When you’re growing up, your friendships are often the most important part of your life. But as you age, things like jobs, moves and especially long-term romantic relationships can mean that your friendships take a distinct backseat.
That’s why knowing how to make couple friends is an invaluable skill for any adult, whether you’re married or partnered up in some other form.
Whether the biggest thing in your life right now is your career, your significant other or your kids, having another couple that you and your partner both like hanging out with can mean the difference between an empty social calendar and a nice, full one. Here’s how.
What are couple friends?
If you’ve never heard the term before, that’s fine—but you can probably hazard a guess as to what “couple friends” are.
We often think of friends as people in our lives that we engage with in a one-on-one capacity, but when you’re in a relationship, knowing how to make friends as a couple opens up a whole new facet of friendship: couple friends.
Couple friends are another couple that you and your partner enjoy hanging out with as a four-person unit, meaning you each connect with at least one of the two people in the couple.
For heterosexual couples, this often means a setup where the two men get along and the two women get along, but that doesn’t need to be the case—and with queer couples, any variation of friendships might occur.
Both couples in a set of couple friends will typically have been together for at least a year to feel stable and comfortable enough spending time with another couple, but there’s no specific rule around both couples being as long-term as one another.
What’s important is that all four of you can enjoy hanging out at once—whether at home or going out on a sort of grown-up double date.
The benefits of meeting other couples
Given what some studies have shown about the impact of friendships on life expectancy, friends are more than just a luxury—they’re a necessity.
And that reality means that the slow march towards an empty social calendar that adulthood represents for many people isn’t just a depressing fact of life, it’s also a serious matter of life quality.
But when you’re in a long-term relationship, it can feel weird to try to meet new friends—even downright awkward.
That’s one reason many couples choose, instead of seeking out new friendships separately, to meet other couples and engage in full-on couple friendships.
According to Tracy Ross, a New York-based relationship therapist, “Having couple friends helps solidify you as a couple.”
“When two people are in a relationship they sort of form a new entity,” she explained. “Their couple as a separate entity may have different needs than the individuals do separately—i.e. What is best for AB is not necessarily the same as what is best for A or what is best for B.”
As a result, according to Ross, “Having couple friends, relationships that you form together is great for strengthening your bond, it’s a level playing field, it’s not like one of you has history with the couple and the other doesn’t, and one isn’t an outsider trying to establish their connection to the couple—it’s a shared experience.”
Ross also noted, “It’s an opportunity to venture out and do more things together as a couple.”
Because “each and every person in our lives offers and adds something slightly different,” she explained, “couple friends do the same, and when you form those relationships together, it adds to the shared experience you have as a couple, which in turn strengthens your bond.”
In short, not only can a good set of couple friends enliven your lives with fun activities and memorable hang-outs, what they represent in your lives could also bring you and your partner closer together, meaning that making couple friends is a serious win-win scenario.
How to make friends as a couple
It’s one thing knowing how to meet other couples—but what about befriending them?
After all, making friends with even one person can be tricky; getting two people to make friends with two other people can feel like it’s exponentially more complicated.
According to Ross, the trick is to focus on communal activities and interests—including your “kids and their activities” and “vacations/travel.”
“Everyone is more open and has their guard down” in such situations, she said. “If you go on an organized bike trip, you will meet like-minded people.”
Other options she suggests are wine tastings, bowling, escape rooms, concerts, shows or game nights.
Basically, you’re looking to build off a pre-existing commonality—if both people in your relationship like something and both people in this other relationship like the same thing, that gives you a foundation, however minor, for something to get together and do—or at least get together and talk about.
Add that to the fact that, if they’re also a long-term couple, they might be in a similar situation as you are—with jobs and kids overwhelming their social schedules—and having someone else who understands your struggles can go a long way towards cementing a burgeoning friendship for both of you.
Apps for meeting couple friends
For the many people wondering how to meet couple friends, there are some digital options, too. As with any online-to-real-life meetups, it’s always a good idea to run an online people search for whomever you’re about to meet, as it may reveal important information about them.
If spending time IRL striking up conversations with random couples who may have no interest in adding to their social roster terrifies you, there are some apps designed to help like-minded couples connect—platonically. Here are a few that might be of interest:
This sharp-looking app helps you meet like-minded couples with similar interests in a Tinder-like fashion, but reviews suggest that Coupler is buggy, and many users are frustrated that it’s only accessible if you have a Facebook account.
If a web forum is more your speed than an app, CouplesList might feel like a better fit for you. However, it’s not exactly a jumping joint, with many areas of the United States not seeing new posts in the last year.
The phonetically quirky name might be divisive, but Kupple is set up like a mid-2000s-era dating site (think Lavalife or Match.com) where you can browse other couples’ profiles to see if you think there’s a match. It’s free to join and features couples in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
You’ve got a friend in us
Even for those with the best intentions, having close friends as an adult can be tricky.
People move to different cities, careers and relationships and kids swallow up free time, tastes and life experiences change. Your old friends are probably less close to you than they were, and it’s likely you haven’t made many new ones to make up for that.
But if one reason you don’t spend much time with friends is your relationship, turning that weakness into a strength by making friends with your partner is a great approach.
Making couple friends might seem daunting, but it’s worth remembering that there are tons of couples out there just like you, wondering why they never hang out with friends anymore.
With a bit of effort and some good compatibility luck, all four of you could be laughing and having a ball together in no time.