5 tips to spice up dining with friends

Dreading dinner with the gang? Try these tips to keep your social life fresh.
5 min read
After a long week of meetings and emails, going out to eat with friends can be a great way to de-stress. Ordering a tasty meal, enjoying a glass of wine, and chatting with friends can be a great way to unwind after a stressful week—usually.Researchers at Oxford University have actually proven that eating with others not only encourages bonding with others, but also helps you to feel better about yourself in general. However, sometimes dining out with friends can feel like a chore. If you’ve slipped into a slump of going to the same old places and ordering the same familiar dishes, we’ve got the perfect advice to help spice up your nights out on the town. From taking culinary risks to simplifying splitting the bill, here are five simple ways to get the most out of dining with your friends.

1. Venture into the unknown

When it comes to eating out, it’s easy to stick with what you know. But too much of a good thing can also get boring. To keep your conversation lively and your mood lifted, choose a restaurant that you and your friends haven’t visited yet. Either decide where to dine as a group or nominate a designated ‘restaurant selector’—just remember, no hard feelings if the restaurant turns out to be a dud. Sub-par meals usually turn into great stories.

Play restaurant roulette

Looking for a more adventurous way to spice up your dinners? Try playing restaurant roulette. Inspired by the TikTok 4-course meal challenge, this means visiting a different restaurant for each course. To choose where to go for each round, play a game of Rock Paper Scissors and let the winner decide. 

2. Sharing is caring

Want to make your dinners more engaging? Instead of everybody sticking to their own separate plates, choose a restaurant where everybody shares their food. Think along the lines of:
  • Tapas
  • Korean BBQ
  • Mezze
  • Sushi
According to research from Cornell University, sharing food from the same plates increases cooperative behavior, reduces competitive feelings, and brings people closer together. Not to mention it helps you avoid the dreaded food envy!

3. Create a no-phone zone

No surprises here: to stay engaged in a conversation, you have to give your friends your undivided attention. No matter how much your phone is buzzing, put it on silent and keep it out of sight until the end of your meal. For those of you who can’t resist taking a hot snap of your food, quickly take a photo of your plate when it arrives and upload it later. It’s all too easy to get sucked into an Insta vortex once you’ve uploaded a photo. Remember, keeping your attention is exactly what these social apps are designed to do, so don’t give into the pressure.If you need some further encouragement, a study on smartphone usage has revealed that using technology at the table leads to diners feeling more distracted, less socially engaged, and less happy overall. So, stay strong and resist the notification-temptation. You and your friends will be glad you did.

4. Invite new friends

One major change that occurred during the pandemic was that we wound up dramatically shrinking our social circles. For most of us, this meant that aside from a few core friends, we lost touch with acquaintances, friends of friends, and people we were in the process of forming stronger ties with.If anything, having these kinds of relationships taken away from us helped us realize the importance of our more casual contacts. So, what better opportunity to start forging new connections than by bringing a group of people you don’t know so well together to enjoy a meal!While this may sound daunting or awkward, right now we’re probably as hungry for connection as we are for dinner. So, be brave, take a risk, and make up for lost time by strengthening your broader social network across the table. 

5. Divvy up expenses with Split the Bill

Some habits die hard—and, unfortunately, that includes the pain of splitting your bill at the end of your meal. Working out how much each of you owes individually is a headache for everyone—including your waiter.The solution? N26’s Split the Bill feature. When the bill arrives, select one member of your group to pay it in a single transaction. Then, using Split the Bill, simply divided the expenses out among the group—whether they’re N26 customers or not. Everyone can then transfer their money with MoneyBeam, or their own bank’s transfer option. Say goodbye to separate checks, awkward calculations, and cranky waitstaff. It’s that simple.

Your money at N26

Looking for ways to stretch your paycheck so you can dine out more often? As a premium N26 member, use Spaces to create up to 10 sub-accounts that sit alongside your main account. Assign a unique name and savings goal to each, and start setting aside money right away. To speed up your savings, turn on Round-ups. This feature rounds each card purchase to the nearest euro and transfers the difference into your chosen space, so you can save every time you spend. Plus, set daily spending limits, enjoy free cash withdrawals, and see all your spending at a glance with Statistics. Thanks to N26, taking care of your financial health has never been easier.

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BY N26Love your bank

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