Getting together with friends is a science-backed way to increase your sense of belonging and boost happiness. Yet as much as we love socializing, it’s easy to start experiencing stress or feel pressured when spending time with friends becomes synonymous with spending money

We asked members of the Thrive community to share their favorite ways to spend time with friends that don’t require spending a lot of money. Their suggestions will encourage you to leave your wallet at home and simply focus on connecting with the people you care about. 

Schedule an “adult sleepover” 

“Adult sleepovers are a relaxed way of spending quality time, and you can have them even if you don’t live a plane ride away. I recently stayed at a girlfriend’s house — in traffic, it takes over an hour to get there — because our lives are so hectic that even planning a lunch date became too stressful. Neither of us had to dash off. The bad Friday traffic was worth it, and Saturday morning it was a breeze to get home!”

—Kristie Holmes, Ph.D., clinician, Los Angeles, CA

Get outside

“I love to go to a walking trail somewhere new to enjoy the countryside or take in some architecture — and vitamin D. At most, my friends and I might spend money on coffee and cake, but the quality of the time is what matters. I also find it easier to talk about deeper subjects when I am clear-headed and moving.”

—Susie Ramroop, mindset coach, London, U.K.

Plan a simple get-together

“Plan a quick get-together to watch a football game or Netflix. Have everyone bring a snack item like chips and dip, veggies, fruit, or cookies to share, and their own drinks.”

—Karen Martz, administrative office assistant, Fort Worth, TX

Swap the swanky restaurant for a personal dinner party 

“One of my favorite ways to spend time with friends lately is hosting at my apartment complex. I get to combine my love for cooking and being present with my people. When I’m the host, I’m in control of the vibe and decor, so I aim to provide a nurturing, fun environment that makes it feel like we’re at a trendy restaurant.” 

—Melissa Muncy, content marketing, San Francisco, CA


“My friends and I love hanging out in the park. On some days we go bike riding, on others we go jogging. My favorite days are when we have picnics. The fresh air and breathtaking landscapes make the activities so enjoyable. I’m always full of energy after spending these hours at the park.”

—Valentine Mbugua, freelance writer, Kenya 

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.