While the days of quarantine may feel long behind us, I still remember dying to spend time with friends. And sure, I’ve gotten back into the swing of things when it comes to socializing, but just “hanging out” doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. So if you’re tempted to scroll your social media or resort to the same old coffee shop/water hole that you frequent, keep reading. To help inspire my own creative hangouts, I put together this list of things to do with friends when bored.
These days (and every day moving forward), my goal is to be more intentional with every minute that I get to be in the presence of my wonderful friends. If you’re looking for ideas to make that happen—and to start practicing a little mindfulness in the process—you’ve come to the right place. Use the ideas below for inspiration or as a bucket list. Boredom, buh-bye.
image above: Melissa Gidney for Jenni Kayne
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50 Things To Do With Friends When Bored
2. Go for a walk. Get some exercise in a pretty park or neighborhood while talking and staring at houses (my favorite part).
3. Play a game. Whether it’s cards, a board game, or old-fashioned hide and seek, games are a great boredom buster for friends.
4. Have a movie marathon. It’s okay if you don’t have the energy to be active. Watch every Harry Potter movie in order with a freshly-popped bag of popcorn and a glass of wine. Or use this best 90s movies list as inspiration.
5. Do a cardio-dance workout video. Because dance parties are always better with friends.
6. Make seasonal cocktails. Get fancy with this one and use your nicest glasses and best ingredients. Then toast to your friendship.
7. Find the nearest beach or pool. You’re never too old to splash around in the water with your best friends. Just don’t forget to pack everything you need—this list of things to pack for the beach will help!
8. Try a new restaurant in town. Get out of your comfort zone and experience something new together. Everyone orders something different on the menu.
9. Do an at-home wine tasting. Buy three bottles of wine: one over $20, one around $15, and one less than $10. Cover the bottles in foil, pour each person a sip, and guess which wine is which. Or try a natural wine like a pèt nat and open up your palette!
10. Make something creative. Go to the art supply store and pick out a fun project or go to town on old jeans or t-shirts with some scissors and an embroidery kit.
11. Start a book club. Plans always seem to come together better in person, so take advantage of your time and finally start that book club. Plan the order of the books you want to read (everyone adds one to the list). Get inspired by the most talked-about books on TikTok.
12. Make a mood board. Create a communal mood board or make one individually. Compare afterward.
13. Have an international dinner party. Create and enjoy a menu with delicious food items from different countries and cultures around the world. My ideal international dinner: a spicy tuna crispy rice appetizer, pizza for the table, tacos for dinner, and a side of truffle fries. Oh, and gelato for dessert.
14. Binge a TV show. This is one of my favorite things to do with friends when bored. Pick a short series and watch the whole thing in one day.
15. Set a pretty table and order takeout. Make setting the table the involved part of the dinner, not the cooking. Use those plates that sit in the back of your pantry collecting dust and the linen napkins you’ve been saving.
16. Try a new recipe. Because trial and error is more fun to laugh at with a friend.
17. Bake something. For the friend groups whose mutual happy place is the kitchen.
19. Practice yoga. Watch a video or walk each other through some of your favorite flows.
20. Do a puzzle. Call me crazy, but puzzles are thrilling. Does anyone else get competitive about putting in the last puzzle piece?
21. Build a new playlist together. Add songs that remind you of your memories together and listen to them when you’re apart.
22. Purge your closet with a style show. You know that scene from Sex & The City when Carrie Bradshaw moves out of her apartment and tries on all of her outfits for her friends to vote on? Yeah, do that. Productive and fun.
23. Have your own CS taste-off. Go to the grocery store and buy every kind of vanilla ice cream and rank them, or get creative and test out something else.
24. Give each other a makeover. Don’t let the other person look in the mirror and do their makeup and/or hair for them. If the results are good, go out and show it off!
25. Go shopping for each other. Online or in-person, pick out an outfit for each other that the other person has to wear out. Be nice on this one.
26. Write each other letters. Sure we send each other heartfelt texts, but texts are temporary. Hand-written letters are a dying art I’m determined to keep alive.
27. Create and compare bucket lists. Give each other time to individually write down things they want to do/accomplish, then compare and make a “master list” of similar things. Then go do them together.
28. Give each other compliments. Go around a circle and tell everyone what you love about them. Take the time to build your friends up and remind them how great they are.
29. Make gourmet coffee. Add a new ingredient, froth your milk, or simply enjoy it as an afternoon pick-me-up. Tip: Make note of how your friend takes their coffee so you can surprise them with a cup another time.
30. Sing karaoke. Traditional karaoke is fun enough, but if you’re looking for a good laugh, try Cowboy Karaoke. The person singing has headphones on with the song on a high volume, is blindfolded, and can’t hear themselves sing. For everyone else, you get an awkwardly hilarious a cappella performance.
