It's not an uncommon problem, but it has many sources.
- People who are uncomfortable with others or prefer to be alone may have a hard time maintaining friendships.
- Personality issues such as being pushy, too talkative, or controlling can be off-putting to others.
- Talking to an objective third party such as a therapist can help reveal issues that interfere with friendships.
QUESTION: I have a problem that has been ongoing for my entire life: I have no friends. Well, let me restate that: I have no friends who keep in touch without me doing all the effort and even then it is spotty. I am 35 years old.
A little history, in case it is applicable to my current problem: In middle school, I had a very close best friend but she dumped me, which was really tough. Then, in high school and into college I had some best friends who I ended up dumping abruptly over the littlest thing, which I have since realized was due to trust issues that I have worked through now.
So why can’t I keep friends?
I have a group of three friends whom I have known since I was about 21. They don’t call me or email me really, but if I email and rally everyone for a get-together we have fun. But then, nothing. And I hear from them that they have gotten together in the meantime. I don’t get it—what is wrong with me?
Around the neighborhood I chat, make meals for the new moms, etc. but then nothing. And the other moms get together without me. I have female cousins who are really great, we have fun when we are together—but they never call or ask me to get together. It always has to be me.
The fact that this is a pattern in all my female friendships troubles me and makes me think that I am doing something wrong, but I don’t know what. I am a caring person and go out of my way to ask people about their lives when I am having conversations. My therapist has said that there is nothing wrong with having to be the one to always initiate a get-together, but then I see others who have a group of close friends who get together and really support each other, and I wonder, why not me?
I am an only child and sometimes just feel very alone. Other times I feel okay with having no friends. But all in all, I wish it were different.
Ouch! It sounds like you feel like you’re a pariah. It’s impossible to guess why your friendships don’t “stick” and there’s no uptake by others but the problem seems to be a pattern rather than a one-time occurrence—and something you want to change.
Can you self-identify your specific problem(s)? Here are some of the reasons why people struggle to have close reciprocal relationships with friends:
Temperament. Are you shy and uncomfortable around others? This can make the people around you feel uncomfortable too.
Insecurity. Do you feel like you can’t measure up to the people you want as friends? Are you able to trust other people? These may be barriers that create distance between you and others.
Preference. Are you introverted? When push comes to shove, do you actually prefer being alone rather than spending time with friends? Do you think people know this when they’re around you? Or, are you extraordinarily social—so preoccupied with making lots of acquaintances that you lose out on making close friendships?
Psychological Issues. Do you have a history of difficulty establishing intimate relationships with others? Are you uncomfortable with people knowing the real you?
Lack of Experience. Regardless of age, some people lack the skills needed to make and maintain friendships. Do you think you have what it takes to be a good friend?
Situational Obstacles. Do you live in an area where it is particularly difficult to connect with others? This might include living someplace rural where there are few people or, because of a history of frequent moves, being someplace where you feel like an outsider.
Disabilities. Unfortunately, because of stigma, people shun individuals with mental or physical disabilities.
Personality. Is there something about you that others find grating? Are you needy? Too pushy? Too talkative? Too controlling? Are you fiercely independent—wanting to call all the shots regarding what, when, and where? Sometimes, there is something off-putting about a person’s behavior and that individual lacks awareness of the problem.
Communication Style. Do you respond to your friends’ overtures as well as initiate contact? Are you available online or by phone, depending on your friend’s preferred mode of communication?
Time Management Problems. Do you have a hard time juggling all the responsibilities and demands placed on you? Do you consider making time for friends selfish or frivolous?
Unrealistic Expectations. Have you led your friends to believe that you will always do the organizing? Do you have an unrealistic, romanticized notion of friendship? Do you expect all friendships to be perfect and last forever?
Talking to an objective third party is a good way to gain insight into something you can’t figure out about yourself. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a therapist; it could be a spouse, sibling, or someone else you trust.
Since you are already in therapy, perhaps this list will provide a useful starting point to explore various possibilities with your therapist. I agree that something is amiss given the scenario you have described and your desire for more reciprocal friendships.
Do you know that you can accurately predict where you’ll be five years from now? You can easily know where you’ll be going, what you’ll be doing, and what your income level will be. If you want to know how, the answer is simple: by the company you keep. The people you associate with have a major impact and influence on your personal success. You can tell where most people are going to end up in life simply based on who they hang around.
