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Friend Dates: Fun Things to Do With Friends

I have suffered through some terrible and hilarious dating and friend experiences, and came away with some advice that I'm happy to share.

Are you going on a platonic "date" with some new friends? Find some fun things to do!

Are you going on a platonic "date" with some new friends? Find some fun things to do!

Platonic Date Ideas for New Friends

So you’ve done the most difficult part—gone to a party. You dressed nicely and were witty and fun. Wonderfully and happily, you met someone interesting. You’ve emailed each other a few times, and they asked if you’d like to get together. Yes, you would. And now you’re planning to meet up to do something fun.

But, you’re stressing out. Where should you go? What should you do? You don't want to be boring with someone new! Your quandary may even be compounded by this person not being geographically desirable. But, you like them, and to heck with the drive.

Is it a romantic date? Nope. It’s (take a deep breath) a platonic date! Eeeeeeek!

The Challenges of Making Friends as an Adult

Getting to the point where you can lounge around your friends’ houses under a blanket while watching Netflix movies and cracking dirty jokes is not always easy (or even fun), especially for adults and the shy types. So when you meet someone you actually enjoy spending time with, you want to make the most of your time.

But don't stress. Although complicated at first glance, there are lots of activities that can help foster a friendship between adults… and they don’t all involve drinks after work.

These are called friend dates, but don’t let the word “date” throw you. There will be no suggestive winking or licking of lips. You might hug the person hello and goodbye, but that's pretty much the extent of your physical contact (unless you bump into them by accident).

So, relax! You have nothing to worry about. Choose one of these activities, be yourself, and you'll have a great time.

Fun Activities for Hanging Out With Friends

We've divided these suggestions into the following categories:

  • Eating and Drinking
  • Crafting
  • Gaming
  • Sports
  • Shopping
  • Niche Hobbies
  • Nature
A beer-tasting platter and a pile of crispy things make for a nice friend date.

A beer-tasting platter and a pile of crispy things make for a nice friend date.

Eating and Drinking Friend Dates

  • Go to places like Starbucks or Panera Bread. They have pleasant, clean, casual environments in which to get to know someone. Grab a cup of joe or hot chocolate and if things are going well, you can stay a little longer and enjoy a meal too! Bookstores also often have small cafes where you can get comfortable.
  • Go to a local brewery. Prefer something a little stronger than coffee? Pick a neighborhood bar or stop into a local brewery and see what they have to offer. Split a lager tasting sampler and get a plate of nachos to share.
  • Make dinner or dessert together. Showcase one of your favorite meals at your place; next time it’s their turn. Be sure to find out about food allergies or other eating habits or beliefs.

Crafting Friend Dates

  • Do jewelry and beading, wire work, or papercrafts. Together, try to muddle through an interesting pattern one of you found online.
  • Refinish old furniture. Four hands make quick work of sanding down that old bookcase.
  • Upcycle something useless or unattractive into something cool. What about that old box in the garage? You know, from the seventies? A little paint, new hardware and a small amount of work and you have a new jewelry, sewing, or tackle box!
The loneliest drum set. Bring in a friend and your band automatically gets cooler.

The loneliest drum set. Bring in a friend and your band automatically gets cooler.

Gaming Friend Dates

  • Play video games at an arcade. No, not Chuck E. Cheese. If you live near a Dave & Buster’s or Jillian's location, go there. Hop on those motorcycles or grab a fake machine gun and race for the cup or team up to obliterate brain-chomping zombies.
  • Play video games at home. Tired of playing on your Wii, Xbox, or PlayStation alone? Banging on the drums or saving the world by yourself is okay, but the fun increases exponentially when another real person joins the band or the team.
  • Play billiards. For about the price of a plate of nachos, why not share a game of pool instead? Improve your game while swapping stories.
  • Play board games. You have gaming skills to pay the bills, so show them off. Pick something like Bananagrams, Scattergories, or Blokus. They only require two people and you can chat during the games and engage in light trash-talking.

