The Errand Friend Hang/Date
June 13, 2021 5:14 AM   Subscribe

The errand hang - where you hit your homie up to accompany you while you tend to the tasks that come with adulting - the grocery run, getting a pair of pants tailored, helping you pick a new bedframe, etc. The errand hang dismisses the usual setting of a bar or a lunch. It waves off the expected script of “give me the summarized updates on your life and then I’ll give you the sum on mine.”

Instead, the errand hang dances in the sweet vulnerability that comes from the everyday. Errand hangs sing: “ok I’m a human and you’re a human and we’re going to take an intimate walk through this seemingly ordinary part of my life, but if you look closely, this moment will reveal something delightfully specific and illuminating to what makes me - me, and I want to share that with you because quite frankly - I just like your company, and even in the silence (sometimes especially in the silence) it makes me feel somewhere between warm and content to have you here beside me.” [slSubstack]
posted by ellieBOA (115 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
Get in, loser, we're going shopping (for cleaning supplies, tp, and light bulbs, plus we gotta swing by the dry cleaners on the way back)!

I love the framing of the errand hang and wish it had existed back when I had unfettered social time.
posted by phooky at 6:05 AM on June 13, 2021 [21 favorites]


I ended up having one person in my covid bubble early on, and we fell into doing this. It started out with getting him groceries while he was sick with what was probably covid (no testing yet back in april). Then we were getting each other groceries to reduce trips, and eventually did groceries together as a social thing. It was an unexpected highlight of a lonely time.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:15 AM on June 13, 2021 [33 favorites]


I've been trying to make this happen as more and more of my friends have kids, and their social time dwindles. Unfortunately, it didn't catch on as well as I hoped.

Maybe it's time for a second try now that the pandemic's winding down.
posted by explosion at 6:22 AM on June 13, 2021 [9 favorites]


I used to do this all the time when I was younger! It seems like a lot of that has fallen away, I think mostly because I don't really live near anyone I might do this with, so even just getting together for errands is a chore to begin with.

Those intimate times which are simple sharing of life, they are what really matter for relationships, IMO.
posted by hippybear at 6:26 AM on June 13, 2021 [23 favorites]


When I was in college, one of my friends would frequently drag my hungover ass out of bed on weekend mornings to "ride shotgun" on a cigarette and McDonald's run. (I don't smoke...) His car was famously unreliable, and I'm pretty sure I was really along to help push the car home if it died en route. Which I did do several times...
posted by COD at 6:34 AM on June 13, 2021 [18 favorites]


Ha! Juniata students were ahead of the curve!

Everyone piling into one car to go to the Walmart on Saturday or Sunday even though you had nothing to shop for was a regular occurrence. Not just because you could hang out and chat with friends who were buying something. There were only so many times in a month you could burn an hour walking up to the Peace Chapel in the hills or to the Cliffs for beautiful views of the river, tracks, and state penitentiary.

Also on the menu was walking to The Big Sheetz on Rt22 because the one in town closed at like 9pm.
posted by Slackermagee at 6:34 AM on June 13, 2021 [6 favorites]


As the co-inventor of the Laundry Party(tm) [two or more friends go to the laundromat at the same time] I appreciate this article.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:51 AM on June 13, 2021 [24 favorites]


I was shocked to hear that most people do not seem to do this. It's great.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:53 AM on June 13, 2021 [34 favorites]


I discovered an offshoot of this technique a few years ago, I guess it would be titled "The declutter friend". The idea being that you get a good friend to come over (to the basement in my case) and help you organize and declutter. It's important to give yourself a time limit and works best when you reverse roles and return the favor for them.

When i did this a few years ago it took us 2 hours to get rid of crap that it would have taken me two weeks to do on my own.
posted by jeremias at 6:58 AM on June 13, 2021 [32 favorites]


I have a friend who specifically volunteers themself for declutter missions! They are ruthless.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:01 AM on June 13, 2021 [24 favorites]


I haven't really done this since college when I had one of the few cars and ended up driving friends around. Frankly if I think about it, there aren't really all that many times I go out for errands these days. Everything is online now.
posted by octothorpe at 7:17 AM on June 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


I used to do this as well -- it's such a thing for the fledging years, in college or immediately post-. Going to Target. Going to buy an interview suit. Going to the Trader Joe's on West 72nd St (ok that one you explicitly needed two people for, one to stand in line and the other to shop for you both). In fact I think I never had a "lunch date" with a friend until we were well into our working years.

Though I'll point out that the actual example in the article ("let's eat cherries from the farmer's market and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge") is not at all errand territory, unless you're taking a very expansive view of errands.
posted by basalganglia at 7:24 AM on June 13, 2021 [21 favorites]


I seriously have never heard of this sort of thing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:24 AM on June 13, 2021 [3 favorites]


Yessss, jeremias. A friend has been helping me do this in the past 6 months as I've been getting my space, mind, and body back in order, post-vaccine, and it's been the best thing. My motivation hasn't always been there, and parts of my space became downright scary as I neglected them during periods of lockdown due to deep depression and back pain. Having a friend to help me dig out has really helped.

Another friend did that with me when I had to dig out of the mess of my father's house over a full year of weekends the better part of a decade ago now, after he went into assisted living. Even if she didn't feel like getting dusty on a given Saturday, she'd often come keep me company while I did, and we'd get Thai food for lunch and sit on the porch with it.

My intent was to return the favor when I visited them last week, but we didn't end up doing much cleaning or organizing. It was more a week of beach, bonfire, barbecue, and beer.

We also used to do the errand hang together, going to get lunch or dinner when one of us would already be in the other's neighborhood for some reason. I love doing that.
posted by limeonaire at 7:25 AM on June 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


Ah, one of the features of getting older that I didn't know to anticipate: that every generation (mine included, no doubt) thinks they've invented x, for a wide range of values of x.
posted by eviemath at 7:27 AM on June 13, 2021 [40 favorites]


Heh, I do feel kind of like I'm in an '80s montage when I get together with a friend to clean.
posted by limeonaire at 7:29 AM on June 13, 2021 [5 favorites]


In reply to some of the comments above: I think there may be a case for distinguishing between accompanying a friend on their errand(s) (doesn't involve shared work though might involve each of you accomplishing errands, probably best usage for "errand hang") and a work party (aka barn raising, moving party, cleaning party, yardwork party, garden weeding party, etc.).
posted by eviemath at 7:31 AM on June 13, 2021 [12 favorites]


Haha this is topical one of my friends just texted me to see if I’d go to Costco with him today.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 7:34 AM on June 13, 2021 [6 favorites]


Ah, one of the features of getting older that I didn't know to anticipate: that every generation (mine included, no doubt) thinks they've invented x, for a wide range of values of x.

