Dear Alice,

I am bored with doing the same things on weekend nights — movie, dinner, bowling, billiards... I am not into the bar/club scene at all, so do you have any creative suggestions on how else to entertain oneself on Friday nights? Meeting new people who are doing exciting and creative things would be such a plus for my social life and relationship.

Yawn,
Bored to the Core

Dear Bored to the Core,

Doing the same-old things may be a real downer, but rest assured, there are many options out there to be social that don't involve the bar scene. And, thanks to the internet and social networking websites, there are a million and one ideas for fun at the tips of your fingers. What's more, these resources can make it easier to connect with people who are looking for new and exciting experiences just like you! Many cities and towns have their own geographically-specific event listings in weekly publications. Your local museums, libraries, and entertainment venues may also have an events calendar for you to check out. You might also keep in mind that, if you're a student, your school ID card may hook you up with discounts at a variety of different places from restaurants to movie theaters to museums.

If expanding your social network is your primary goal, you're not alone. Try connecting with people who share similar interests. Different interest groups are popping up all over the world and a number of websites offer virtual groups to join that can help facilitate in-person meetings and happenings. So, wherever you are, you're bound to find others in your area who are interested in connecting with others to exploring new ways to stay entertained during their free time. Whether you get together to go to a concert, join a recreational sports league, have a picnic, throw a dinner party, or even go to a group workout class, many options are available to help spice up your social scene. Students and post-grads may also be able to meet a new social crowd by getting involved with alumni clubs and on-campus groups.

Another idea is to volunteer for causes that you care about. This isn't only a great way to make contributions to organizations that need your help, but it's also a fantastic way to meet like-minded people who may share your values. You might also get the added benefit of a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing you're doing something good for your community. You could start by looking up some of your favorite charities and non-profits to see if they need any volunteers. You may also want to visit Volunteer Match to find a list of organizations in your area that are looking for a few extra hands.

If you're still feeling at a loss for things to do, simply try adding a twist to the social outings you and your friends currently go on. One way to do this is the ABC game: every Friday night, try doing something you've never done before. If you’re not hooked yet, here’s the twist: starting with A and ending with Z, each event has to correspond with the next letter of the alphabet. Six and a half months down the road, you may have had 26 new experiences or visited 26 new places!

Whatever your budget and whatever your interests, there are always ways to stay entertained. Sometimes, it just takes a little bit of effort and creativity to discover them. With these tips and those offered in the related Q&As, hopefully you can be looking forward to your weekends rather than feeing bummed out over the same-old, same-old. Have fun!

Alice!

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