Relationships

14 Things to Do With Friends (Other Than Dinner)

Recently three of my good friends moved to different states (sob), so I’ve been on the hunt for new neighborhood ladies to hang out with. Making friends is no joke! How have you bonded with people in the past? One thing I’ve found that seems to help loosen things up is doing an activity together. Here are a few ideas…

1. Browse a bookstore. What is it about bookstores that slips all the weight off your shoulders? “On the morning I was to be married in New York, I went to a bookstore, as I always did in moments of crisis or bliss,” Adam Gopnik wrote in At the Stranger’s Gate. Browse the aisles, pick up books and read each other lines, and recommend your favorites.

2. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Feel the fresh air on your cheeks and peek into pretty windows.

3. Bake together. My friend Clare and I would make boxed brownies in our twenties and eat them out of the pan. Now I’d try these.

4. Head to Sephora and give each other makeovers.

5. Play a two-person game — say, gin rummy or Boggle. Or channel your inner eighth grader and play MASH or Would You Rather.

6. Go to a museum. You can gaze at one piece for a long time; or you can walk through a museum as if you’re walking through a forest, soaking up the beautiful art while chatting about other things. No pressure! Just what feels right.

7. Run an errand (get a birthday card for their aunt; do a Trader Joe’s run). This kind of thing always feels surprisingly intimate and entertaining.

8. See a comedy show. In New York, UCB’s Sunday evening show is so funny, you’ll cry; Seinfeld performs regularly at the Beacon, and Demetri Martin just started a national tour.

9. Start a two-person book club. Read these hilarious essays, a gripping memoir or beautiful poems, and chat about them. (Or you could do a two-person articles club; be still my heart.)

10. Get moving. I’m the least sporty person on the planet, but I still think it sounds fun to ride bikes or take an exercise class together. Also, Anton and I have been playing a lot of catch recently and I’ve gotten totally into it. It would be great to go a park and play with a friend.

11. Host a sleepover. Read magazines, order pizza and stay up late talking. If you have kids, just bring them. :)

12. Take a day trip, like going apple picking or to the beach off season, when it’s windy and peaceful.

13. Pick a TV series (cough cough, The Bachelorette) and watch together every week. If you’re not in the same place, watch separately and text throughout!

14. Or, maybe best of all, just do nothing. Says my friend Linsey:

“My acquaintance L. and had been trying to find a time to get together. She suggested a certain day, but I was scheduled to do an infusion therapy for an ongoing medical condition. I was surprised when she said, ‘Well, can I come by and keep you company?’ It was so nice. Sitting there at the clinic was the moment we became real friends. When you have an IV in your arm and someone comes to chat with you, it definitely breaks down barriers.”

What about you? What do you like to do with your friends? I’d love to hear…

P.S. Making friends in a new city, and the joy of all-female gatherings.

(Photo of Edna Gardner Whyte in her Cessna 120 after winning the Eleventh Annual All Woman’s International Air Race, Nassau, Bahamas, May 29, 1961. Her student and copilot, Martha Wright, sits to her right.)

  1. Errands all the way! I run errands with friends all the time, makes errands more fun and we get to chat. Win/win. I also go to their kid’s sporting events – 5 year old soccer is a hoot!

  2. Shannon says...

    We pick a local garden or site and go photograph it in the early morning light. We chat about the light, the camera settings, our amateur pics and insecurities getting THE shot…technical stuff. But another benefit is I get a glimpse into how someone else works/thinks and am inspired by how amazing someone else’s view of the world is (even when looking at the exact same lens as mine).

  3. A knitting club! I moved to a new city a year ago, and I now have my little club of knitting girlfriends to rely on. They are knitters, crocheters and seamstresses, crafty and creative.

    • Hillary says...

      I had a a little group of ladies who came to my house and we did crafts together , had a cuppa and a chat , in my last home and now I’ be moved to the seaside and I am finding it hard to get to know the people. I would like to put an ad in our church magazine but don’t know quite what to say .

  4. And one thing to remember with when a friend offers to come with you to infusion therapy is that you have to really like the person b/c you really can’t run away from them very well LOL…

    Some great suggestions, I think many of us are so busy texting that we forget how to mentor our friends we already have too! Tks for such a great article.

  5. Brooke says...

    I first read this post and had nothing to add since I usually just get meals / coffee with friends. And then my mom texted me saying her high school friend (that she hasn’t seen in 40 years) invited her to go hiking. They walked and talked for 3 hours straight and caught up on their 40 years apart. So awesome!

  6. Whitney says...

    The common thread running through these suggestions (that would have previously given me hives!) is the possibility for vulnerability. Playing a sport you’re not good at might make you feel clumsy, suggesting a film might make you feel self conscious about your taste, attending a fitness class might make you worried about your appearance. And that’s a good thing! I find the sooner you become vulnerable and show your authentic self with your acquaintances, the better friends you’ll become. Oh, to be brave enough to be and befriend authenticity.

    • Lindsey says...

      Very true Whitney! My thoughts exactly. Vulnerability and authenticity are key to relationship building. I try to challenge myself to step out of what is comfortable to me and take the risk of letting people get to know the real me. That can be hard but it usually works out for the best!

  7. jess says...

    I do different things with different girlfriends. A catch up over a glass of wine with one friend, hiking with another, theatre with another – we seem to pick an activity common to both of us and do that together.

  8. Kristen says...

    My girlfriend and I just spent an evening in her garage making a birch bark bird house for her boyfriend. It was fun to have our minds occupied on a specific task, figuring things out together, using power tools, and working along side each other on every task. It gave us both a sense of accomplishment and creativity.

  9. Julia says...

    I adore the yearly Christmas cookie baking night with a few girlfriends. It is so much fun. Everyone brings some ingredients and a recipe, we light candles, drink wine, listen to music … And while we knead the dough, we talk about the many things in our lives. In the end, we have about 10 different kinds of cookies and return home with a huge box for our family.

  10. Going to the flower market… having homemade brunch in the yard :)

  11. Laura says...

    Can I just say bravo at that photo of Edna Gardner Whyte up there? I am also a pilot, and I love how this space celebrates women in all of their complexity, from photos of pilots to how to hang with a best friend to excellent beauty advice to being a mom. I feel like all of these things speak to different parts of me, and I love that about this site. Thanks, Jo & team Cup of Jo! :)

  12. Beth says...

    My friend and I both belong to the YMCA so last time we got together, we opted out of our normal dinner date and met to play racquetball! Neither of us had played before and we had an absolute blast. We made up the rules as we went along, played on the same team (don’t overthink it), high-fived, shouted, wore goggles, and actually worked up a pretty great sweat. It felt like true play and was oddly invigorating. We agreed to more Y dates in the future!

    • Heather says...

      “played on the same team (don’t overthink it)” haha Dying! Y’all sound like a blast! It’s inspiring me to do the same :)

  13. APB says...

    One time a friend and I chatted our way through a target shopping trip…we left the store no joke 2.5 hours later!!! So fun.

    • Marisa says...

      I did this one time with a friend too on a Friday night – the look on my husband’s face when she came to pick me up, you’d think we were Thelma & Louise up to no good. I was also VERY pregnant so when we got to the patio furniture, I sat in every chair while my friend contemplated buying a sun umbrella. It was the best time.

  14. Great list. I remember in middle school there were these two girls on the bus who would take out their digital cameras and do ridiculous poses in selfies together the whole ride home. I joined in once and it was fun. If you’re creative enough and in the right mood, it can be ridiculous and hilarious.

  15. Elizabeth says...

    My sister and I have a fun tradition we do every week. It sounds silly but every Sunday we get groceries together at Whole Foods. We try the samples, discuss recipe ideas, check out their makeup section and usually grab one sweet treat to split on the way home (we live just a few miles apart). It actually makes me enjoy grocery shopping and it’s nice to know we have a recurring, scheduled date to catch up on things during busy weeks.

    • Kate says...

      You just reminded me of a weekly tradition my sister and I had. We would go to the local Farmer’s Market together every Saturday morning and at the end of our shopping we would buy one salted caramel from Two Sisters Chocolates (perfect name!) and split it.

      We should start this up again :)

  16. Chiccaprimus@hotmail.com says...

    Hi!
    I live in Brooklyn, (Stuyvesant Hights ) I am Italian and I just found out I’m
    Pregnant,
    I worked in nightlife until now and just quit my job to become a full time mum that doesn’t want to get bored until the baby is here so I have a big life change coming up. I just move to this neighborhood and I’d love to meet new friends to spend quality time with. Obviously ? I am not really looking for someone to party hard lol more for a good friend with great taste and easy laughs:) and of course some fellow preggos to share our experiences with.

  17. I should also say that it’s fun doing crafts! You can do them at home, or stores like Paper Source have classes. There’s a florist by me that does flower-arranging classes, I always want to do it but somehow never have.