I mean, there's an MST3K short entitled "What to Do on a Date" that specifically suggests inviting the girl you're sweet on to help set up a rummage sale.
posted by stevis23 at 7:36 AM on June 13, 2021 [19 favorites]


Like some others upthread, I used to do this all the time in my 20s (I'm now in my mid 30s), particularly with friends that lived within walking distance. I'm kinda surprised to hear not everyone did this. Now, friends are busier with work and kids, and any chance to hangout often seems too precious to spend visiting a hardware store together.
posted by coffeecat at 7:38 AM on June 13, 2021 [7 favorites]


(Other work party examples I have experience with: envelope stuffing for club or political party mailing back before email, cooking for community meals (and washing dishes afterwards), banner making for protests, trail maintenance for community trails.)
posted by eviemath at 7:39 AM on June 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


I suspect there may be time of life factors in prevalence of errand hangs (varying culturally and over time, eg. nowadays it's probably more of a younger single people thing among white people in the US and parents/homemakers of that demographic do playdate hangs versus my middle of the last century housewives shopping together example above). There are definitely socioeconomic factors in prevalence of work parties (much more common when no one you know can afford to hire eg. movers or cleaners).
posted by eviemath at 7:45 AM on June 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


Though I'll point out that the actual example in the article ("let's eat cherries from the farmer's market and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge") is not at all errand territory, unless you're taking a very expansive view of errands.

Eating cherries and going for a walk is brunch for people who think brunch is cringe.
posted by betweenthebars at 7:50 AM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]


okay, I'll be the contrary one. This feels to me like nostalgia for pre-Covid boring normal. Because the "errand hang" (if you must pin a TM on it) definitely went into a moribund phase for the past year where just killing time with somebody was one of the first conspicuous luxuries to go.
posted by philip-random at 7:50 AM on June 13, 2021 [12 favorites]


But anyway, the linked piece is not really about errand hangs, more of a meditation on art and everyday activities, so I'll stop veering the conversation away from that!
posted by eviemath at 7:51 AM on June 13, 2021 [1 favorite]


I just ordered a print of the falseknees comic featured. it's too good.

I love an errand hang, or coming over to do dishes and chat. I am a friend of a couple who is newly pregnant - they're notorious for not wanting to "inconvenience" others - and I'm trying to figure out how to convince them that, actually, I am very invested in them and nothing would please me more than to bring over dinner or pick up a thing or help them clean or whip up a batch of cookies for their cravings. I mean, I felt this way before news of Upcoming Kiddo, but I know that newly-hatched humans are chaos generators, and the best way to support a baby is to support the parents.

in other words, I'm a house centipede. let me into the little crevices of your life, they're very cozy. I'd love to help you out (eat other bugs, help you pick out the tastiest apples).
posted by snerson at 8:16 AM on June 13, 2021 [19 favorites]


I've often said that one of the ways I knew I loved my now-wife is that we always have fun doing even mundane things like grocery shopping together. We haven't been able to do stuff together during the pandemic and I've missed it.

It totally makes sense for friends to make errands fun by doing them together.
posted by VTX at 8:45 AM on June 13, 2021 [9 favorites]


I'd never put together about how online shopping had eaten into my social life.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 8:57 AM on June 13, 2021 [7 favorites]


Has no one else ever been in the privileged position of being The Friend with a Pickup/Van? Because that will get you recruited for erranding like nobody's business.
posted by St. Oops at 9:07 AM on June 13, 2021 [27 favorites]


This assumes that you're both geographically close (and there are no quarantine restrictions in force); if this is not the case, an errand hands-free phone call may have to suffice.

Unless you're in very different time zones (say, the UK and New Zealand or something), in which case you may have to make do with an asynchronous alternative. Which is currently text/photo messaging, though perhaps if someone came up with a variant that was more immersive, encapsulating several branches of a rich ongoing conversation without the effort of long-hand letter writing (or 1990s-style email threads), it'd take off.
posted by acb at 9:09 AM on June 13, 2021


In high school, I learned a whole set of skills around wandering clothes and music stores with my friends. I loathe clothes shopping for myself and at the time didn't really know anything about what music was "cool" enough to conspicuously like, but I loved just poking around with my friends, and if the cost of admission was a few "aw, that looks really cute on you" comments, so be it. Many years later my now-wife and I got to know each other in part thanks to errand hangs - I had a car and she didn't (in a town with woefully inadequate public transportation), and once I realized she was fun to hang around with I started inviting her along for grocery shopping and gift-buying trips every chance I could get. We still love poking around together when we can - I couldn't get enough of her then and I still can't. Come to think of it, living so far away from my mom and sister, one of the things I miss the very most is just going to Publix or whatever with them.

(also I initially misread the title of this article as "errant friend hang" and was picturing paling around with hedge knights, which honesty would have been more fun than clothes shopping back in high school, but I took what I could get)
posted by DingoMutt at 9:09 AM on June 13, 2021 [11 favorites]


Has no one else ever been in the privileged position of being The Friend with a Pickup/Van? Because that will get you recruited for erranding like nobody's business.

Or the friend with some basic carpentry/plumbing/painting or any other household skill? For some of my friends, this is the main way we interact with one another. I just thought it was part of getting older.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:11 AM on June 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


This is evolution. For my friends, the concept started as, "Let's get stoned and eat a bag of Doritos." Then, it went to, "Let's get stoned and GO BUY the Doritos." Then, "Let's get stoned and pick up a bag of Doritos and a box of diapers." Now, many years later, it is, "Let's get stoned and get the whole grain Doritos for the fiber." Also, "Let's get stoned and go to the dispensary" Full circle. Go to the pot store with your friends so you can get stoned together and eat Doritos."
posted by AugustWest at 9:12 AM on June 13, 2021 [8 favorites]


Has no one else ever been in the privileged position of being The Friend with a Pickup/Van? Because that will get you recruited for erranding like nobody's business.

Aw, yes! Not a pickup or van, but I was one of the first of my high school friends group to get their drivers license, and my parents would let me borrow their big ol' Buick when they weren't using it, so I was definitely The Driver for my friends and I loved that. Though I also had an appalling sense of direction and sometimes my friends liked to see just how lost I would get if they weren't navigating (the answer was generally "very").
posted by DingoMutt at 9:13 AM on June 13, 2021


I am the guy with the pickup. Only one among my friends and people who think they are your friends when they need your pickup. I learned real quickly that, Can I borrow your truck on Saturday morning" really means, "Can you come over, carry this heavy shit with me, load it into your truck, drive it 25 miles to my kid's new apartment, unload it, help move all the furniture in my kid's apartment, then drive me back."

I learned to call their bluff. "Can I borrow your truck on Saturday morning?" "Yeah, sure, the truck is in the driveway, the keys are under the driver's mat. I need it at 5:00 so please have it back." Usually, they text me back about 15 minutes later. "Nevermind. Johnny is helping me."
posted by AugustWest at 9:23 AM on June 13, 2021 [9 favorites]


Errand Hang seems like more of a thing for younger people, older folks usually have less scope for tagging along for chores. But the equivalent-ish thing is going along with your friend who has the Costco membership to get that bulk toilet paper deal.
posted by ovvl at 9:33 AM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]


"I've been trying to make this happen as more and more of my friends have kids, and their social time dwindles. Unfortunately, it didn't catch on as well as I hoped."

