How To Make Friends After You’re Married
Our spouses might be our “best friends”, but what happens when they become our only friends?
Some married couples may find that their social lives have gotten into a rut for various reasons, be it increased obligations and limited time, having kids, or no longer relating with friends with different lifestyles. We get it: Why go to some party when you can go home and chill with your spouse? It takes effort to make friends; not everyone feels the need to do it, and that’s okay if they’re content. But it can be beneficial for married couples to have friends who give support, new perspectives, a different kind of connection, and who make your conversations with your spouse more interesting. If you’re ready to get your social life going, read on for some tips on how to make friends after you’re married.
1. You don’t have to only make “couple friends.”
It’s a misconception that married couples only hang out with other married couples to do “couple things” together. How limiting! Singles everywhere are probably rolling their eyes.
In all seriousness though, chatting up other couples and inviting them to do couple things might not feel very natural to some people. It can work, but so can making friends individually first. Get to know your spouse’s friends and let your spouse know yours; if said friends have partners, suggest doing something together. But it doesn’t have to be double dates or nothing. Case in point: When you’re just not clicking with your husband’s best friend’s wife. It happens.
That’s why it’s important to meet new people, married or not. With a wider social circle, you have more options to hang out and click with.
2. Make yourself available to people who invite you to hang out.
If you’re married, you might be in a place in life where you’re more tied up with commitments and responsibilities, especially if you have kids. While that’s understandable, try not to use it as an easy “out” or crutch when people invite you to something. Potential friendships can’t withstand more than a couple of rejected invitations. After a few “no’s”, they might assume that you’re not interested and stop asking you altogether.
So even if you and your spouse are exhausted on a weekday evening, push against the temptation to veg at home. Catch a second wind somehow and make yourselves join that event your new friends invited you to. If you’re truly unavailable, try proposing an alternative day to meet; at least show some effort. Sometimes making new friends as an adult – married or not – does feel a little like dating. It’s okay if you don’t always get it right; just make yourself available and prioritise meeting new people.
3. If you have kids, befriend the parents of your kids’ friends.
Playdates: Suggesting playdates for your kids helps their social life as much as yours, as it’s a great way to meet other parents. There’s a topic you can readily bond over, and they won’t think it’s weird if you have to bounce because it’s your kid’s nap time. The key is to make the meetups regular and if possible, to get your spouses involved as well (because we know the wives are typically the ones setting these things up). Brunch at kid-friendly restaurants is a good idea. Some couples are even brave enough to go on family day trips together, bless them.
Get involved in your kids’ school activities: When you are involved in your kid’s school activities, you will naturally start to see the same parents around, and you can start making friends from there.
In many schools, parents form WhatsApp chat groups for each class, where they share anything from birthday party invitations and holiday memes to “What’s the spelling list for this week again?” That’s a built-in community and a promising starting point. Participate in the chat, actually attend the gatherings, and perhaps even host some yourself. When attending parties, resist the urge to leave early (which parent isn’t busy – c’mon). Stay, because some of the best friendships between parents happen in that magical hour past the birthday party, when you’re just hanging out and cleaning up wrapping paper.
4. Throw an open house and invite your neighbours.
This is a chance to take your interactions with your neighbours beyond hello’s in the elevator. A good time to throw an open house is around the holidays so it doesn’t feel as random. It can be a Christmas party, Chinese New Year gathering, what have you. Maybe three people will show up, maybe 20. Probably a handful will drop by just to peek inside your home and compare layouts.
Try not to make it a whole fancy dinner party just yet, because for one thing, you’re setting the bar kind of high if you ever want to do it again (and you might, because these things take a few tries). An open house sometime after lunch and before dinner is nice as it doesn’t require guests to sit through an actual meal and lends a more casual neighbourhood vibe.
5. Join groups with similar interests.
What hobbies or collective sports do you and your spouse want to try? Get out of the house and get involved in that activity. So long as you’re doing something you’re interested in, if you make friends while you’re at it, then you’ve already got something in common. It’s like a refreshing spin on date night – except with the addition of other likeminded folks whose company and energy can have a positive, buoying effect on your relationship.
Try looking for active interest groups on Facebook for anything from photography to car clubs, many of which have WhatsApp chat groups as well. Go for the meetups and barbecues, bring your spouse and children and an open mind, and be reassured that these people are just as happy as you to nerd out about your shared interests.
6. Or you can always start your own club.
If you can’t find the kind of group you’re looking for, consider creating your own club or community. It requires ambition and action, but think of it this way: When you’re married and have new commitments in this life stage, you may have less hours to spare and socialise, so your effort needs to be more thought out and worthwhile. If you want to be more intentional about connecting with people, create a club that meets regularly.
Some easy club ideas include a games club, cooking club, running club or foodie club (where you try a new restaurant once a month). If one of your goals is to be more open and meet more new people, try asking that each person bring a friend who doesn’t know anyone else in the group.
7. Finally, be supportive of one another. Perhaps your spouse is less (or more) social than you.
Perhaps one of you doesn’t feel the need to go out and socialise a lot, while the other one is stressing out over not having friends to hang out and share a bottle of wine with. Communicate your needs and be considerate and supportive of one another. If your spouse puts the effort to schedule a meetup with a potential friend group, be a good sport and accompany them. But also, be honest if you feel like staying in sometimes. Ultimately, try to see the positive side of having friends after you’re married; it can be good for your marriage and your health.