  18. There’s a giant Whole Foods near me where they have a wine bar. I’m a mom, as are most of my friends, and it’s a great spot to meet up with kids or without. No one cares if you are in yoga pants or have dirty hair, it’s already loud in there so noisy kids don’t bother anyone, and you can pick up some essentials on your way out so it even feels productive. You can sit down at the bar and order a flight and a gorgeous charcuterie board, or you can walk around with a glass of wine if you’re short on time or have a fussy baby who needs to be in motion. All grocery stores should have bars!

    • Meg says...

      That sounds perfect!

  19. Gabriella Doob says...

    I like these ideas–dinner, drinks, etc. gets tired. I miss the activities of youth! My good friend and I do food excursions. We’ll pick a neighborhood in the city to explore and then eat the cuisine its known for. We’ve had Ukrainian in Brighton Beach, dim sum in Flushing, Greek in Astoria, the list goes on. Lately other fun friend activities include ping pong or bowling, little hikes or day trips, a baseball or basketball game, or just a picnic, frisbee, and sneaky drinking in the park.

  20. Naomi H says...

    Our family now loves to play outdoor Bocce ball. We take a picnic to a local outdoor bocce ball court with a picnic and eat and play either on teams or one on one. Our kids have really gotten into too and even the three-year-old can participate. Really fun to go with friends, alone or with family.

    • Andrea says...

      It is the best game! So easy to play!

      We take our set out to each picnic.

  21. Georgina says...

    My SIL and I have started going to ballet classes together. I HATE group classes and also being the worst in the room at something (which I usually am) but for some reason I love this. It’s a nice way to spend time with her, I really get on with her but don’t know her that well, and this means that we see each other once a week. Plus we get to laugh when we get singled out for corrections by our loud and fabulous teacher.

  22. Tyler says...

    In LA the go-to is hiking or flea markets :)

    • Em says...

      Very accurate!

  23. Emily says...

    My best friend and I have breakfast together once a month before church. We schedule out the dates in advance so they are blocked off on our schedule. It’s so nice to have intentional time to catch up with each other.

  24. Alice says...

    I just moved to a city where my oldest friend happens to also live. We met at 16 (24 years ago!) when studying drama together. I’m a writer now and she’s a kick arse amazing theatre director. We see shows and then discuss them over strong cocktails or cheap pints. We live in Edinburgh so obviously come the festival season there is a lot to see, and we’ll see anything at all. It keeps my horizon fresh. After the show we get tipsy (or more) and chat about The Rest of Life and I leave feeling more like me then when I set out. So good, every time.

    I like going on holiday with friends too, going out of collective comfort zones is fun, refreshing, like going back to factory settings. That friend and I just went camping in the highlands with our young kids and fellas, was heaps of fun. Experiences make memories, don’t they?

  25. Not quite a two-person book club, but my best friend and I started a book club for mums. The idea being you can bring your kid along and nobody minds if in the middle of expressing your erudite thought you have to wipe a nose or start breastfeeding. It makes scheduling a meet up so much easier if you don’t have to find childcare, though we are excited for our first kids-less outing to a poetry reading soon.

  26. Chelsea says...

    I worked for my university’s outdoor program in college leading adventure trips throughout the southwest. My most favorite trip we did was an all-women backpacking trip in the Guadalupe Mountains. Most of us did not know one another beforehand, but we all had a blast.

    I am now a stay-at-home Mom and one of my favorite activities with other moms is taking hikes with our kids. There is something so empowering about going into the outdoors with a friend and multiple kids between us and having a great adventure!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      LOVE that idea.

  27. Lauri says...

    My friend and I work out at the same gym, but once a week, we meet in the lobby, where the coffee is, and work side-by-side on our laptops. The genius part is, the gym offers super-cheap childcare, $2/hour for up to three hours (I know.), so we just sit and chat and Internet until our time is up. We’re pretty sure this is legal.

    • DIANA says...

      ahahahahahahahaha GENIUS!

    • emily says...

      lol that is amazing.

    • Em says...

      Best comment award

    • michele says...

      You can do similiar at IKEA also!!

  28. jessica says...

    Go swimming! One of my Gf’s and I love swimming, and it’s a great activity that you can chat all of the way through but rather than sitting around, we are doing something. Great to do an hour or so before the pool closes, we both sleep so soundly the night after our swim hangouts

  29. Laura says...

    I have a group of girlfriends that decided after the election that we wanted to begin doing things regularly in our community to give back and create positive change in the world, however small. We challenged each person to come up with an organization to support and volunteer at all together. So far we have done things like spent a day restoring a portion of trail in a national park, purchased backpacks and school supplies to assemble together, and are working on putting together a meal soon for some families that have experienced trauma before their weekly group therapy session at a local university. Other things we have talked about doing soon are picking up trash along a local trail, volunteering at an animal shelter, and supporting a holiday food drive. It’s tough to try to find times that work for everyone as we are all working moms, but it is a great way to see your friends AND do something benefiting others!

    • Alexia says...

      I love this!

    • Sara says...

      This is amazing. Thanks for the inspiration.

  30. Thank you for this post. To Linsey – I too, have infusion therapy every other week and there is nothing better than an offer to keep company and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It’s valuable time just to sit and chat and as long as the friend is comfortable with the fact that there is an IV pole nearby, it may as well be a proper coffee date! xx

  31. Stefana says...

    Play ping-pong! It’s such ridiculous, easy fun. You can even have a sip of light alcohol between sets and just giggle at how clumsy you are or admire each other when one of you has a particularly good hit.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love that idea!

  32. Bronwyn says...

    Right after we graduated college and before some of us moved away, my friends and I did a bakery crawl. We each picked a pastry (croissant, pain au chocolat) and walked through the city, stopping at every bakery that had at least one of each pastry. We were so full but it was such a lovely time!

  33. Kelly says...

    i was bummed that i didn’t know many of my neighbors after living on my block for several years, so naturally i decided to…organize a block party! i figured out the city permit process (in chicago…it wasn’t all that complicated and i had thought it might be!) and literally went door to door putting out flyers asking people to email me if they were interested in attending and helping out. i got a decent response and met a bunch of people…just did our 2nd annual last month with about double the participation…it probably took about 20 hours of my time over 4 months and now i know most people on my block. And, now we have a fun neighborhood tradition to look forward to!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so awesome, kelly! sounds like so much fun!

    • Emmie says...

      Yes, I have been meaning to do this, our neighbors are always noisy and chatting anyways. I wanted to do a pot-luck lunch and set up one really long table for all of us. I live on a busy SF street so people will kill us for shutting it down, but GO AROUND PEOPLE!

  34. Meg says...

    Adding to say that I have met friends through a blog’s comment section and through Flickr, in the days when it was popular.

  35. Katey says...

    A good girlfriend and I are both in our late 30s and childless (at least at the moment) and have a monthly yoga/brunch date on the weekend. We go to a yoga class together and then have a long leisurely brunch to catch up (always many, many cups of coffee). It’s the best.

  36. Quinn Read says...

    My friend and I were having no luck scheduling hangouts after we both started intense new jobs. It was just endless text messages proposing new times or dates. So we bought season tickets to an affordable lecture series. Now we have built in dates to look forward to every month! The best thing is that we can go grab coffee or a cocktail afterward and talk about what we learned. I absolutely love it, and now we’re talking about mixing it up with a fancier option, like season tickets to the symphony or the opera.

    • Kate says...

      My friends and I get a season pass to the Australian Ballet, in Melbourne.

      It’s 6 performances a season, a mix of classical and modern, and we always do a lunch before hand, and if everyone is free, and we can stretch the babysitters out a bit longer, it sometimes rolls into dinner.

      It’s so beautiful and special to see the ballet and then chat about the show, and everything else, together afterwards.

  37. Becky says...

    Whenever there is a Friday the 13th my girl tribe and I whisk away for two nights to catch up. It may only be once a year or sometimes less but because it is a standing date we never forget and always look forward to catching up on girl talk. Lots of group texts starting about a week before are part of the fun and anticipation!

  38. Oh god, two person book club! I have one of those, and we are awful! Most recently, I chose the new Michael Chabon and she chose The Evenings by Gerard Reve…. Well, she read the Chabon and I read the Reve and we’ve never discussed them or finished both books!
    I also read The Moviegoer and The Marriage Plot and she never read either of them. We joke about it a lot, but I think we may be abandoning the club in favor of doing… just about anything else!

  39. Teresa says...

    Mom and kid adventures are the best. I have a minivan that seats 7…perfect for my 3 kids and I and any friend that has 2 more. We pile in with a good playlist and whatever we need for the day and go. Beach trip, hot springs, swimming holes…The car ride needs to be at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours for it to really feel like a party :)

  40. Harriet says...

    I’d love to do number 2, just walk in a beautiful neighborhood and peek into windows, but the way my skin pigmentation is set up, I don’t know that that would be possible in modern day America. I might get shot just for being black [insert sad faced emoji].