The "errand hang" version of this if you're a childless person (or an empty nester) with friends with children is, tell your friend you'll enthusiastically come with them to the park. Or soccer. Or the zoo. Or on a nature walk. Whatever. I was always absolutely delighted to have a grown-up person with me while I was supervising kid outings, since it's mostly just sitting/walking and chatting while periodically rescuing a child who climbed too high on the climbing structure. Like, I am at a beautiful park sitting in the shade for two hours with nothing to do and nobody to talk to. Come sit with me and we'll have a lovely hang! My bachelor brother lived near the park where my kids played rec soccer in the before times. He would mosey on over with a folding lawn chair and we'd just sit and chat while they did their soccer thing and we'd have a nice couple hours just chatting.

We had a zoo membership when my kids were littler, and we got the "plus one" version where we can bring a guest. I was one of the first in my friend group to have kids, so I was always asking people, "Hey, we're going to the zoo, want to come?" and they were always like, "Uh, YES" because who doesn't want to go to a zoo? And we'd go and mosey around the zoo while my toddlers ran up and down the paths and pointed at animals and shouted, and then I would produce snacks for everyone, including the other adult, and they'd be very touched, like, "You brought me goldfish crackers?"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:36 AM on June 13, 2021 [51 favorites]


Has no one else ever been in the privileged position of being The Friend with a Pickup/Van?

Yep.
posted by aniola at 9:38 AM on June 13, 2021 [6 favorites]


My favorite was the time our neighbor was like "does anyone know someone with a pickup? My car-that-can-haul-anything can't haul this hunk of furniture" and we were like "we told you we could haul anything" and stuck the friend that needed the truck and the bike trailer on the back of the tandem bike and it was, in fact, no problem. Bikes at work trailers > cars.
posted by aniola at 9:40 AM on June 13, 2021 [3 favorites]


In my experience this sort of thing tends to walk a fine line: with the right person/circumstances it's great, and I feel like it's often one of those indicators of the strength or resilience of a friendship. Formal activities or plans can be great, but there's something about being able to ... not multitask, exactly, but to have a comfortable intimacy that allows for blending social interaction with tasks/chores.
But I've also been in several situations like this where it feels like the social aspect is more an afterthought; as though other person has things they need to do and hey, may as well tick off that 'social' box at the same time.

I've had numerous lovely outings with people when one of us needed to, say, buy a winter coat or look for $thing at the flea market or run a load of errands when they have access to a car for a day. The borders are fluid, and you end up drifting seamlessly between Doing The Thing and chatting or doing more social things like stopping for a drink or bite to eat. It can be one of the best ways to spend an afternoon. ("Hey, wanna hang out and keep me company whilst I clean my flat" is, in its best form, Peak Friendship.)

I've also had numerous bad outings with people who had, say, 90 minutes free between X and Z and wanted someone to entertain them for the duration of the 'Y' interim, or needed apartment reno supplies and you end up trailing along behind them at Ikea whilst they pick out various items and occasionally ask for a second opinion/set of hands, or invite you to the gym not because they really wanted to spend the time but because they needed a second person for the motivation, or wanted company on some whatever errand and then proceeded to behave exactly as they would have had they been alone. These outings have all the trappings of the Errand Date but are very much not in the same spirit.

There's a subtle, but distinct, difference, and when it tips to the latter category it's really not a pleasant experience.
posted by myotahapea at 9:42 AM on June 13, 2021 [16 favorites]


Back when I lived on the East Coast, I had a darling friend who never learned to drive in the course of his upbringing. Most of the things we needed in our daily lives were within walking distance, but every so often I’d rent a Zipcar and take him out to all the nearby suburban/exurban toy outlets to track down collectible action figures. Similarly for another non-driving friend, a deep pack rat, who would request missives to and from his storage unit across town. I do miss those fun little outings and the zero-pressure friendships they embodied. Living in LA, any getting in the car is automatically stressful and even the smallest errand can turn fraught in a heartbeat, so it just doesn’t happen like that anymore.
posted by mykescipark at 9:50 AM on June 13, 2021 [1 favorite]


Has no one else ever been in the privileged position of being The Friend with a Pickup/Van? Because that will get you recruited for erranding like nobody's business.

Living in Boston in my 20s I was The Friend With A Car. (This is not because Boston has such amazing public transportation so much as that Boston is very hostile to car ownership.) Which, yeah, definitely got me recruited for a lot of erranding. This was also at the peak of Craigslist-Being-A-Big-Thing so there were a lot of random trips to acquire strange objects from even stranger people, which is sort of an ideal grey area in between "we're doing errands" and "we're going on an adventure".
posted by mstokes650 at 9:53 AM on June 13, 2021 [8 favorites]


Has no one else ever been in the privileged position of being The Friend with a Pickup/Van? Because that will get you recruited for erranding like nobody's business.

I've been on both sides of The One Who Can Drive. When I lost my license, after my second DUI, I occasionally had to ask others for a lift, and when I finally got it back, I resolved to be TOWCD to anyone who needed it. (Within reason.) And also to be gracious about it, which was... not always the case when I was the other one. There's a bit of a power imbalance there, which doesn't have to get in the way of socializing, ideally.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:59 AM on June 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


I realized, when this happens most often for me now is every October. That's when I and a bunch of my friends have been descending on the same city for an annual Halloween Party/Reunion (going on over 30 years now). So many of us are in from out of town with no agenda other than "spend time with this chosen family" that it's very common for a carload to head out for shopping to supply the crowd for the day/evening, etc. Different from the "going out to eat together" times. More casual, the interactions are more spontaneous. Honestly one of the best things to do with old friends.
posted by hippybear at 10:01 AM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]


...getting a pair of pants tailored...

Obviously, this errand/hang date thing is not intended for mere proles such as myself.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:13 AM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]


Eh, if you live in an area where there are people who make alterations, getting an ill-fitting suit (or other clothing item) at a thrift shop then getting it tailored can be less expensive than getting a new suit if you need one for work or whatever. Though I have at times in my life been in the not having enough money to get the thrift store clothes altered after purchasing them at the thrift store position as well. But if the tailoring just involves getting a pair of pants hemmed to the right length because for whatever reason women's pants were sold in lengths assuming that you wore six inch heels every day or something for a few years recently, that's usually not very expensive.
posted by eviemath at 10:51 AM on June 13, 2021 [6 favorites]


(I've been wearing pants with rolled-up cuffs for the past couple months, because, like many people, I had to get new pants after a year of pandemic (online secondhand stores are handy when in-person ones are closed!); and the new pants are too long but caseloads in my area increased soon after I bought them so I haven't taken them in to a local seamstress to be hemmed yet.)
posted by eviemath at 10:55 AM on June 13, 2021


This is evolution. For my friends, the concept started as, "Let's get stoned and eat a bag of Doritos." Then, it went to, "Let's get stoned and GO BUY the Doritos." Then, "Let's get stoned and pick up a bag of Doritos and a box of diapers."

