It’s Pretty Important for Couples to Make New Friends Together

A quartet poses on their bikes, ca. 1895.
Photo: Kirn Vintage Stock/Corbis

You enter into a relationship with your own, separate, sets of friends, but it’s also smart to make new friends together, some new research shows. Forming a new friendship with another couple ends up making you feel closer to your partner, says a study recently published in the journal Personal Relationships. 

In two experiments with about 150 couples, the researchers — led by Keith Welker at the University of Colorado, Boulder — paired some of the couples together and led them through the “fast friends” activity, developed in the late 1990s by Stony Brook University psychologist Arthur Aron. It involves a series of questions that become progressively nosy, starting with something like “What’s your idea of a perfect day?” leading up to more personal things like “If you could go back in your life and change any one experience, what would it be and why?” It’s been shown to create feelings of friendship between strangers in under an hour. 

Other couples in this study were paired together and assigned to the small-talk condition, where they took turns answering relatively boring questions (“When was the last time you walked for more than an hour?”). Afterwards, all the participants were asked to rate their feelings toward their significant other, and the couples in the “fast friends” condition reported feeling more passionate love than those in the small-talk condition. Making new friends allows you to see your partner in a new and positive light, the researchers believe, writing in the abstract, “The creation of couple friendships may be an additional way to reignite feelings of passionate love in romantic relationships.” 

The Importance of Couple Friends