    But nothing beats having friends over and cooking for them or just spending endless hours perusing the aisles at Target.

    • Sara says...

      Good point, Harriet! Sadly. :( I love your phrase, “the way my skin pigmentation is set up.” Totally gonna use that, it really gives perspective to our arbitrary social construct of race.

  41. Andrea says...

    My friend and I have started doing Friday night dinners in at her place since she has a toddler and we’re both worn out from working all week. I wear my pajamas and we make easy childhood comfort foods (so, mostly spaghetti), play with the baby, chat, and watch Real Housewives OC. She’s BRAND NEW to the franchise and I’ve been watching since 2006 so I fill in all the feud history and offer tidbits from the other cities. Her husband likes watching it too, which has led to *someone* yelling “prostitution whore!” in the background of a video of her precious child…..someone had to tell him about Teresa’s table flip!

    Also, she’s the one who introduced me to Cup of Jo, so a good friend indeed.

  42. Love the sleep over idea! My oldest son and his friends created what they call a “mom over”. 3 boys and 3 moms, went to dinner and a movie. Then instead of scattering we all slept over at one house. The moms chatted and drank wine. The boys did… what ever it is that teen boys do! It was a treat to hang with girlfriends in PJ’s, talk to the wee hours of the night, and then get to wake up and drink coffee together.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so cute!!!!!

    • Kim says...

      I love this!

  43. Maggie says...

    I started a “Supper Club” this past winter as a way of trying to make new female friends. I made a reservation for 8, invited 4 friends, and asked 3 of them to bring someone I didn’t know. I offered a theme for the night – How to Act without Knowing the Result (from this article: https://tinyurl.com/yaftp77z) but otherwise there was no homework required! It was so lovely to spend time in a group of women, and I was surprised how personal the conversations ended up being.

    We meet monthly, and there’s a nice invitation list to start from every month, though I still keep dinner to 8 so everyone can participate. Any time there’s an open seat, it’s an all-call to bring a (new-to-me) friend!

    • Teresa says...

      I love this, and am doing this!

  44. jillian says...

    Gin and Call the Midwife with my neighbor, even if we’re talking via text. That just reminded me of watching 120 Minutes in high school and talking on “total phone” with my 2 BFFs. Oh, the 90’s!

    • I just met a new neighbor via Nextdoor, and she came over one night this week to watch “Foyle’s War.” We discovered that we have so much in common, including a love of PBS shows. Since she lives in a neighborhood parallel to mine, it’s possible we might never have met if not for Nextdoor. I sort of hate that app, but it has some pros, too.

  45. Lizzie says...

    Baseball games! Or, in the winter, hockey/basketball/roller derby/whatever. Even if you’re not that into sports, trust me–it’s a great friend date. You mostly just get drinks and talk for a few hours in a more interesting setting than a bar. There’s bonus people watching and occasional sports excitement. Also! I find eye contact kind of intimidating and exhausting in one-on-one settings (just me?), especially with newer friends, and talking side-by-side is a lot easier.

    My other go-to is trying out weird workout classes with friends (arial silks? goat yoga? adult beginner ballet? boxing?). Sometimes they’re great and sometimes they’re embarrassing, but it’s always a good bonding session. Also, it’s so hard to find time to socialize *and* to work out, so if I can get both done at the same time, all the better.

    • Anu says...

      Ok, what is goat yoga?

    • Sara says...

      I just read something about goat yoga! Pretty sure it’s just yoga in the company of goats.

  46. katherine says...

    I have a good group of friends in my hometown of Toronto, but not that long ago my partner moved to New York for work, and so we are doing distance for two years while he does this job. I visit him quite frequently, but really struggle with the lack of pals I have in New York–my partner is great but I really feel the need for some lovely pals to hang around with.

    If anyone ever wants a pleasant part-time Brooklyner, let me know! I’m 29, I am a PhD student in English, and I like books, walks, wine, overanalyzing the Bachelorette, and funny feminist podcasts like Call Your Girlfriend. DO YOU WANT TO FRIEND-DATE ME

    • jess says...

      I don’t live anywhere near you (I live in South Africa) but I would TOTALLY friend-date you if I did :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, katherine, i love you! haha your comment is so cute and charming. we are having a Cup of Jo fall gathering on october 12th, if you are free! we will put the details on the site & Instagram shortly, but please come!!! would be so nice to meet you, and there will be lots of nice CoJ ladies there. xoxoxo

    • i’m in, katherine! :) i’m in flatbush and dream of someday moving to toronto – and check off all the things on your list except the bachelorette (we don’t have cable right now haha). find me on facebook! erin kate archer :)

    • katherine says...

      YOU ARE ALL SO NICE. Jo I will totally come to the cup of jo gathering! And Erin… I sent you a message on facebook. Look how well my comments-section personal ad worked! wowza, as my grandpa would have said.

    • Alaina says...

      Katherine, you sound awesome (CoJ and CYG are solid prerequisites)! I live in Brooklyn and I would love to friend date you! My boyfriend just recently moved across the country too, so I can also offer commiseration ;)
      You’re so welcome to reach out (alaina.provenzano@gmail) <3

    • aisha says...

      katherine, I live in queens and would love to have a friend date! can you message me on fb? aisha baruni. ha ha, internet dating for friends & love is life today!

    • K says...

      I want to friend date you! But I live in London. Pen pal? X

    • Erinn says...

      Your comment was so long ago but if you’re still looking for more NYC friends, I want to friend-date you! I’m an MA student in TESOL (going to be an English as a Second Language teacher), love books and overanalyzing all the Bachelor shows. Find me on Facebook if you see this erinn cristina!

  47. Gail, in northern California says...

    We walk.
    But recently my sister-in-law came for a visit. I don’t know her very well. Then I remembered some time ago you posted a segment about dinner party questions…one I’ll never forget was “If you suddenly became a master woodcraft person, what would you make?”
    Anyway, my sister-in-law asked if we could drive to the coast (about an hour away). What could have been an agonizing trip with awkward silences, was fun when I printed 12 of my favorite questions. And, you know what? I got to know her better because some of her answers surprised me. Thank you! ;-)

    • Jessica says...

      I would love to know what the 12 questions are! What a fun way to pass time!

  48. Amanda G says...

    These are such great ideas! All my closest friends have filtered out of Colorado in the last few years, and I’m the only one left. In an attempt to to reach out and meet new people, I started volunteering. I mostly volunteer with an organization that helps repair and rebuild trails all around the state, and I have met some awesome people, plus it’s a great way for me to be active and see different parts of the state I might not have seen before! But like everyone else says, making friends as an adult is super hard :(

  49. Abby says...

    My friend and I are both very introverted, and we were both going through particularly busy spells in our lives. We wanted to spent time together, but we were both socially exhausted. So we instituted two things: cartoons and cocktails, wherein we would sit in my living room in pajamas and watch cartoons with drinks, and reading days, where we’d both sit in companionable silence for a couple of hours while we read whatever book was on our list. It was nice not feeling obligated to Do Things or talk — sometimes you just want to watch television or read a book.

    • Lizzie says...

      Love this so much

    • Cooper says...

      Love those ideas! Along those lines, I also love audio tours of museums! You get to be with another person, listening to background details about exhibits, without the pressure to carry on a full-length conversation :)

  50. It has been a very long time since I have spent 1:1 time w/ a friend, like years… I am introverted and tend to spend all my time w/ my husband. He is 21 years older than me (I am 34 and he is 56), so it isn’t super-easy to have a similar group of friends. I am ok with this, but I can’t help but wonder what it would even be like to actually venture out w/ girlfirend(s). I can’t even remember the last time I just picked up the phone to call someone (other than some family) 10+ years? O_O

    • Carrie says...

      Sounds like me! I just get *immense* amounts of satisfaction in spending time with my husband. Being together is our sweet spot. That, and people drain me very quickly and easily, for whatever reason.

      I do have one long time best friend who I don’t really hang out with now that we are adults and very busy, but we are bosom friends, so our status never changes. It’s never weird when we hang out, even if it’s been 6 months since we’ve last seen each other.

  51. Charu says...

    Taking kids to park/play area is the great activity to catch up with fellow mom friends
    Kids play on their own a little and you can keep an eye on them while chatting up on life and events..if you run out of topics to chat about just go tell your kid to be careful on the slide or something..
    it takes pressure off of maintaining a fluid one to one conversation with someone for introverts like me..

    Also funny thing is my social circle has increased so much since having a child ..i was never one to go out and talk to new neighbor (introvert anxieties) but having a cute kid in tow makes that step much easier :)

  52. Yes! I love this. My bestie and I walk from our offices to get lunch together almost daily. We pick a spot (okay okay one of two), order online, then walk to pick up our orders together. All in all, it’s maybe 10 minutes, but it’s such a bright spot in the day without feeling like it’s hindering any productivity since you’d have to get out anyway!

