BY Michelle Huynh

Sometimes I get a debilitating freak-out moment when I sit across my friend at a coffee shop table.

I start to twiddle my thumbs because we have either basically caught up with each other’s entire history of our lives from the last time we saw each other or see each other regularly enough to know all the goss between us.

It’s all very routine – a sort of business deal where you trade off a few presentations of where you’re up to in life. You complain about how screwed you are for that upcoming exam, share a few tidbits on that cute guy/girl you notice in your tutorials and then negotiate a time and place to when you would meet up again to repeat this never-ending cycle.

So, if you’re like me, you might not be exactly ready to venture out your comfort zone and go on a 1km hike trail in the Blue Mountains, but you also don’t exactly want to laze around in the same place all the time. In that case, you’ve come to the right place for some inspirational chill activities you can do that aren’t a coffee date!

Cruise to a nearby lookout

There’s always an inexplicable feeling of Zen when you go for a simple cruise to a nearby lookout. Take in the scenery of a twinkling stream of street lights on the horizon (if you’re going at night) or simply just observe the afternoon bustle of tiny cars and people going about their everyday lives. There’s no place like it – to just relax and watch the world go by with someone by your side that appreciates you enough to take out their time to simply spend time with you! It offers a chance for you and your friend to really get comfortable being in each other’s presence, since we know the best kind of friendships are the ones where the silences don’t feel awkward at all.

Take a walk

For those that are looking for some exercise but also nahhh - this is your chance to hit that sweet in-between! Go for a walk at a nearby park with lots of greenery to refresh your mind and catch up with your friend. Seriously, you get rid of the stress of having to sit across them face-to-face with a sort of awkward staring and silent competition after you run out of things to talk about! Going for a walk allows you both to observe the world and get some much-needed exercise to boost some healthy endorphins into your brain. For those of you who like something to look forward to at the end of a walk, there’s an event coming up later on in April that features the pop-up Goros Cherry Blossoms over in Surry Hills. If you are up for a unique experience, try including a quick stop in your route!

Run some errands together (suitable for busy, busy people!)

Okay, so I am definitely guilty of this since most of my time is spent doing my readings for my classes, balancing out my work life, managing some extra-curriculars here and there, running some errands and literally spending 90% of my time travelling to and from uni (shoutout to all you South-Westerners!). This section is for anyone who can relate to having a packed schedule but also don’t want to keep postponing that catch up you’ve been planning for weeks. You’d be surprised that the best moments with your friend won’t necessarily be the most extravagant but basically just doing random shenanigans and fooling around to relieve some exam stress!

That’s it - three new ways to catch up with your friend instead of a coffee date for those of you that are waiting for some extraordinary moments to happen in the most ordinary activities. It’s gotta be worth something coming from someone who literally schedules every catch up date with her best friend to go for a coffee run before plodding ourselves down at the cinemas to watch a new Marvel release when it comes out (maybe we’ll upgrade to Gold Class next time).

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