Healthy Body/Healthy Mind/Healthy Soul/My Life 20 Ways to Make Your Friday Night Anything but Boring by Sam Brebner There’s this stereotype about Catholics. It’s a stereotype that’s portrayed by the media, believed by a lot of non-Catholics you know, and even confirmed by some of the people you sit next to in the pews on Sunday. It’s that we’re boring. Our church services are boring, our moral beliefs are boring, and yes, even our Friday nights are boring. As far as most people are concerned, the standard Friday night for Catholics probably involves playing board games until our 8 p.m. curfew. Sometimes we, ourselves, even believe it. We look around at our non-Catholic friends who party on a Friday night and feel like we’re the ones missing out! But our lives aren’t meant to be boring. God created us to “have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). We’re called to live a life that has purpose, a life that is overflowing with joy, a life that makes non-Catholics look at us and say, “I want what they’ve got.” The reality is, you’re not going to live that life sitting at home, binge-watching Netflix on a Friday night. So here are 20 ways to make your Friday night anything but boring: 1. Make a Bonfire via GIPHY There’s a reason this has remained a popular human past-time for the last 600,000 years. Making a bonfire is such a good way to gather people together. I swear that all of my best D&M’s (deep and meaningful conversations) have happened around a bonfire. All you need is your group of friends, some wood, and an open space (be sure to check your state’s laws on open fires first!). Make some s’mores, pass a guitar around, and maybe even swap some stories. 2. Have a Pizza Party via GIPHY If the great outdoors don’t appeal to you, invite some friends over for a pizza party instead. You’re going to need about a dozen pizza crusts and multiple toppings — from the essential (cheese) to the downright unusual (banana). See who can make the best and/or most bizarre pizza. I, for one, am a big fan of the berries and Nutella combo. 3. Build a Fort via GIPHY Trust me, the fact that you are no longer 7-years-old has not diminished the fun of this activity in the slightest. Grab some chairs, blankets, couches, and whatever else is on hand to construct a massive fort in your living room (where else are you going to eat your pizzas?!). If you’ve got a decent number of people, you can even build two forts on opposite sides of the room and have “fort wars,” tossing small beanbags and pillows back and forth. 4. Start a Blog via GIPHY Are your only friends on a Friday night Ben, Jerry, and your laptop? No worries! You might want to think about starting a blog. The cool thing about the internet is that there is a little corner for just about everything (passionate about crochet Pokemon hats? There’s a place for you!). So find a topic and get writing — you can start a blog for free using websites like WordPress or Blogger; you could even write for Life Teen! 5. Stargaze via GIPHY Go outside on a clear evening (preferably away from city lights), spread some blankets on the ground, and gaze up at the stars. There are incredible apps like Night Sky and SkyView that help you identify the constellations you’re looking at. There are few more relaxing and awe-inspiring ways to spend an evening. 6. Volunteer via GIPHY It may surprise you, but in my experience, volunteering has been the most enjoyable (and rewarding!) suggestion on this list. There are countless volunteer projects in your community that need your time — from helping out at a soup kitchen, to visiting residents at a home for the elderly, to lending a hand at your local church or youth group. Volunteering is a unique way to meet new people, make a positive contribution, and maybe even pick up a new skill along the way. 7. Hold a Cook Off via GIPHY Buy the ingredients for you and a friend to make variations of the same dish and see who can make it better. You could also complete the make the best dish challenge using only the ingredients that are already in your pantry. You could make a three course meal with the same core ingredient in every course (who says chocolate can’t be served as a main?!). The possibilities are endless. Better yet, combine this one with volunteering — contact your local food bank or homeless shelter and see if there’s anything you can make for them. 8. Check your Community Calendar via GIPHY Most communities have a ton of different events like art shows, live music, and festivals going on every week. Your community likely has a calendar of these events on their website or published in the local paper. Have a look — you might be surprised by how many fascinating (and often free) events are happening just outside your door. 9. Visit an Escape Room via GIPHY Getting locked in a room on Friday night can actually be a lot more exciting than it sounds. Escape rooms are a fairly new craze where you and your friends are locked in a themed room and try to break out within a certain amount of time. To escape, you need to find clues and solve puzzles. Jump on Google and find out if there’s one in your area. It’s a great way to challenge your mind and get to know your friends in a unique setting. 10. Prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse via GIPHY This can be a standalone event or easily tacked on to a bunch of the other suggestions on this list (who doesn’t want to end a relaxing night of stargazing by contemplating a zombie attack?). Invite some friends over, get some snacks, and come up with a battle plan. What role does every person have within your zombie survival team? What are the first places you want to hit for supplies? Where should you put your base? The more detail, the better your chances of survival. 11. Outdoor Film Festival via GIPHY Many communities have some kind of “movie in the park” event going on during the summer months, where they play movies in a local park on a giant screen. However, if this isn’t happening in your area, just lug your flat screen TV (or projector) outside, set up some beanbags (and maybe some blankets), cook up some popcorn (and maybe some nachos), and you’re good to go! 12. Celebrate a Weird Holiday via GIPHY Check out daysoftheyear.com to find out what we’re celebrating today. Trust me, I’m sure it’s something ridiculous! World Baking Day? Make some cupcakes to share with your youth group. Hug Your Cat Day? Reasonably straightforward. Don’t own a cat? Well, this is where your “find a feline” adventure begins. 13. Go Geocaching via GIPHY Geocaching is a great game where you search for hidden treasures (“caches”) near you. All you need is a GPS device or smartphone. Simply go to the website, create an account, and start searching! Players hide caches all over the world for others to find, so if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, this one is for you. 14. Learn Something New via GIPHY During the Dark Ages you learned how to be a blacksmith from your dad, who learned how to be a blacksmith from his dad, and so on. Today, you just have to jump online to learn something new. Want to learn a foreign language? Check out apps like DuoLingo. Want to learn about all kinds of interesting topics? Check out some of the most watched TedTalks. Interested in something a little more hands on, like photography or mixing music? There are a whole bunch of free courses on websites like Skillshare. 15. Join/Support a Sports Team via GIPHY Find a recreational sports team at your high school or in your local area you can join. If you can’t commit to something every week, most communities run casual pick-up games for basketball, soccer, and ultimate Frisbee at the local rec center. If, like me, you’re lacking in the hand-eye coordination department, you might just want find a team you can support. Cheering on a local or school team is just as much fun as supporting a pro team, but tickets don’t cost hundreds of dollars and it’s way easier to get autographs. 16. Have an Indoor Picnic via GIPHY Outdoor picnics are so 2017. The indoor picnic follows a similar concept, but it’s inside. Goodbye insects, hello air conditioning. Spread out some blankets in your living room, get some beanbags (or cushions), and invite your friends to each bring their own dish or snack. Chocolate-covered strawberries are a must have. 17. People Watch via GIPHY Head to a late-night coffee shop or go for a walk downtown and just watch people going about their daily lives (it’s a slightly more chill alternative to Facebook stalking). A fun way to do this with friends is to spin crazy theories about the people you observe. That stressed looking businessman who just walked past suddenly becomes “Jim, a down-on-his-luck fidget spinner salesman who is struggling to makes ends meet after the unpredictable (but really, totally predictable) crash of the fidget spinner market.” 18. Binge Watch YouTube Together via GIPHY Turn solitary procrastination into a solid social activity. Invite a bunch of friends over and give every person a chance to show off their favourite videos. With websites like TogetherTube, you can even do this with your friends from a distance! Be forewarned though, the pressure to select a video that’s cool or funny can be intense. If you need some good ammo, I’d recommend this video of a rabbit eating raspberries. 19. Donate Your Unwanted Stuff via GIPHY You probably have too much stuff. Other people can benefit from that stuff. Make time to go through your clutter and donate any unused or unwanted items to charity (just not your old fidget spinners). You can either do this alone or get some friends on board and have a swap meet (where you swap stuff with each other) before giving everything else to charity. Not only will it clean up your wardrobe, you’ll feel great knowing your stuff will be used by someone who needs it. 20. Go Laser Tagging via GIPHY Look, I know this suggestion is hardly original, but laser tag is seriously underrated. If there was one sport I could add to the Olympics, this would be it. It’s the ultimate game of skill, fitness, and wit. Assemble your team, find a laser tag arena, and see who emerges victorious. If they don’t have laser tag in your area, re-create a similar experience at home with nerf guns.