Was this over years or just the one afternoon?
posted by biffa at 11:04 AM on June 13, 2021 [23 favorites]


This was how my wife and I dated. One of the biggest laments of having kids is that grocery dates or Target dates are almost impossible without dragging a bunch of kids along. We’ve gone as far as getting a babysitter for dinner and a movie and then blowing off the movie to walk around Target with coffee.
posted by sleeping bear at 11:09 AM on June 13, 2021 [8 favorites]


This thread has sent me into a maudlin spiral of reminiscing about my youth. I'd dearly love to have an errand-hang friend these days.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:14 AM on June 13, 2021 [10 favorites]


Lol I’ve never thought of hemming pants as some kind of obscenely exclusionary event; I’m just really short.

I used to tag along with my partner on errands just for the ability to get out of the house and spend time together but when I have my own errands I tend not to feel very leisurely or sociable about it. It seems like I’m missing out on something but I just would feel too awkward making all of my random grocery calculations while someone hangs around trying to have a real conversation.

Clothes shopping though, that’s a team sport ONLY.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:14 AM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]


when I have my own errands I tend not to feel very leisurely or sociable about it

Most of my grocery shopping is pretty much surgical strike, in to The Places Where They Are In The Store, and then out again. But that's for existence shopping. I would be doing different errands if I were taking along a friend.
posted by hippybear at 11:19 AM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]


hippybear, this speaks to people like you and me.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:28 AM on June 13, 2021 [6 favorites]


Matter of fact, my spouse and I had been friends for a few years before ending up with the same off day and becoming each other's errand buddy. A month or so of that and we realized we really should just admit we were dating, even if it was in the form of running errands.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:39 AM on June 13, 2021 [9 favorites]


I've been doing this for basically all of my adult life, and it is among my favorite things. I have turned riffing on ridiculous products found on the shelves of Wal-Mart into a fucking art form.
posted by JHarris at 11:43 AM on June 13, 2021 [5 favorites]


You are truly the MST3K of daily existence.
posted by hippybear at 11:45 AM on June 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


Obviously, this errand/hang date thing is not intended for mere proles such as myself.

Getting a pair of pants hemmed costs like ten dollars.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:03 PM on June 13, 2021 [6 favorites]


On reality television, getting a pair of pants "Hrmmmmm?"ed can get you voted off the show.
posted by hippybear at 12:10 PM on June 13, 2021 [1 favorite]


I had a friend in high school who would invite me on this kind of thing. Halfway to wherever we were going he'd ask for gas money.
posted by goatdog at 12:12 PM on June 13, 2021 [1 favorite]


I love my husband, but he's the worst errand buddy. He's the get in and get out ASAP type. I miss my laundry/shopping buddies from college where we could meander for a bit, especially on hot days when the dinky window AC couldn't do much.

Granted, back in college we shopped off peak hours, so you weren't constantly running into people who block the whole aisle while they figure out what they want. And there was just more time, generally. So spending an afternoon helping someone else with their errands want as big a hit on my time budget.

This was also before most people had smartphones and when I lived within five minutes of my errand friends, which I'm sure plays a role.
posted by ghost phoneme at 12:20 PM on June 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


Very much reminded of the recent article in The Atlantic, by Arthur C. Brooks -- "If your social life is leaving you unfulfilled, you might have too many deal friends, and not enough real friends" (non paywall). I relied so much on deal friends, before I had a car, it's kind of embarrassing.
posted by Rash at 12:42 PM on June 13, 2021 [1 favorite]


But that's for existence shopping. I would be doing different errands if I were taking along a friend.

Honestly I am struggling to think of what errands I run! I have friends whose weekends are just packed with errands, but I pretty much just grocery shop and sometimes go to the drugstore or the liquor store (but rarely because the grocery has a decent booze selection). Not sure if it’s a pandemic era shrinking of life or if it predates that...
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 12:46 PM on June 13, 2021 [1 favorite]


Da da da.
posted by praemunire at 1:25 PM on June 13, 2021 [5 favorites]


I'm the worst errand buddy because I am surgical strike only. An hour in Walmart or Canadian Tire is sheer hell for me. 10 minutes in a shopping mall makes me turn into a lunatic and I basically claw my way to the curb.

There are three exceptions: bookstores/art supply/geek merchandise stores, thrift/antique shops, and if I am shopping *only* for the other person's clothing with no regard to my own. Otherwise I am the person you want to meet afterwards, which I will cheerfully do.

However - I love chores dates. Garden work, hauling, cleaning, laundry, cooking, I'm in. Just please spare me shopping.
posted by warriorqueen at 1:25 PM on June 13, 2021 [12 favorites]


Errand Hang seems like more of a thing for younger people, older folks usually have less scope for tagging along for chores.

I wish this weren't true! I am about to have the whole danged summer off and so will most of my co-workers, including a few teachers that I am pretty sure would make fun friends. It seems like a perfect chance to make errand friends but I don't think it's socially acceptable as an old to invite any of these folks along to Target or whatever with me. Alas!

If anybody else here is in Eugene OR and wants a summer time errand buddy, I would be so up for that.
posted by DingoMutt at 1:30 PM on June 13, 2021 [6 favorites]


I love my husband, but he's the worst errand buddy. He's the get in and get out ASAP type. I miss my laundry/shopping buddies from college where we could meander for a bit, especially on hot days when the dinky window AC couldn't do much.

That's why I don't like shopping with my wife. She like to stop and look at things and tends to wander off the path. A simple trip to the supermarket can take an hour.
posted by octothorpe at 1:45 PM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]


Has no one else ever been in the privileged position of being The Friend with a Pickup/Van?

St.Oops, you chose to buy a capacious vehicle so that's on you. :-)

octothorpe, i'll go shopping with your wife. She sounds like my kind of shopper!

I was out to dinner with two long-time friends one night a few years ago when I mentioned that I was worried about going home to a new mattress in the lobby of my building. I wasn't sure how I going to get it into the elevator on my own. My two girlfriends insisted on coming home with me to help deal with the mattress issue. That is true friendship even if not an official errand hang. It's the kind of thing I appreciate from friends, particularly volunteers. Nice post!
posted by Bella Donna at 1:57 PM on June 13, 2021 [5 favorites]


When we were kids my sister and I would ask the other to "sit on the bed and talk to me" when we had to clean our rooms. Now I guess youtube does that for me; it's not the same.

I like the general theme of beauty in the every day in this essay. I get a lot of joy from having a good moment out of the routine of life and I have a hard time figuring out how to engineer that in a way that can be shared with others. The errand hang is a classic.
posted by Emmy Rae at 2:01 PM on June 13, 2021 [5 favorites]


Haha this is topical one of my friends just texted me to see if I’d go to Costco with him today.

Going to Costco on a Sunday afternoon? What had you done to you offend him that much?
posted by Candleman at 2:18 PM on June 13, 2021 [9 favorites]


Yes! I am the Errand Hang Friend! I will come to Ikea with you, navigate the labyrinth, help you stay focused on what you need, suggest a tea break when you need one, help you unpack the car and help you put it together! I will come with you to the hardware store/garden centre and help you carry bags of potting soil! I will come to the grocery store and help you choose produce! I will be the enthusiastic "YES we are going on a QUEST" person so that you can lapse into your natural role of the "oh god will she ever shut up" person.

