I remember when I used to think that my significant other was supposed to be everything to me. My ideal man would listen to me ramble on about work and what “she said” or what “whoever did” that made me angry/sad/excited…and never get bored. Ah, the innocence of youth!
I eventually learned that if I wasn’t interested in having him fix whatever the situation was, then he wasn’t interested in listening to me prattle on for hours. Fair enough, really.
But you know who COULD listen to me for hours – and vice versa? My girlfriends. Oh, how we would sit, sip, and solve the world’s problems! Afterward, I would go home to my husband, and he would be happy that I was happy…and talked out. That, my friends, is a successful relationship. That’s why it is imperative to carve out time with your girlfriends. If nothing else, it is essential to maintain the health of your other relationships! I have step-by-step instructions, not to mention girlfriends’ getaway ideas, to aid the cause of feminine friendship. Because, in a world where your parents, significant other, kids, boss, co-workers/employees, and pets take priority, you sometimes need a little help taking care of yourself.
Whether you are planning a weekend girlfriends’ getaway, a girls’ night out, a girls’ night in, or any combination – the first thing you have to do is schedule a good distance into the future so everyone can mark their calendars and save the date.
Take everyone’s budget into consideration. We all don’t have disposable incomes comparable to the GDP of a small nation. Some of us have kids we’re putting through school or are semi-retired and on a budget. Some just don’t want to break the bank when there are so many inexpensive or even free things to do.
When planning a trip to celebrate our 50th birthdays this year, one friend volunteered her frequent flyer passes to help offset expenses. Shared hotel rooms were the order of the day, and we planned only one evening at a posh restaurant. The rest was buffets, and whatever was close by and cheap. After all, it’s not what you spend that makes it a great time. It’s spending time with great friends!
Decide what to do together. If you can’t all come to an agreement, get new friends. Kidding. If you can’t all agree, put all the ideas for your girlfriends’ getaway in a hat and draw one — no need to begin the adventure with hard feelings.
One of you needs to step up and be the coordinator – and part of that job is assigning responsibilities to each person. Don’t make this stressful by making one person do all the legwork.
Send reminders! You can set these up in your email system in advance to send every week, two weeks, every month – whatever the frequency that will keep it in the front of your mind. You want to avoid someone forgetting or not making arrangements in time.
Everyone has their pet peeves, and mine is sitting in a restaurant doing math and arguing over who owes what for the meal, how to split it up, who had wine, and who had tea, appetizer, dessert, etc. Kill me. If you will be sharing a meal or multiple meals together, decide in advance if you are going to split it evenly or if someone will pick it up and the others will pay their balances later to the one who “hosted.” Nothing puts the damper on a good time more than counting pennies.
If making a trip of some sort – make sure you allow for different needs and preferences. Allow people time on their own to relax. Don’t overschedule. It’s easier to add spontaneous activities if some require constant entertainment.
Take lots of photos. Take them together, take them apart, take them as selfies with your thumb half covering the lens, but take them. Not to be maudlin, but it’s an uncertain world, and you never know when you will be able to get the same group together again, or even if you will. Make sure you have a consensus before sharing them on social media, if that’s your thing.
When your girlfriends’ getaway is over, promise to do it again, and then — DO IT AGAIN.
In town or out of town spa retreat. Everyone doesn’t have to do the same thing at the same time, but you should have lunch or dinner afterward and compare notes. Don’t forget to compliment each other on how relaxed and refreshed you look.
Beach house or lakehouse. Pack comfy clothes, a swimsuit, and flip-flops. Rent a house/condo and do nothing but swim, sun (with sunblock), eat, drink, play cards, read, and nap.
Wine Tasting. Host a blind wine tasting at someone’s house. Set a limit on cost per bottle, so you’re comparing apples to apples, as it were.
Plan a leisurely day of shopping at antique stores, clothing outlets, or galleries. Again, lunch or dinner is a must.
Do something you wouldn’t normally do: horseback riding, a baseball game, a theater performance, or a symphony experience. See an IMAX movie at your local science museum, or visit a planetarium and stargaze.
Have a cooking party. I once attended a party at someone’s home where we each made our own individual pizza with a selection of toppings that ranged from the exotic to the ordinary. It was a blast; we all laughed while we cooked and ate exactly what we wanted.
Swimming, gambling, eating, shopping, shows. Enough said.
Movie night/weekend: Get together and watch your old favorites or find new ones. Go with a theme, like Disney night, Audrey Hepburn, Robert Redford, or movies about travel. Then organize the beverages and food around the theme.
Yoga Class. Find a local yoga instructor who can help you and your friends Om and down dog in the privacy of your own home. Or, some instructors will hold a private class at their studio. Everyone can share the expense and have a light meal afterward.
No need for movies or entertainment of any kind. Just put your hair up (or down), get into your comfy PJs, and start talking. After all, that’s what the whole point was in the first place!
What are you waiting for? Contact your friends and start planning!