Looking for a way to fill the rest of your summer? We’ve got 12 ideas that might make you feel like a kid again.
1. Go to the bar alone.
If you’re anything like me, you’d probably rather go to the bar with a group of people you know than to go hang out with just a bunch of strangers. That being said, there are some benefits to hanging out alone – you might meet someone new, and you won’t have to rush (or wait) on behalf of your friends. You’ll also push yourself outside your comfort zone by making sure there’s no one else to catch your crush’s attention for you.
However great your connection with your new crush is, I urge you not to go home with them if you’ve been drinking. In the heat of the moment, it can be hard to tell if you’re sober enough to give consent, and I don’t want anyone making any choices they regret in the morning. Just be sure you’re safe – if you don’t have a designated driver, call a taxi or rideshare service.
2. Say “good morning” to a stranger.
I’m sure we were all taught not to talk to strangers, and in many ways, that’s good advice – even for adults. But, I’m pretty sure that old saying was talking about having full-on conversations with random street people – either they might be crazy, or they might think you’re crazy. A friendly smile and wave, however, or a simple “good morning”, has the ability to brighten someone’s day.
You never know when someone could need that little extra push of encouragement, and it takes next to no time at all to wish someone a good morning. I’ve read many tales of people struggling with suicidal thoughts, and then a stranger’s acknowledgement of them actually made a difference. Even if your cheery “good morning” isn’t saving a life, it’s a kind gesture that helps keep the world just a little bit smaller.
3. Go on a group date.
It seems so juvenile to get a girlfriend just for the summer, so I don’t blame you if you balk at the idea of going on dates right now. The great thing about a group date, though, is that there aren’t any expectations of romance – it’s just a bunch of friends and acquaintances, hanging out to do something fun. If you do end up making a connection with someone, the fact that she knows a few of your friends means that she’s probably not such a bad person to be around.
Even if you don’t find a long-term partner out of the group date, it’s good to meet new people and see where things go. As long as you’re being honest about your intentions and your feelings, you’re sure to at least meet a few new friends. (And, if you meet someone and end up breaking up, you might still be able to avoid the awkward same-social-circle cliché that plagues so many of us.)
4. Join a local sports team or fitness class.
It might seem like just another stereotype, but joining your local sports teams can be a great way to meet new people. Plus, you’ll be having fun and keeping in shape at the same time. There are a number of sports that can be played, so if your local community doesn’t already have a league, start one!
If organized sports aren’t really your thing, consider joining a local fitness class instead. Personally, within a 10-minute drive of my house, I have 4 different Zumba classes – in a town with less than 8,000 people. I’m sure there’s something similar in your local area, so check it out and see what your local community has to offer!
5. Go on a photo walk.
For those who aren’t familiar with the phrase “photo walk”, that’s when you take a camera on a walk, with the specific intention of taking photos. In some areas, there may be camera clubs or commercial companies that sponsor a photo walk – but if your region doesn’t already have one, check local meetups, or create your own!
Really, all you need for a photo walk is a camera and a comfortable pair of shoes, so don’t be intimidated if you’re not a professional photographer. You can be a tourist in your own city, and even meet some great people. (Or, go on a photo walk by yourself, if you’re all people-ed out already.)
6. Go on an adventure or a road trip.
There’s something extra special about going for a drive without a clear set of directions – so take off in the car and wait a while before you open the GPS. Make sure you have sufficient money for gas and food before you leave, and don’t worry about having a destination – just stop at the first place that catches your attention!
If you have friends with time off from work and school, bring them along, too! The bond of friendship is important, and all too often we neglect our friends when we’re in a relationship. Take advantage of your single time and reconnect with your closest friends.
7. Rope swing into a lake or creek, or at least into a pile of leaves.
If you have a local body of water and a sturdy rope, you can partake in one of the long-lost pleasures of childhood: The rope swing. Make sure you tie your knots tight, or use a rope that’s already in place. Then, just swing and release! (If it’s been a while since the last time you were on a rope swing, it might be worth testing your arm strength first.)
For those who don’t live close enough to a large body of water, you can still get a similar experience by waiting for the end of summer and building a rope swing in your own back yard. Far too often, we stop ourselves from enjoying the things from our childhood – but why? Adults have just as much right to enjoy summertime!
8. Go swimming (or skinny dipping!) at midnight.
Summer is great for swimming, but it’s far too hot during the middle of the day! (Or, at least it is where I live.) Take a special trip out at night and go for a dip in your pool, or a local swimming hole. The more adventurous among us might enjoy skinny dipping, too – but please keep it to your own back yard!
9. Go on a guided museum tour.
It’s never a bad time to learn something new, and your local museum or art exhibit is a great place to soak in a little culture. Opt for the guided tour, and really pay attention – the tour guides often have interesting or unexpected facts that you won’t read on the placards. Ask questions, take pictures (if allowed), and have a great time.
10. Try a new hairstyle or color.
Once we find a hairstyle we like, it’s really easy to settle on it and get comfortable. But your hair is an often-untapped resource for creative expression, and changing your hairstyle is an easy way to push yourself outside your personal comfort zone. If you’re really brave, opt for a drastic change. Those who aren’t ready to commit can opt for hair chalks or temporary dye, or give extensions a try!
11. Tell someone one of your deepest secrets.
We tend to play it safe far too often. I think it’s time to put an end to that. Meet a new friend, and tell them something you don’t usually tell someone right away. (Make sure that your new friend realizes you’re pushing your comfort zone – try not to make the secret too weird.)
We avoid telling our secrets to strangers (or acquaintances) because we think that they’ll somehow have some power over us – but the truth is, by telling the secrets, we remove other people’s power to do so. If you tell your secrets, no one else can out you – and that makes you invincible!
12. Get a pen pal.
Do you remember when you were a kid, and you’d go to camp, and then when you left from camp you had all these new friends to keep in touch with? Remember how great it was when mail was a good thing (instead of just bills all the time)? Bring that same feeling back to your adulthood by finding a pen pal or two online.
Believe it or not, pen pals are still pretty popular, as long as you know where to look. Do a search on Facebook and find some groups that have similar interests – then find someone you click with. Sending letters internationally can be a bit expensive, depending on your country and the country you’re sending to, but chances are there will be someone in your own country who’d just love to write to you!