OR you can be like "YOU HAVE MY SWORD AND MY PENCIL AND MY MEASURING TAPE" and we can gallivant through the aisles, dodging Ringwraiths as we go. Your choice.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:20 PM on June 13, 2021 [32 favorites]


I'm surprised that I'm the one to bring this up now: But, wouldn't this depend on what you and your friends' income level and backgrounds are?

I guess this is more of a close friend thing as opposed to, like someone you know at work or a hobby group.
posted by FJT at 2:21 PM on June 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


"It's like hanging out, except YOU DO WHATEVER THE PERSON YOU'RE HANGING OUT WITH IS DOING." I... don't want to spoil anybody's good time, but this is not an exciting new social innovation.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 2:30 PM on June 13, 2021 [5 favorites]


Going to Costco on a Sunday afternoon? What had you done to you offend him that much?

I may or may not have said this here before, but if I ever become a supervillain I'm certain my backstory will involve being in a Costco on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon. Even if I somehow managed to white-knuckle through the store itself - and that is a very iffy proposition - that last degrading insult of having to line up and show my receipt to the exit guard before being allowed out of the store is most definitely going to tip me over the edge.

We cancelled our Costco membership after the first year. It's in everyone's best interest.
posted by DingoMutt at 2:36 PM on June 13, 2021 [3 favorites]


For me at least, the hour long shop now means I'm planning meals for the week (+) and filling in the pantry. If I'm rushed, something's getting forgotten and one of us will need to make another trip for coffee or we'll have to order in an extra night.

In college errand hang didn't take that long: we did a lot of batch cooking to keep things cheap. My internal recipe book also wasn't as developed (nor was my wallet), so there' weren't as many options for what to make.

Now that I think about it, shopping as bonding time started when I was a pre-teen*: I think when my mom sensed we needed one on one time we'd become the shopping buddy for the week. We'd walk up and down the aisles stocking up for the week. If it was the local one off grocery store there'd be chatting with workers at the deli or the meat counter about what was on sale, what was new, or how my grandparents were (grandma was an teacher and it seemed like at least half of the town or their kids had her at some point).

wouldn't this depend on what you and your friends' income level and backgrounds are

Maybe? I think amount of free time may play a greater role in doing it at all. What errands are accomplished will definitely relate to your income level.

*when we were little she'd go grocery shopping by herself, which usually meant after 10 pm when my dad got home.
posted by ghost phoneme at 2:46 PM on June 13, 2021 [6 favorites]


This may be too weird to announce but if you don't have errand friends and want some you can just kind of imagine your friend is there with you... think of their idealized house in the next town over every time you get on the freeway entrance towards where they sell the fancy cat food you have to pick up every week... it's better than nothing...
posted by bleep at 2:49 PM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]


The idea being that you get a good friend to come over (to the basement in my case) and help you organize and declutter.

I am that decluttering friend! No judgment! Big car to haul stuff, no questions asked! But really part of the issue is that my pals who have shameholes they don't want to deal with really also don't want to deal with it with someone else. Which, I get it, but man I love helping people with this kind of stuff.

COVID meant more errand hangs for me in some ways where "hang" was loosely "Want to come with me while I walk the dog?" (from my friend with the dog) or "Want to tag along while I mail a letter, get money from an ATM, drop off a library book and, if I am feeling especially flush/safe, purchase a cookie or two?" (a longer walk, but still accomplishable in under an hour)

In short: I often have a lot of random shit to do. I am happier doing a walk-and-talk or drive-and-talk thing. I love having people come over and just chatting while I do a thing I need to do (Like Emmy Rae's "sit on bed while I do the thing" thing), clean out a closet or whatever. I get that it's not for everyone. I find hanging out with purpose more enjoyable than just random socializing and I don't drink much so "come over for a beer" is less a thing that I would do regularly and anything where spending money is a big aspect is automatically stratifying. I do errand hangs with my sister and I think having me with her helps her focus and it means i go to a ton of places I would usually not go (she lives in the suburbs and does a fair amount of shopping, I do not, and do not). It's really just a together=-time mechanism plus at the end of it, you've crossed a few things off of your list. So nice!
posted by jessamyn at 2:58 PM on June 13, 2021 [7 favorites]


One of my fondest memories of the early days of my teaching career was that my best buddy and I would go to Staples, get a cart, and then walk up and down every. aisle. because we both soothed by being surrounded by school supplies. Usually, we'd just buy, like, whatever specific thing we'd come in for, and a couple new grading pens, and a some goofy little impulse-buy thing like a pack of novelty post-it notes to split between us. But the important thing was just looking at all the stuff and being surrounded by neatly-organized, colorful productivity things.

I love grocery shopping with friends. It's a fascinating look into their life and psychology.

I also love taking my friends' kids to the store for something they need, or just dragging them along with me to get something I need. I get them out of their mom & dad's hair, and I don't have to have a Destination or be performing Aunt BrashTech in the same way as a special outing. And perhaps there will be ice cream after if we are all well-behaved, hmm?
posted by BrashTech at 3:09 PM on June 13, 2021 [11 favorites]


This reminds me of how much I used to go record or book shopping with friends - that was our main activity, then followed by some coffee or some food or whatever else we wanted to do. I miss those kinds of hangouts.
posted by heurtebise at 3:53 PM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]


I find hanging out with purpose more enjoyable than just random socializing

The equivalent of running errands socializing for a lot of men I know is "going fishing" and similar activities. Not with much focus on actually catching fish, but it gives a structure and purpose that enables the socializing.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:36 PM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]


It isn't an errand hang unless it ends eating hot Costco chicken in the front seat or Winco hot wings, or Chester fried chicken in the depths of West Valley City with tater logs and dip, or at a convenience store in Round Rocks Arizona, where the Res dogs come through the side door of the van and have their heads in the cooler before you knew it could even happen. (This is for an errand hang involving a thousand miles because you are too soon past a shoulder surgery to make the trip for a job interview, alone. There was a second one of these to haul my belongings back a year later.) I still did all the driving. Errand hanging planting gardens, errand hanging in a reservoir to cool off after work.
posted by Oyéah at 5:19 PM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]


We cancelled our Costco membership after the first year. It's in everyone's best interest.

I've never been. Just the ideal of Costco scares me.
posted by octothorpe at 6:13 PM on June 13, 2021 [2 favorites]


(I wouldn't be a Costco member if I couldn't go there at 10 am on weekdays).

