Once you've been in a relationship for a while, it's normal to realize things have gotten a littleвЂ¦ cozy. So cozy, in fact, that you may have let the outside world pass you by and realize you haven't been spending enough time socializing as a couple. Especially if you're at an age where other friends are also getting married and having children, it's really easy to turn in on yourself as a couple-spending nights curled up with Netflix and Saturday mornings doing DIY. But that's not sustainable for a relationship. No matter how much you love each other and how well you get along, you need to spend time with friends-and having "couple friends" can be a great way to broaden your social horizons.
Of course, making couple friends isn't always easy. For some reason, making friends as an adult feels awkward-asking another couple to hang out can feel like you're asking someone on a date, with all of the sweaty palm nerves that entails. But there are plenty of ways you can make friends as a couple, you just need to know where to look.
Look in Your Current Social Circles
If you're looking to find couple friends, you might find that you already know some great candidates. If you feel like all of your friends are coupled up, there's a good chance there's a couple in there that you can team up with. Of course, it's no secret that we don't always adore our friend's partners, but between you and your partner, you probably know a couple you both get on with. You can start slowly, by just suggesting drinks or coffee, and think of it as a couple-date test run.
Explore New Activities
If you don't think any of your current friends are the right fit, you can explore new activities you both enjoy. Going to a Meetup event is a great way to meet new people where everyone is typically incredibly friends and open to making friends. You can hit up an exercise class, a comedy night, a board game night-anything that you feel like is the right choice for finding your kind of people. And of course, keep an eye out for local events in your area so you can find potential couple friends near you.
Also-and we aren't recommending getting pregnant just to make friends-but prenatal classes tend to be friendship gold mines. If you're having a baby and going to some pregnancy classes or events in your area, it's a great opportunity to meet people who are at a similar life stage.
Give It Time
Just like dating or making any new friends, nurturing a couple friendship can feel a little awkward at points, and that's OK! A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that it takes 200 hours for a close friendship to develop-and 50 hours just to move from acquaintance to casual friendship. So if things feel strained, that's totally normal. If you feel like you can only enjoy a few hours with this couple, then stick to shorter events like grabbing coffee or walking in the park until you feel more comfortable with them.
You also don't have to go into this search hoping to make best friends. A lot of times, couple friends fulfill a certain role-they're people you go to lunch with or you have play dates for your kids with or you have wine-tasting nights with. They don't have to be friends for every occasion, so don't feel pressured to meet your couple soul mates! Instead, just keep your eyes peeled for couples who might be interested in one of the things you like to do.
See more: How to Get a Friendship Back on Its Feet After Wedding Planning
Don't Just Socialize As a Couple
Finally, important as couple friendships are, you don't want to just socialize as a couple. Meeting new friends is all about expanding your relationship, but if you only ever hang out with other couples, you limit yourself and your relationship. One of the things that keep relationships alive is time apart, time to have experiences separately, to feel fulfilled as an individual, and miss each other a little bit so you can enjoy coming come back together. So even if you meet the perfect couple friends, the best thing you can do for your relationship will be to go your separate ways from time to time.
Making couple friends can be a great, especially as you transition into adulthood. Rather than feeling like everyone is becoming sucked into their own little couple-spheres, it's fun to reach out and find other pairs who get along with. It may take a little time for these new friendships to develop, but remember even casual couple friends are a good way to keep from getting too isolated and sedentary in your relationship. But of course, socializing separately is key too-it's all about balance, so make sure both you and your partner are getting your needs met, as a couple and as individuals.