It is likely that your income level is in the same range as that of your closest friends. You talk about the same topics and you usually hang out at the same places. In many cases, you may discover that you’re reading the same books. or none of you are reading at all.
Although your five closest friends are your best buds, you have to evaluate your relationships when you are ready to make a change for the better. Relationships are like elevators; they are either bringing you up or taking you down. Every connection isn’t meant for the long haul. sometimes we find ourselves holding on toxic relationships that expired years earlier. 8This is why it is so important to make the right relationship choices. For your long-term success, you simply must choose the right friends. Here are some secrets to doing so:
1. Associate higher. If you are focused on taking your life/career/business to the next level, then why not associate with people on that next level? Doing this will help expand your mind to greater possibilities. It is natural to feel most comfortable with people who are like you, and that’s OK. However, now and then it’s good to step outside of your comfort zone and spend time with friends who can expose you to greater things, new information and a higher level of living. If you value these friendships, you will soon find yourself advancing too.
2. Choose friends with similar values. While diversity is great in many ways, when it comes to your general values and beliefs, it’s best to keep core friendships with like-minded people. While you can respect others’ opinions and differences, choosing friends that hold similar values to yours will keep you from compromising or being negatively influenced by those that don’t uphold your values and the standards that you govern your life by. When friends have similar values, they can help keep each other accountable.
3. Choose friends with common goals. I like to call these your purpose partners. When you have friends with common goals, particularly as an entrepreneur, you can push each other. You can work on your goals together and encourage each other in reaching them.
4. Choose friends who can bring balance in areas where you are weaker. We all have our strengths and weaknesses — you know what yours are. With the right friends, you can tap into the talents, skills and abilities of those that have expertise in areas that you don’t. Maybe you aren’t the best at keeping your closet organized, but you have a friend that loves organizing — enlist her help! You might be a great writer and can offer assistance to a friend that is updating her resume. When you utilize each other’s strengths, everyone wins.
5. Choose friends that stretch, motivate and encourage you. These types of friends are also great purpose partners. No one wants a friend that is negative or down all the time. It’s usually the people that are uplifting and positive that we naturally want to be around. Which category do your friends fall into? What do your conversations with them sound like? The best types of friends will be there to offer a listening ear and help you put a positive spin on any situation.
6. Choose friends that share the same interests. Friends with similar interests simply make life more fun. You can enjoy outings and activities together. Whether it’s sports, music, performing arts or food, when you share interests, you can get out and do things together. You have someone to visit new places and enjoy new experiences with.
7. Choose friends that have a thirst for knowledge. Life is about learning, growing and advancing. With friends like this, you can learn from each other. It’s always great to have a friend who can recommend a good book or share information with you to help you on your path. Friends who are avid readers are usually great conversationalists and fun to talk to as well.
8. Choose friends who you can be purpose partners with. By now, you have noticed that this term keeps coming up. To further expand on it, a purpose partner is someone who you can share your goals and dreams with, and they will encourage you toward achieving them. When you tell your purpose partners what you intend to do, they can help you stay accountable to following through. Allow them to check in on you and ask you about your progress — and do the same for them.
9. Choose friends who will celebrate your success. You want friends that celebrate you, not just tolerate you. A true friend will celebrate every milestone, accomplishment and success story on your journey. They will be genuinely happy to see you succeed and be the first to say “congratulations!” Friends like this can be rare so when you find them, keep them close!
10. Choose friends who are “get-it” people. Get-it people are serious about their goals and serious about success. They don’t treat life casually or waste time on frivolous pursuits. They take fast action and get things done. If you consider yourself a get-it person, it’s important that you have friends who operate the same way.
11. Give what you expect to get. Every friendship is a give-and-take. If you expect great friends, you first have to be one yourself. If you live by the Golden Rule of treating others as you would want to be treated, then you won’t be disappointed — you will find your friendships fulfilling and rewarding.
Take some time to evaluate your relationships. Do your friends meet the criteria above? Can you call any of them your purpose partners? If so, then great! If not, then it’s probably time to branch out and start establishing some new relationships. With the secrets above, you can boost the quality of your relationships and your long-term success.
Freelance writer for Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online education provider.
According to President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, less than 5 percent of adults actually participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day. We may start the year with positive fitness goals, which we eagerly follow up by heading to the gym and nibbling on celery sticks. However, we can often find our well-intentioned plans unraveling after just a few weeks. The problem is, for many of us, exercise can be boring and repetitive. But it doesn’t have to be.
