in Waco for a day to wander through the Silos District and visit some of our favorite spots. Get some college friends together and visit your old college town, or visit a friend’s hometown together.
4. Movie night at home or at the theater
Grab all the yummy, feel good snacks and your favorite flick! Add string lights to the tv stand, make some cocktails or pop open a bottle of wine, and set the vibe for cozy and comfy. (Bonus points if you arrive in your go-to sweats or loungewear!) Some new films are coming out too. I love going to my local Cinemark with friends for a good movie and a large extra butter popcorn snack. Have a movie marathon, watch the sappiest chick flick, try a foreign film, or watch a movie in a different genre. My favorite movies (currently) are Clueless, The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982), Pride and Prejudice (2005), Legally Blonde, and Elf. What are your favorites?
5. Try a new sport each month
Ourdoor sports have always been my go-to! My sister and I bought roller skates and helmets during the pandemic in 2020 and it was so fun learning how to skate again. My Dad and I love to skeet shoot when the weather is fair too. Shooting sports are a sport that require a unique skillset and expertise. I love it because it is special time I get to spend with my Dad (the expert!) Other outdoor sports that are fun in groups are sand volleyball, frisbee, mini golf, ice or roller skating, flag football, soccer, or kickball. Join a league at your rec center or make your own team. Indoor sports like basketball or ping pong are fun too! Try a new sport together each month and let that friendly competition bring new comradery to the friendship.
6. Game night at a friend’s house or arcade
You genuinely cannot go wrong with the right games or arcade. If you’re looking to bond, check out the game “We’re Not Really Strangers.” It’s a unique question and answer game that invites vulnerability and connection better than any game I’ve played before. I love board games like Clue too! (Not a fan of Monopoly, it never ends! Am I wrong??) My friends and I love going to the arcades that have a flat fee at the door and you can play any game in the place as much as you want. Catch us at Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, and Mario Kart! Our favorite places in the Dallas area are Cidercade and Freeplay. Be silly and get to know each other through competition and laughter!
7. Experiment with cocktails (or mocktails) at home
Here’s the idea: each friend bring a beverage or ingredient to your house, again set the vibe with lights and music, and experiment with cocktails or host a wine tasting. You can go the extra mile and make cute rating sheets for everyone to rate their favorite wine or cocktail too. Of course, appetizers and desserts are a must! Those are my preferences, but other beverage options could be beers, ciders, sodas, even try different water brands and rate the best tasting of each. Another thought, try making coffees at home that are unique like a chai tea latte or something real baristas make at your favorite coffee shop. Just as good food brings people together, so does a great “bevragino.”
8. Explore the outdoors near and far
What can I say? I love being outside! (Even if my asthma doesn’t lol) Some random outdoor hangs that my friends and I love: going to balloon festivals (Albuquerque, New Mexico what’s up!), horseback riding, boat rides at the lake, kayaking, going to a park, hike at a saved spot from our Maps, and picnics. My friend Michelle is honestly the master of picnics. She always brings the best snacks, wine, and even a cute bouquet of flowers. Hammock at the park, read a good book, and enjoys each other’s company.
9. Treat yourselves to a fancy night out
First off, I know my wine glass grip needs some refinement. Hey, nobody’s perfect! Anyways, pick a night to treat yourselves to the finer eats and dress up! Wear your favorite outfit, do your hair, and TREAT YO’ SELF. BJs and Glorias are my personal favs currently. I’d recommend making reservations ahead of time if you can! After all the hard work you do, it’s okay to spend a little once a month on fancy food experiences. Or go to a fancy opera, orchestra, or live show downtown. Whatever it is, definitely make it classy.
10. Craft night at home or at a local art shop
I haven’t done this yet, but I really want to do a Bob Ross painting night at my house with friends. Get all the materials, and watch an episode of Bob Ross’ show on Netflix and just go for it. Worst art wins! Painting classes like Painting With A Twist and DIY pottery places like Walls of Clay (McKinney, TX) are fun too! Ooh, you know what would be crazy fun? Get a giant canvas and attach water balloons of paint to it and throw darts at it like they did in Princess Diaries! (See below)
11. Go to a sports game
There is literally no vibe like going to a hockey game eating jalapeño nachos in the nosebleeds. As a Texan, and native Dallas-Ft. Worth gal, I love my Dallas Stars. Go to your high school or college sports games, or host a watch party of a weekend game or Super Bowl at your house. Be the fan that actually watches the game (don’t leave at halftime). Cheer on your team with your friends and grab a hot dog!
12. Go to an indoor or outdoor concert
We’re at the end already?? My last and honestly favorite thing to do with friends is going to live concerts. Pre-COVID, I was going to 3-4 concerts a year and rocking out to Kacey Musgraves, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, and Taylor Swift. Go to a good jazz bar and sip cappuccinos, get a picnic blanket and go to summer shows at your local park, or grab your cowgirl boots and hit the country music fests! My first concert post-COVID was Luke Combs at the end of last year. It was so fun to jump around and sing his songs with a new friend. It was an unforgettable night for sure. 🙂 I have found some bands are doing virtual concerts now, so you can also have a concert at home!
Let me know what you try in the comments! Did I forget a good friend hang? Share below!
Petit à Petit,