Here are some fun new ways to reconnect with your fellow humans:
1. Friday Night Meatballs, a gathering that will leave you feeling full in more ways than one.
Friday Night Meatballs started when writer Sarah Grey posted this note to her Facebook friends: “We are instituting a new tradition we call Friday Night Meatballs. Starting next Friday, we’re cooking up a pot of spaghetti and meatballs every Friday night and sitting down at the dining room table as a family — along with anyone else who’d like to join us. Friends, neighbors, relatives, clients, Facebook friends who’d like to hang out in real life, travelers passing through: you are welcome at our table. We’ll just ask folks to let us know by Thursday night so we know how many meatballs to make. You can bring something, but you don’t have to. Kids, vegetarians, gluten-free types, etc. will all be taken care of. The house will be messy. There might be card and/or board games. There might be good scotch. You might be asked to read picture books. You might make new friends. We’ll just have to find out. This is our little attempt to spend more time with our village. You’re invited.”
These regular dinners changed her family’s lives (read more about it in this lovely post), the idea went viral, and now loads of other people are doing the same thing.
2. A “favorite things” party, to gush about all the stuff that’s currently making you happy.
My co-worker Lyle told me about this gathering that she does with her friends, and it sounds so lovely! Here’s how she described it: You choose two things that you are loving (a book, a beauty product, a kitchen item, stationery, great socks, a beautiful mug, etc. — their group’s price range is $15-$20 per item), wrap each one separately, and bring them to the party. All the gifts go into a basket, and then they pass the basket twice and pick out one item each turn. Then you go around and open one item at a time, and the person who gave it describes why they love it. The goal is to share ideas, the things that make you happy, the things that save you time, etc. (The host also emails out a list of all of the things to the entire group afterward.) Lyle’s group does it once a year (at the holidays), but you could do it more often and/or do only do one gift, or drop the price range to $10-$15.
3. An article club where you can share stories and learn something new.
With an article club, you get all of the wine, snacks, and good conversation of a book club, but without having to read a 300-page book that someone else chose for you. I went to a friend’s “Ladies’ Article Club” when I was staying with her in January and it was lovely! The two articles we read provided a great jumping-off point for really smart conversations — which were honestly a lot more relevant to our lives than most book discussions would have been — and it was just a wonderful night. This also works really well as a lunch event, which makes it a cool thing to organize with your co-workers. (We have one at BuzzFeed, and it’s great!)
If you’re looking for articles, the Longreads newsletter, Texas Monthly, The Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, Eater, and The New Yorker are all good places to start. Sometimes the BF article club does a few related articles, which can be fun, and we’ve done documentaries as well…it just kind of depends what the group is in the mood for!
4. A skin care/self-care gathering, to help you stay glowy and relaxed.
Collect your Dr. G peel, your favorite face masks, and whatever other tonics your heart desires, and then put on cozy clothes and gather round for some good old-fashioned pampering. This is a very fun thing to do during a group trip; have people bring some of their favorite potions, and then set aside an evening for it. (Doing it on a group trip is also a good way to induct men into the Dr. G/sheet mask coven.)
5. And a good old-fashioned walk.
If you’re just looking to gather with one or two friends, going for a walk is the tits! I opt for this over grabbing drinks or coffee whenever I can. Even in the winter, well…that’s what coats and hats are for, right? As long as it’s not, like, bitter cold, that fresh air and natural light feels really damn good. An afternoon walk-and-talk with a smart human always leaves me feeling recharged and ready to take on the world.
What are your favorite creative ways to hang out with your friends? Share your best suggestions in the comments!
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