There are lots of ways to make exercise fun, whether you have five minutes or five hours to spare. To help, here are some of our top suggestions to put the fun back into your exercise routine:
1. Exercise with a friend.
If you struggle to get out of bed in the morning for a pre-work gym session, or come up with every excuse possible to avoid exercise after work, find a gym buddy. By going with a friend, you can have more motivation and can even have a laugh in the process.
2. Join a class.
Break away from the gym and try something new. Join a class in your local area, such as yoga, pilates, aqua aerobics, dancing, spinning, kickboxing, or Zumba. Not only could you have fun, but you will make new friends in the process.
3. Exercise without realizing it.
Did you know that just one hour of shopping can help you lose 175 calories? Or 191 calories for an hour of housework? Whilst we’re not suggesting you skip the gym and head to the mall, there are lots of activities you can do that won’t feel like exercise. Get outside and do some gardening, tidy out your shed, blitz your housework, and enjoy a calorie busting spring clean.
4. Reward yourself.
Give yourself something in return for the time spent pounding the pavements or lifting weights. Put $1 in a jar for every workout you do. Every month you could use this money to treat yourself to a meal out or save up for a new piece of clothing.
5. Download some apps.
Browse the thousands of fitness apps available to help you stay on track. Not only can you monitor your workouts, what you eat and how much you drink, you can also get tips, advice and most importantly, reminders. Some fun apps to take a look at include Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal, Water Your Body, Headspace and Calorie Counter.
6. Pump up the volume.
Instead of exercising in silence, load your music player with upbeat songs that will help get you moving. There are lots of CDs available to buy, especially for this purpose, or have fun creating your own playlist, full of all your favorite tracks.
7. Watch your favorite TV show.
Instead of heading back from work and flopping onto the sofa to watch your favorite TV show, head to the gym and catch up from a treadmill or cycle machine. This way, you can enjoy watching your program but get fit at the same time.
8. Play games.
Who says exercise has to be lifting weights or running on a treadmill? Consider fun alternatives such as Wii Sport and Wii Fit games. These are a great way to have fun and exercise, either alone or with friends. One minute you could be playing golf or fishing, the next, snowboarding or competing at Wimbledon.
9. Try exercise videos.
Feel uncomfortable exercising with lots of other people around? Why not try exercising at home? There is a wide choice of fun exercise videos to choose from, to help you stay motivated.
10. Get outside.
If a gym isn’t for you, get outside and take in some vitamin D. Find somewhere new to go for a walk, enjoy a long cycle ride, take a frisbee to the beach, or find a swimming pool near you.
11. Sign up to an event.
Targets can easily be broken when you don’t have any end goal. So get online and look up some local events nearby. There may be charity fun runs, sponsored walks, or something more adventurous. Not only can you get fit, you can have fun in the process and may meet other people you can train with.
12. Revisit your childhood.
Remember when you were younger and played with a skipping rope for hours or jumped around on a pogo stick or space hopper? Well, who says this is just for children? Get a trampoline, see how many times you can skip without stopping, or test out your Hula hoop skills.
13. Book a fitness break.
Why not take your exercise plan to the next level with a fit and healthy holiday? Look out for top surfing spots, hotels with luxury gyms and areas with beautiful walks.
One of the keys to gaining followers on your business or blog’s Facebook Pages is by inviting others, mainly your friends, to like your page. This is easily done through the button on the left-hand side of your page.
I like to check it often to make sure any new friends I add to my friend’s list are also invited to like my Facebook Page.
Until now, there has never been a way to invite people who aren’t your friends to like your Facebook page, at least not one that I knew about.
Facebook recently changed that and made it easier for page owners to gain more followers by being able to invite those who like a post on your page to also like your page.
However there is an exception to this, and that is you have to have more than a few people like a post. It has to be enough to where Facebook puts them all in a bundle and says, “this many” people like this. Let me show you.
Inviting Non-Friends to Like Your Facebook Page
Here’s a post I published on my Facebook page that happened to do really well. It had a reach of over 6,000 people which is big for me.
Now, your posts do not need to have that high of a reach to be able to invite non-friends to like your Facebook page, however, they do need to have enough likes on that post.
Here it shows that I had a total of 37 likes on this post. Now if there were only three likes on this page, it would just show those three people’s names and not how many others (the total) liked my post.
In order to invite non-friends to like your Facebook page, you need that link. And in order to get that link, you have to have the right amount of people like your post.
