Better Ways To Connect

If you're anything like me, you're sick of the normal hang out spots. If one more person asks you to go out to dinner, to go see a movie, to go to happy hour, or to go shopping with them, you might just explode. Not because you don't want to see them, but because you can't take the cycle of those activities any more. You're bored.

I've been on a hunt for better ways to connect with people. Better ways to spend time and walk away from the experience really feeling like I spent quality time with a person or group of people. So often I feel like I spend so much time running around, doing things I don't even really want to do, or spending money I don't want to spend, and I've been on the hunt for something better, more fulfilling, more human and more authentic.

I'm not saying regular american leisure activities are a terrible way to spend your time, and by all means if you want to go see a particular movie or eat a restaurant you've been wanting to try and that's interesting to you and somehow waters your soul, by all means, go. But I don't think you're going to be inspired eating at Applebee's for the 90th time, and I don't think you'll be sad if you don't spend $9 on that movie you didn't even want to see. 

One of my friends recently said to me, "Lyss, you have bonds with so many people and they are so unlike anything I've ever seen. You get so close with people and you have a unique friendship with every single one." Aside from that being like, one of my favorite compliments I've ever received, it also got me thinking. Why are my relationships different? 

I think it's because I get creative with how I spend my time. I also collect people in my life who are "yessers" - that is, people who say yes often. To lots of different things. That's my favorite quality in all my friends. I ask them to do something, and they almost always hit me with a yes.

I want to share with you some of the ways I have connected with people that don't require me to spend my time or money in ways I don't want to. I want to share with you some of the interesting things I've come up with over the past few years of college and now post-college. I've come to rescue you from this cycle of crazy running around and spending money style of socializing that has come to be commonplace to a much fresher, more relaxed style. Don't worry. It's still fun as fuck. I'm not going to tell you to stay home and do nothing. I want to get you connecting with people in non-traditional ways and have a blast doing it. 

  1. Call some pals right now and ask if they want to go thrift shopping with you this weekend. When you go, don't focus on buying stuff, instead challenge them to see who can put together the best (and by best I mean most God-awful thing you can find) outfit and model for each other. Don't forget to take ridiculous photos and turn them into memes. 
  2. Get outside. Have a picnic. Or another creative approach:
    > texts that are better than 'wanna go get food?'
    > "Pizza in the park today?"
    > "I'm on the hunt for the best ice cream ever. Want to help me find it this afternoon?
    > "Dinner party @ my house tonight: I'm making bruschetta and chicken cutlets. You bring the wine." 
    > ... People love food and usually say yes to this type of thing. 
  3. Go hiking and/or camping.
  4. Take a bike ride. Even better, rent bikes and explore in the city.
  5. Go paddleboarding.
  6. Go to a hot yoga (or any yoga) class! OMMMMMM
  7. Play board games. Again, it's amazing what happens when the electronics go off and you hang out more like you did when you were kids. It's fun. And funny. 
  8. Make cookies or a cake or some crazy desert you saw on pinterest
  9. Have a cook off or iron chef competition
  10. Challenge your friends (in 2 teams) to do a puzzle after drinking a substantial amount of beer. You. Will. Laugh. Your. Ass. Off.
  11. Challenge your friends (in 2 teams) to an amazing race party: complete with bobbing for apples, a wheel barrow race, a cannonball contest, and any other yard games you can think of. 
  12. Take a road trip. Make an outline, but no set plan, and see where life takes you. Make it a point to talk to strangers and make friends along the way. It could be a day trip, weekend trip, or extended trip. 
  13. Make up a fake persona (wear something quirky and give yourself a new name) and go have awkward social encounters together. For example, my friends were in Canada where they didn't know anyone and pretended they were in a band. Everyone believed them. None of them play instruments. All the girls at the party were like "yo lets take a picture with the band!" Unreal. 
  14. Go to a junk yard. Bring a disposable camera. 
  15. If it's summer, find out where there's fireworks and go watch them!
  16. Find a cool museum and coffee shop and let your mind wander. 
  17. Write a business plan - it could be as ridiculous or realistic as you want
  18. Decide who would do what if you were trapped on an island
  19. Go to an airport and take the soonest departing/cheapest flight 
  20. Send "adventure notifications": aka invites like this "I'm kidnapping you at 3:00. Wear _____. Bring $20 for dinner. I have a whole day planned for us." This was especially awesome in college, when I could take my friends to places they had never been. Other examples: "
  21. Book an airbnb and split it. My friends and I did this in Woodstock, NY for a weekend and it came out to $63 total per person for two nights. We each brought groceries and cooked for each other. It was one of the best weekends ever. (And four of us may or may not have matching tattoos now...) 
  22. Serve. Go mulch at one of your parent's house, rake for grandma, or split wood for your cousins family. Team work makes the dream work! 
  23. Try something new. For me, it was ice fishing on a whim. If one of your friends knows how to do something you want to learn, ask them to teach you. Or go learn something together!
  24. Make a questionnaire. Have each of your friends fill it out anonymously. Read the responses out loud and guess who said what!
  25. Create a photo collection - In college I had an album on facebook called "is this okay?", an album of slightly-unacceptable-social-scenarios... some of the captions on the images were: "using a cheeseburger as a pillow. is this okay?", "stretching in wegman's. is this okay?", "sticking your foot out the window. is this okay?", "attacking your friends with oragami animals. is this okay?'... you get the point. The photos were totally ridiculous and we all were contributing. It was an ongoing joke. 
  26. Host a weird party. I've had "come listen to my new favorite song" parties, I've had "strawberry milk and cookies" parties (valentines day), I've had "bring your homework" parties... that's a lie. That never happened. When I say party, I don't mean a rager. I mean any good excuse to get the pals together. Use it. Keep it ridiculous. 

Long story short, if you want people to miss you when you're gone, to remember you forever, and have the best memories ever: don't be boring. Show them new things. Teach them to have fun. Play games. Turn off the electronics. 

Share some of your favorite ways to hang out with me- I'd love to hear them!