Making friends as adults is hard. It’s even harder to cultivate deep connections when we always have a piece of tech glued to our hands. Lori Harder is the author of A Tribe Called Bliss and she’s on a mission to help more of us get connected, one phone-free friend date at a time.

We love these tips for making friend dates more conscious and meaningful. We’re thinking a lot about digital detox as we ease into fall — join us on the 3-week detox journey hereThese clever ideas will help you make the most of that precious evening in – or out – with friends…

You may need to go slather on another layer of your vegan deodorant to prepare for the kind of friend-intimacy I’m about to share. This is the kind of friend date that may sound a little intimidating at first, but it actually gets you more in those good feelings than all those “Kiki” videos floating around. Ok, for real though – this is the kind of experience, connection and conversation we dream about having, but somehow never quite get to the heart of – and why? Because true connection takes serious intention, planning and curating!

Yes, I have had those one-off friend-dates where the stars align, there’s fireworks off in the distance and everything is perfect… And then I seem to set my expectations and chase that “one time,” never quite being able to recreate it. Most often, I found myself grasping for how to create a super juicy conversation that makes you feel alive, leaves you feeling full, connected, recharged and ready to run through a wall. I crave deep conversation and connection like I crave deep dish pizza on a cleanse day. C’mon – I know I’m not alone here.

I’ve been to more dinners, ladies lunches and girls nights than I can shake a stick at – and I’m from the woods ya’ll. When we think of a great friend night, we imagine and curate everything from what we’re going to eat, our Instagram pictures and “on 3 we boomerang,” to our nails matching the glass of rose in our hand (no? just me?) except we forget to create a safe container and means to get down and dirty, I mean dive into the decadent conversation we are dying to indulge in.  One thing I’ll tell you, if you follow this phone-free friend date guide, you’re going to be so preoccupied and full and you won’t even think of food – ok maybe a little, I love me some appys.

So, you ready to step out of your comfort zone in order to have a soul-filling time with your friends that will make you all want to wear those BFF necklaces from the 80’s?  Great! But just a couple promises before we start – you have to let those expectations go, not take anything personal and be willing to get uncomfortable, K? Awesome, lets do this! (Insert fist bump emoji). Check out my tried and true tips and ideas for a phone free date below and feel free to make them your own.  These are sure to spur deeper connection, new experiences and conversation.

Activity 1 – The Burning Question
Get a group of friends together small or large, have them all write down a thought-provoking question or just something they would really like to know from the group, fold it up with or without names on them and throw them in a bowl. You can have each persona draw a question from the bowl and go around and answer it one at time, or for a longer date, have each person go around and answer the same question and repeat until everyone has had their questions answered.

I’ve also done this where I have just made my own questions that I knew would get people thinking and had them draw from the bowl.  Be sure to let people know they should try to answer the question in a 1-3 minutes or less depending on how long you want the game to go, otherwise it could be a long night!

Side note: You can totally do this at a restaurant as well and just have people think of a question to ask the person to your right and go around until everyone has had turn asking and answering.

Activity 2 – Taste the World

Invite some friends for a picnic or get together and ask everyone to bring a unique sampling of a food or wine that most people have never experienced. Ask each person to learn about it’s origin, meaning or something interesting about the culture so they can share it with the group. Once you’re all together, this creates an amazing date where all parties learn, taste and feel like they contributed. I especially love this one!

Activity 3 -The Beauty I See in You
This is one of my favorite things to do with friends and family. We do this at Christmas and on every birthday and it’s always the highlight.

Pick someone to start, go around the table, and take a minute or so to share something beautiful or something you love about that person with the phrase, “The beauty I see in you is…”. Everyone at the table will take turns telling that person why they are amazing. Once everyone has gone, it’s the next persons turn. This is definitely going to get some tears and endorphins flowing.

Activity 4 – Words of Affirmation
Grab a few low cost items such as some plain white journals, a smoked candle votive, a white coffee mug or a frame and some white paper. Purchase one for each individual or have them bring the item with them. Go around the table, set a timer for 3, 5 or 10 minutes depending on how much you want to connect and learn about each other. Have each person answer the following questions:

What are you grateful for?
What’s fun for you right now?
What’s not fun for you right now?
What is something you could add to your life that would make you feel more alive?
What do you love about you?

You can add or take away any questions that you desire. After each person has had their turn, it’s now time to write in their journal or on the item they brought. Make sure each person has a sharpie (I prefer gold sharpies.) You can either write their “power word” meaning, the word you feel they most embody, or you can write a few amazing things you saw in them. This is so much fun because you get to takeaway reminders of how people see you. I still look at my mugs and journals and draw strength from words like, “shero”, powerhouse, or soul sister.  I love this one!

Activity 5 – Take The Hot Seat
Ok, so this one is for all my entrepreneur friends, or you can turn this into a good ole’ idea/help session. Set a timer for 5-15 each and go around the group and have each person share what they are working on in their lives or business and where they feel they get stuck or need the most help. After each person has gone, have each person weigh in on ideas, share resources or offer any guidance they may have.  If you don’t have anything to share – no stress! Just pass.

I love this because every time I do it, we all feel like we got all of our problems answered or at least a plan to solve them. I’ve literally done all of these many times over and although they take some planning, these are the things I remember most and have filled me up beyond anything else I’ve ever experienced with friends.  I hope you follow through so you too can have the benefit of deep, phone-free connections in your life. #gamechanging

Check out a few more ideas for great friend dates here.


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