When you have enough likes on your post (I believe it needs to be four or more) then the link appears. Click on it to show the entire list. This will then give you the opportunity to invite people who like your post to also like your Facebook page.
As you can see in the example above, not everyone has an “invite” button next to their name due to their personal privacy settings, but if you continue to monitor these types of posts on your page, it is a great way to grow your followers.
BANNED Facebook Words and What to Use Instead!
What about YOU? Did you know you could invite non-friends to like your Facebook page?
UPDATE on Facebook Page Invites:
On June 11, 2016, bloggers, business owners, and Facebook page owners everywhere were upset when the invite button feature talked about in this post seemed to be taken away.
People were upset and many of you posted here and emailed me about what was happening.
Many people including myself searched for answers. Was it a glitch or was it for good? One person (seen below) received a direct reply back from Facebook…
From the reply, it sounded like our precious invite button that had helped grow thousands of Facebook pages was gone. Then, late on the afternoon of June 13th, 2016, it all came back!
Facebook had received so much feedback that it appeared they had changed their minds. However, there are some stipulations…
No one seems to know if this will stay or if things will change, but if you want to keep up with what’s going on, join this group for more info: Restore Facebook Invites.
I hope this helps those of you who have been wondering what’s going on!
Up until a year ago, I saw the world as a place where very few doors opened for me. At first I thought it was due to being extremely introverted. But as time went on, I started to struggle with making friends.
I didn’t have many of them—and opportunities only knocked a few times a year. That’s when I realized my problems stemmed from my passivity and fear of actually going out and talking to people.
My few closest friends always told me to join a club or go to parties. People always told me where to meet people. But they never really showed me how to actually create conversation.
On top of that, I never really liked going to big social gatherings. I’m introverted and tend to be overwhelmed when a lot of people are around. I like talking one-on-one.
So I decided to do things my own way. I started talking to strangers on my college campus and in the city because I was tired of staying on the sidelines.
It was scary for a naturally timid person like me, but I decided to fight the fear.
Great things come to those who are willing to risk rejection and put themselves out there.
After two months of doing this, I made some great friends, simply by starting conversations.
It’s an empowering mindset to be able to create conversation with potentially anyone. There is always the choice to talk to whom I want to talk to.
I asked people what drink they bought from the coffee shop. I asked someone about her customized bike. I asked people to share opinions on things that affected me.
Some people opened up to me. Some people stayed shut down. Some of them continued talking about themselves when I put the spotlight on them. Others simply answered my question and left the conversation there.
All of these interactions allowed me to understand how to engage with people. For example, I learned that tone and body language are more important than saying the right thing.
Through my experiences, I learned that people are usually friendly and happy to talk to you.
I’ve been able to meet more people than I ever expected just by opening up to them.
That’s when I learned that it was up to me to be proactive and create my own doors instead of complaining that none were opening for me. It was up to me to create my own opportunities by connecting with people.
Besides feeling more connected, I feel happier knowing that I have the power to talk to whomever I want to. More opportunities arrived by networking with others. For example, I was able to pursue photography with a new friend simply because I reached out and asked.
Here are the 11 tips I learned about turning strangers into friends:
1. Say the magic word: “Hi.”
It sounds so obvious, but it’s the first big barrier. You have to be willing to put yourself out there to start a conversation.
I noticed that people are welcoming after you break the ice. It’s not something that everyone wants to do because it takes some courage to go up to someone you’ve never met before and start a conversation. However, more people are welcoming than we generally expect. When you encounter someone who isn’t, remember that someone else will be.
2. Detach yourself from the outcome.
When you don’t expect any outcome, you won’t be disappointed or offended if someone doesn’t respond to you.
There’s a difference between perceived outcome and what actually happens. How many times have you worried about a worst- case situation only to find out that it turned out much better than you anticipated?
If I don’t expect any outcome from whatever I’m doing, then I can be in the present moment and adjust accordingly.
3. Tolerate rejection.
If they reject you, it isn’t about you. It’s about where they are at mentally, so don’t take it personally. If they passed up on the opportunity to connect with you, then they missed out on something great.
4. Don’t mind what strangers think.
This is your life, and you have the right to talk to whomever you want to talk to. Not everyone is that open. Allow them to be how they are and think how they do, without letting it challenge your courage.
5. If you feel the fear, do it anyway.
One of the best ways to combat the fear is to do it repeatedly. Push through the fear and it will start to feel more natural.