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Sports Friend Dates

  • Go to the batting cage or a casual tennis match. Get sweaty and bond over swinging your bats or racquets around and whacking each others’ balls back and forth.
  • Go to sports bars. Chitchat while watching your favorite teams.
  • Play paintball. If you liked hide and seek as a kid, here it is all grown up! What could be bad about splattering each other with paint?

Shopping Dates for Friends

  • Go to the mall. If it's been a long time since you've been to one, give it another go. The worst that can happen is you can giggle over the over-the-top fashions or the teenagers trying to out-cool you.
  • Visit flea markets. These are great for bargains, but you can also learn a lot about someone by the way they shop.
  • Do a chore. Even shopping for something as mundane as greeting cards can be full of laughter when you do it with a friend.
Local car shows can be a great friend date!

Local car shows can be a great friend date!

Niche Hobby Dates for Friends

  • Check out car, flower, fishing, or toy shows. These can be lots of fun, especially when it's your first time. Wander around and share the details of your favorites growing up.
  • Attend conventions. X-Files, anime, comics, Barbie, tattoos... whatever floats your boats! Back each other up when bargaining for a better price on that coveted item, or share comments about the best ones you've seen.
  • Visit animal shelters. Make goo-goo eyes together at the furry animals at a local shelter. Awwwwww!
  • Go to book sales. If reading is your passion, visit a library book sale together. Pick up some bargains (the last day is the cheapest day!) and explain why you chose them.
In Massachusetts peach trees are popular, but go with whatever the farms suggest when picking your own.

In Massachusetts peach trees are popular, but go with whatever the farms suggest when picking your own.

Nature Dates for Friends

  • Go fruit picking or visit farmer's markets. Research pick-your-own locations nearby or popular farmer's markets and take home the best of the season.
  • Do something in the sunshine. Grab a walking stick and take a hike, or wedge yourself into a kayak or canoe and float downstream. Paddle boats are a nice option for those of us with wider hips.

Things to Remember About Making New Friends

  • If the distance between you is great, be sure to offer to meet halfway. If you don't know the area, now's your chance.
  • Timing is everything! Don’t try to force a friendship; during the winter holidays and in the summer, many people spend all their free time with their families.
  • Avoid insulting their spouse, partner, livelihood, or where they live. Insults are the quickest way to lose a potential friend.
  • Remember to talk loudly and clearly enough, especially if you're somewhere noisy or have been told you're a low talker or a mumbler. You want to make sure they hear each and every interesting thing you have to say.
  • Please don’t monopolize their time. You might like them a lot, and they might like you, but let friend dates happen organically. Your new buddy probably has other friends that they enjoy seeing as well, and you surely don’t want to be known as the needy one.


Hi on November 06, 2016:

Thanks, this helped a lot:)

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 28, 2012:

Hi, Angela! Yes, lots of fun could be had with one's daughters by using these ideas. Thanks so much for the comment and for stopping by! :^)

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on May 28, 2012:

great idea many of these are good ideas for spending the day with older daughters also! Thank You!

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 20, 2012:

Hi, Deborah! Yes, holiday craft hangouts are always great fun. Thanks for the comment and stopping by! :^)

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 20, 2012:

Hiya, Sunshine! As far as I understand, Chuck. E. Cheese is for little kids. You're definitely supposed to bring your children or grandchildren... not so much hang around there with your adult friends. (I know I'm not willing to try to become friendly with another adult with strangers' kids running around!)

Thanks for stopping by! :^)

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on May 20, 2012:

These are great suggestions. My friends and I get together for craft days, especially around Christmas, to work on projects together. It's always a fun time.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on May 19, 2012:

Why not Chuck E Cheese? I like visiting with Chuck and playing arcade games there, just not when it's busy and I take my granddaughter along for some fun!:)

I like your ideas! Very creative and entertaining!!

