How to hang out with your best friend

Not every friend you make will end up being your BFF, but it’s still 100% worth putting yourself out there and meeting new people. We’ve put together a list of 7 different friends you’ll have in your life and why they’re worth making.

The school friend

Whether you find this friend in primary or high school (or even TAFE or uni) they’ve seen you at your best and worst. Surviving exams, relationships, parties and all the awkward stuff that happens when you’re a teenager is a fast ticket to friendship. You might lose touch once you leave school, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. These friendships will always be special because they knew you before you were cool, have been through some pretty special things with you and you’ll always have your inside jokes.

The party friend

You probably met this friend somewhere at high school or university – both times when a lot of partying is happening. They’re always the first one to turn up and the last one to leave. They’ve witnessed some of your wilder moments – and maybe even encouraged them.

The work friend

Your work bestie is the person who gets you through those nightmare shifts and makes the staff party worth attending. You probably send them frantic messages when they’re away from work and get mad when they go on coffee runs without you. You might not hang out together much outside of work, but that doesn’t make this friendship any less awesome.

The older friend

This friend is the one you go to for advice when you’re confused, freaking out or in need of some hyping up. Whether you’ve flunked a test, are applying for a job or have finally worked up the courage to talk to that cute barista, they’ve probably been in your shoes before. They know exactly how you’re feeling, and there’s nothing better than having someone who understands.

The online friend

Social media has made it super easy to slide into someone’s DMs and make friends. Chatting to people over the internet is a great way to feel connected to the world around you – especially if you’re feeling isolated because of school or work. Being able to share your life with someone from the comfort of home and your laptop is very tempting – but remember to take care of yourself too.

The bestie

This friend just ‘gets’ you. They never judge, they love you unconditionally and they’ve always got your back. This doesn’t mean they’re blind to your flaws – they’ll be the first to tell you if you’re being annoying or doing the wrong thing – but they love you anyway. They always return your texts, remember to do something special for your birthday and know all your secrets (and keep them). Whenever you’re hanging out with this friend you feel amazing and comfortable. You might not see them all the time but when you do you pick up right where you left off.

The frenemy

Think Regina George from Mean Girls – this person acts just like your best friend, but neither of you really like each other. Maybe you put up with each other each other for the sake of your other mates, or maybe it’s easier than walking away, but it’s important to know that this friendship is probably best left behind. This friendship will teach you some pretty valuable life skills. You’ll learn how to stand up for yourself, how you expect to be treated by your friends and will develop an even greater appreciation for the mates who’ve really got your back.

There are so many reasons a friendship can end – maybe you’ve just drifted apart, maybe you’ve made new friends that you have more in common with, or maybe it was just a crappy friendship that’s best left in the past. Whatever the reason, remember to take care of yourself (we’ve got some tips here) and always know that your new best mate could be just around the corner.

How to hang out with your best friend

There are some people in your life who you really want to get along. While a lot of emphasis is placed on your partner getting along with your family—and you getting along with your partner’s family—there’s another very important dynamic that’s often overlooked: your partner and your best friend. Often, they are the two most important people in your life, so of course, you want them to like each other—you probably want them to get along like a house on fire. But it doesn't always work that way.

There are a lot of complications when it comes to your partner getting along with your best friend. There’s a good chance your best friend has been on the scene for far longer than your partner—even if you and your partner are married or have children together. And sometimes that can create tension. Your partner might feel threatened or just not really be a fan of this person you’ve known for years and years.

But what do you do if your partner doesn’t like your best friend? Well, it’s all about getting to the source of the dislike. Here’s what you need to know.

Make Sure That There’s Not a Control Issue

The truth is, all of the people whom you love and adore aren’t necessarily going to love and adore each other—and that’s OK. You need them to be respectful, to be open-minded, but you don’t need your partner and best friend to become BFFs—if they’re just a little lukewarm on each other, that can work out just fine. But pay attention to your partner’s response to your friend and try to work out if it’s actually an issue of just disliking them. If your partner feels threatened by your best friend, it may be that he or she has bigger issues—and is too possessive of you. If you get a sense that this is the case, then there's a more foundational relationship problem.

How can you tell? Well, if your partner isn’t enamored of your best friend, they’ll probably seem apathetic or, at worst, a little annoyed or frustrated by them. If they have a stronger reaction—if they get angry at you for spending time with them, if they are actively rude to them—then that’s really telling. If that's the case, it says a lot about your partner—and you may need to have a bigger conversation about your relationship, independence, and respect.

