As someone who doesn’t drink, and worked in hospitality for three years, I don’t personally like to go out to the pub just to meet up with friends.
Now, don’t get me wrong I enjoy a nice sit down meal with some friends, but it is nice to not be in a pub all the time. There is a societal expectation to consume alcohol which is very pervasive in British culture, and as someone who is relatively new to kicking the booze, I think it’s important to remind myself that other social activities exist.
Weather and mobility permitting, it’s nice to get outside and into nature every once in a while. A combination of excellent company and a scenic locale can really lift one’s spirits. Especially with everyone being stuck inside for so long, it can be refreshing to step outside and enjoy one’s natural surroundings. Changing environments is good for building relationships, as it forces us to embrace new ideas.
No matter the place, no matter the city, there’s bound to be a gallery near you. Go along to it! Make a plan to go ahead and see an exhibition that you have absolutely no interest in going to! If you think what’s being shown is awful, then it’ll be something to make fun of with your friend. If you’re in a big city like London or Manchester, then there’s bound to be something on that you’re going to at least have an interesting time with.
There’s bound to be something nearby that offers some kind of relaxed, and pleasant atmosphere. One thing that I really enjoy about coffee shops is co-working with someone whilst in the same space. Agree to meet up with a friend during the week and get some work done together. It kills two birds with one stone, you’re getting things done and socialising.
One thing that me and my partner started doing over lockdown was going on “Minecraft Dates”, where we would create a server in Minecraft and then build things together. We would spend hours creating all sorts of things, ranging from a chicken launching machine, to a prison for all of the villagers (don’t ask) and a minecart track that took us through the mountains. It doesn’t need to be Minecraft, or even a two player game, it can be one of you plays and the other watches.
I’ve had some of the best times of my life playing or watching video games with my friends, and sharing that experience has created some amazing memories. ~ Kalda User
This can be as large as starting a business to as small as taking a single photo. This can be an excellent way to spend time together, online or offline. There are loads of project ideas that you can find online, which use all sorts of different skills. Why not choose to make something with a friend the next time they come over to your house? It could even be a jigsaw puzzle.
A lot of these options are things that will appeal to different people, and that’s sort of the point that I’m making here. No two friendships are alike. Every single person on the planet has different wants, needs and desires and that’s a wonderful thing. You may find that you have a friend who is also really interested in a particularly niche thing that you have just discovered.
There are a huge number of activities that you can do with friends which don’t involve intoxicants, and more often than not can be arranged quite easily with some planning and coordination.