Today I finished reading Aziz Ansari's new book Modern Romance, which I picked up as research for my own book about sex and dating. It's a great read: funny, smart, and full of thoughtful (and useful!) reflections.
In one of my favourite chapters, Ansari references multiple sociological and psychological studies on our culture's dating habits. These studies show that couples whose dates include "novel and exciting activities" show a "significantly greater increase in relationship quality" (p.144).
Basically, what Ansari is saying is that "boring-ass dates" (his words) are killing relationships before they even have a chance to start. Ansari encourages readers to think up an activity more exciting than grabbing a coffee or beer and conducting a job-interview style date. His argument is that unique or exciting activities offer a better chance for people to get to connect on a deeper level, explore shared interests, express their personalities, and have more fun in general.
So with this in mind, instead of our usual "Girl's Night Out", my friends and I opted for the non-traditional "Girl's Night Art". We might not be looking to date each other per se, but who says you can't shake things up and do something new with friends too?
Instead of catching up at the bar, we grabbed some wine and whiskey to sip while we shared our recent stories alongside a pile of art supplies.
With minimal discussion and no hesitation we decided to collaborate on a single canvas and make a communal piece of abstract art.
We took turns painting, laughing, telling stories, and filling each other's glasses of wine. It was like any other girl's night, but in addition to bonding, we got to express our creative sides and make something together. Our unusual activity also opened up a whole new realm of conversation as we discussed the very nature of modern art... Always a good topic to start in on after three or four glasses of rosé...
Our finished product! :
So here I challenge you: for your next get-together try and think up a new activity to do together. Whether it be with friends, a first-date, or a long-term partner, shake things up, try something new, and surprise yourself with the adventure or the new topics of discussion that come up. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive, it can be as easy as grabbing some crayons, a piece of paper, and letting your creativity take hold!