Snacks, sodas and sand dunes are just a few ways to make teen group dating a wholly enjoyable experience this summer
“We had so much fun!” I raved to my mom, though I still smelled like coconut suntan lotion after our teen group date.
That morning, my friends and I had packed PB&J sandwiches, icy cold sodas and way too many Cheetos for a day at the beach. It was summer break and, with our parents’ permission, six of us—three guys (one of them being my boyfriend) and three girls—had driven to the nearby shore of Lake Michigan. We spent the day playing Frisbee, swimming in freezing cold water, running up and down sand dunes, and becoming weirdly competitive during a beach Boggle tournament.
“And in the car on the way home,” I rattled on, “we made up our own words to show tunes. It was a blast!”
A month earlier, we all had gone to prom together as a group, and I was pretty sure we had more fun than any couples who went on their own (even if I did look like a cake in my puffy, pink prom dress).
Despite the one-on-one dating relationships I was seeing on TV and in movies, my very best dating memories are when my boyfriend and I spent time with our crew of girl and guy friends from our church youth group.
Why group date as teens?
Have your friends whispered that a guy friend might like you? Do you have your eye on someone special? Spending time doing fun activities in a group, rather than just as a couple, might be a win for you this summer. Group dating gives you the opportunity to learn more about a guy you like as you hang out with him in a safe and fun environment, without the awkward pressure of being alone on a date.
This summer, if you find yourself liking a certain guy, consider getting to know him in a group setting. Like my summer fun in high school, it might be a group you know from church. Or maybe you and your sibling each decide to invite friends for a movie night in your backyard. Or maybe you and a friend from a different school can each invite guys and girls over for a Scrabble night. (OK, my friends and I were word nerds. It’s out there.) Rather than silently pining away all summer for that cute guy you were too scared to speak to in math class, create some great experiences that include him so you can get to know him better.
Consider these ideas for teen group dates:
Plan a day at the beach or park, or take a hike together. Encourage everyone to bring their favorite sweet or salty snack to share with the group.
Check out the entertainment possibilities near you. Whether your favorite Christian band is coming to town or you hit the local amusement park, plan to enjoy entertainment together.
Practice a random act of kindness
Ask if your elderly neighbor’s lawn needs to be cut. Or help your parents by taking your younger siblings to a roller skating rink. Concoct a creative way to care for others, and then invite your peers to join the fun.
Organize a creative group activity that is easy and low-key. Gather some art supplies, and visit a local nature preserve for a painting session. Or maybe an afternoon of tie-dyeing is more your style. The key is to keep it creative and fun.
Tools for success
If you and your friends decide to do group dating this summer, here are three tools to set you up for relational success:
Let your parents know who is going, what’s happening, when it’s happening and where it’s happening. If you notice anything you’d be hesitant to tell your parents about, that’s a red flag, so be transparent.
It all happens as a group. Spend time in community with others. One of the benefits of group dating, especially if you’re with a youth group, is that you can see how a guy relates to his and your friends, and you’ll also see what his relationship with God is like. That’s really valuable intel!
Seize the opportunity to discover who a guy really is. One of the risks of “traditional” dating, with endless hours alone, is that the temptation of physical intimacy is strong. When that happens, you’re no longer learning and discovering who he is and vice versa. In a group setting, it’s easier to get to know more about him. Then, you can better decide if this is a relationship you want to pursue.
This summer, group dating could be the best opportunity for you to get to know someone special. And it is absolutely a big win for having fun with friends. If group dating is OK with your parents and is cool with you, enjoy !