31. Learn a new skill. Personal growth is always a good thing, but learning a new skill with friends lets everyone feel supported. Try a virtual cooking class together (MasterClass and Sur La Table both offer plenty of options) or dive into a new creative medium through Skillshare. Cheer each other on and acknowledge each other’s wins.
32. Get deep. Playing games together is always a good time. You can bring a little more intention to your friends-only game night and pick a few options that let you learn new things about each other. We’re Not Really Strangers and The Hygge Game are both faves!
33. Uncover your enneagram. Speaking of getting to know each other better, the enneagram is a great way to learn more about yourself and your friends. Dive into the nine different Enneagram types and take a quiz to figure out which one you are. Once you know your type, do an activity together that lets you share and reflect on what you’ve learned. This guide leads you through an intentional conversation based on your Enneagram type. Bonus: If you’re starting a book club with your friends (see idea #11), read The Road Back To You so you can become Enneagram experts together.
33. Explore your city. Even if you’ve lived in your town for years, there are always new spots to discover. Together, brainstorm a list of museums, galleries, shops, and more that you’ve always wanted to check out. Spend the day walking around and seeing your surroundings from a new perspective.
34. Shibori dye. One of the oldest indigo dye techniques in Japan, shibori dye is a time-honored tradition. This kit has everything you need to get started. Gather up a few pieces to dye (white tees, reusable totes, and tea towels are all great options) and get ready to make your masterpieces.
35. Dive into an unfamiliar topic. Sometimes, the best way to break the cycle of boredom can be going down a random rabbit hole. Pick a topic you’ve always wanted to learn more about. This can literally be anything and you can get as specific as you’d like. Choose a subject together, research, and share all the fascinating facts you’re bound to learn.
36. Try a viral TikTok recipe. Whether you belong to Gen Z or not, it can’t be denied: TikTok is a great place for recipe inspiration. Make Emily Mariko’s salmon rice bowl (promise you’ll be craving it for every meal afterward) or try this hack for perfectly round and identical cookies.
37. Have fun with flowers. Take a trip to the store and buy a variety of your favorite flowers. Set yourselves up with vases and all the tools you need to craft your own DIY bouquets.
38. Visit a virtual museum. A benefit of the mass shift to virtual life is that many museums worldwide have made their collections available online. The Louvre offers curated tours and The Getty gives you a peek into its exhibits. Check out this list for more museums you can discover through your computer together.
39. Braid your hearts out. There are plenty of step-by-step tutorials online for how to do any braid you can dream up. Fishtail braids, French braids, Dutch braids, you name it. Practice what you’ve learned on each other—you just might find your new favorite hairstyle.
40. Paint your nails. DIY a mani-pedi or take a trip to a local salon together. Whether you’re doing it at home or getting your nails professionally done, shake things up and try a color or style you wouldn’t normally get.
41. Write a short story. Back when I was a nanny in my early twenties, this was one of my favorite things to do with the kids. Good news: It’s perfectly suitable for adult-only hangs, too! Pick a random topic, gather your cast of characters, and dream big. Promise—this is way more fun than high school English.
42. Pour over magazines. Resurrect one of the best parts of being a teen and gather up your favorite magazines. While these might be a progression from the stuff we loved in middle and high school, the fun remains the same. Dog-ear recipes you want to make and talk about the interesting ideas and conversation starters the articles bring up.
43. Try your hand at origami. While I haven’t mastered the art of paper folding myself, I can’t imagine an activity more perfect for gathering with friends. It’s quiet and mindful but creates space for conversation and laughter. I’ve found these step-by-step instructions super helpful, and of course, YouTube offers up a treasure trove of inspiration as well.
44. Go for a bike ride. Is there anything better?
45. Work on a scrapbook. Sure, our phones are filled with imagery and videos documenting our friendships—but nothing communicates sentimentality or represents your memories better than a scrapbook. You can work on your individual books separately or contribute to one altogether. Gather your materials and pump up the music. This is parallel play, defined.
46. Learn to make jewelry. While it’s plenty of fun to shop for jewelry that you’ll love forever, there’s little that’s more gratifying than being able to say you made your (insert statement piece here) yourself. Find a kit and get to designing and crafting!
47. Create care packages. These can be for other friends, family members, or anyone in need. Each of you can identify someone you want to send a package to, round up a few loving and supportive gifts, write a kind-hearted note, and seal up your boxes in style.
48. Start a garden club. One of the best parts about a garden club is that you can make it whatever you want it to be. Want to share gardening tips with friends? Go for it! Just craving some gossip-time with friends instead? A garden club is perfect for that, too. Get some friends on board, send out a fun paper (or virtual) invitation, and you’ve got time set aside for working on that green thumb.
49. Start a cocktail club. Another customizable club idea, a cocktail-of-the-week club is a great way to bond people over a common convo starter. Designate a week for everyone to bring a new cocktail to the group and break it down over sips.
What are your favorite things to do with friends when bored? Share them with us in the comments!
This post was originally published on June 11, 2021, and has since been updated.
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