What to do, instead of meeting for ‘a’ Beer?

What to do, instead of meeting for ‘a’ Beer?

Does anyone else ever think to themselves - apart from going to dinner and drinking, having friends over for dinner and drinking, going to the pub and watching sports and drinking – what else exists that I can do with friends that’s fun but doesn’t include drinking?

I often find myself thinking ‘I’d love to catch up with Sean but not keen for a big one. I do want a beer, but one beer is never just one beer…’ and so, either we catch up and have a few beers, or we just don’t bother.

So how do you have fun with friends without drinking? I am actually writing this blog as a legitimate question, which hopefully I’ll answer while writing it (or email me your ideas at hello@edila365.com.au, and we’ll post them on Instagram – I might even try and review a few too!).

Firstly, I am not even sure why, as a generalisation, a catch-up with friends or a mate needs to involve drinking. The idea always sounds enticing – let’s catch up for a beer – seriously, who has ever caught up for ONE beer in the literal sense? At the very least, if there are two of you, someone buys the first round, and then you feel obligated to offer the second to which the other person typically agrees! So, let’s catch up for a single beer isn’t a thing.

We should just be honest; let’s catch up for a few, we will fool ourselves it’s only a few, drive to the pub, we know deep down it's more than a few. We'll leave the car, and wake up in the morning wondering why we didn’t just admit the truth: we were going to have too many, leave the car at home. Now, we're feeling a little dusty, our car is at the pub, two kids are due at Saturday sport and like some deadbeat dad – we are all in an Uber to kids sport. Maybe the question of why is best for another blog. Let’s explore the question at hand, what do you do with your mates if it doesn’t involve drinking?

Consulting Dr. Google, the list is extensive and includes things I never thought to do without a drink in hand, such as ‘listen to live music,’ ‘go bowling,’ and other types of adult activities that tend to happen in venues serving alcohol. Reading further down the list, there are the golden oldies like golf – even the pros who dedicate their life to excelling and hours a week – they cannot even master it – and who has 4 hours on a weekend! Well, seemingly we all do when we go for A beer with a mate at the pub! Hiking, swimming, a picnic… the list I referred to had 30 suggestions, and had I read further at other search results, no doubt the ideas are many. Appealing to everyone probably not, but do they all deliver what that beer at the pub does – bonding.

I typically go to the pub with the mates for a beer, to download in a safe zone, without judgment, a huge amount of advice, most of it useless as the person suggesting it used it the prior week in the same situation with the same outcome as you're facing. But the point is, these times are valuable. It provides a moment to process, connect, relate, validate, and verbalize our feelings, which as men we are so good at doing – not! So, as I read the list Google suggested, I thought most of these you can’t talk doing (e.g., Swimming) or the others for me would involve ‘a beer.’ I asked myself the question – a rare concept I know especially now with Chat GPT.

I accessed the memories of moments of bonding, endless chatting, laughing, learning, and shared experience leading to long-term memories – I came across an answer, and in my experience, it was far better than a beer in a pub. In 2006, a friend was renovating his house, and I offered to help for a Saturday. One Saturday led to another and then multiple, and a friendship led to a mateship, and nearing 20 years later, we speak almost daily – without ‘a beer.’ Those daily chats are sometimes only a minute, other times they are long, dealing with life. He has spoken about his fight against cancer (which he won), I've shared about my divorce and the impact the ensuing chaos has had on my kids. The point, no matter the topic, from a project, a mateship developed where our relationship is equal, respectful, supportive, and positive.

We lift each other up, we sit in each other’s sadness, we empathize, and we problem solve. But most importantly, we know we are not alone. For me, a project developed something a beer in a pub could not. The weeks after weeks together, building something significant built as strong foundations for a friendship as we did for that home. To this day, we reflect on the memories of that time, the bond we developed; it was life-changing. A friendship and mateship I have no doubt will last to our final day. Building that home together (well contributing to it, well at least contributing to the memories) are some of the best moments in my life outside of my children. All done for hours on end, on the weekend without a beer. So bang! That’s it, a project. It doesn’t need to be renovating a home. It could be moving home, painting a deck, digging a garden, whatever it doesn’t matter. What matters is that time, that experience, the connection, and bond that occurs. Because with that bond and connection comes a true friendship, and those true friendships they are the ones we need to help steady the boat when life gets a little rough. Oh and guess what, those friendships are the ones we also ask for a beer, knowing full well it's going to be a few and an Uber to sport on Saturday!


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