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 15, 2012:

Hi, lightmotifs! Yes, there are a surprising amount of fun, free activities if one is willing to try new things. And who else to try new things with than a friend? Have a wonderful time and thanks for stopping by! :^)

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 15, 2012:

Hi sammimills! I'm so glad you found something fun to do from the list. There are always fun things to do with friends, even if they seem goofy or over the top. I hope you have a blast!!! :)

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 15, 2012:

Hi Georgie -- sorry things aren't going well but I don't have advice for your situation. Thank you for stopping by and I wish you the best of luck.

lightmotifs from Orange County, CA on May 15, 2012:

I love going to craft shows with friends -- and there are so many freebie things to do if you take a sec and check the local paper. Funny, I actually did this yesterday and found a couple events for the next month. I'm too busy to even do everything I wanna do now (which is great!).

sammimills from California, USA on May 14, 2012:

Thanks for sharing your suggestions! I love hanging out with my friends and we wanted to try new things when we hang out. Thanks to your hub, we now have an idea what to do next this weekend.

Georgie xx on May 13, 2012:

An amazing hub - sadly every since i have been expecting my boyfriend hasn't been so happy. ialreadly have achild aged 3. we need our ummf back do you have any advise

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 12, 2012:

Hiya, Alissa! If you're ever in Massachusetts, come on over and we'll bake together and enjoy a little wine. :-)

Alissa Roberts from Normandy, TN on May 12, 2012:

A great list of ideas! I agree with Brainy Bunny - crafting or baking with a bottle of wine is my idea of a good time :) A very useful hub for those new friends who are in need of some creative ideas! Voted up and awesome!

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 11, 2012:

Hi, Kelley! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 11, 2012:

Hey, Ish... Great to see you.

Personally, I've found it much easier to make friends as an adult than as a youngster, but that's because I'm much more discerning now. :-) Thank you so much for the votes and the sharing!

kelleyward on May 11, 2012:

Excellent hub! Voted up and Shared! You came up with some creative ideas! Take care, Kelley

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on May 11, 2012:

Excellent suggestions! Fortunately I followed most of them as I am blessed with few good friends and lovely cousins. You mentioned a local brewery i.e a coffeeshop - it reminded me of the hit tv show 'Friends' which is one of my favorite tv sitcoms. Helpful and thoughtful tips. Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up & Socially Shared.

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 10, 2012:

Thanks, Teresa! I like to make people smile, and I'm glad it worked!

Yeah, adults can have a difficult time of making friends -- usually, they know what they're looking for but have trouble finding it.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the compliments! I really appreciate it. :^)

Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on May 10, 2012:

What an enjoyable hub. I had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading it. Even adults have trouble getting to know new people. You have provided excellent tips and suggestions! Delightful.

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 10, 2012:

Yes! Great idea. I remember baking holiday cookies with a new friend once, but it was a bit awkward baking in someone else's kitchen. the wine helped. ;^) Thanks, BB!

Brainy Bunny from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on May 10, 2012:

I love the idea of inviting a friend over for crafts! How about baking? I've done that with some friends, and it's generally a good time (especially if we open a bottle of wine in the process).

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 10, 2012:

Hey, billybuc! Thank you, it's great to hear that you liked the suggestions. When I write these hubs, I try to look past the standard responses and provide different ideas.

Rachel Vega (author) from Massachusetts on May 10, 2012:

Hiya, Katie! Thanks so much... great idea, I'll get to work on a low-cost hang-out location hub!

I'm so glad you like it... I may put more ideas in there if I think of a fabulous addition, so definitely stay tuned. Thanks again!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2012:

Great suggestions! You should get a job writing online advice columns...this is excellent!

Katrina from New Hampshire on May 10, 2012:

Wonderful suggestions! Just a thought - how about a hub like this for those short on money? Any places to hang out or things to do without spending any/a lot of money?

Obviously some of your suggestions already work, while some require you to have equipment (kayaking is free as long as you have the kayak!) Just some thoughts :)

Wonderful hub - it's given me some great ideas, even with friends I am comfortable with - even we get bored sitting around sometimes :)

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