Social activities brainstorming
October 30, 2018 12:56 PM   Subscribe

I need help brainstorming 2 lists of social activities: 1) activities that people can do to meet potential friends and 2) activities that people can do to get to know acquaintances better. I'm especially interested in generic, low-cost, low-effort activities that most people could do, regardless of location or specific interest, as this will be distributed broadly. Activities must not necessarily involve drinking. My lists so far are inside.

1) Activities to meet potential friends
*Take a group exercise class
*Go to a professional networking event
*Attend an event listed on or Facebook events
*Take a hobby-based class (ex: dancing, art, cooking, improv)
*Join an exercise group (ex: running, hiking, dog walking)
*Join a group or club organized around a shared interest (ex: books, music, film)
*Attend a free lecture, seminar, book reading, or other public presentation
*Take your dog or a friend's dog to the dog park
*Go to the gum
*Go to a coffee shop
*Use Bumble BFF or OKCupid to find people who want to be friends
*Attend an art walk

2) Activities to do with acquaintances to get to know them better
*Plan a potluck meal
*Go shopping
*Go on a walk
*Exercise or play a sport
*Go out to eat
*Cook together
*Go out to a movie
*Go to a museum or exhibit
*Go to a garage sale or thrift store
*Get coffee or tea
*Go to see live music
*Work on an art/craft project together
*Go to a trivia or Bingo night
*Organize a book club
*Host a game night (ex: cards, puzzles, board games)
posted by quiet coyote to Human Relations (12 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
The library has lots of events where you could meet people. Book clubs, community events, probably an ESL conversation group (good way to get to know people because you are just there to help people practice English so I'm sure you tell stories on prompts).

I've recently made a good friend, and we have bonded going to trivia nights, happy hours (you can just get apps, no need to drink), movies and board game nights.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:13 PM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

For No. 2 -- Talk on the phone.

Much of list No. 1 could also apply to No. 2.

Another option is getting active politically. That's how I made my friends. But maybe that is included in other options.
posted by maurreen at 1:14 PM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think you are coming up with this list and is well and good, but what you do doesn't turn acquaintances into friends. Time and Proximity do that. That's why I was friends with people in class, even when we barely interacted.

Do what you want, and let the clock take care of the details. Then, when you are ready to escalate, just do what comes naturally.

What might come naturally?
Well, Sports events, going out to lunch, chatting. Vacations, Hunting, travel, Friendsgiving, holidays, etc.
posted by bbqturtle at 1:20 PM on October 30, 2018

For section two, what about doing chores of some sort together? My roommates and I used to actually enjoy going to the laundromat together, and my second date with my now-husband was going to the grocery store together because it was the only time we had available that week.

Also, it doesn't necessarily help one become friends with people you can hang out with all the time IRL, but penpals are still a thing and it can be a very deep and long-lasting bond. My sister has been communicating with her penpal on a different continent for more than 20 years and recently flew out there to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.
posted by DSime at 1:34 PM on October 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

I don't know if this quite fits, but since recent game changes this year I have met and hung out with a lot of new people, several of whom I now consider friends, through Pokemon Go. There are a lot of meet ups, and there's a community day every month where you meet in a park or somewhere and stroll around. It's kind of nice because you have a built-in thing to talk about if it's awkward, but you necessarily get to know people a bit and can gravitate towards the ones with whom you have other shared interests.
posted by LKWorking at 2:08 PM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think that you could broaden the category of volunteer so that people know what the options are. For example, volunteering can include:
- removing invasive plants outdoors
- propagating native seeds
- trash removal in natural areas
- driving people to medical appointments
- shelving books at the library
- cooking food from donated ingredients
- tutors
posted by xo at 5:37 PM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

The list of games: card games, board games like Monopoly, Dominoes.
The list of activities: walks at the zoo, the park, the lake. Walking groups at the mall or historic neighborhoods. Tis the season to see the holiday decorations in neighborhoods that go all out for that.
We're getting past the fall festival and state fair season, but those can be fun road trips. Holiday celebrations are going on now. Carols, symphonies, ballet, musicals. What are the local high schools, universities and community theaters doing?

Sports. Public school has heart -- support your local schools and give generously, and especially the food and beverage stands sponsored by the school clubs.
Speaking of... a walking tour of a business district, checking out locally-owned food and retail stores.
Check with the library and the community center about free and nearly-free classes.
posted by TrishaU at 7:27 PM on October 30, 2018

Dog Park.
Library - lectures, book group, knitting group
Adult Ed. Classes
Teach a class - my local adult ed. loves to get ideas for classes, so if you have the ability to present, they'll offer it. Shibori Dyeing, Making collaged pins, Dyeing with natural stuff, Speed Cleaning - start a group to clean up litter or repair trails, book group to read Shakespeare out loud
posted by theora55 at 7:42 PM on October 30, 2018

1. clothing swap

2. get those cooking boxes and invite a friend over to cook one and eat it together.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:29 AM on October 31, 2018

List 1: join a choir/band/orchestra/other musical group.
posted by MangoNews at 1:05 PM on October 31, 2018

I know that you said not drinking necessarily, but here's what's been helpful to me in deepening my connections in my community: start hosting a weekly mid-week event. 3 years ago, my good friend (and now neighbor, we moved into a duplex) and I started taking turns hosting a wine and cheese night. Pretty affordable wines and cheeses, mostly Trader Joe's, and people also would bring a bottle frequently, so the cost was manageable. (After a year or so, other people started signing up to host, so I was down to hosting once every 3-4 weeks on average and the event was still happening). Also it's wine and cheese so it's not like people were getting trashed. Many people didn't drink at all, and brought cheese or chocolate to share. The regularity of it is what really helped. People looked forward to a night mid week of seeing friends. For the last 7 months, this hasn't been happening as much since my baby was born, but now that she's reliably sleeping through the night again we're starting back up. It was really, really valuable to be able to have it be regular. If you can switch off with a few people in hosting, then the cost is not on you.

Alternatively, I've seen the regularity thing play out in friend groups who went to Karoake or trivia nights, or had a weekly gathering at a bar (yeah, I know, drinking, but it's a good place to meet). My friend in NYC does a weekly Friday night dinner with a few close friends, because her job is not one that allows for mid-week gatherings, so it of course depends on your lifestyle. In SF, people loved a Tuesday night gathering.
posted by namesarehard at 1:05 PM on October 31, 2018

And of course, friends brought their friends to this gathering, which grew to 20-25 people a night at its peak, so I met LOTS of lovely new friends, to hit on the first part of your ask.
posted by namesarehard at 1:13 PM on October 31, 2018

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