The fear may never fully subside, but if you continue to battle through it, the momentum you create will be more powerful than the remaining fear. For example, when I feel terrified of approaching someone, I think back to a calming moment or a moment that made me laugh. Then, the fear didn’t feel so daunting anymore.
Don’t worry if you seem a little awkward or aggressive at first. If your intentions are authentic, you will come across that way more and more each time you try.
It’s just like any other skill where it gets easier with practice. A few of my first conversations with strangers felt scary and awkward, but they didn’t do any harm. It made me learn what I needed to work on.
7. Make it about them.
Talk about their interests, opinions, and ideas. Then respond to what they share.
The best way to keep someone interested in a conversation is to show an interest in their life. Everyone likes to talk about themselves. Even if you don’t know a lot about a particular subject, keep asking questions to understand them.
8. Make them laugh.
Laughter makes the conversation fun and joyful. People enjoy talking with others who make them laugh. So get out of your head and don’t take anything too seriously—just have fun with it!
9. Try to discover their core passion.
If you see their eyes light up when they talk about something, ask more questions about that.
If you find a keyword that helps you figure out their interest, try to talk about that. For example, if I asked “How’s the weather?” They say, “It’s nice that it’s foggy since. It’s better to run in it.” Then you can go ahead and talk about running.
10. Go out and smile!
Smiling gives a good first impression. Practice in the mirror. Then smile to the world.
I noticed that people relaxed themselves when I smiled first. When I continued smiling throughout the conversation, they smiled back and really opened themselves up to deeper conversation.
11. Imagine that the other person is already your friend.
This way you’ll treat them that way instead of seeming awkward—and being comfortable around someone is the best way to start a new friendship.
Take a chance today and talk to someone new. When you’re friendly to someone, they’ll most often be friendly back.
Ask a group of parents or grandparents what they did for fun when they were growing up, and where they were when they were doing it.
Compare their answers with the activities of today’s kids. You’ll probably find that, unlike previous generations, childhood memories today are mostly made indoors, away from nature, and dominated by screen time.
Many kids are growing up in urban environments and many aren’t moving enough. When we live without “Vitamin N” (the “N” is for nature) and experience nature-deficit disorder we don’t live well. Plus, playing outside is an important way for kids to develop movement skills.
But more and more parents struggle with getting kids outdoors at all times of the year. Here are some proven tricks that will get them outside and playing:
- Tell them it’s okay to get wet, dirty, and messy.
- Organize an outdoor play date. Take your kids and a few of their friends to a park, creek, or lake. Watch them cooperate and interact with each other and the natural environment.
- Allow your kids to incorporate natural resources into play equipment. Examples might include tree stumps for jumping off, boulders to climb and sit on, logs to practice balancing or climbing … and plants, sand, gravel and wood for jumping over, walking through, and throwing. Nature encourages imaginative play and physical exploration. Nature play is often freely chosen, spontaneous, and unstructured.
- Set a timer for a maximum amount of screen time. Have your kids spend less time watching TV or using the computer.
- Tell your children to go outside in the backyard and play. Give them balls, sidewalk chalk, buckets, and let them get creative. If you’re nervous about it, check on them in 10 minutes or, better yet, get out there with them.
- Plant a garden or flowers with your child.
- Explore nature with your children far from your home. Include outside time in nature on your next holiday (visit interesting geographical areas like the ocean, mountains, or desert).
- Give your children rope and an old sheet and help them to build a fort in your yard, or with friends at a neighbours’, or at a park or the beach. Suggest they use driftwood or sticks, too.
- Park a few minutes from school and walk with your child. Point out the colours of the natural world around you and watch them play with sticks, rocks, and leaves along the way.
- Go for regular walks, runs, or bike rides in natural settings as a family. Many urban communities have trails and bike paths through parks, riverways, or lakefronts. Keep a few kid-friendly trail games in your back pocket.
- Have a picnic dinner at a playground or park.
- Gradually increase the level of independence your child has outdoors. Start with going up and down the street, to around the block, and progress to the nearby playground.
- Organize a play group that meets after school for snack and playtime. Meet other kids and parents at a field near your child’s school and bring a soccer ball.
- Create an outdoor scavenger hunt where your kids collect items from nature (or try this nature ninja scavenger hunt for a twist).
- Give your children a jar and have them catch bugs.
- Make mud pies at the beach or in a sandbox.
- Go geocaching.
