• Making Friends

COUPLE WANTED for close friendship, especially on holidays

Published: March 2, 2011 | Last Updated: April 6, 2016 By | 5 Replies Continue Reading
A reader discusses the difficulties of finding a couple for a close friendship.


Hi Irene,

My husband and I moved across the country 10 years ago so he could pursue a job after finishing graduate school. After re-establishing our careers, having our first child, buying and fixing up a house, and trying to get involved in our church and community organizations, etc., we’ve a developed a broad circle of acquaintances. However, we have very few close friends and we are both saddened and disappointed by this reality.

It often seems that the potential friends we could make are already firmly entrenched in their own social circles and aren’t interested in more than superficial contact. I know it seems obvious to make the effort to turn some acquaintances into closer friends, but so often those individuals have competing priorities, limited time, live substantial distances from us, are much older or much younger, etc.

While we certainly know people we’d like to get to know better, there are always seem to be barriers to forming stronger friendships. Our families are also not close by, and for a variety of reasons, we want to spend holidays here at home and not traveling long distances anymore. But the absence of family and close friends can be pretty challenging at certain times of year. Any suggestions? I honestly think we are likable people — I don’t quite understand how things got this way.

Best, Lori


Dear Lori,

It sounds like this has been a very busy and productive decade for you and your husband. As you mentioned, you’ve moved, established careers, started a family, and gotten involved with a new church and community. Your child is still under the age of 10 so child rearing has to be a big part of your lives, too. With two people working, I imagine you both still do a lot of juggling.

When vacations or holidays come around, it’s natural for people to wish they had a warm, loving, multigenerational Italian family who lived nearby, or at least a family of friends to be with who gets along with and resembles their own nuclear family. I’ve felt that way myself.

There are no simple answers to finding a couple that “clicks” but a few suggestions crossed my mind:

  • Creating a compatible foursome is challenging, even before adding kids to the mix. Perhaps, it would be easier to start with you or your husband finding a friend that “clicks” instead of looking for couples at the onset. Then you could try to expand the friendship.
  • Don’t fall into the trap in thinking that your soulmates have to be just like you. You may find that people who are older, younger, or different in other ways make for compatible friends. For example, you may want to invite a recent divorcee or single mom and her child to dinner.
  • Can you develop some rituals with families with whom you’re already acquainted that might eventually lead to closer ties? For example, if you’re not comfortable enough to spend Thanksgiving with another family, might you want to invite them to a summer barbeque on Memorial Day weekend or on July 4th? Sometimes it’s a matter of time.
  • Would you be willing to forgo the traditional holiday dinner? If you have time off from work and school and can afford it, could you plan a cruise or vacation where you can meet up with other families who might be looking for companionship?
  • Any chance you could entice some family members or out-of-town friends to visit you?
  • Some families set aside time to help others—either through their house of worship or community agencies. That makes people feel so appreciative for what they DO have.

Perhaps these thoughts can help you think in new directions.

My best,

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Comments (5)

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  1. Leslie says:

    If you happen to live in a military town, you could invite some single soldiers for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Soldiers usually get plenty of time off on Christmas to travel home, but Thanksgiving is just a 4 day weekend so it’s not really feasible to fly home and see the family.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the advice to tread lightly when joining another family for the holidays, esp. if *they* have extended family, neighbors and other friends dropping by. You can feel self-conscious in the wake of all that bonding. Convo can get strained as these people (who know and love each other and may have decades of shared experiences) refer to things you are unfamiliar with.
    It is a strain to smile thru all that when you are thinking “I wish we were with our family.”
    I think you should have your own family traditions, the four of you. We lived all over the country and some communities are somewhat closed – usually ones not prone to “re-lo” families. People are from there and not thinking of newcomers.
    We had lunch out (restaurant or hotel dining room) and did some outdoor activity like the zoo, a ferry ride, the beach, etc. Even if it is cold you could skate or ski.
    Then we had a nice dinner, early, just “us.” Over time I extended or accepted invites for coffee and pie, so we saw people without being a part of their whole day, which was “too much” for all concerned. A nice hour with others is plenty on a holiday if you are not already close. It leaves all with a good feeling and you are not intruding or small-talk weary.
    Try the busy day, end it early (kids to bed on time!) and don’t dwell.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t ever been in this position, but if I were, I think I would try finding holiday guests through the new church. Talk to someone there, maybe the pastor, who is in charge of social activities such as the men’s group, women’s group, small group, etc., and see if they can match you up with some holiday guests! Or maybe dinner guests once a month, not just for holidays. This will give you an opportunity to meet lots of new people, and maybe develop a closer friendship with some of them in the future. There are probably other people in your church community who also would like to meet some new friends, especially around the holidays.

  4. Irene says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience! Sounds like a truly special way to celebrate the holidays!

    Best, Irene 

  5. Anonymous says:

    For years I have dreaded the holidays for this exact reason .. a few years we spent thanksgiving with close friends ,but never felt completely comfortable because of their extended families ,I guess we felt like we were intruding …so this year I decided to take a different approach , my husband and our children went into downtown to help feed the homeless …I think it will become a highlight of our you from now on …..reminded us exactly how blessed we are even without family close by…

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