So you’ve found yourself alone on a Friday night wondering what to do. You’ve scrolled through Facebook and Instagram and everyone else is documenting their dinner, movie, concert tickets, or bowling with their singles group. Scrolling through Twitter makes you feel even worse because people you don’t know, all over the globe, are out having fun and you’re not. (Or so it seems.) You’ve run out of friends to call, and you’re flying solo.
Sure, you’d rather be spending the evening with people, but unless you’re due one good night of takeout and tv watching (limit 1 per month), put down the egg rolls and the remote control, consider these options, and dang it, live a little! Or, at least do some things you’ve not made time for.
1. Go on a date with yourself
Brandon is a self-professed expert in dating himself. Check out his advice, but maybe choose your cuisine a little more wisely than he does—unless you think it’s frugal to save some barbecue sauce for later. Or if going on a date with yourself doesn’t sound fun, here’s a little trick to test drive eHarmony for free any weekend of the year.
2. Check out a new-to-you podcast
In case you hadn’t heard, podcasts have made a big ol’ comeback. It seems everyone is either recording their own or listening to an awesome new podcast these days. If you’re alone on a Friday night and like storytelling, check out Serial, This American Life, A Prairie Home Companion, or The Moth podcast. If you’re the curious type, check out Freakonomics, Stuff You Should Know, Invisibilia, or RadioLab. If you’re into celebrities, listen to Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin or NPR’s Fresh Air. Or for a nice blend of funny, serious, and Christian culture, check out The RELEVANT Podcast from the producers of RELEVANT magazine.
3. Call/Hang out with family
Some of us don’t have an issue with keeping up with dear old Mom and Dad. Others of us have to be held at gunpoint. Consider this your threat. Call your mom. Just because. And while you’re at it, call your grandparents, siblings, and your aunts and uncles. Or, even better, go see a family member. Of course they drive you crazy, but you don’t have anywhere else to be tonight, so you can deal with your emotional upheaval later in the privacy of your own home.
4. Find a new coffee shop and people watch
Find a different coffee shop that you’ve never been to or a diner—some place that people gather to hang out. Bring a book to read or to pretend you’re reading. Note: If you’re not an expert at people watching, and you don’t know how to observe other humans on the sly, then don’t choose this option. Leering or making eye contact is not acceptable and is grounds for dismissal from all future people watching endeavors.
5. Dominate the Oregon Trail
Normally we wouldn’t recommend video games, but all of the classics from our childhood were recently released on the internet. Oregon Trail, anyone? And after you’ve dominated the Trail or succumbed to cholera–whichever comes first–there’s Pac-Man, Tetris, and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Don’t pull an all nighter. You’re not a spring chicken anymore. Know when to say when, friend.
6. Hang out with your married friends
Some of us are bad about losing touch with our friends once they get married. Sure, they have a lot of obligations–a spouse, kids, work–but some of them would really love to see us more and would enjoy meeting us for dessert or coffee after they help their spouse put the kids to bed. So what if it’s 8 or 9 o’clock before you meet them? What else have you got to do? Go to bed early?
7. Browse a bookstore and don’t buy anything (or do)
Get a bunch of magazines you never have time to read or Steve Jobs’ biography that you have no intention of buying or conduct research in the travel section for your summer vacation. Take a stack of books to a table in the coffee shop and enjoy having time to do something you’ve been putting off for a while. There’s no coffee shop in your bookstore? Good for you for not contributing to the Monster, but that also means you’ll need to support a small business and buy something. At that point, you’re ready to refer back to #4.
8. Road trip
This idea is not for the faint of heart, those on a tight budget, nor those of who hate spontaneity. Choose a nearby city/town you enjoy visiting. If you’re in Dallas, go to Fort Worth; Minneapolis, go to St. Paul; Nashville, go to Chattanooga; London, go to Oxford. Take a risk and book a cheap hotel room on Hotwire, and go explore for the evening and morning.
Bonus: Spend time with Jesus
Yes, we totally just played the “Jesus card.” But come on, an entire evening alone? Don’t waste it.
What other ideas would you recommend for someone who finds themselves alone on a Friday night? Share them with us in the comments below!