- Each weekend explore new areas of your town or city as family. Make it your mission to visit as many different parks and playgrounds and find your favourites.
Resources for families:
Resource Guide Supplement to “Last Child in the Woods” book
Online supplement to the book by Richard Louv
Topics: The website lists nature activities for kids and families, good books for kids and families, and helpful links.
Child & Nature Alliance: Forest School Canada
Forest School Canada is an educational program of the Child & Nature Alliance of Canada that supports play-based learning in nature.
Topics: The website lists Forest & Nature Schools across Canada and policy and research information on connecting children and youth to nature.
Children & Nature Network: Natural Families
Natural Families is a network of parent and families engaged in active time in the natural world.
Topics: The website includes a Nature Clubs for Families Toolkit, a research library and other Child & Nature Network initiatives.
BCRPA: Healthy in nature
British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) Healthy in nature initiative.
Topics: The Healthy in Nature website includes research, resources, articles and initiatives about the benefits of being in nature, public planning, and programming. It includes quick reference guides with a fact sheet offering ideas for parents and caregivers on getting children outside. The site includes marketing materials to promote being healthy in nature.
My hope is that our children’s children live healthy lives and experience the joy of being physically active outdoors. If you’re not already exposing your kids to nature, put these practical ideas to use right away. Experiencing nature helps us live well and every bit of exposure helps. It’s time to get outside.
5 responses to “ 18 ways to get kids to go outside ”
This is an amazing blog post
the safety of the kids is also an important factor when comes to the outdoor. always make sure they were equipped with safety equipment while outdoor sporting.
Nice work… Keep Posting
Lacey is a personality assessment expert based in Kansas City, MO. Her areas of expertise include Zodiac, Myers-Briggs, and the Enneagram. She is the author of a book, Being Whole, and dozens of articles on personality assessments and relationships.
The Spruce / Candace Madonna
No matter the size, backyards are meant to be a source of enjoyment and refuge—a place in which to escape when you want to unwind, relax, and have fun.
Is your outdoor space more a place you want to get away from than an enticing getaway? A yard cluttered with too much patio furniture, outdoor structures (like gazebos), and children’s play equipment is going to appear chaotic. In fact, you might find yourself trying to avoid the backyard if there’s too much stuff, you find it difficult to move around, or there is always a project calling out your name.
Clear the Clutter
Rethink the yard by clearing out the clutter, pruning overgrown trees and hedges, relocating play equipment, or donating it if your children are too old for slides and swings. Get rid of or recycle broken furniture and accessories or things that don’t seem to belong in the yard. Store anything that can be.
Starting with as clean or bare of a slate as possible, assess your yard for elements it needs to make it a place you want to get away to; a refuge for kicking back and relaxing or enjoying the things you love, like swimming, working out, or eating with friends and family.
An outdoor living space has much potential and can provide sun, shade, views, and fresh air. Enjoy all it has to offer and consider the following ways to transform your space when transforming it into an oasis.
Seating is one thing, but a deep seating set, lounge chairs, loungers, or chaise lounges allow you to stretch out and relax, whether it's under an umbrella, by a swimming pool, on a deck or even on the balcony of a high-rise apartment building.
If the seating is comfortable, you’re more likely to kick back and spend some time outside, rather than sit down, say, at a patio dining table, eat a grilled burger, then go back inside.
The Right Landscaping
Not just any landscaping, however. Carefully planned and selected plants that look natural in their setting can really set a theme or mood, even transport you to a favorite vacation spot. Who wouldn't want to step outside every day to a yard that reminded them of that trip to Maui, Tahiti, or Sedona?
The key is to choose plants that adapt well to the environment in which you live: dying tropicals in your desert locale will not remind you of Aruba. Mix natives for your region with trees, shrubs, vines, and perennials that are adapted to the climate—usually something that can be found at your local nursery or botanical garden shop. Enlist professional help from a landscape designer, or ask for suggestions from a garden store employee or the local university’s master gardener program.
If your yard is mostly cement or patio, or you’re an apartment-dweller with only a balcony, go for tall container plants, happy patio plants, or easy houseplants you can take outside (conditions permitting).
Need some fresh air and outdoor adventure? There are plenty of fun things to do outside. We’ve rounded up the best outdoor activities, including the expected (hiking, biking, picnicking, etc.) to the unexpected (for example, flying a drone!). Read on to discover 19 go-to ideas that will make for a memorable day out.
