I’ve been to, oh I don’t know, maybe six wine and paint nights in the last three months and yes, I think that’s excessive, too. I’m all for friend dates but I have to believe there’s more to it than this. I’d like to see my friends outside of a paint-covered studio, where we’re drinking cheap wine out of the box and painting lopsided unicorns (as much as I’ve very much enjoyed doing this in the past).
The truth is, friend dates are in and it’s not just a Galentine’s Day thing. It’s a reemergence of the female friendship, in my opinion. TV shows that highlight mature, empowering girl gangs like The Bold Type have replaced others like Gossip Girl that relished in catfights and, well, gossip. Don’t get me wrong. Even Blair and Serena were #friendshipgoals but their lifestyles and, consequently, their BFF dates — like spontaneous trips to Paris — weren’t exactly relatable. Of course, I’ve never been to a ~high~ tea like Sutton did on The Bold Type and I’ve also never streaked in Central Park like she, Kat, and Jane did, so what do I know?
Still, I totally get the urge to do something a little different for a night out with your BFF or the girls. Here are five things to try next time you’re feeling stuck in a rut.
A Night At The Ballet
Unconventional, yes, but worth it? Absolutely. I recently took a friend of mine to the Miami City Ballet’s performance of West Side Story. It was about an hour’s drive away from where we both live so we had plenty of time to catch up on the way. By the time we got to the ballet, we were already beaming with excitement.
A drastic change of pace from our tacos and beer date the previous week, going to the ballet meant we had an opportunity to get all dressed up and sip on fancy wines while we waited for the show to begin. Sure, we were among the youngest people in the audience but we loved every second of it, totally in awe at the talent and passion we witnessed on stage. We spent the entire ride home gushing about our night out and I was truly grateful to have had someone to share my love of the arts with.
A Wine Tasting
I know, I know. This is the third date idea I’ve mentioned and so far, they all involve wine but hear me out. This date involves no messy paint stains or two-dimensional landscapes, just wine. I use Groupon to find new things to do in my area and wine tasting is always at the top of the list.
Spend an evening with wine connoisseurs mastering your wine-glass swirl and tasting wines from all around the world. The best tasting events will offer a selection of cheeses and French breads to complement the wines and potentially delay your hangover the following day.
A Glow-In-The-Dark Run
Hate running? You’re not alone. But if you and your BFF have already binge-watched all of your favorite series on Netflix, it’s probably time to get some exercise in. Keep things fun with a night-time or early-morning run in the dark, complete with neon-colored paint and glow sticks. If you’re having a tough time selling this idea to your friends, you can technically tell them it’s kind of like a rave and you won’t be lying.
A Double Feature At A Retro Or Drive-In Movie Theater
This is probably my favorite date idea, ever. It’s undeniably adorable. Plus, it makes me feel like I’m in an episode of Riverdale, which is basically the dream, am I right? Retro movie theaters are fun because of how nostalgic they make us feel. The whimsy of their dated interiors and iconic marquees adds something to the escapism that is going to the movies. Invite a friend who shares your love of classic horror movies and it’s a date!
A Local Art Exhibit Or Art Walk
Another adventure I recently dragged a friend along to, local art exhibits are often free! They’re a great way to explore your city and meet new and interesting people. We attended the opening night of a photography exhibit in the downtown area after grabbing iced lattes at our favorite coffee shop. We even met with one of the photographers after purchasing a few prints of her Disney portraits and have been in touch with her since. Who knows? Maybe she’ll tag along on our next friend date.
You wouldn’t settle for mediocre date ideas from a romantic partner (or, at least, you shouldn’t), so why subject your friends to them? Prioritize your friendships by challenging yourself to do something different with your friends at least once a month.