This was a significant part of my college socializing, and a maybe a bigger part of my immediate post-college socializing. During college it was an effective way to procrastinate as well as socialize. After college, some friend (maybe me) didn't always have the money to do X, but they could always accompany somebody else on an errand. Doing this with my wife replaced doing this with my friends, but once our son came along, errands were just a one person at a time thing. He's 17 now, so we could theoretically do these things together again, but that rarely happens for various reasons, and we always comment on it when it does.
posted by mollweide at 6:36 PM on June 13, 2021 [1 favorite]


The equivalent of running errands socializing for a lot of men I know is "going fishing" and similar activities. Not with much focus on actually catching fish, but it gives a structure and purpose that enables the socializing.
I have a friend with whom our major male bonding exercise involves trading shopping expertise. He'll invite me along when he needs to buy electronics and needs someone else to bounce ideas off of as we wander the aisles of Micro Center, and sometimes I'll also hang around to help with setting up whatever printer/TV/computer/home theater audio system he acquired. He is much more stylish than I am, so I've asked him to come with me when I was starting a new job and wanted to do a wardrobe upgrade, then cue shopping montage as we try on stuff at thrift and vintage shops and tell each other straight up if something works or doesn't on our respective builds. We've gone together to buy cars and trade off bad-cop/good-cop roles with the salesperson.

It's basically two dudes going out hunting and foraging, except it's consumerism.

We're both married now, and he recently became a father six months ago. They're moving to a new condo, and in May he asked me if I had some time to give advice on mesh wi-fi kits, and if my wife and I were interested in meeting him and his family in a park to look over the floorplans for the condo and discuss if ethernet cable runs might make sense, because their new home is an old building with a lot of lathe and plaster, which wi-fi struggles with. We had not seen each other since before the pandemic.

So, we met up at this park, and we took care of the networking shop talk pretext literally within five minutes, then spent the next hour and a half catching up and talking about our quarantine experiences. It's kind of hilarious that we needed the pretext, but I don't mind that this is how our friendship works.

I also try not to lean too much on Friends With Pickups, but the other errand hang variant I like is, "Hey, we both need to get shit at Ikea, do you want to split the cost of renting a cargo van?"

(which is a more grown up version of what we did in our 20s when we'd rent a cargo van at the end of the month to go picking for furniture that was abandoned by folks moving apartments.)
posted by bl1nk at 7:24 PM on June 13, 2021 [13 favorites]


Ah, this post brought back a memory.

"I'm going to be in town Thursday evening. You want to hang out for a bit?"
"Sure, I'm game. What time?"
"How about 9:00... where do you want to meet?"
(With conviction) "Aisle 33A of the Longs Drugs at --- and ---."
"It's open late?"
"Till midnight."
"Is there really an Aisle 33A?"
"Yeah, it's a giant store."

Technically it wasn't an errand hang as neither of us had shopping to do. We wandered through the aisle examining and commenting on every product as if it were an artifact of an alien civilization, then walked across town to the piers and watched the night fishermen catching tiny sharks.
posted by aws17576 at 7:41 PM on June 13, 2021 [16 favorites]


also in the original article's theme of learning to be vulnerable as we re-enter society, my wife and I have another pair of close friends who live a few towns away, and often ask us to spend a weekend with them at their place in the summer. This year, we opted to meet halfway and get an AirBNB in their town for the weekend, and then we'd come over and spend the day at their place, but sleep at the AirBNB. So, we drive into town the night before. It's after the kids' bedtime so it's too late to come over and hang, but they say come over whenever in the morning. We go over the next day, and the husband's out doing groceries, the wife's doing her barre youtube workout, but she says it's fine for us to just hang on the couch and make ourselves coffee and get comfortable. She can carry a conversation even while all sweaty and counting out her reps. The kids wander in sleepily. They've gotten big in the last year, and my wife and I try not to say anything, because we're sure that they're going to get a lot of that this summer. We all just sit around their breakfast table, nursing coffees and mumbling to each other until groceries arrive and we start making breakfast.

Weekend with them have become less, "hey let's spend 48 hours together with a bunch of planned activities and dinner parties and scheduled things" to "hey, come over and be part of the family for the weekend" and that's quite, quite fine.
posted by bl1nk at 7:41 PM on June 13, 2021 [6 favorites]


I soured an errand date years ago by shattering some of the gentleman’s illusions about the food he was buying. How was I supposed to know he didn’t know there was mold in blue cheese or that doughnuts were fried?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:06 PM on June 13, 2021 [4 favorites]




myotahapea (and others) has it right - there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing this. I'll never forget the dint my sister's friendship took when said friend invited her over to bake cookies- only to find out they were cookies intended for the friend's boyfriend, and she didn't get to eat any. Also the friend date had a very definite end point (boyfriend date) and my sister was very miffed. I think she was mostly unimpressed that she didn't know ahead of time, and felt like unappreciated labour. (I can see the perspective where the newly partnered friend wanted to 'have her cake and eat it too' and spend time with both her friends and her new boyfriend. But, still.)

Definitely this type of friend date has taken a dint- it's probably the pandemic, my age, and parenting... but I would like to get back to it. My Kmart buddy has moved to another town :( When she lived next door it was great- we'd drop in to each other's houses for random stuff.

I really like the social pressure of having someone around when I do chores- I can't do 5 minutes, decide I've had enough and go scroll my phone. I need to find a friend who isn't going to judge me and will just shoot the breeze while I get stuff done. My sister is definitely someone in this category, sadly we live 4 hours away from each other.
posted by freethefeet at 10:42 PM on June 13, 2021 [1 favorite]


Oh! one of my favourite memories. "We've made too much porridge. Do you want to come over to help us eat it?" (they, legit, had made too much porridge.)
posted by freethefeet at 10:48 PM on June 13, 2021 [5 favorites]


Duh, life only happens when you take a path not taken before. A good one ends up being more of an adventure or road-trip.

So many of my 20's stories fall into this category of somebody going "hey wanna..." and me going "sure, why not."

Oh the wild stories that ensue.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:54 AM on June 14, 2021 [3 favorites]


Yesterday, I met an old friend who was back in town for the first time in years.

When it was time for him to go to meet up with his next friend -- he had a whole series of them lined up -- instead of letting him grab a lyft, I gave him a ride.

I thought I was merely extending our hang by a half-hour, but I now see that I had tagged our hang with an errand hang.

☆☆☆☆☆ Highly recommended.
posted by MrJM at 3:40 AM on June 14, 2021 [1 favorite]


Oh, and also, my wife has remarked to me that one thing she appreciates about spending quarantine with me is the way we would sometimes go do errands together but also make it something of a date. Like, let’s go get some planters and potting soil at the garden center, then walk in the woods, then buy some groceries before going home. Or, let’s do a TP and kitty litter run to Target, and get some takeout and have a picnic in the park, and drop off some packages at the post office.

Quarantine had shifted us from doing a lot of these little errand runs throughout the week to trying to get it all done in one long weekend afternoon. Where previously my wife and I would do these things separately as our weekday schedules varied, having it on a weekend inclined us to taking it on as a shared outing. It’s certainly more efficient for us to split up the chore list and just do things in parallel, but it’s nice having an extra pair of hands for carrying groceries home, or having someone else DJ the music in the car while puttering about, and we’ll likely keep the habit even after the pandemic is behind us.
posted by bl1nk at 4:19 AM on June 14, 2021 [2 favorites]


We were all in our thirties, or thereabouts. I guess there were a half dozen or so of us. Two of them had been my friends since junior high school. The rest drifted into our orbits more or less at random: wrestling pals, ex-girlfriends, a cousin who moved into our turf from Cincinnati.

