What Do You Do For Fun? The Question I Hate Most

Last night, a friend and I were watching Millionaire Matchmaker when my friend turned to me and said, “Did she just ask him, ‘What do you do for fun?’” We tuned in more attentively. The millionaire’s answer was, “I like to drink and hang out with my buds.” Which, for this particular millionaire was an incredibly accurate answer. Later in the date he took the girl to a rooftop bar where they had sake bombs with his “buds” and got really drunk. Which seems totally fine. Except that he’s a supposed millionaire and it was a first date. He could’ve played that out better. Save the sake bombs and the buds for a different date, dude. But that’s besides the point.

When someone asks me what I do for fun I have a minor panic attack. I start sweating, my lungs start closing up and my face turns red. I may even start breaking out in hives. You know why? Because what I like to do for fun doesn’t actually sound like fun. I like to hang out with my friends. I like to curl up in my sweats and watch movies and tv shows. I like to read. I like to eat pretzels and dip them in funfetti icing (it’s amazing, try it). I like beautiful weather where I can enjoy doing fun things outside. I don’t exactly have any hobbies. I don’t know how to sew. I only cook things that take less than 10 minutes to make. I don’t know how to surf. I either need some hobbies or I need to come up with a go-to answer for the worst question in the world, “What do you do for fun?”

I can see how the question is important. What a person does in his or her free time for fun is very telling of his or her personality. If I answer with, “I like to travel,” that’s true. Except, I only travel to places I’ve been a million times to visit my family in various parts of the country and I’ve only been abroad a few times on organized trips (I’m young and haven’t yet been able to travel the world as much as I would like). I would like to travel more, but I can’t exactly say I do it for fun. If I answer with, “I like going to concerts,” that’s true too. Except, I don’t go to concerts on a daily or even monthly basis. So I can’t really say I do that for fun because I really only go to concerts when it’s convenient. If I answer with, “I like scrapbooking,” that wouldn’t be true at all. Except, I do enjoy being crafty, I just don’t do it for the kind of fun implied in the question. Do you see how this question can fuel anxiety? How do you tell somebody about yourself when you have limited hobbies that are difficult to glorify?

But, no one is going to stop asking this question. Employers ask this question in interviews. People ask this question on dates. My grandparents ask me this question for goodness sake. I’m thinking of just sticking to my guns and forever responding with, “I do fun for fun” so I can totally throw the questioner off and then they’re so confused that they’ll ignore me and then forever see me as mysterious. What’s your usual response to “What do you do for fun?”

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    • Jess

      Thank-you! I feel the exact same way!
      A few years ago I was asked that question on an application for a volunteer trip. I panicked and started wildly messaging my friends asking “what the hell are my hobbies?!?!”
      I think I ended up lying and saying something about cooking and scrapbooking. And then I resolved to actually start a hobby. Which of course did not happen. I still happily spend my free time doing nothing particularly cool or interesting :)

    • Eileen

      “I play the clarinet.”

      The most accurate answer would be “read, sleep, watch movies, play on the internet, hang out with my friends, and drink large quantities of alcohol” – but I do play the clarinet, and it’s a much more refined-sounding hobby. This also usually sparks a conversation about what kind of music I like, and then I can start talking about my interests, which are more interesting to hear about than what I do for fun.

    • Gimmy

      Yeah, unfortunately ‘going to friends’ houses and drinking,’ ‘reading,’ and ‘watching cooking programmes’ are apparently not the most interesting or constructive things to say in a university application or interview. So I generally say something about singing in choirs and watching rugby. The latter is only interesting because I’m a girl, and apparently being a rugby freak therefore makes me a more well-rounded individual, or something. This is why this question is stupid.