  53. Missy says...

    This one’s for my best friend who is 2,000 miles away, about to have a baby, and reads this blog daily. Em, I would give just about anything to do any one of these 14 with you today, but I’ll settle for a really long phone call and some online shopping. I love you!

    • Erica says...

      This made me tear up. I hope she sees this.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so so sweet, missy!

  54. Di says...

    Something I have found difficult as I get older (38) is finding ways to spend time with friends that do not involve alcohol. With some of my friends, even if we have a potluck or picnic or watch a show together, everyone brings a bottle of wine and we end up drinking it all. Or we meet for after-work drinks. Maybe because a lot of us met when we were all single, this culture of drinking took hold and now it’s hard to get out of. I find I have been distancing myself from good friends because I just don’t want to deal with the alcohol involved (and my willpower isn’t that great if I’m around red wine…). These are some great ideas I could suggest so thank you!

    • Carol says...

      I totally agree, I found this to be challenging when I was dating too. I do drink, but I don’t like to drink every night. When every event is centered around alcohol, you start to wonder if the purpose was to catch up or if the purpose was to find an excuse to have a few drinks!

  55. Best thing ever is a road trip. I love doing it from time to time with friends. Especially if we just wake up and decide on doing it.

    • Donna-Marie says...

      Okay you youngsters. My friend and I are in our 60s (gasp yes and still alive!) she and I do a local road trip yearly. And we have a blast. Of course, the planning part is also fun. Sometimes we just window shop, we go to museums or local attractions on these trips. (I even do these things with my husband.) There’s always something new to do in the town or city or nearby where you live. Just walk your neighborhood, you might be surprised – sometimes just the architecture is amazing or amusing. My husband and I and our k-9kid take walks in different neighborhoods and. K-9 kid gets his car ride in!

  56. Sabrina says...

    We have cheese cake parties! My friend makes the best cheese cakes in her Instant Pot!
    We also do a craft night. Everyone brings a project they are working on or just come and chat if you’re not crafty.

  57. I’m an introvert too. I like one-on-one friends. I don’t do that well in big groups. I have one bestie here and two in two other states. We plan weekends to be together like concerts, hiking, or just shopping & eating together to catch up. We stay in touch via text and email and snail mail. I love writing letters. I add that by volunteering you can meet interesting people.

  58. Maranda says...

    I definitely tend to be an anything active type person. I’ve tried hot yoga classes with new friends, gone hiking, bonded over running, etc. Being active is a really big part of my life plus it’s nice to get out and move with someone else. I will admit that happy hour drinks are my jam as well. I love the Bachelor/Bachelorette and would love to find a friend to watch with if anyone is in the Baltimore area and seeking a trashy reality TV friend!

    I totally agree that it is very hard to make friends as an adult. I’ve tried friend apps (similar to online dating apps) and I’ve met a few nice people, but only one person who has stuck. I have this problem in my friendships where I feel like I am the one constantly making the effort. I am the only one coming up with plans and inviting someone places and if I do not we will probably go several months between seeing each other, which hurts my feelings! Does anyone else experience this?

    • molly says...

      YES I totally have this problem and it’s a real bummer. Like am I just not that cool or what? Also, I’m close (ish – DC) to Baltimore and always looking for a trashy reality TV friend!

    • Jessica says...

      I’m in Baltimore! I’ve also met friends here by doing active/outside activities (mostly running!). But then we tend to get into a routine of only hanging out when running and then never moving past that – why is that “next step” so hard?! I totally understand the effort dilemma, it can be so exhausting. I’d love new friend dates!

    • I’m also in Baltimore! Always in for Bachelor/ette and a date for yoga. I completely relate to feeling like I am always making the effort. As lives have been changing, friendships have been changing too which is always difficult. Would love some new lady friends!! Please look me up if any of you ladies desire (FB – Emily Dziubek Lewis)

  59. Number one reminds me of “When Harry Met Sally” when Sally and Marie were in the bookstore together and Sally spots Harry.

    There was a bookstore right by my campus when I was in college and I spent so much time there! I would take the little girl I nannied for, hang out with friends and a cup of coffee, sit and read with my boyfriend. It was bliss. I miss those days!

  60. Irene says...

    Try out an exercise class together. It helps if you and your friend are in similar shape and have similar abilities–and, of course, share a good sense of humor. :)

  61. Phoebe says...

    I just had my softball glove out with the hope of a game of catch with my boyfriend. Alas, the weekend got away from us and I sadly put it away.

    I just added “make some friends” to my list in my journal. All my friends — I mean, every single one — left NYC in the last 3 years. My BFF and I used to take a class every week at the Y, steam after, have lunch, then shop at Trader Joe’s, all before school pick-up — a perfect morning. Now, texting and 3 hour late-night phone sessions are all we have.

    I’m in Boerum Hill with a working mom schedule. Want to throw the ball around sometime?

  62. Emilie says...

    My friend and I started a podcast together! It’s called The Screen Sirens and it’s sort of a classic movie book club. We spent a year watching a new Old Hollywood film every two weeks and creating a backlog of episodes before we launched. It’s a blast discussing the movies, it’s a nourishing creative side project, and it’s brought us so much closer. Win-win-win!

  63. One of my best friends lives several thousand miles away (nine hour time difference – even phone/skype dates are tricky) so we keep in touch by leaving each other Whatsapp recordings, which is really fun.
    This summer when I visited we had a Shabbat dinner with her and her family, including her parents (who happens to have the same name as my daughter); afterwards she came home with us and we all climbed into bed while she read my kids “Walter the Farting Dog” …in the finale of the book the dog does a tremendous fart and scares away some robbers; my friend accidentally said my son’s name instead of Walter, and we all laughed for several minutes!
    With another friend in the same trip she and I went to lunch and shopping and then we took at nap, each on one couch at her house, before she came with me to pick up my kids at camp; then we took them to feed the animals at the little farm in the park. So great to have friends with whom you can share all kinds of activities and time!

  64. Kelley says...

    Inspired by my grandmother, who was known quite regularly to take sherry in her travel mug instead of coffee, a few years ago a friend and I began a tradition of going on ‘wine walks’. We would just grab a bottle of wine, pour it in a to-go coffee mug or water bottle, and set out around the neighborhood. We both lived in a historical home district at the time, so walking through the neighborhood was lovely, and allowed a topic ready at hand if we didn’t have the energy for ‘deep’ conversation. Also – it’s like happy hour, but cheaper and happier because you get the extra endorphin rush from walking! Win – win!

    For me what is hard about having friends move away is that my heart is still so full from their friendship, it can feel easier to just spend that time time on the wine walk calling an old friend, rather than inviting a new friend. But, like most things in life, it’s probably more about a healthy balance – maybe inviting a new friend for a walk one week, and calling an old friend the next.

    Good luck to you, Jo! I hope the right people fall into place in your life soon.

    • katherine says...

      this is SUCH a cute idea. and how fun to do it in the middle of winter with hot chocolate and whisky?

  65. Every year during Miss America, I am texting with friends I don’t talk to very often. I get a kick out of the talents and cheesy smiles and it is fun to know I am not giggling alone. I call the winner every year, and have become strangely proud of this talent. Super fun.

    • Cooper says...

      Ha! I also love watching the Miss America pagent. Last year, when Savvy Shields won, she was wearing a black dress and talking about how much she loves the color black – and I was sitting at home watching with my black cat . . . named Savvy.

  66. CCMA says...

    My best friend and I (former college roommates!) live in separate states and we are both busy moms. While we do text most days, we recently starting making “phone appointments” with each other. It’s the BEST to get to talk to one another for a long while after the kids are in bed.

  67. Joanna says...

    I am a Polish expat living in Qatar. Over year ago, I’ve posted an air humidifier for sale on one of the local classified pages. Ad was picked up by my fellow Pole and we have been inseparable ever since ;)
    Amazing how sometimes pure chance helps us make great friends!

  68. Kimberley says...

    Love these friends posts! They give me hope :) Random anecdote: I’m training to be a Thai Massage therapist and since I moved to a new city in the Netherlands (ok, not that recently…) I don’t have so many friends, but I need people to practice massage on! Kind of a bit too intimate of a thing to ask the first time you meet someone! ;-)

    • Kelly says...

      i for one would be thrilled to be asked to get a practice massage! maybe not in the first 5 mins of conversation but if we’d spoken long enough to connect (and for me to have a non-ax murderer vibe) :)

    • Michelle says...