We worked the trades: mechanics, journeyman carpenters, drywall hangers, mud shooters. More than once, I called one or more of them to come and help me fix my broken POS--bring a set of U-joints for a 1957 Ford three-quarter-ton pickup, and we'll do it right here in the IHOP parking lot. More than once, I spent a few hours on my back in someone's oily driveway helping to manhandle a transmission; myriad trips to Pick-A-Part, where we found and scavenged (for the price of a couple of dollars) that obscure part that might cost fifty dollars at Chief's Auto Parts Store. The pay for that was four or five street tacos from the vendor just outside the gate--two dollars and worth it. Once, we pulled an all-nighter at Dennis's house, cleaning with gasoline every piece of the 424 for his one-ton Chevy. He'd replaced the crank and a few of those other chingie-dingies that attached to it. We did the grunt work; Dennis and Doolie handled the tools because, hey, who the hell knows from this shit? We got it back together in time for sunrise.

Diane used to be Dennis's girlfriend; they broke up, but she remained part of our circle, so when she needed a printing press moved, we showed up. She hired a truck. We provided the muscle. When I say printing press, I mean a thing the size of a Mini-Cooper, not the thing on your desk. That goddam thing was a monster to get into the back of the truck. After we got it unloaded at her new office, we stood around the parking lot, stamping our feet from the cold. Someone lit a joint and sent it around. Someone lit another. Jim was a Sheriff's deputy then, and he had his work cut out for him, figuring ways not to make us go to jail for being stupid. He just shook his head and passed the joint along without hitting on it.

Mike and I helped Doolie lay the new pipes for his eleven acres of snow peas; we planted long stakes, strung miles of twine, tied vines. When the snow peas came in, he hired a crew to do the picking. The snow peas paid well but were too labor-intense, so Doolie turned the field into alfalfa the next season. Mike, Dennis, and I humped the heavy bales onto the lowboy while Doolie and Mumford made the stacks. I used to shoe two of Doolie's horses--well, they were actually Nannie's horses. I would have done anything Nannie wanted because she was in the posse and because she was that sweet.

This went on for years. Nannie and Doolie have both passed away now; I haven't seen Dennis since Jim's funeral. I'm probably going to see Mike this week--he and Patti will spend the night here, en route to visit her son in the Fort Worth Area. I haven't seen them for maybe ten years. The others have...well, I don't know. After I moved to Oregon, I lost track of Floyd and Mumford. After I moved to Idaho, I lost track of a few more. After I moved to New Mexico, more funerals. All gone but Mike and Dennis.

Errand hangs. Sure. We never thought about what to call it. Friendship, I guess.
posted by mule98J at 7:21 AM on June 14, 2021 [13 favorites]


I have always loved errand hangs. Been doing them for 30 years. Going grocery shopping with another person or multiple people is great. Get to laugh at all the silly foods, quietly critique other random peoples' carts, get a weird glimpse into the personal stuff your friends eat, and maybe if you are young enough a ride in the grocery cart. My wife and I do errand hangs for the exact same reasons.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:50 AM on June 14, 2021


Maybe I'm a curmudgeon, but I think of errands as some precious alone time.
posted by Dashy at 8:22 AM on June 14, 2021 [5 favorites]


Flagged as fantastic, mule98J! The last time I moved back to the US after a stint in Sweden, it was hard to reconnect with a bunch of my old friends. I had been gone for years and years. There just wasn't as much room in their lives for me as there once was and completely understandably.

But I did get to see a fair amount of one friend who had a regular routine during the weekend, one that he did without his spouse because she was not into it. He would go to one local farmers market, then he would go to a particular grocery store noted for its produce, then he would go to a famous local bakery to pick up a pastry for breakfast, and from there he would go to a famous local coffee place to pick up a beverage.

For my friend, this routine was not a series of errands. It was more like a sacred ritual. So when I moved back, I started hanging with him during his produce runs. It was a really nice way to hang out with him, get caught up, and procure delicious produce. I didn't have a car, so it was handy. It wasn't necessary, of course; it was just an easy and pleasant way of spending time with him. He's dead now, and I'm glad we got to spend those hours together. Another friend used to call on his way to Costco because, again, no car. It was kind of him to invite me and again, a painless way to catch up and also make fun of about 1 billion things because there's usually about 1 billion things you can make fun of at Costco even if you're buying something.

These days I do errand hangs with my kid to Ikea, which is painful, or thrift shops, which is great. I am not really a big fan of shopping but my kid is. A long time ago I realized that if I wanted to have a good relationship with her, I needed to figure out how to do things that she enjoyed not just things that I enjoyed. It seems to be working.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:04 AM on June 14, 2021 [2 favorites]


maybe if you are young enough a ride in the grocery cart

You are always young enough to ride in the grocery cart.
posted by myotahapea at 9:47 AM on June 14, 2021 [7 favorites]


Just chiming in that grocery shopping with a good friend is a transformative experience. Try it sometimes, just remember no judgement on proportion of ice cream to vegetables allowed (no, that’s not my personal rule, that’s like a universal thing, why do you ask)
posted by q*ben at 11:29 AM on June 14, 2021 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm a curmudgeon, but I think of errands as some precious alone time.

On the one hand I'm the same. Why do some people need to fill their every waking moment with interactivity of some kind? I am specifically referencing people on early morning walks already yabbering on the phone to somebody, or people who fill their entire 30-minute bus rides home from work with the same (usually signing off with "Anyway, I'll see you in a bit"). Partnering with somebody to read all the cans of beans ("This one has SIX kinds of beans!") in the bean aisle at the Woolworths just sounds intolerable.

On the other hand, I get it, and if you wanted to be reductive and cute, pairing up to go hunting-gathering is probably one of the earliest forms of socialising, and I guess it would be instructive to have somebody justifying the weird supermarket decisions they make, like putting meat and dairy in their trolley first so it's nice and warm by the time it gets home.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:55 PM on June 14, 2021 [1 favorite]


Not to get too taxonomical, but I think there are at least 4 different social phenomena being discussed under "errand hang":

Separate errands together (Type I errand hang): Amira and Beth each need to buy food, so they go to the grocery store together to hang out while doing so.

Mutual errand (Type II errand hang): Amira and Beth go to the grocery store to select items for a picnic that they will enjoy together later.

Single errand, passive friend (Type III errand hang): Amira needs to go to the grocery store and Beth tags along for fun.

