Tonight I’m seeing my best friend. We’re both trying not to drink, and with my no-animal-products ~lifestyle~, eating out can be a bit of a let-down. Plus, it’s pricey, and I’ve got a new mortgage to pay.
We’re going skating instead. It costs $1.50 if you bring your own set of wheels. It’s active, productive (for me, anyway) and more fun then eating fries and a side salad for dinner.
Not everybody skates, but there are a lot other wonderful things you could do with a pal. All of these, in my mind, are better than trying to find vegan, macro-friendly options at a bar.
- Invite them over to your place for coffee and whatever nibbles you prefer (peanut butter toast, muesli, good ol’ apples and peanut butter). An immersion milk frother costs $7, or about the price of two lattes out. A solid investment, if you ask me. Plus you can talk without shouting over the roar of a blender or the chatter of somebody calling into a work call at the table next to you.
- Go for a walk. Skip stones, lie in the grass, say hello to dogs. Dogs are great.
- Volunteer together. Help a local organization collect compost, distribute produce at food banks, or care for abandoned animals. If your city or town has a farmer’s market, they could probably use your help manning the info booth or providing assistance for people who want to use their EBT cards.
- Go grocery shopping. Me and a friend would freeequently meet at Whole Foods, fill our carts, eat a snack, and then part ways. It’s a breezy way to catch up.
- Make an elaborate meal at home. I suggest vegan mozzarella cheese, tempeh reubens, enchiladas, apple-fennel seitan sausages, or fried chicken.
- If the season’s right, go apple/berry/peach/herbs/pumpkin picking. Bring your haul home and consider making some preserves.
- Go to the gym together. This is my favorite! My old roommate had unlimited guest passes, so we would frequently meet up for a workout. Because these were bonus sessions outside my regular routine, I felt comfortable walking on the treadmill and gabbing. Sometimes we would alternate lifts on machines or stretch each other out.
- Meet up at a coffee shop to work on your creative or entrepreneurial side projects. For me, that would be this blog, and some editorial consulting I do on the side. For others it could be a novel, a podcast, a non-fiction e-book, or fledgling photography business.
- Go to a museum. Many have free days or evenings. Once my boyfriend and I went to the Natural History Museum for an hour because it was free from 5 p.m. until closing (6 p.m.). On our way there we came up with a game plan: no hesitations by the planetarium, no safari display distractions, just bolting to hall of gem stones. We had our priorities.
- Try out a trendy or bizarre exercise class. A few years ago my sister and I got a Groupon for a “kangoo” class. Basically it’s like an old-school aerobics class but you’re wearing these absurd boots that let you jump, like, 6 feet in the air. It was so ridiculous and—goodness gracious and blistering barnacles—totally exhausting.
- Visit one of those Turkish baths or Korean spas. Sure, the probability of a yeast infection is like 98 percent, but it’ll be relaxing at the time! (Clearly this kind of thing is not for me, but others might enjoy it.)
- Escape the Room. This isn’t really a chic thing to do but wowie is it fun.
- Hit up a rock climbing gym.
- Meet at the library and smell some books.
- Here’s something you did all the time as a kid that you absolutely need to start doing again. Do art together. This could include knitting, finger-painting, furniture-making, sketching, collaging, coloring (so hot right now), woke embroidery, or whatever it is you enjoy making with your hands.
- I’m a little bit obsessed with talking about goals and plans. The thought of making a vision board—or, more likely, a collage spread in my bullet journal—with my best friend sounds like h e a v e n. All you need is a printer (or a lotta magazines), scissors, and a glue stick. Get down with your bad self.
- Compete in an amateur photography contest. Limit the scope to a couple of blocks of your city and share what you’ve captured. Have a stranger judge the finalists. The winner gets to choose the photography spot for next time.
- Is geocaching still a thing? If it’s still a thing, we should do it. I just want to be Lara Croft. So badly.
- Take a dance class with your friend or boo! It can be partner dance—waltz or swing, maybe?. Or maybe a lyrical class. Or hip-hop. Or bellydancing.
- Recently I was living in the suburbs of New Jersey for a week and I saw two things I would love to explore with a friend. The first was indoor skydiving. Also known as the only skydiving ya boi will ever do.
- The second was a trampoline gym. Now I don’t know how long I could jump on a trampoline at the ripe old age of 27, but I definitely want to find out.
Any other ideas? What do you do with your friends to avoid an evening of depressing salads?