ideas for low-stress standing social events
February 9, 2019 5:24 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a regular social activity I can organise and invite friends and acquaintances to, which does not require ongoing commitment or skill.

The background to this question is that I have a number of friends, acquaintances and colleagues whom I like and would like to hang out with regularly but we're all in our 30s and it can be difficult to maintain friendships outside your core circle in a large city.

I am looking for ways to deepen and develop existing relationships by setting up a low-stress, regular (say monthly) 'thing' that people can come to if they would like to.

Ideally this would be like a movie night or a board game night hosted at my home, except my apartment is tiny and inconvenient for people to get to especially on a weeknight. So I turn to AskMe for your ideas. I feel like just doing drinks or a meal somewhere could backfire especially if the people who decided to turn up didn't know each other; some sort of structure, or an activity that people could focus on, might be better.

It would be good for the activity to not require ongoing effort or commitment (like a book club - a lot of people I know really dislike book clubs because of the pressure to finish the book) or skill (physical activities like bowling) so that people don't feel pressured to come or alienated by the activity.
posted by unicorn chaser to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a board game bar in your town?
posted by bluedaisy at 5:34 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]

Bowling! Food and drinks available if wanted but easy to ignore. Something natural to talk about but plenty of space of have more engrossing conversations, natural shift in seating/conversations groups as people get up to bowl. And you have them block off the gutters (like they do for kids) so even rotten players will get decent scores.
posted by metahawk at 6:11 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

In my locale, there are libraries, grocery stores, coops, and other community-type places where one can reserve space for non-commercial meetings. I used to host a TED Talk gathering where we'd watch whatever talk I'd picked out and then talk about it, with plenty of tangents, of course. Lots of fun and interesting!

Could include a meal/drinks afterwards.

(I downloaded them ahead time so didn't have to worry about a reliable internet connection. I have my own projector I brought, and a screen in case there wasn't a suitable wall.)
posted by dancing leaves at 6:14 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

In LA, there was a regular meeting of writers and journolists at a local restaurant, on the first Friday of every month. Pay for what you eat and drink, and word was spread by an email group invitation. Set up the space with a local bar or cafe and invite people.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:20 PM on February 9

Role playing games? They're very social, require no skill, can be played anywhere that has a table (or even just a reasonably flat surface), and have a buy-in price that starts at free. My suggestion would be to play ones like Fiasco or any of the Powered by the Apocalypse games since you can go from "never played before in my life" to "rollicking good time" in about 10 minutes, but there are a million other options out there that cater to all types of people. For example, this is an RPG featuring queer folks rebuilding society after the apocalypse and here is one about running a ghostbusting business. It ain't all Dungeons and Dragons.
posted by forbiddencabinet at 6:37 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Museum night + a museum-specific scavenger hunt?

Escape rooms are a lot of fun + have the potential to have people make friends quickly, but I'm not sure how repeatable that is.

Trivia night at a bar? Walking tours (since you said large city)?
posted by snerson at 7:15 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Some libraries hold trivia nights, often at a pub or, in my town, a local brew pub.
It is fun to have a team of varying members to compete with others at the event.
posted by Enid Lareg at 7:44 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

Poker night's always fun. Dealer's choice keeps it interesting.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:49 PM on February 9

Came to suggest a trivia night at a local pub, but Enid Lareg beat me to it.
posted by rpfields at 9:22 PM on February 9

Stitch and bitch/crafting nights are perfect for this. No pressure to create an agenda. Just tell your friends to bring anything they’re working on that’s portable and would still allow them to talk. Perfect for knitting or needlepoint or the like. But also good for non-“craft” projects like replacing buttons, writing and addressing holiday cards, making cards or crafts to send to mutual friends. One time at one of my gatherings we made protest signs.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:10 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]

I used to do this with darts. Find a bar with a dartboard and show up there regularly. Darts is the kind of thing that's fun even if you have no talent (arguably more so), and since there's usually only one or two boards, most people present will not be playing at any given time.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:00 AM on February 10

TV watching club! It's the best -- pick a series and everyone comes once a week. You can even rotate houses. Light snacks and beer are all you need.
posted by schwinggg! at 10:01 AM on February 10

I do or participate in several standing events at predictable locations: an occasional Friday games night at an apartment with wine and snacks, a Sunday TV night with takeout food at a home, a Friday morning breakfast for professional community friends at a diner, and a handful of monthly happy hour and evening nights at casual bars & restaurants. With friends in my various social groups changing jobs or starting families, these have been a great way to stay connected or meet new people.
posted by migurski at 10:31 AM on February 10

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