Bonding on a Budget

Bonding happens naturally in most relationships as you spend more time together. But if you want to get to know someone better (especially if it’s a new relationship), there are ways to create bonding opportunities. A surefire way to get closer (or put spark back in your relationship) is to share a new experience “ but not everyone can go skydiving on a whim or afford to escape for a weekend getaway. Read on for easy experiences that’ll bond you with your beloved, BFF, or yourself, without breaking the bank.

Bonding with your Boyfriend:
Cold Weather Picnics

The key to turning a picnic into a bonding experience is romance. Of course, when most people think of a romantic picnic, our minds go to candles and a red checkered tablecloth. But there are bigger fish to fry than appearance (although that’s a nice touch, too). Think about your timing and location if you have time to plan a picnic. Picking an unusual time (like surprising him on his lunch hour, or at night under the stars) or place you haven’t been to before will make the experience stand out in his mind. It sounds cheesy, but this is a definite case of don’t knock it before you try it.

Take on a project
Everyone likes to feel needed and useful. Take one or two items off your Saturday morning to-do list and turn them into a project you can complete with your man. Need to caulk your tub? Make a big deal out of his handyman steady hand. Laundry piled up? Let him sort your delicates. Not only will you have time to chat, but he’ll get to show off his skills and you’ll be working as a team.

Bonding with your best friend:
Classes and clubs

There’s no better way to hunt out a new experience than by checking out local classes or clubs. Some classes can get pretty pricey, but you can always go to a few introductory classes first, which are cheaper, if not free. That way, you’ll be sure it’s something you want to pay for before you bite the sign-up bullet. It could also be a completely silly experiment. Take something you aren’t good at, like a tap dancing class, if not for the improvement, then at least to laugh and commiserate.

Game night
If you aren’t quite ready to let your boyfriend see how intense a Monopoly tournament with you can get, do game night with your BFF. Games are a great way to transport you back to childhood (and the immature, giggly competition that goes with it). Most board games are better with a group, so invite your core girls over. Try out games like Taboo or Cranium, they’re instant inside joke fodder. Twister’s a classic, too “ turns out it’s still fun without sexual tension.

Bonding with yours truly (yourself!):

The next time your mind wanders when you need to be paying attention (say, your morning meeting before you’ve gotten your caffeine dose), hold that thought and revisit it when you have time. Studies have shown positive daydreaming (like imagining a victory at work or a trip you want to take) can help you reach your goals. Carving out time even to imagine simple things, like what you’ll make for dinner or what might happen next in a book you’re reading can feel like a treat on a hectic day.

Small treats
Everyone deserves a little pampering once in a while. It’s easy to make anything feel like a treat, so long as you’ll experience anticipation or enjoyment (ideally, both) from it. If you love flowers but don’t have the space for a garden, treat yourself to fresh flowers once or twice a month. Or take a look down the bath aisle at the drugstore the next time you’re running errands to see if there are any body gels in new scents or on sale.

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Tags: BFF, bonding, boyfriend, classes, Dating, daydreaming, friendship, game night, girlfriend, girls night, me time, new experience, picnic, projects, Relationships, Sarah Robinson

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