I know, I know, we’re all so busy these days that a group date may seem like a long shot. Once we have landed a solid relationship, its all too easy to “go domestic” and start skipping those nights out with friends. Why spend time with anyone else when you’re perfectly happy in your couple-bubble? According to research, this instinct to withdraw could be robbing us of a valuable opportunity to deepen our passion for our partner.
This study found that in-depth, self-disclosing conversations between partners (think rooting up regrets or airing out vulnerabilities) leads to more satisfaction in a relationship and deeper feelings of love. That bit may not come as a surprise, but here’s the kicker: the correlation was even stronger when those conversations took place with another couple present (Welker, 2014).
It only makes sense. We are all such multi-faceted creatures, and when we bounce off different characters we reveal entirely different parts of ourselves in a group date setting. Tori’s boyfriend, Mitchell, may draw out that sense of humor in your fellow, or maybe Amy is dealing with a struggle that puts you into full-on nurturing mode. There are always parts of you that just won’t emerge over Netflix and take-out, and group settings can help us see and appreciate the many aspects of our loved ones.
If the relationship is still fresh, hanging out with another couple can lift the burden of trying to impress your new partner, giving you two the freedom to really let loose and be yourselves. For relationships a little more worn in, group dates can lead to new experiences, new conversations, and new perspectives on the old. When you relate your experiences to that of your friends, everything gets a little lighter. That annoying toothpaste habit seems more like a cute quirk over a beer and a laugh than the rage-inducing frustration it can be before you’ve had your coffee. It’s a common dynamic, “Oh he does that? Well, listen to what my boyfriend does…” and in the end everyone is laughing.
Observing the relationship between another couple might give you new ideas for your own lives. Maybe Lila and Dre watch the sunset from the roof, or write each other letters, or go for a run before they resolve an argument. Other couples are full of inspiration and getting some outside perspective can help you learn how to better deal with your issues or keep the spark alive.
Alternatively, during a group date, the dynamic that another couple presents may just spark gratitude for what you already have! Your boyfriends smelly socks or the ice cream carton your lady left in the kitchen sink can seem like small potatoes compared to what divides your couple friends. Even if you are really struggling in a relationship, seeing the love between another couple may remind you why you fell for your partner to begin with, empowering you to work past whatever troubles you.
So go ahead, say yes to that invitation for drinks, spend a night across the table from your partner instead of next to them on the couch. If going out just isn’t your style, consider hosting a board game night or a dinner party for another couple or two. You don’t have to go it alone – call in the back up! You never know what kind of passion you could be missing out on until you go on a group date.
Now that you’re ready to go on a group date, here is a list of group date ideas for adults!
1. Make homemade pizzas together.
2. Try a new sport together.
3. Have a game night.
4. Go on an adventure. Rent a four-wheeler, snowmobile, scooter, waver runner, or other vehicle and do a little exploring.
5. Have a picnic. If the weather doesn’t permit an outdoor picnic, lay out a blanket on the floor and eat in the living room.
6. Check out a local museum.
7. Go to a local sporting event.
8. Go on a bike ride.
9. Volunteer. Sign up to volunteer at a soup kitchen, retirement home, or somewhere that could use a helping hand.
10. Make s’mores and read campfire stories.
11. Have a theme night. Pick a theme for the night and center everything around it. For a Mexican night, you could eat Mexican food and go salsa dancing.
12. Play 21 Questions. Check it out here.