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7 After-Work Plans that Aren't Just Getting Drinks

Refresh your social life.
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Now that I’m in my thirties, my methods for keeping in touch with friends has changed dramatically from the previous decade. Not only do I have a smaller, closer group of friends, but the opportunities we have to get together have become that much more meaningful because we’re all at different stages of our lives. In my twenties, my go-to text to friends was “Let’s get drinks!” Now that I see them less frequently, I’m always looking for opportunities that are a touch more special than drinks. Here are a few of my favorite things to do with girlfriends that aren’t just "getting drinks":

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The best part about going to a concert is that you can make an evening of it, starting with dinner, followed by drinks at the venue, then dancing at the show. Each time I’ve done it, I’ve left feeling like I got away with something—friends, drink, dinner, and performance all in one night—and much more of a memory for it.

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It was Geoffrey who originally got me into bowling, and I have to say I’m now a convert. I’m a competitive person by nature, and there’s just something fun and silly about trying to get into perfect form to hit a strike—there’s usually lots of comical contorting involved. It’s such a nostalgic activity from childhood that revisiting it as an adult feels playful, and after a few rounds we’ll sit at the bar for a victory drink so that we can catch up a little.

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When I first moved to L.A., I loved going to UCB’s Thursday night amateur night and it’s still perfect for going to with friends. Entry is only $5 and you never know the level of comedian you’re going to get (Geoffrey and I once saw Chelsea Peretti, who was amazing live). Even if the jokes are painfully bad, it’s hard not to have a good time if you there with friends.

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Attending a mixology class is similar to going to a bar, but instead of shouting over those who have had one too many, you can get to know the other people in your class and catch up over drinks you’ve made yourself. My favorite in Los Angeles is at The Association downtown, for $20 per person.

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Since the sun sets so late in the summer in Los Angeles, I’ve started proposing sunset hikes as friend catch-up sessions (it’s another way I try to make the week feel more like the weekend). We can meet up around 6:00, then get back down the trail before dusk before 8:00 PM. Plus, hiking can turn into after-hike beers, which is never a bad thing with the feeling that you earned it. (This would be on a night G is handling Sloan's bedtime). 

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While I no longer take my morning hip hop classes as often as I'd like to, dance classes are still one of my favorite ways to spend time with friends. It’s a really enjoyable and body-positive bonding experience to learn choreography to a fun song together—and you definitely feel better about yourself than after an overly indulgent cocktail-and-fries session. More times than not, it’s led to us hanging out after class to go over the moves we learned, and collapsing into fits of laughter-tears. 

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Putting together a whole dinner party isn’t always a weeknight possibility, but pizza and a show is a different story. I’ll invite friends over and provide the pizza and just ask that they bring they bring a bottle of wine and their favorite sweatpants. It’s the ideal, stress-free way to get in quality time with friends while watching your favorite show (cough, The Bachelorette).

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