      Hi Kimberly, I’m based in The Netherlands too. I live just outside Gouda. If you’re still looking to make friends and/ massage clients maybe we could meet up? If you’re keen pm on Facebook under Michelle Mourits

  69. Yes to all of this! I’ve lived in Minneapolis most of my life, and am lucky enough to have many wonderful girlfriends. However, after years of talking about it, my husband and I made a temporary move to Nice in the South of France (we’ve been here 6 months) and in Jan we’re headed to Tribeca in Manhattan where we hope to love and stay forever. It’s but crazy and amazing, but also rather lonely at times without the friends I’ve grown so accustomed to. I am thrilled about our move to NYC, but a little worried how this Midwest mom will do meeting quality friends in the city. If you’re in Tribeca, I would love to connect lol! Thanks for the posts Joanna, you always make this world feel less small!

  70. I love this post for so many reasons (hearts)~

  71. Melinda wold says...

    Miles separate us. Yet we can connect by sitting down to watch a favorite decorating show with our phones. Texted comments traverse Iowa. Electronically-connected yet age-challenged. We crack each other up with words formed in educated minds but typed with aide of bifocals on small screens. Auto correct is our enemy and our partner in humor.

  72. Jill says...

    wow! I really need this. My daughter is 13 and I now have trouble meeting friends, I used to just befriend her friends moms! But now at her charter school kids come from all over, and It’s tough finding woman close by. Maybe Ill start a cup of Joe meet up group in West Los Angeles.

  73. Jen says...

    Anything active like a class or anything outdoors (walks, hikes) would be my preference. But dinner and drinks are my jam!

    Also, I feel you. It is hard to make new friends at this stage. Like real good, girlfriends. My husband, toddler and I just moved to the states and we are totally missing having good friends nearby. But I’m hopeful!!

    Thanks for this post!

  74. Ceridwen says...

    I just spent the best couple of days with my friend at her new(ish) house. I took my kids with me and they loved playing with her one year old. We played monopoly, ate pizza, fish n chips on the beach, made crepes, walked to the playground with take away coffees from the nearby gym cafe, left the kids with her partner and we wondered around the supermarket talking and laughing and we also stayed up late after kids in bed and watched the Lady Gaga doco on Netflix. We just had the best, most relaxed couple days. At one point we were in the car listening to our 90s music and reminiscing then we looked back and cracked up at our three kids in the back thinking we were nuts singing and talking non-stop. We felt like we were 16 again but here we are grown-ups with little kids. It was perfect. My friend said our time hanging out was completely rejuvenating. Same for me.

  75. Shannon O'C says...

    One of my old friends just moved closer and I wanted to find excuses to book nights with her, so we started Jam Sessions. We’ve taught/are teaching ourselves how to make jam and make all sorts of corny jokes about our awesome Jam Sessions. We talk, laugh about our awkwardness in the kitchen, and catch up. She’s talking about attempting pie crust soon so I’m working up the courage for that one!

  76. Savannah says...

    My mom and I (who were mistaken for honeymooners when we traveled to Paris after my college graduation) went to spin class together every morning and talked through the grueling workouts. We only got yelled at a couple of times by people who were “serious” about their workouts. We were serious! But also chatty.

  77. Laura B says...

    Running errands 100%! I love Target runs with my girlfriends and yes, it is intimate to buy toilet paper or tampons with someone else (but hey, I discovered the DivaCup from a recommendation with a friend who was like ‘wait, you DON’T use this?!!’

    Also, whenever I need to tackle cleaning my house and I just. can’t. do. it. I text a girlfriend, entice them with a glass of wine and get to work! Chatting while folding laundry or cleaning the kitchen makes it go by so much faster… and every once in a while you get a genius cleaning tip!

    • Lydia says...

      My mom used to swap cleaning houses with one of her friends. Her friend would come over and my mom would get to sit on the couch, put her feet up, and relax and chat while her friend cleaned her house. Then the next week, she would go over and clean her friend’s house while her friend relaxed.

    • My bestie and I live an hour and a half from each other, so we don’t get to hang out in person as often or as long as we would like. But we’ve definitely developed a habit of automatically calling the other whenever we’re headed to Target. It makes the trip a lot longer when you’re meandering the store aisles while chatting, and sometimes, we’ve forgotten what we were even looking for – and have to remind the other of why we had to go shopping in the first place, but it’s become sort of our ritual!
      “Did I tell you about the guy I was talking to…?”
      “DEODORANT. You needed to pick up deodorant.”
      “Ooh, those are cute shoes! Can I pull these off?” *sends picture*
      “Yes, you should get those shoes.”
      “…what did I come here for, again?”

  78. katherine says...

    I love to do a craft together! My friend Veronica and I taught ourselves to cross stitch from a youtube video and we drank a bottle of wine and made cross stitches with funny sayings (mine was Drake lyrics: “Feel no ways”)

  79. Eva says...

    Joanna, a couple of my new friends and I have YOUR blog to thank. Remember that post back in January about making friends with the two-fold challenge of (1) being adults and (2) moving to a new city? Well, the comments feed sparked a meetup among myself and three other lovely ladies in Portland OR, and we totally hit it off! All four of us live in the same part of town so that totally helped :) But crazily, three of us live on the same BLOCK. We talk for hours on end when we’re together—books, movies, podcasts, politics, culture. Such a fun and fierce group of ladies I have now!

    So, um, thank you! <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, this makes my heart sing, eva! you all sound so wonderful!

    • Lauren says...

      Love this! Is anyone else in Boston inspired to meet up? It’s a gorgeous time of year to stroll around the city. Thanks for sharing, Eva!

    • Simone says...

      Wow that is so awesome!! Any San Diego ladies up for it? I’m in north county.

    • Bronwyn says...

      Lauren- I’m in Cambridge and would love to! That sounds fantastic!

    • Ashley says...

      Anyone in Portland ME that would like to meet up? I just moved here from NY. Thanks for the inspiration, Eva!!

    • Emily says...

      Eva and Jo – you’ve motivated this mama to put herself out there :) Any fellow readers from New Haven want to give it a go?

  80. These are really nice ideas, great ways to build a bond doing something different. Making friends again as an adult is so exhausting! When we moved internationally last year and I had 4 small children I just couldn’t bring myself to start the whole process even though I wanted to establish a community like the amazing network of lovely friends I’d had before we moved.
    I wrote about it here, in case anyone else is also going through it and finding that they just don’t have the energy required for friend making!!

    https://themumandthemom.com/2017/01/16/on-making-friends/

  81. Emma says...

    Every other week or so on Friday I’ll head to my closest friend’s house for a couple hours before she goes to work. Her two-year-old is always in high spirits when I arrive, and goes down for a short nap about an hour in, which gives me time to love on both of them. It’s always a highlight of my week, just hanging out in her kitchen, helping her with chores, watching funny youtube videos, husband gossip, etc. My sister and I use time at the opposite end of the day to catch up, grabbing a loaf of bread and nice butter from a shop and sitting in a park for an hour after work once a week or so. The complications and endless responsibilities of adult life seem much more manageable when you sneak friend time like that, in snug little tidbits of time that don’t really get used otherwise, like a difficult corner of a room that you find the perfect piece of furniture for. Everything comes together just right.

  82. Kate says...

    I’ve found that just mentioning classes i’m interested in taking can spark interest from people (such as co-workers) and bring you closer together. If you’re both interested in photography too, suggesting you take your cameras out for a hike or walk about town or to the botanical gardens is a fun thing to do!

  83. My friend Jane is a brilliant poet. She invited her closest female friends over and served appetizers and drinks on the patio. She gave us each a handmade book of poems (she’d written a poem for each of us). She said “I don’t think we should wait for men for to write about us.” The poems were incredible and captured each of us so well and we were thrilled! I told her privately “I think my poem was the best one.” She said another woman had pulled her aside to whisper the same thing. When I got home I realized Jane didn’t have a poem so I went out on a limb and wrote one for her (even though I’m not a poet). She loved it (if not the poem itself then the gesture!)

    • Alice says...

      That is the LOVELIEST thing!! I can’t get over how sweet that is. You guys sound like great friends! :)

    • Shannon says...

      This is incredible! Thank you for sharing!

    • Carrie says...

      Oh my gosh I love that story!! You all sound so awesome!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this couldn’t be a sweeter story!

    • Thanks guys!

    • This is the best thing I’ve read on the internet in a long time.

  84. My friends have been getting together lately to drink wine and watch movies. We still get to do the whole evening thing with our families but still get our own time and space.

  85. Jennifer says...

    I love going to big second hand stores (like Goodwill or Value Village) with a friend. I like to walk through the aisles separately and then meet up at random points. Finding stuff for each other is also fun, and so is rolling our eyes at the really ugly things on the racks. I’m married with two kids and a full time job now, but going second-hand shopping now and again with a friend reminds me of being in my teens and twenties. Flush with time, but not with cash, friends and I would spend hours pawing through racks and trying things on, making “yes” “no” and “maybe” piles, and laughing so hard at ridiculous clothes and inside jokes. It’s nice to get a bit of that back every once in a while.

