THE BLOG
03/02/2011 08:50 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Couple Wanted for Close Friendship, Especially on Holidays

2011-03-02-HelpWanted.JPEG

QUESTION

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

ANSWER

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 soul mates 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,
Irene

Other posts on The Friendship Blog that touch upon couple friends:

I love my BFF but can't take her husband

Losing sleep over a betrayal by a couple

Friends who live high on the hog

Sophisticated lady

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