Single errand, assistant friend (Type IV errand hang): Amira is putting together a goodie basket for their third mutual friend's birthday but is having decision fatigue and would appreciate Beth's help in thinking through possible items.
posted by dusty potato at 3:27 PM on June 14, 2021 [12 favorites]


I'm available for all types!
posted by bleep at 4:23 PM on June 14, 2021


Are our schedules so packed from the weakness of pandemic happy hours that we're trying to make grocery store hang a thing? Sure, the grocery store was one of the few places to meet people in person, and I'll give them points for their alcohol collection (mostly on price/quantity due to where I live). Points off for music - both selection and volume were weak compared to most of the other clubs I've been to. Also the clerk looked annoyed when I asked for bottle service and when I asked for the manager, they just shrugged and walked away. That's what I get for going somewhere when I or one of my friends doesn't know the DJ or the owners. Paul Oakenfold played this weekend and it was lit!1!

Seriously though, the low-pressure let's-just-wander-the-aisles of Safeway hang means that we're at least as consumed by capitalism to exist within it and can't consider existing outside of it as the other person we're with, so the mutual resignation is shared misery is a good fall-back option to connect about if muzak Britney isn't playing and your compatriot doesn't drink white claw.
posted by fragmede at 6:22 PM on June 14, 2021


I had my first in-person social event the other day with some work friends, and the weirdest damned thing is that I apparently no longer know what to do with my eyes when I'm sitting with five other people around a picnic table and we're just all shooting the shit. My beer came in a pint glass so I couldn't even focus on peeling off the bottle label, and it was just a weird feeling all around (much as the overall experience was pretty fun). It occurs to me that if we'd been on an errand hang I could have had just as much fun while directing my eyes at whatever it was we were looking at/for.
posted by DingoMutt at 6:30 PM on June 14, 2021


Or, “I don’t have a car and you do,” which is how I discovered you can fit three fully-boxed toilets in a Mazda3 hatchback.
posted by bendy at 7:54 PM on June 14, 2021 [2 favorites]


Why do some people need to fill their every waking moment with interactivity of some kind?

They are called extroverts; it's how they roll. We, on the other hand, are introverts; we understand 'Alone Time'.
posted by Rash at 8:09 PM on June 14, 2021 [2 favorites]


I am specifically referencing people on early morning walks...

Some are probably extroverts. But errand buddies and being on a phone call can also reduce the number of strangers imposing themselves on you (telling you to smile more, trying to get your number, etc). Hell, when I lived alone errand hangs maximized my actual alone time. If I'm out and about anyways, may as well have a friend along.

Also, I know a few parents of little kids who make social phone calls during their commute because that's the only chance they get to have an uninterrupted chat with a fellow adult.
posted by ghost phoneme at 6:44 AM on June 15, 2021 [6 favorites]


Yea, I am about as introverted as they come. I go literal weeks without seeing or speaking to another human, and much of the time prefer to do most activities alone. I also unapologetically love a good Errand Hang.

I don't do it because I "need to fill every waking moment with interactivity" or because I'm Doing 'Alone Time' Wrong, I do it because it's a nice change of pace sometimes and can be a great way to spend some low-key time simply existing alongside someone whose company I enjoy.
posted by myotahapea at 7:42 AM on June 15, 2021 [10 favorites]


Points off for music - both selection and volume were weak compared to most of the other clubs I've been to.

Target blasts music in their stores and it's often as dancy as like The Gap or Old Navy, and way better with more variety than the music in the clubs that I went to.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:51 AM on June 15, 2021 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm a curmudgeon, but I think of errands as some precious alone time.

Why do some people need to fill their every waking moment with interactivity of some kind?

This is maybe going to blow some minds, but some people don't live with a spouse and kids, or a roommate, or anyone at all, and are not actually lacking for alone time? Fully 70% of my life is Alone Time.

Some of the people you see engaged in spending time with other humans are not trying to fill EVERY waking moment with interaction, but rather ANY moments at all.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:57 AM on June 15, 2021 [19 favorites]


My spouse and I are pretty heavy introverts and are good about asking for and giving alone time; and also base our compatibility around getting the value of companionable silence. An errand date for us around, say, going to Target together can be 50% us going to different parts of the store to split up getting cleaning supplies and kitty litter and 50% looking over porch furniture together or giving feedback to each other on clothing fits; followed by walking quietly in the woods and driving home quietly listening to music.

Part of what I like about activity based hangouts is that the activity reduces the need to have conversation to fill the time. I am much more inclined to participate in that kind of socializing rather than, "let's get dinner and commit to at least an hour of back and forth conversation with minimal breaks required for chewing."

This whole misanthropic derail should probably get wrapped up but I'm sorry that some folks here are starved for alone time and need to take that stress out on some people who were enjoying this thread.
posted by bl1nk at 10:07 AM on June 15, 2021 [8 favorites]


Some of the people you see engaged in spending time with other humans are not trying to fill EVERY waking moment with interaction, but rather ANY moments at all.

Exactly. A lot of the salty (and frankly low-EQ) assumptions about why anyone want ever want to seek out company often makes me want to stop identifying as an introvert because I'm not down with cosigning bad takes. It says a whole lot about one's perspective-taking abilities when introverts can't seem to conceive of a situation where high-quality Alone Time is the norm (or only option) in another introvert's life rather than the exception. In the words of Peggy Olson, your problem is not my problem.

Even so, errand hangouts feel off to me for some reason. This probably stems from feeling as though I'm responsible for entertaining people or at least providing some for of hospitality if I ask them to spend time with me. Asking someone to do an errand hang - especially when it's not oriented around a mutual errand - feels kind of selfish because because all I'm offering up is my...company? Unlike other types of activity hangouts, it feels one-sided in a way that makes me feel even more pressured to be entertaining.
posted by blerghamot at 11:43 AM on June 15, 2021 [6 favorites]


I can totally see that, blerghamot. My experience with the errand hang was that it was more often mutual: we both need a target run or we both have to do laundry.

But there were a few times where a friend had X to do and wanted company. When that happened, they'd usually say "Hey, I need to do X. Want to tag along? We can do Y after, my treat."

I'm definitely happy to be on the receiving end of that from anyone I'd call friend (even without the bribe). I think I'd be hesitant to make the same request to anyone but my closest, where I know they'll say no if they're not up for it. Or my extroverted friends, who are always happy to just be around people.
posted by ghost phoneme at 12:08 PM on June 15, 2021 [5 favorites]


because all I'm offering up is my...company?

I think you need to unpack why you think that is a bad thing. I don't know you but I'm sure your friends think your company and getting some of your time is awesome.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:19 PM on June 15, 2021 [4 favorites]


I soured an errand date years ago by shattering some of the gentleman’s illusions about the food he was buying. How was I supposed to know he didn’t know there was mold in blue cheese or that doughnuts were fried?

I mean, I didn’t spend an entire summer frying doughnuts in a 120-degree bakery from 3-6 every morning just so I could refrain from using that knowledge to ruin my own social life years later.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:31 PM on June 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


“All I’m offering up is my...company?”
I will say that I’m an introvert and with people I really get along well with, being company/having company is really nice! Company is the point for me! I hate picking An Activity just so I can hang out with someone, especially as someone with a limited budget; an errand hang or the like is free and I don’t have to pretend to be excited about bowling or whatever.
posted by needs more cowbell at 3:40 AM on June 18, 2021 [1 favorite]


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