Try to See It From Their Point of View

Best friendships are complicated. You may love each other one minute, drive each other nuts the next, and then make up before you even blink. Maybe you’ve been feuding for weeks or maybe they’ve really let you down. Try to remember all of these nuances and complications when you’re trying to understand your partner’s point of view. It’s really, really hard to watch someone mistreat the person you love and, though you might not hold a grudge, your partner has probably heard you vent and be upset or hurt by your best friend from time to time. They often hear more of the difficult parts than the good parts—so it makes sense that they might be a little bristly or aggravated with this person.

Try to show your partner why you love your best friend, rather than always blowing off steam.

On that note, sometimes it may be worth talking to your best friend about the issue too—even if you don’t think they’ve done something wrong. I have totally been the standoffish best friend—and having my friend explain that their partner is a bit shy or awkward has snapped me out of it. If your partner finds it difficult to open up to people generally, then talking to your best friend and asking them to go the extra mile can make a difference.

Set Some Boundaries for Spending Time Together

Even if your partner doesn’t like your best friend, their priority should be being a good partner to you—and that means, within reason, spending time with your bestie. That doesn't mean you should expect them to hang out all the time and start bringing your partners around to girls' nights (that would be weird anyway), but you should be able to explain to your partner why it’s important to you that they try to get along. And, really, your partner should respect that.

Maybe all of your couple friends get together once a month, maybe there’s a friends' trip you want them to go to, maybe it’s just a matter of being polite and asking them a few questions when they bump into each other at a party. Talk to your partner and try to work out how they can make your life easier, without them feeling uncomfortable. You should be able to find some middle ground.

In an ideal world, your partner and best friend will just click and the three of you can run off into the sunset—but that’s so rarely how it actually works out. Try to feel out the issue, whether it’s your partner just being shy or not really on the same page as your best friend—or whether they’re intimidated by your intimacy with your best friend and there are some control issues at play. As long as it’s an innocent case of not getting along, you should be able to talk to your partner and find some middle ground. They don’t have to love your best friend, but they do need to be a good partner to you—and that means being polite and welcoming when you need them to be.

How to hang out with your best friend

The year I turned thirty was the year I realized I didn’t have friends. I was heading into a new decade of my life feeling strong about my career, my life accomplishments and my relationship with my partner. But when he asked me who I wanted to invite to my birthday party, my mouth opened and I let out a long trail of “ummms”.

In my early twenties, I was a friend-making machine. I was the president of my 120-person sorority in college and spent very few hours of any day alone. When I moved to New York City after graduation, I joined sports teams and went to meetups and had something called friendship circles, with different groups of people to hang out with whenever I wanted a full social calendar.

But then something changed. A lot of my friends got married and had kids while I was still on the first-date trail. Some of my friends moved states away and our conversations grew stale and we rarely saw each other. I got laid-off from my full time job and started working for myself, out of my apartment, with no water cooler chit chat or happy hours to attend. Then, as a complete shock, my best friend of seven years abruptly told me that she no longer wanted to be friends anymore.

I felt sad and lonely as I entered my thirties and I placed a lot of the blame on myself. I didn’t feel like I’d invested time in nurturing friendships. I often cancelled plans on the weekends to do work. I forgot to respond to text messages for days. I could have shown more interest in my friends and their growing families rather than in finding someone to date. Instead, I spent a lot of my free time alone, sulking about the fact that I didn’t have someone to call a best friend and I didn’t have a guest list big enough to reserve more than a table for two on my birthday.

Christy Pennison, a licensed professional counselor and owner of Be Inspired Counseling & Consulting, says that making friends, particularly in this day and age, isn’t easy.

“With many people’s lives running at full speed and in different directions, it’s hard to slow down long enough to find and develop new friendships,” says Pennison. “We are more connected than ever on our devices or social media, but finding someone in real life to connect with can be a challenge.”

So how do we make new friends in 2020? Pennison says it starts with the word intention because friendships don’t just appear. We have to be intentional about making them happen.

As a gift to myself to prepare for a new decade both in age and in life, I turned to a friendship coach, hoping that professional advice would help me make more genuine connections.

How to hang out with your best friend

Something scares you. It’s not terrorism, economic recession, global warming, or gasoline prices that could hit 10 bucks per gallon by the time you’re done reading this. These things might worry you, but something else makes your palms sweat and your pulse hit triple digits: asking someone out on a date.

That’s because asking someone out involves potential pain. If the object of your affection becomes aware of your intentions, he or she might not reciprocate, and that’s going to hurt. I don’t care if you’re the most self-confident, well-adjusted person around; rejection hurts. It makes the remaining friendship awkward at best, humiliating at worst. Revealing romantic feelings is a risky business.