    • Leonita77

      Depends: if the person is just being nosy, I’ll just say: “there’s not too much time left for fun things in my life at the moment”. Otherwise you could come up with something like: “researching malaria vaccines for crocodiles” or “didgeridoo for dummies”

    • Lindsay Hartman

      I always felt super nerdy responding with, “I really like to read.” But I do… it’s kinda my favorite activity. Between that and spending time with my friends and family, I don’t have any extra free time. So for a long time, I had no idea how to respond to this question. Thankfully now, I have a daughter and can use her as an excuse. I just say something like, “Brenna’s the only one who gets to have fun in our household.”

    • Mel

      When I have any spare time, I nap! Count me in for hating this question. Also, “What kind of music do you like?” is pretty stressful too. I mean, I listen to pretty much everything but country and bagpipe music.

    • porkchop

      This is like neurotic on top of neurotic. Here is the thought process of most people who ask, “What do you do for fun?”: Oh, no, uncomfortable silence! Must say something…I could ask her about her job, but that’s such a lame question…what’s an INTERESTING question?? CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING! Either that, or they think it’s actually a good question, in which case they themselves are boring. Either way, anything you say can only help the situation.

    • nolalola27

      Read massive amounts of sh*t online, watch TV shows I like, puzzles, go to the bar, walk, etc. Nothing interesting. I wish I could say “Rock climbing” or “I build Mardi Gras floats,” but I don’t. Maybe I should take this as a sign that I SHOULD be doing stuff like that…

    • Meg

      MOST of the time, it’s reading internet articles and books, watching tv, and… I guess that’s about it.
      But I might be in the minority of people out there who actually have a pretty cool answer. My real hobby is being heavily involved in photography. I’m not a photographer, but I model, recruit models and makeup artists, consult on concepts, style, direct on shoots, and retouch photos. I didn’t even really start on purpose either; I started helping out a photographer friend who had a lot to teach me, and I’ve been offered jobs ever since, so that I go on about one photo shoot a week. It’s incredible fun, and amazing to be creative and give women some self-esteem, but goddamn it, I do this shit for FREE! Granted, the photographers and models do it for free as well, but still…
      I suppose if it was my job though I could no longer call it a hobby, and I would have to start, I don’t know, baking or something? Actually that does sound pretty awesome.

    • Johnny

      Well since I live on a farm my options are limited.
      However boring this may sound I like to milk the cows, count the chickens, and wrestle with pigs. Although I personally don’t see the problem with that question there ain’t no body down here to ask it to. Have a nice day.

    • Scott

      I like subtly winding people up, so they don’t know whether I’m being rude or not. If you smile while you do it you’ll really confuse the individual. I also use this to talk down to stupid people without them realising. Great fun.

      I also like to do massive amounts of mdma and get ‘fucked up’.

    • chickren53

      usually i come up with "i hang out with my friends and spend time with my family" and my hobbies are soccer and biking and baking goodie :)

    • Kristy Conway

      OMG! I HATE THAT QUESTION! It’s so refreshing to know that I’m not the only one. I’m on one of those dating websites and wouldn’t you know, that question comes up all the time. I feel like I’m on a job interview with some of these guys. I become like a deer caught in headlights. I never know what to say. I like to shop, sunbathe at the pool, and watch movies. It seems these guys are looking for a girl who does exactly what they do. Well, sorry Bub. But, I AM a woman! I don’t follow any sports, surf, rock climb, or play softball. Give me a nice romantic comedy and I’m a happy camper. I don’t camp either!

    • Holly

      Oh gosh, a guy asked me this a few weeks ago (except it was more like “What kinds of things do you do during the day?” I panicked and had no idea what to say. I ended up saying a bunch of ums and then sputtering out something about reading and maybe watching TV. He then asked what shows I watched and I replied uhhh well actually I don’t watch that much TV. It was so horrible and embarrassing!! But it caught me off guard and I feel like an idiot now because I actually like this guy. Otherwise I would have shrugged it off. I wish I could go back and erase everything that I said!!

    • mimo

      I was just asked this for interview, and I can’t stop laughing reading your post, this is fun!