1. Have a Scavenger Hunt
Gather a group of friends and break off into teams for a jaunt around the city looking for specific things. Start by making up the list: red bicycle, kissing couple, etc. If you live in a more rural area, you can make it a nature scavenger hunt where your list includes specific plants or animals instead. Use a special hashtag and have each team post a pic every time an item is found. Whoever finds all the items on the list first wins!
2. Plant a Vegetable Garden
Collect some seeds from your local gardening center, claim a plot in the backyard, throw on some cute overalls, and start digging with your friends or date. In due time, you'll have a sufficient source of yummy produce anytime you want. Once your first harvest is picked, be sure to invite those who helped you plant it over for a home-cooked meal.
3. Play Tourist in Your Own Town
Take a Saturday to get to really know the place you call home. Visit your city's museum or botanical garden and find out the story behind that statue downtown. Check out the historical boat sitting on the pier or stop by the farmers market to get a taste of the local flavor—who said fun can't also be educational?
4. Go Horseback Riding
Look up a local ranch or equestrian center to see if there are any riding opportunities. On the fence about going? Many riding schools offer a free or discounted first lesson so you can try it out and see how you like it. Sounds like a great time to us!
5. Fly a Drone
If you can get your hands on a drone, you’ll definitely want to take that baby out into nature. Fly it high above your neighborhood and capture aerial views that are totally Instagram-worthy.
6. Plan a Picnic
Stake out a large open spot in a local park, tell all your friends to bring food and drinks, and have an afternoon of games and sports planned out. Go old school with childhood favorites like the egg-on-a-spoon relay and tug o' war!
Help paint a house, spruce up city landscaping, clean up litter from the streets, or walk dogs at the animal shelter. Besides all those good feels you'll get from doing something you're passionate about, you'll also be making a difference in your community. Win-win!
Spread a blanket on the ground, get comfy, and look up at the cosmos. See who can spot the most verified constellations and/or made-up shapes (is that Harry Styles's face up there?).
9. Get Creative With Sidewalk Chalk
Remember all the hours you used to spend drawing on the concrete outside of your house when you were a kid? It's time to bring out that brilliant artist once again! Let your imagination soar and see what you can come up with now.
10. Take a Hike
Lace up your hiking boots and explore the great outdoors! Do a quick Google search to find the most scenic paths in your town and head out on an adventure and be sure to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy once you find the most Instagram-worthy spot on the trail.
11. Find an Outdoor Workout
Take your workout outdoors with an outdoor boot camp or yoga class! You can even make your own workout circuit and plan out a workout for your squad.
12. Take in a Sunset or Sunrise
Grab your besties, pile into the car, and head to one of your favorite nature spots. Whether it's the beach or a mountain, a field or a lake, the sun will look breathtaking, and it will be a special moment you can enjoy together. It also works for a solo trip where you can read, write, or meditate in peace.
13. Have a Water Balloon Fight
Water balloon fights are always a good time, no matter your age. Plan a water balloon fight and run around like little kids (you'll even get some cardio in!).
14. Hold a Garage Sale
Not only does this get you outside bright and early, it'll make you money and give you more closet space. If you don't have enough stuff to sell to justify a garage sale, invite your friends, family and neighbors to get in on the action. Combined, you'll have plenty to hawk in your driveway.
15. Go Miniature Golfing
Who doesn't love a good game of mini golf? Put your putt-putt skills to the test (you can even follow up with some arcade fun and pizza after a match or two).
16. Check Out Your Local Farmers Market
Hitting up a farmers market is a great way to spend the afternoon, support local businesses, and stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables.
17. Visit the Nearest State Park
Channel your inner Leslie Knope and take a day trip to the nearest state park. State parks are some of the coolest parks you’ll ever see. Many offer tours or special attractions. Depending on where you live, you could be near a breathtaking desert with cavernous valleys and stunning expanses, or you could be near a lush forest with sky-high trees and bubbling brooks.
18. Ride a Bike
Dust off your bicycle and head out for a leisurely bike ride. Even if you don’t have a bike (or have outgrown your childhood bike), you can most likely find a place that rents bikes in your town.
19. Visit an Amusement Park
Love the thrill of roller coasters? Then head to the nearest amusement park. Challenge your friends or your date to go on every ride with you and reward yourselves with the ultimate amusement park food: funnel cake.
So what do you say? Call up a friend, head outside, and don't forget the SPF—there are plenty of things to do outside!