How do I just spend time with people?
May 17, 2019 4:36 PM   Subscribe

When my friends invite me to spend time together )or vice versa), it's always to do something - watch a movie, go to a show, and so forth. Mostly, I appreciate this norm, but I feel like this is the expectation when asking people to spend time with you and it feels like I need a pretense to say "hey, let's spend some time together." There's evenings when I just want social time with people and I don't know how to ask them for that without it coming across as too wanting.

More personal details:

I'm in the improv world in Chicago and that puts me in contact with a lot of people who I see around and want to get to know. Lots of the socialization happens before or after shows, and so I spend a lot of time going to peoples' shows and/or having them see mine. I like this norm, but there are lots of evenings when I just want to skip the show part and have a long conversation with these people. In general, I feel like I meet a lot of people and get to know them decently well (e.g. we've hit the 3+ hour mark in total conversation time) but don't have any excuse to spend more time with them outside of an improv context.

One thing I've done in the past is ask them to be part of a project, but that's not something I want to do anymore with people I don't know super well and my project time is pretty much at its limit right now. Similarly, I've also asked people to go with me to cool events/shows, but there's not always an event on and I've got a "core" friend circle who I do most of my event-going with.
posted by LSK to Human Relations (13 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Just invite people over to eat? That's always an easy one... Obviously you're just hanging out during that time (and before and after) as much as you are eating.
posted by ryanbryan at 4:39 PM on May 17, 2019 [16 favorites]

Yup, dinner parties, porch drinks, grilling, all low activity high talking potential.
posted by advicepig at 4:56 PM on May 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Going for a walk in a pleasant location (beach, arboretum, park, public garden) is often a nice thing to do with a friend.
posted by matildaben at 5:08 PM on May 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Or ask if they want to grab food before the show. It may not be 3+ hours at first but it's a start.
posted by bendy at 5:08 PM on May 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

I don’t know if you drink but “hey let’s grab drinks” is my go to for just talking and catching up with friends. Or dinner. Or lunch. Etc.
posted by christiehawk at 5:35 PM on May 17, 2019

I order those ingredient boxes and then invite a friend over to cook & eat one with me. Get the 4-serving ones because then you get leftovers!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:40 PM on May 17, 2019

The key is to host a theme party whose theme turns out to be fairly ambiguous. Pi Day is a classic for this. Nobody Turks down an invitation to a Pi Day party (in my world, at least), but what do you actually do at one? As it turns out, mostly just sitting around and talking. Pi Day (and the other high holiday on my social calendar, Corduroy Day) only comes once a year, but it's not hard to think of other theme parties. Hawaiian luau, maybe. Aside from tiki drinks and flower leis, it's just hanging out. Or you could do a theme where the activity is so minor that it's really just hanging out and the activity is in the background, e.g., croquet. If all else fails, someone will always be down for "coming over to watch the game".
posted by kevinbelt at 5:47 PM on May 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

"Go out for coffee.." or "Come over for coffee..." are two ways of indicating that you are looking to hang out and have conversation. However your friends may consider a coffee indication to merit a short slot in the schedule rather than a long one, and figure half an hour is enough for coffee which might not be enough.

So i'd suggest you propose a topic to go with the coffee invite, "Come over for coffee and discuss the new construction down town...' or "Come over for coffee and talk about how we can react to the legislation in Georgia..."

Have you considered figuring out what certain individuals can offer to creating a lively and interesting discussion? It used to be that when you threw a dinner party you chose at least one guest because they had some topic that they could expound on that would interest the party-goers. You might invite someone who had recently returned from a trip abroad, of had finished some project. You can do a variation on that. "Come over for coffee and Leslie will tell us about her work on the levees and why she thinks they won't fail for at least another decade..." You simply have to ask Leslie first if she would like to come over for coffee with a few of your other friends and if she would be willing to talk about her work. If she says yes, you are on and invite a few other friends who might be interested in what she has to say.
posted by Jane the Brown at 5:48 PM on May 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Come over to my house, we can sit on the porch/lawn/balcony/living room and sip cocktails/eat ice creams/watch YouTube/wave at passers by. Maybe you can bring your guitar/singing/board game? Also we can play antiques roadshow, competitively, or maybe get a pizza or weed.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:05 PM on May 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Have you considered inviting people over to play tabletop games? Search for "party games" or ask at your Friendly Local Game Store for some ideas of games that aren't too rule-intensive and/or that you can converse along with. There are a lot that would go well with improv people.
posted by Etrigan at 6:06 PM on May 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

The traditional method is to invite them for dinner. The meal is the activity, but you really just talk. Drinks and coffee also serve the purpose, but dinner is a nice long evening.
posted by gideonfrog at 7:00 PM on May 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

Inviting people over for poker is a good way to do this, too. Poker parties have a gendered history of being somewhat masculine, but no real reason to be.
posted by WCityMike at 12:45 PM on May 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

I mostly just say can we have spcial time
posted by PinkMoose at 9:41 PM on May 19, 2019

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