  86. Bree says...

    Bookstore wandering is a time-honoured tradition in my friend group. Every time I go home to visit my parents, the first evening I’m there my friend and I hit up Starbucks and Chapters and wander for hours. Back when I was doing my undergrad, there was this amazing used bookstore that was open until midnight, and we used to go there late Friday nights and browse instead of going out clubbing or something.

    In case the used bookstore anecdote didn’t tip you off, I’m a bit of an old lady at heart, and have been crocheting since I was a kid (my mom taught me). So a few years ago, I taught one of my friends to crochet and in exchange she taught me how to knit. Now we each bring our respective projects to each other’s houses from time to time and crochet or knit while introducing each other to sitcoms that we individually love, but the other one has never seen.

  87. Alix says...

    Apologies if this is too forward, but I live in the neighborhood and have also been looking to meet some like-minded women since relocating to Brooklyn a year and a half ago. I’d love to do a no-pressure coffee date sometime if you’re open to it!

  88. Steph says...

    In the warmer months we have some neighbor friends who stay outside and chat while all the kids play together. (Boys and girls, ages 4-12) But last year we missed our time together when the time changed and it was too dark too quickly, so we started game night and alternated houses. Most of the time the game is forgotten and we sit around and talk. Sometimes someone makes cookies, sometimes there’s cider or wine, but there’s no pressure. It is so nice to share life’s adventures with people you love!

  89. My bff and I get together at each other’s houses and work on projects and talk/gossip/cry, you know. It’s often sewing or mending projects – whatever we can do in a stationary place. Sometimes she irons or folds laundry. If we can’t physically be together, then we hang on the phone with each other while we’re doing our chores.

    I’ve done canning and preserving projects with other friends, too. It’s even better if they have kids and then our kids go off and play while we work in the kitchen.

  90. I love this post so much. Such simple, great ideas. So many of them heart-warming, my favorite thing about this blog!

  91. Devon says...

    I feel like almost all my close female friends and I love a Target run! We puzzle over weird home deco, try on things we probably won’t buy, and always end up with a jar of Nutella and unnecessary beauty products!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love this!!

  92. I was reminded what an introvert I am by reading these suggestions!! I was horrified at the thought of grocery shopping with somebody else (I don’t even go with my husband), and thought the last one is super sweet, I really really cherished my IV time alone — I counted on those few hours every 8 weeks *grimace face*
    However. I have myself undertaken baking and walking together before, and even have formed a friendship over texting through a YEAR of Masterpiece theater’s various performances.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “have formed a friendship over texting through a YEAR of Masterpiece theater’s various performances” = you sound awesome, emily. LOVE this.

    • Meg says...

      I relate! I want to have an old fashioned letter writing friendship. It’s no substitute for a good in-person friend, but as a busy adult with a very low social appetite, meeting and cultivating new friendships seems insurmountable.

  93. Meghan says...

    Speaking of Bachelorette…my husband actually created an app called Cooler that lets people watch the same show at different times and make comments that appear when you get to the right moment of the show. (https://cooler.tv) I’m terrible at explaining it but it’s really fun and allows me and my sister to watch tv “together” even when we are far away and miss each other.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg so cool!!!

    • Allison says...

      Omg – that’s amazing!!!

    • Molly K says...

      That app sounds awesome! I’m going to try it!

  94. This post was perfectly timed! On Saturday I am putting on my big girl pants and hopping a bus from Oyster Bay with 60 local moms from team yolo – you only live once ( http://Www.yolostrong.com) to take part in the Hoboken City Challenge obstacle race! We have been working hard training all year to raise money and awareness for the Morgan Center in Hicksville, NY- the only preschool in the country for children undergoing chemotherapy. I moved to this town from manhattan 3 years ago and had to start all over making new friends. Thank goodness for preschool because that is how I met my new ones, many of whom will be racing with me on Saturday. The Morgan Center not only gives a piece of childhood back to its students, it’s a support network for the parents and that really resonated with me. I’m excited to race for those families dealing with the unimaginable and to make some memories with my new(ish) friends!

    • Amy let’s be friends! I live in Wantagh!!!

  95. Anneka says...

    GET A DOG. I make all sorts of friends going to the dog park every weekend morning, some who I’ve become close with outside of the dog world.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a great point, amy! i felt the same when i had a baby, funnily enough.

    • Sarah says...

      So true! We moved to our town 3 years ago and most of our closest friends we met at the dog park.

  96. Crafting! I have a lot of friends who are into crafting so we often pool our supplies and spend an afternoon listening to music while crafting (you can also buy nice craft kits at art supply stores which always look fun to do). Same goes for adult colouring in books, I can never colour in alone but doing it with a friend is so fun!

  97. Sarah says...

    My friends and I used to do spa nights with homemade ingredients. We would prepare herbal footbaths with fresh-picked mint, sage, rosemary, or lavender and a handful of Epsom salts, and we’d make face masks made of avocado and clay, or mango and honey. We’d drink herbal tisanes to keep with the theme, and talk about our celebrity husbands. It was messy and fun and practically free!

  98. I love these ideas! My friends and I always seem to bond over food so whether it’s grabbing a quick lunch in-between obligations, or walking to the grocery store and back together you can’t go wrong with food. I’ve also instituted this ‘open door policy’ for all of my friends: when they have time to hang out or when they need to talk, my door is always open. It’s a comfort knowing that when they have a free night they could just walk in and we could catch up or watch the newest Criminal Minds together.

    xx

    bombshell-to-be.blogspot.com

  99. Heather says...

    I can relate to this post so much. Two of my best neighborhood girls – like, we had our kids at the same times, our kids ended up going to school together, they are my day-long-epic-group-texts, they were my most regular folks to have spontaneous play dates with, etc. – are both moving FAR away. When I filled out my son’s list at school of who was allowed to pick him up other than me and Daddy, I was stumped, and just stared at the form sadly for a long time. Alas, I’m trying to make some new friends nearby to fill in these gaps in my “village.” It feels sort of corny, like dating. I get shy. How many times do I ask someone to hang out before giving up, accepting that we are both working moms and frazzle-brained and busy? And also: how much energy do I have for new relationships when I still hope to maintain all of these existing special bonds long-distance? I would also be remiss not to add that I wish we were neighbors, Joanna! Good luck to both of us making new friends in our 30’s. Not an easy endeavor, but surely a rewarding one.

  100. Sarah says...

    I joined a book club over the summer & while I’m yet to actually finish any of the books, I look forward to our monthy get togethers so much. This month we’re having a sleepover! Everyone is bringing a bottle of wine and we’re having a blind tasting. I’m really looking forward to it. All women should have sleepovers now & then. These women remind me that I’m not alone in the things I’m going through. We’re all doing our best & we all need to be better at supporting one another. A sleepover with good company, good food, good drinks….and being in bed by 10pm, sounds perfect to me!

  101. Claire says...

    Thank you for posting that picture of Edna in her Cessna! Reminds me of my grandpa, who flew his whole life. I love to spend time swapping family stories with friends – I’m always blown away by the ins and outs that have brought people into existence. Like my childhood friend whose Jewish relatives were driven out of 1940s Germany by the Nazis, and they’re still trying to get their land back. Or another friend whose parents met on an oil rig – her mom was a lawyer inspecting something (??), and her dad guarded the door while she went to the restroom because oil rigs just had men’s facilities.
    Again, I’m endlessly fascinated by this stuff.

  102. Candice says...

    Jo, I am so sorry to hear that so many friends moved away! I had the same thing happen in 2015 and had a good friend (who wasn’t local though) pass around the same time everyone moved and it made for a hard year. And then a hard year and a half of “dating” friends to find people who wanted to hang out after my kids went to bed.

    Back in 2009 my then boyfriend and I moved to a middle-of-nowhere town for his dream job, and it turned out so did all of his coworkers/their significant others. One woman in particular would just show up at our house at any odd hour to hang out (it was summer and she was a childless school teacher/i didn’t have a job yet). That definitely drove me nuts but she was totally sane otherwise and I liked her. She also was always arranging little “come have some chips and salsa and some beers after work”/”lets go do XXX” to any and everyone. She and I became great friends, as well as lots of other ladies in the same situation. She was one of the friends that moved in 2015. Fast forward to early 2017, me and my now-husband move again, with the addition of two kids!, and so lucky for me lots of people moved to work at his new company and there are lots of young families. So what did I do? I decided that they were all going to be my friends and that I’d ply them with food/drinks! I showed up to anything (stood in line for 2.5 hours to buy succulents at some botanic garden sale with these ladies) and said something along the lines of, “Do you guys hang out? Because I like to hang out.” And aside from the fact that we all get on really well (which was a gamble!), it’s just really worked. Plan things and invite people. Go to whatever people invite you to. And then when you need to “close the deal”, whip out cocktails or baked goods. I mean, who can refuse that?

