“My husband and I moved to Florida for my job about six months ago, and we’ve recently noticed we don’t have any couple friends. In fact, we don’t have a lot of friends period! We’ve got our routines, and try plenty of new restaurants and activities in our ’hood. But since we moved, we simply haven’t been motivated to reach out to potential friends. Should I be concerned? Where should I even start? I’m honestly perfectly content to hang out with my spouse a lot, but I’m also worried about my life being all about him, and vice versa.”
I wouldn’t worry that you don’t have friends in your current city yet. You’ve been acclimating to a big move, and that can be intimidating. And the fact that you’re content with your life right now is great—and a testament to the strength of your marriage. But I’m also a believer that one person cannot complete you, so I think it’s smart that you want to expand.
After all, when we rely too much on a spouse to fill every role in our lives—partner, lover, best friend, caretaker, counselor—we’re setting him or her up to let us down. Like, maybe your husband is terrific in just about every capacity, but downright disinterested in seeing movies with you. Rather than begrudging him for not wanting to take you to Downton Abbey, isn’t it better to have a friend who wants to go?
Don’t know how to start making friends? That’s extremely common. But know that it is doable. Here are a few suggestions you can start employing right away.
Join a women’s space
When I was new to San Francisco, my first friend in the city introduced me to the tight-knit community of women at her coworking space. I made tons of new friends in a matter of weeks, just by working from the space daily, attending workout classes and going to talks where I met people who were interested in the same things as me.
Across the country, more and more women’s spaces are popping up, including The Wing in LA, NYC, DC and Chicago; The Riveter in Austin, Seattle and Portland; The Coven in Minneapolis; Femology in Detroit; and The Assembly and The Hivery in the Bay Area.
If you have access to one of these amazing networking spaces, try it. If you don’t (or can’t justify the membership fees), look for or start an informal women’s group via your neighborhood listerv or Facebook page.
Meetup has a presence almost everywhere, and it’s a great way for you and your husband to make friends together. So grab your boo and get out there to some events. Whether it’s a mixer for young professionals or a local hike for sporty types, chances are you’ll be able to find some nice folks to relate to.
Cold-email cool people
When traveling through new cities, I’ve frequently cold-emailed women I wanted to meet—often, in similar industries, or because I knew we had a shared interest. And some of my best friends found me in a similar fashion (via Twitter or my book), and reached out to ask me to coffee. When I get one of these emails, I almost always say yes. It’s brave to extend that invitation, but fortune favors the bold.
Try the apps
From Bumble BFF to Hey VINA! and Girlboss, friendship and networking apps are really picking up steam. And while they might seem…weird, what I like about them is that folks tell you exactly who they are, where they’re at in life and what they’re looking for in a friend (a double-date partner, a fitness buddy, somebody to see the new Frida Khalo show with). Even if you don’t meet your very best friend this way, it’s a good chance to get out and do something with somebody new.
Most importantly: Be active
Like many good things in life, friendship requires work, yet most of us sit around waiting for others to take initiative. So, start slow, especially if this kind of behavior doesn’t come naturally to the two of you. Challenge yourselves to do just one new-friend-related activity per week, or once every other week. Sign up for that co-working space. Email that co-worker. Suggest a double date with the nice older couple across the street.
If you commit to a new socializing plan as we close out the year, my guess is you’ll have plenty of friends by 2020. And this will lead to a healthier, happier relationship with your husband in the long-term.
Jenna Birch is the author of The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love, a dating and relationship-building guide for modern women. To ask her a question, which she may answer in a forthcoming PureWow column, email her at email@example.com.