“What do you want to watch?”

It was a Friday night after a long week at work, and we were curled up on the couch trying, without much success, to pick a movie to watch. Both my boyfriend and I have a habit of working a little too hard during the week so when Friday night rolls around the last thing we want to do is plan a date night.

A few weekends in a row we settled into a routine of a Netflix movie becoming our de-facto date night. At first, it was relaxing and a great compromise because we were tired but also wanted to spend time together but eventually it started to feel like a rut. Without realizing it we had become detached and distant because while we were certainly spending time together, it was neither memorable nor meaningful.

It’s so easy just to settle into chilling on the couch either out of exhaustion or fear of intimacy and miss the person sitting next to you who’s dying for connection.

We decided to start mixing up our “Netflix and chill” date nights by adding a twist, and it was a great way to balance both our need for relaxing and being yourself while also pursuing one another and creating a space for conversation and memories. Here are a few ideas to switch up the traditional Netflix and chill night:

Chef and Chill

Chef is one of my all time favorite Netflix movies. It’s a great blend of funny and light with an incredible soundtrack and even better food that will make you want to sprint straight to the kitchen or at least your neighborhood food truck.

Go old school with the traditional “dinner and a movie” date by cooking up a Chef inspired dinner together before watching the movie. If you have time, you can even go to the grocery store or local market and shop for the ingredients together beforehand. Play the Chef soundtrack on Spotify as you spice things up in the kitchen and make a Cubano. You’ll learn a lot about each other by cooking a new meal together, and it’ll taste even better once you see it come to life on the screen!

Go Outside and Go Home

If it’s nice out or if you’re willing to pile on some blankets to get close by snuggling up then there’s nothing like switching it up to watch a movie under the stars. If you have an outdoor seating area, then you can bring the TV outside with the help of some extension chords, or you could always sit in lawn chairs or on a picnic blanket.

We created our own drive-in movie theater by pulling the car into the backyard and making a pallet in the trunk. By borrowing a projector, we were able to project our favorite film onto the side of the house and enjoy it on the big screen while saving some big bucks.

Not A Million Dollar Baby

If you’re willing to take a field trip before the film, you could always hit up your local used bookstore to thrift for the evening movie. You’ll have access to some classics along with some pretty bizarre choices but even if your movie is a bust you’ll make memories picking something out together without spending a fortune.

You can take it a step further by giving each other a spending limit, setting some rules, then splitting up to find the perfect feature film. For example, you could give one another $10 and 10 minutes to pick out a movie you think best describes the other person, your relationship, etc. It’ll be fun to see what they pick, and it’s a great conversation starter as well as a memory maker!