  103. WMom says...

    A good friend and I like to get together and menu plan / swap recipes and share cookbooks. Sometimes we cook together. We both have young boys, so we’re always looking for ways to make dinner more healthy and appealing.

  104. Layne Dettor says...

    I may have shed a little tear reading this and thinking about my girlfriends. My best friend flew all the way to Japan (where I live) to visit me and we just found ourselves ditching our plans to just be together. So often we feel the need to do something together but sometimes the best thing is to lay in bed together and talk and drink tea.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      all the heart emojis xoxoxoox

    • Jillian says...

      Love this! I recently moved to Japan and am loving it, but am still adjusting to a new work culture and lifestyle – which has also entailed a whole new set of friends and friendship rituals. I was recently invited to a ladies party (at my house – haha!) with many women in town who I’d never met. Despite our language barriers (and perhaps with the aid of a few glasses of wine!), the conversation drifted to relationships, work/life/family balance, and what was on our hearts. It was amazing to know that ladies night topics are universal! That said, I still long for late nights and long mornings with my best friend!

      Where in Japan are you, if you don’t mind me asking?

  105. My “Yes” friend just moved away! We would do anything and everything together. She was always checking the free or almost free listings on Meet Up so there was an endless list of things on her agenda. One time we took a recycled tin art class together. It was so fun! I also meet people and met my “yes” friend through my sorority’s local alumnae association. Have you ever tried Bumble? I heard you can find people also trying to make new friends.

  106. I completely agree with the accompanying friends on errands and such, but especially if there’s time to do some fun things, too, like checking out a new cafe, popping into a frilly stationery store, and the like.

    I was really moved, too, by what your friend Linsey wrote. One of my best friends has infusions every month and I went along to keep her company a few times. I always felt so touched that she’d allowed me to be a witness to what is arguably her most vulnerable self: sitting in scrubs on a hospital bed with an IV. To make things fun, we’d plan out elaborate snacks (gummy candy, fancy Yerba mate tea, milkshakes!), watch long movies with complicated plots, and work on our knitting projects. Those afternoons felt so intimate and made me admire my friend for her unbelievable strength and poise.

  107. justine says...

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friends moving. It’s happened to me and it leaves a little hole in your heart, for sure. This piece really spoke to me. Most of my friends are new moms or moms of very young kids. I feel like we never see each other anymore. It wasn’t so long ago that our lives were very social and I don’t know why but I feel like we have leaned into our family life too much. Is it just me and my friends? Is it a new mom thing? Anyway, I was really feeling down about it this past weekend. But reading this makes me feel a bit empowered. I’m going to propose a ladies night with my closest (small) circle of friends, suggesting that we each also invite a friend from outside the circle, so that we can have some fun with new people. I feel like it may be more natural to meet people this way if we each have a mutual friend in the room. I’ll serve snacks and ask that everyone bring a bottle of wine or ingredients for a cocktail they love. Yeah. I’m totally going to do this.

    • Beth says...

      So true that many people lean into their family life too much. My kids are slightly older than many of my acquaintances’ but from the very beginning I would use pretty much any excuse to hang out without my kids (after the 6 month-old baby mark). I have attended so many concerts/social events completely and utterly exhausted for the past 8 years. And I am an introvert and not a very high energy person in general! But I feel very, very alone in this. ;) It makes me sad because it makes it that much harder to make friends when people aren’t willing to leave the house after 7 pm! I live abroad and all of my better friends have moved away. It’s a constant battle making new friends…

    • I feel similarly! I am not a mom, so maybe I just don’t “get it”, but I have friends who live in different states that I see more than my friends that live down the street with kids. I’d love to even just hang out with them at their house so it’s not an “event” but I feel awkward about inviting myself over like that.

  108. Sadie says...

    I became friends with Madison on a hike and for weeks I only invited her hiking. Finally, I offered to pick her up from the airport and it broke the mold. We still hike, but we do a lot of laying on each other’s couches, taking trips to the recycling center, and talking on the phone when we haven’t seen each other all week.

  109. It’s true, making new friends when you’re older is NO JOKE. I met one of my closest friends at a local music festival, where we bonded over Budweiser (perhaps not classy, but the circumstances still make us laugh). A few weeks later, she invited me to a conference she was attending (she had an extra ticket), it was a great way to bond over a shared interest while having someone to talk to during the lulls. I just moved away, but one of my favorite activities to do together was co-working (we both work remotely/for ourselves) and grabbing an iced tea and sitting and watching the dogs and their owners in our local park – it’s amazing to see how similar the dogs and their owners look!

  110. Lindsey says...

    My best friend of 30 years and I have sleepovers with our girls at least four times a year. It’s the most relaxing, fun time no matter what else we do. Sometimes we are adventurous, but mostly we go out to dinner and then stop at Whole Foods and stock up on bubble bath and face masks and pamper ourselves while the girls play.

  111. Just today I caught up with two former co-workers, who happen to be dear friends, by having a picnic lunch near the office. I’m retired so it’s the perfect opportunity to spend an hour catching up on office gossip, family stuff, and future plans. NO, I don’t go into the office. It’s disruptive and, really, these two dear women are the ones I want to see.

  112. Ann says...

    I made a new friend at the beginning of this past summer. When we first hung out, the conversation of summer bucket lists came up – we were both new to town and had lists of stuff we wanted to do before summer was over. So we become “bucket list friends” and would meet up a few times per month to check something off the list. We went to the beach, went hiking, got drinks at a new rooftop bar, etc. (Don’t worry, we’re still friends even though summer is done haha!)

  113. Kelcey says...

    I freaking love gin rummy. I carry a pack of cards in my purse most of the time, and ALWAYS when travelings. It’s come in handy during hours-long waits at the Apple Store, in airports while waiting to board, pretty much any time you’re stuck somewhere, you can find a spot to play gin.

  114. mia says...

    1) I have a 2 person movie club with my best friend, we live on opposite sides of the world so we’ll organise to watch certain films and devote a part of our regular skype session to discuss.
    2) I met up with a friend recently that I hadn’t seen in ages, we just went to the park and stared at the lake and talked at the water. It was oddly comforting, knowing she was right there next to me on the bench, but staring at something else while you spoke.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love your comment, mia.

  115. Hillary F. says...

    I had an old friend in town and she came with me to pick up my son from school and it was just the best. So simple and fun.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      something about this comment makes me tear up. a friendship full of love.

  116. Kristen says...

    Yes! These are all awesome.
    I don’t have kids (yet) but find running errands with friends is a great way to connect with them and their kids. Plus if you stick around for bedtime / night time you get bonus cuddles and story time.
    Going to a show (broadway, local theater, ballet) is a great way to feel cultured, dress up and do something my husband won’t do.
    Re: book stores – my BFF and I love to get a coffee and grab all the magazines we love but don’t buy and read and share and gossip and laugh.
    Re: walks – we’ve recently ‘invented’ the walking Happy Hour. Just put your wine in a to go cup and you get the best of both worlds!

  117. t says...

    I think it is so much easier to make friends now that I have kids. We can meet and then bond over endless hours at the park and schedule play dates. Once we get to know one another we get to do outings without the kids.

    I think it is easier to come up with fun ideas for outings when you live in an amazing city. Each person can switch off picking a cultural/physical outing (a new art opening, a touristy place one of you has never experienced, kayaking, etc). We do this on birthdays and it is so fun because it exposes us to parts of our city that we would maybe never try such (in NYC that might be Greenwood cemetery, the cloisters, south street seaport, or other more obviously interesting cultural outings such as a new exhibit, live music at the living room, the brooklyn flea, you get the idea). It is fun when it isn’t a consensus – just one person gets to pick the outing without input and then next time another person picks.

  118. I needed some flowers to plant in my front yard so my friends and I went to Lowe’s and they helped pick out flowers that we all planted together! It made the job so much easier and it was so nice to spend time with them that way.

  119. Elizabeth Sorenson says...

    I have the done makeovers with girlfriends before but we used our own makeup. We just brought what we had and went to town. Then you’re in a much more comfortable place, preferably in pjs. I have also brought over my own masks and nail accoutrements and had a “spa” night. Doing masks together brings out the sillies every time, and I love it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      masks with friends sounds perfect. for some reason, i’ve never done that but now i really want to! i am LOVING all these ideas so much xoxoxo

  120. Zoe says...

    Thrift stores/flea markets and yard sale/estate sale hopping! Digging through weird stuff even if you don’t buy anything can be so much fun. One time I ended up doing this with a random acquaintance that I ran into at a brewery event. We had a couple beers, walked around to thrift stores buzzed (she ended up trying on a gigantic, stinky rubber Halloween mask) bought some fun stuff and ended up having so much fun that we got Thai food afterward!

    • Kate says...

      I did this with new friends recently – a mini road trip, lunch and thrift store shopping. It was fun and a casual way to get to know people better.

