Do you ever watch a feel-good movie where the dad and son are playing catch together in the backyard and even though it’s tropey you can’t help but feel your heartstrings ache? Do you long for the good old days where simple moments of bonding like playing catch were commonplace? Did you never have those in the first place? It might feel like being an adult leaves us alone in the world. We lack the simple moments of camaraderie that are often a byproduct of living at home with family. Rather, we are subjugated to living with roommates, and even if you’re lucky enough to live with a friend, it can still sometimes feel like living with a stranger. What we need more than ever are ways to bond with our roommates and recapture the magic from our youth.
Too often, hanging out with the roomie starts and stops at watching TV or sharing a drink together. These are all well and dandy, but the folksy and corny charm of traditional bonding activities is absent. After a certain point we expunge these values from our lives, mostly because we feel like they were forced upon us. However, recapturing some of the charm of rusticity could be the missing link in a lot of our unstable bonding efforts. So, I implore you to give the old-fashioned game of catch a chance. It might be hard to convince your roommate to go outside with your baseball glove in hand and toss the ball around, but taking a more subtle approach can help open this door. Make a habit of keeping a foam football or other soft, catchable object in the living room—and when you and your roommate are hanging around, start an impromptu game of catch. After a while, it’ll become second nature and you can upgrade to a real football or a frisbee or whatever. Eventually, maybe y’all can even go out to the park and play like the old days.
No one wants to play a board or card game anymore unless it’s a drinking game. These are obviously fun, but they lack a certain wholesomeness not easily replicated—a quality which can be vital in forming a strong bond. If you can’t convince your roommate to play a round of Stratego or whatever your go-to game is without the aid of libations, you might need to introduce them to the idea with the help of a drink. If you get them hooked on the game, it will be much easier to get them to join you for a match on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Going on a walk
Few of us have the time to take a leisurely stroll. If we need something, we enlist the help of a car because efficiency is everything. Ditching the car and inviting your roommate out for a walk to get a coffee or go to the convenience store can be a great way to become closer. Walking somewhere gives plenty of room for conversation, allowing the two of you to get to know each other better and develop inside jokes and other shared stories. It’s just another simple way to develop a deeper bond, and maybe fill the void in your heart too. Your newest family member might already be living with you.
Vincent Rendon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @VinceSagebrush.