Friendships start from our earliest ages and we are constantly meeting and making new friends throughout life. It is good for both you and your partner to have individual friends. But, what about couple friends? Yes, it is important to also have this third set of friends who are also a couple. Having this peer support can make navigating your relationship easier. Not only do you have friends with whom you can have fun with, you also have friends who understand the challenges of being in a relationship.
One advantage of having individual friends is that if your partner is not comfortable with your friends, you can still go out with them guilt free! Since your partner is not with you, you do not need to worry about him/her having fun. Guys can do their guy thing and the ladies can have their ladie’s night. And the counterbalance to that is our time with couple friends. Guys and gals can mix and mingle. It is time we can be with our partner and with others we enjoy and have common interests. This gives us balance in our social lives.
How to Make Them
Clients often ask, how do I make friends? I believe that depends on what stage of life you are in. If you are younger and newly married, then chances are a lot of your couple friends are going to come from your individual friends that get married. If you are married and you don’t have children, think of things you enjoy doing together. That could be taking a class together, like ballroom dancing or photography. You could form a book club. You could join a golf league together or find another sport you enjoy. You could look for meet-up groups who offer activities with all kinds of interests.
Being married with children, I believe, is probably the easiest way to meet new friends. There are so many interactions with other parents through school or extracurricular activities. When my oldest son, now 27, was a year old, I joined a mom’s group after I quit working. The mom’s group put play groups together for us. My best friend is one of the moms from that play group long ago. In fact, she was my matron of honor when I got remarried. So, don’t be afraid to use your kids as an excuse to get out and meet other parents. You just might surprise yourself!
Note of Caution
In speaking with a colleague about friendships, she said her mother-in-law warned her to be careful about choosing friends who are positive because you can take on other people’s squabbles or get caught up in their drama. I believe her mother-in-law had some sage advice. We tend to take on the attitude of those around us. Think about your work environment. If everyone is unhappy working there, chances are you also become unhappy working there. It’s hard to find good energy, laughter, friendship, and cooperation in an environment where people are unhappy. They’re grumpy. They don’t want to help others. They just want to sit in their office. Remember, you take on the energy of those around you. That is true in your couples’ friendships as well. Imagine if you’re friends with other couples that don’t value respecting one another and you spend a lot of time with them. You start to pick up some of their habits, their way of speaking that’s not so healthy. That can have a negative impact on your relationship.
It works the same with a positive environment. If you’re around couples that value relationships- even when it’s difficult- and being in a committed relationship, their advice to you during difficult times will be supportive and encouraging. They will acknowledge the tough times and encourage you to talk to your partner to work through the difficulty. That has a completely different feel than the couple who disrespects one another. So, it stands to reason that we want to choose friends who are positive and supportive, who share the same values
We all need friends. Having a social network is key to our mental health. Research has shown that people who have social support (i.e. friends) are happier and live longer lives. We all need to feel connected. So, call your friends and thank them for making your life better and weed out those who do not.
The bottom line, since we need to have friends, let’s choose wisely. Let’s choose those around us who are positive and uplifting, those who fuel our positivity so we in turn fuel those around us. It is a win-win loop!