    • Anna says...

      Yes! I love doing this with friends new and old. You learn a lot about a person when you discover what catches their eye at a thrift store.

  121. Angela says...

    Two things I’m dying over…MASH and adult sleepovers. Sign me up for both immediately…and perhaps, simultaneously.

  122. JL says...

    I am starting tennis lessons with a coworker with whom I’ve “clicked” and would like to become better friends with outside the office.

  123. Caroline says...

    3 friends in one go! I am so sorry that really sucks. Some good friends of ours just moved to Sydney (we are based in London). We used to go round to theirs for dinner almost every week and it kills me that we won’t see their three kids grow up or hear the stories of the silly things they did. Obviously we will stay friends and hopefully visit but there’s something about the small everyday meet ups that is so special!

  124. Juli says...

    I have a standing tv night with a few of my friends. We watch one episode of a show each week and then pick a new show to start. We’ve watched some stuff that I probably wouldn’t have watched on my own and I’ve loved it. If one of us can’t make it we still meet. Standing (preferably weekly) get togethers are my favorite. Gives me something to look forward to and it also makes getting together with my friends a priority.

  125. Natalie says...

    Really though, what IS it about bookstores? I’ve moved to new cities alone and every time I feel lonely or overwhelmed I find the nearest Barnes and Noble. Not a beautiful, privately owned shop – the nearest Barnes and Noble, please. It’s so comforting to walk around and imagine yourself in your hometown B&N where you had to borrow mom’s car to get there.

    xx

  126. My friend and I were a big fan of the doing nothing in undergrad. I’d go over and we’d often just end up watching Law and Order SVU runs and not even talk to each other.

    Now my gfs and I typically plan hiking trips or running races together.

  127. Alex Yates says...

    My friend and I try to meet up once a week for wine at someones house. This week is just a little too hectic and I said: “I’ve got some stuff to paint and work on in the garage, wanna come over here and sit on the couch we’ve got in the garage and have wine?” She responded in all caps SURE!!

  128. Amy says...

    A large part of my job is teaching people how to learn, and specifically how to look at information objectively and to understand that being open to changing your mind and thinking critically don’t undermine you as an individual but shows strength of character and emotional maturity. I am a total hypocrite though and prone to outrage and mob mentality! To overcome this (and bridge the gap between who I am and who I want to be, sigh; true happiness is a closed gap) myself and a friend have been getting together to discuss philosophical ideas. We pick an article, read around it and discuss it in a beautiful old bar. We’ve read some heavyweights like John Searle but our view of philosophy is broad; I picked a whole book of essays by Marilynne Robinson and we discussed one or two. I’ve learnt a lot about my ability to reason and to separate an individual from their beliefs. I’ve realised that respecting one part of a person’s philosophy doesn’t mean I have to agree with them on everything, nor should I turn them into heroes who I give a free pass too even though their reasoning might be a little sketchy. I’m also less nervous about seeming stupid in front of my friend and am happy to say ‘ I don’t know’. Sometimes. I can also be very stubborn. It’s been a great experience. At the moment I’m listening to the Reith lectures by Bertrand Russell on BBC radio 4 in preparation for our next meet! Sorry this was so long!

    • Abbie says...

      wow, that is so so so cool and what a unique idea.

    • Haleigh says...

      Right up my alley! Thanks for sharing :)

    • this is fantastic!

  129. I just moved to NYC so been doing this a lot lately. Been using Bumble BFF to find new friends to make here. Has anyone else use it? It’s odd to swipe left or right on people you want to be friends with but I’ve met amazing women from all walks of life. I became close to a particular person who is also new here so this is what we do:

    1. Pick a new restaurant and try it out. We go through NYC instagrams for inspiration.
    2. Coworking sessions
    3. Going to concerts together in venues anywhere!
    4. Wine night!
    5. Networking events to meet more friends.

  130. brianna says...

    This post is everything right now. Love it.

  131. Stephanie says...

    Growing up, my best friend and I spent a lot of time at Fred Meyer. It was about a 12 minute walk from our homes, they sold candy, and we endeared ourselves to our parents by offering to pick up whatever ingredient was missing from dinner. 20 years later, we still default to this activity when no other ideas prevail. She still grabs a Snapple and some Sour Patch Kids, and I come away with chicken tenders from the deli counter and a doughnut.

  132. My friends and I regularly get together and try out making Facebook “Tasty” recipes! it is so fun, less expensive than dinner out, and we can talk as loudly as we want because it’s in one of our houses =)

  133. Courtney says...

    Concerts!

  134. Brooke says...

    Help fold laundry! My friend had several kids at home and endless socks and she hated matching them, so I told her I would do it! So I matched socks and helped her fold as the loads laundry came out of the dryer. I think housework is more fun when it’s not your own.

  135. Erica says...

    A friend and I recently did museums (DC is great for that–they’re free!) And it was so much fun! We ended the day with drinks and dinner–perfect.

    Another friend and I used to go reverse shopping (returning things) which made that boring chore much more palatable.

  136. Amanda says...

    RE: running errands… A childhood friend of mine had recently moved back to town, and we had re-hit it off at a group gathering. A few days later, he called and asked if I wanted to go with him to get a tetanus shot because he’d just stepped on a nail. I happened to be free, so off we went, and it was just random and weird enough that it broke any remaining ice! We hung out constantly for a couple of years after that, and while we did lots of random stuff together, I’ll never forget our afternoon in the county health department waiting room :)

  137. Olivia says...

    One of my roommates happens to be one of my closest friends. We do a lot of the things on your list, but there’s something really fun about simply going to Target late on a weeknight with your BFF. And for no particular reason. We wander the aisles, try on clothes, spend too much money, and laugh all the while.

    • Becca Lynn says...

      THIS :)

    • Eliza says...

      Target should make commercials about this.

    • Erin G. says...

      They should make a commercial about this! It will pretty much be the 60-second synopsis of my 20s.

    • Kara says...

      I teared up because I miss doing this SO MUCH with one of my best friends who lives two time zones away!

    • Kristiana says...

      OLIVIA YES! One of my dear friends and I have done this so often. She recently moved from Kansas City to Colorado, so this comment warmed my heart. ?

    • Anna says...

      Hit the nail on the head with this one!

    • Haha yes! Freshman year of college my best friend and I were totally miserable and applying to transfer schools. Every Thursday we’d finish our homework early then hop on the bus to target for snacks to supplement the crappy dorm food. We also loved going to the perfume counters at Nordstrom and trying out samples of different things. So many scents remind me of that year – they make me nostalgic and sad for how depressed I felt every time I smell them but strong for having found a great friend and surviving that year. :)

  138. Marcella says...

    This past weekend, I was visiting a friend out of state and we went to a wine night with about 25 of her law school classmates and it was SO fun. Being there and not even knowing all these girls but all of us chatting was the best. Girls rule boys drool ;)

  139. Sally says...

    Jigsaw puzzle!! I do this in the winter with a couple neighbor friends. I run down to my friends house after my son is to sleep (husband stays home), she is usually just putting her kids to sleep. We puzzle and chat for a couple hours. Super fun!! One more tip–the dollar store puzzles are actually quite good!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww i love that idea.

  140. Em says...

    Thanks for this! I have one group of friends who are great at thinking up cool ideas… outdoor movie nights, dance parties, bonfires, etc. But if it’s up to me or my other friends to make plans, we either a) go out to eat b) go shopping or c) go out to eat then go shopping. And that’s great, but it’s also nice to have more clever ideas on hand…. especially ones that don’t cost any money :)

  141. Charli says...

    Oh my gosh, I’ve had a two person book club for a year now and it’s the BEST. I was in a 10 person book club for a while, but I like this more. We pick a date, swap out who buys the pizza and makes the salad, drink a bottle of wine, and talk about our book. Highly recommended!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so awesome, charli!

  142. Becca Lynn says...

    running errands! 100%! My friend and I are always texting each other for random target or grocery store or even laundromat runs throughout the week and even if it’s just a 15 minute outing for cream it’s so nice to have someone to do it with. and, it’s just enough time to get the low-down on what that cute guy said or how frustrating a certain coworker has been.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YES! agree wholeheartedly.

  143. Jane says...

    I volunteer with a friend at a Women/Children’s nonprofit in Paterson, NJ.
    We serve lunch a couple of times a month and started a Birthday Party which we run every 2 months. The birthday party’s are in memory of my son, who loved his birthday.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so wonderful, jane, and i’m so, so sorry for your loss. what was your son’s name? he sounds adorable. i love that he loved his birthday, what a sweetheart.

  144. Kristin says...

    They just did this story on This American Life! The idea they came up with was trivia night, but I think that’s kind of risky depending on how intense you are about trivia. (I am very intense and am not sure it would be a good setting for me to win friends).

    • Abbie says...

      I love that you know that about yourself Kristin ;)