Creating opportunities to connect with friends is one of the best ways to improve your mental wellbeing… and even your health. Studies show that people with stronger social networks get sick less often and even live longer!
The secret to making it happen is to make it a monthly routine—that makes it easier to schedule, easier to remember, and more likely that those lasting connections will have time to develop.
To get the ball rolling, here are 6 great ways to get together with friends this year:
1. Start a Sunday Brunch Club
A monthly gathering is a fantastic way to enjoy friends and share each other’s cultural traditions and culinary experiments. Make it brunch and you can laze about together all day long without interrupting the evening routine.
A weekly farm box from Full Circle will ensure you always have enough organic produce and farm products on hand to put together something delicious. With optional add-ons like fresh eggs, jam, honey and nuts, you may not even need to leave the house to whip up brunch for a crowd. Save $10 off your first four boxes here.
To sweeten the deal, why not pick up this FREE bag of rolled oats from Natural Grocers and make this delicious-sounding blueberry breakfast bake? Natural Grocers are relatively new to Portland and expanding rapidly, with a laser focus on sustainable sourcing and accessible stores in 6 locations around the metro area.
2. Challenge Each Other
A little friendly competition can keep the friendship fires burning—especially if you choose active options that are new to the group. Whether it’s stand up paddleboarding, indoor soccer or introductory roller derby, a monthly outing to try a new sport will keep everyone laughing and learning together. Put a little skin in the game by awarding a new prize every time.
For your first outing, why not give bouldering a go? The Circuit Bouldering Gym offers a variety of climbing challenges ready made to spur your group to greater heights. This FREE day pass admission for up to 4 people is just the boost you need to make it happen.
3. Get Carried Away
Nothing bonds you together like sharing a good cry… in great seats while dressed to the nines. Pick a performance and expand your emotional horizons together… whether you dive into a little dance, some drama or an awe-inspiring opera, a monthly night out will keep you buzzing for days.
It doesn’t get grander (or more gut-wrenching) than Madama Butterfly, Puccini’s beloved opera about the heartbreak of love in a time of war. Portland Opera’s fresh take on this soaring epic invites audiences to consider the unknown victims of our past foreign policy choices. Save 25% on tickets to the fall performance of Madama Butterfly at the Portland Opera here.
4. Make Like a Kid… and Play!
Whether you have kids or just want to feel like one again, an amusement park is a great way to get together. Tackle the rides and slides with a group of friends and bring back that endless summer feeling no matter what time of year it is.
North Clackamas Aquatic Park has your first outing covered—literally. This indoor aquatic center has a wave pool, slides, toddler swim area and a 29-foot climbing wall. It’s a great way to play without any weather worries. Enjoy a FREE Big Surf! admission with purchase of admission of equal or greater value here.
5. Find a Usual Table
Sometimes the easiest way to see your friends more regularly is to become a regular. Pick a spot that’s easy and conveniently located, make sure their ingredients are thoughtfully sourced and make a habit of it. With luck you’ll soon have a booth of your own and staff who start your usual order as soon as you walk in the door.
Looking for a new local haunt? Dick’s Kitchen might be just the spot. Their motto is “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” and they’ve focused their energy on creating delicious dining options that cut down on processed food, sugars and industrial oils that are harmful to the planet (and your health). Enjoy one FREE burger or bowl with purchase of one burger or bowl of equal or greater value here.
6. Binge Watch… with Bingo
What’s at the top of your Netflix queue? Make a must-see show into a social occasion with bingo cards that mix up the catchphrases of your favorite characters and a prize or two at the end. Bonus points for a pajamas-only dress code and a few large pizzas.
Speaking of which, HOTLIPS has been delivering giant slices of good fun for decades in Portland. They have locations in every quadrant and enough unusual pie options to keep things interesting. Every ingredient is chosen with an eye towards sustainability; this is one binge you can feel great about. Save $5 on your purchase of $20 or more here.
However you choose to gather your friends, we hope you will find connection and laughter and a little bit more joy each time.