This one seems controversial among my friends, so be wise with how you announce it.
Since going full Stoic last year and dedicating all of my time to projects, I’ve decided I cannot just hang out with friends for pleasure. However, I still believe hanging out with friends is the right thing to do. I have made it a requirement for us to do more than sit around and chat. The goal here is to have much needed conversations and knock out necessities. Never again can someone say ‘I’m too busy’. These are necessities in life, why not do them in good company?
Here are some of the ways I’ve made spending time with friends double productive.
Cooking with friends is a way to try new foods from your friend’s recipes, experiment with something new, or do a labor intensive recipe that you wouldn’t otherwise do. Hanging out with my friend taught me about how Indian food is made(layer lots of individual groups of flavors rather than mixing everything together). Another time we experimented with sashimi grade Tuna to make our first raw homemade sushi with my ‘high roller’ friends. Finally my favorite is to put everyone to work on a time consuming food such as ravioli, dumplings, spring rolls, or pierogies.
We currently do this in two forms. 2 times a week we lift with the same gym crew. Seeing someone for 2 hours a week for 6-9 months turns you into forever friends, its very rewarding. (This is the 2 hour/week workout that is free here)
I also do an ‘occasional workout with friends’. I’ve added extra workouts during the week to keep my energy levels up without caffeine. A Friday or Saturday workout with a random friend means they get gains and you get gains. My friend specifically said ‘This is great!’. He also is an insanely hard worker, so consider that personality type is most interested in Exercise.
This one you should be careful with, don’t just ‘ask for a favor’. For instance, don’t have a mechanic fix your car for you. However, we made gourmet cupcakes with some friends and they got to learn how to make gourmet cupcakes. Win Win Win.
Sometimes I hang out with people that are better than me. I am often looking for these people to rub off on me, so I don’t exactly require double productivity from these people. I’ll ask these people about my problems and absorb. I will often prepare for these by writing down questions or subjects to bring up. These aren’t necessarily people that are enormously wealthy, famous, or influential, but more often peers that excel at something I want to get better at.
As a lesser example of this, I had a friend show me a feature on FreeCAD that I wasn’t aware of before. It was like a personalized tutorial. She got her ego stroked, I learned something new.
For people with kids, this is a great way to catch up during the time you would otherwise be managing the chaos. As a bonus, the kids get to practice sharing.
My wife thinks that this is called a “play date”.
I will make exceptions for people I haven’t seen in a long time. I make exceptions for parties, as they are an efficient way to catch up with many people and meet new people. Exceptions can exist.
After the productive period I will also spend time before and after where we will be regular 1x productive time together, enjoying company.