Many people find a way around the risk. Or at least they think they do. Instead of asking someone out on a date and being bold in their intentions, they turn to the soggy milquetoast alternative to dating: “hanging out.”

Here’s how it works: You like someone but you’re afraid to let him or her know. So instead of asking the person on a date, you go on approximations of dates that allow for plausible deniability of all romantic intentions. You study together. You exercise together. You find lame excuses to call or text. Worst of all, you engage in the most banal and abysmal of non-dates—going to coffee. It has the trappings of a date—a cozy ambiance, comforting beverages, atmospheric music—while allowing everyone involved to disavow the actual occurrence of a date. Fear of rejection alone has resulted in the proliferation of Starbucks like a French-roasted virus.

People suffer through this in the hope that the object of their affection will eventually buckle and reveal his or her true feelings. They wait and watch. They keep making up excuses to hang out, hedging all their bets and waiting for God to give them a sign. If you’ve been down this road before, you know that it’s seldom successful. You remain stuck in the “friend zone,” which is relationship purgatory if you have a crush on someone.

Are We Dating or Not?

While I was doing research for What Women Wish You Knew about Dating, the biggest complaint I heard from Christian women was that Christian men weren’t assertive enough. They described men who drove them crazy by calling and hanging around while never asking them out on a real date. They said that it was exhausting trying to figure out which guys liked them versus which guys liked them. So let’s cover a few differences between dating and hanging out, in hopes of making life easier for these ladies.

  • Asking someone if they’ll be at church next week is hanging out. Asking someone if they would like to go out with you is dating.
  • Making up a reason to call or text someone is hanging out. Calling just because you want to talk, and telling the person so, is dating.
  • Going to coffee is hanging out. Going to dinner is dating.
  • Doing something with the object of your affection and seven other friends is hanging out. If the two of you do something alone, it’s dating.
  • Hiding your feelings is hanging out. Telling someone you’re interested in pursuing a more serious relationship is dating.

The Purpose of Hanging

Go ahead and hang out with someone if you’re just getting to know him or her. By all means, don’t ask a person out just because you think he or she is cute but know nothing else about them. You might have nothing in common with the person. The music she loves might make you nauseous. He might be a serial killer. OK, he’s probably not a serial killer, but you get my point. It’s important to hang out before asking out. The problem is that many people never make the leap. They hang out perpetually, creating confusion and tension that could easily be dissipated by asking someone on a date.

I often get the questions, “How do you know when it’s time for a friendship to go further?” or “When should two people stop hanging out and start dating?” Figuring that out is the easy part. If you find the person attractive, you can’t stop thinking about him or her, and you’re unsatisfied with the intimacy that friendship provides, then it’s time to ask out instead of hang out. The problem usually isn’t that people don’t know whether or not they want to date, it’s that they’re afraid the other person doesn’t feel the same way.

Rising above Rejection

This kind of fearful hemming and hawing isn’t how Christians should do things. This isn’t who God created us to be. I’m not saying that in deference to antiquated courtship rituals. I mean we shouldn’t be so scared. We shouldn’t be afraid to date. Overcoming this fear involves two steps:

  1. Get a life. Something needs to be more important to you than finding a boyfriend or girlfriend. You need a passion, something that excites you and gives your life meaning and purpose. It should be something thrilling and at least a little daunting. Not only will this give your life focus and keep you busy, it can build self-esteem. As you begin to move toward your goals, you’ll feel better about yourself. Have you ever noticed that a lot of people find love when they’re not looking very hard for it? It’s usually because they’re in the middle of a meaningful journey. And that just happens to make them more attractive. This part should be easy for Christians. We have something, or rather Someone, who’s eager to give our life a sense of mission, meaning, and value.
  2. Be authentic. At some point, someone decided it wasn’t cool to let someone know that you’re interested in him or her. I guess people think it makes you seem desperate. That can be the case sometimes, but it’s not true if you’ve taken care of Step 1 above. Being honest and bold about your feelings doesn’t come off as cheesy if you have self-confidence. It signifies courage and self-esteem. It shows that getting rejected won’t devastate you because you know and like who you are. The alternative to this is “hanging out” with someone and hoping to catch a lucky break. That takes a lot more time and trouble to get what usually turns out to be the same result.

First John 4:18 says that “perfect love drives out fear.” While it’s normal to be nervous when you ask someone out, God’s perfect love should cast out all fear that you’re unlovable, unworthy, and destined to be alone. You’re exploring the possibility of a relationship with one person. If it doesn’t work out, God’s love will take care of you far more than the love of any human on earth.