If you find that your dating life has gotten a little stale, one way to mix it up is to try going on a group date. Whether you've been together for a long time or you're just starting to date someone new, group dates are a great option to spend time together in a totally different setting than the traditional one-on-one date.
"Group dates are very healthy for a few reasons," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. "They diffuse the social/emotional pressure. Being with a group allows you and your date to interact with others. That intense focus on 'just the two of you' is dialed back and that can allow everyone to relax just a bit."
If you're just getting to know someone, this can be really helpful. "Group dates allow you to see your date in a social situation and how they interact with others," Klapow says. "It gives you a good sense of how they perform when they must toggle between a focus on you and a focus on the group situation."
But even if you've been together a while, group dating can help you see each other in a new light and rediscover parts of each other. "Group dates are a nice change up and can help you discover new dimensions to your relationship and about your date. It's a way to lighten the date, and diversify a bit what you do," he says.
The good news? The holiday season is full of group date opportunities, so here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Board Game Night
If you want a little mental stimulation — and competitive spirit — then a board game night can be a great winter option. Pair it with holiday snacks and some hot cocoa (or mulled wine) and you'll be set. If you decide you're not feeling your date, you can always switch teams.
2. Ice Skating
Ice skating is the classic winter date, and doing it as a group can be a lot of fun. Plus, there are more people to catch you if you're less-than-secure on your feet.
3. A Bonfire
Really get into the spirit of the holidays with a bonfire (safely, of course). Plus, it gives everyone a good chance to cuddle up with their date.
4. Go Out For Winter Cocktails
'Tis the season to indulge a little too much. Reserve a table at your favorite bar or find a winter pop-up bar, there are normally some holiday-themed drinks that pack a punch while still being delicious.
A throwback to childhood — but still a blast for adults — sledding is a fun way to get out and about this winter and is a great to do in a group. You can always go off and make a snowman if you want some one-on-one time with your date.
6. Go Camping
If a bonfire got you hooked on the outdoorsy vibe of the season, then you might want to just go for it and head camping. There are tents and sleeping bags built for two, after all.
7. An Escape Room
Want more of a mental challenge? Escape room games are a lot of fun and great to do as a group. Afterward, you can reward yourself by heading for some food or grabbing a couple of drinks.
8. A Holiday Market
The mall can be stressful and a little depressing this time of year, but there are often holiday markets that don't make holiday shopping feel like a chore. Get a few people together, grab some warm drinks and wander around while you soak up the holiday spirit.
9. A Holiday Movie Marathon
Whether your favorite holiday film is Die Hard or The Grinch, a festive movie night is a great way to have a group hang. Pick a few of the classics and cozy up in someone's living room — or find some playing at a movie theater near you.
Going on a group date is a great way to date in a less pressured way — or just to mix up your dating life. And during the winter, the festive spirit can really translate into a "the more the merrier" attitude. So embrace the group hang and have some holiday fun.