Friend Dating – the art of making friends as an adult

Friend dating, it’s a thing believe me, I’m proof of how it works! There is a fine art to making friends as an adult, and I’m here to give you the low down.

friend dating

Think of your closest friends, how did you meet them? How did you become friends? If you met each other pre 30’s chances are it sort of just happened. Most likely you met at school, caught the bus together, are friends of friends, shared a flat at uni or maybe just sat opposite each other at work.

I imagine, if you’re anything like me and the rest of humanity, you just kinda became friends, less a deliberate attempt, more a coincidental, organic development.

As an adult though, boy it’s tough, you’re out of the forced groups like school and uni, more than likely you live alone or with a partner and the easiest thing to do is just get used to spending time alone, or not expanding your group of friends. But what happens when you meet someone and think to yourself “I NEED to be friends with them” because, that’s happened to us all, you meet a person in a situation where it’s not a linear experience to go from your first ‘hi’ to a fully blown friendship.

The problem is this: most of us are so used to our friendships evolving ‘naturally’ that the thought of actively pursuing new female friendships can feel a bit daunting. We maybe don’t want to appear forceful or too forward, but let me tell you the only way to get what you want in life, is to go for it!

And so friend dating was born, treating new friendships in the same way you might treat a potential romantic partner – and actively pursue and nurture a relationship. I have 4 really fantastic adult friendships, created through friend dating and so I’m here to share my experience of getting into the friend zone with a newbie in your life…

Here’s a couple of ways to find that person who can go from random to friend;

  1. you have common interests – movies, hobbies, joint experiences, views on the world (just like with romantic dating)
  2. open minded – I don’t mean up for anything, I just mean do a little ground work with them first, chat on twitter, like them on instagram…
  3. joint friends – this isn’t a deal breaker but if you have friends or colleagues in common, it can make for an easy way to segue from associates to friends.

Feel the fear is a cliche, but entirely relevant here. I know it can feel overbearing and daunting to ask a women you’ve just met out for a coffee, use the tricks you did as a child, compliment them (don’t go OTT), don’t apologise for being ‘weird’ and out right say “I think you’re ace/I’d love to chat some more/I totally agree with/love XXX, fancy getting a coffee some time?”

I have a plan in mind for how I date new women in my life, in the same way that I have a plan when it comes to romantic dating.

friend dating

Date One: A coffee, in the day time, maybe lunch break or weekend morning. Don’t worry about being nervous, or having nothing to talk about. Remember that the lovely women said yes, so she’s into friend dating you too. Use date one to really get to know each other, and just as with romantic dating make plans for the next date there and then!

Date Two: An event, this is a great way of building on your common interests, case in point I invited my newest friend Beverley for cocktails after work then on to a Models Own event I was invited to. It was great a chance to catch up with her one-on-one but also something fun we’re both interested in, then ended the night with some dinner and gossip.

Date Three: Day trip, doesn’t need to be miles away, in fact in mine and Beverley’s case it was in my home town, we pottered, we ate brunch, did touristy things, ate ice cream and ended with wine. By this point you have laid the groundwork, you know each other well enough to talk about life, family, dating and the like. As far as I am concerned, if you get to the end of date three and still think the new friend is awesome, then you’re in the friend zone and you have successfully friend dated!

friend dating

 – You know it’s a friendship built to last when you wear the same nail varnish by chance! – 

I’d like to think that if asked, Beverley would agree that our journey from twitter buddies to real life friends was enjoyable, seamless and made us both very smiley! Seriously though, go ask her over on twitter, she’s a beaut!

Yeah I tweeted earlier this week asking if anyone had any tips or experiences of friend dating, and my favourite responses happened to come from two women I think the world of, one of which happens to be a person I friend dated and we’re friends 4.5 years later!

Sophie says; My motto is – Talk at people until they like you It has worked for me!”

Amy very much has my approach to it, which is why we’re friends now I’m sure! As an adult I have practiced the art of ‘aggressive friending’ i.e. don’t be afraid to be too keen with potential friend-ees!”

In fact Amy and I met at work, in an office full of people we singled each other out over our shared frustrations and interests, and we’ve been friends ever since. I even did a reading at her wedding, friend dating success story!

friend dating

So next time you meet a woman you think could be the one, take the plunge, be brave and ask her out!  It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


  1. 6th April 2017 / 4:20 pm

    I look so much like my mother in that photo, haha! I love your strategic approach – mine is much more haphazard, but definitely expressing interest is the only way forward. It seems scary but who wouldn’t love it if someone said ‘Hey, I think you’re really ace and I’d like to hang out with you!’ – it’s a total compliment!

  2. 6th April 2017 / 7:40 pm

    Love this post! I’m really struggling since I relocated and they older you get the harder it gets… Great tips though, it’s such a good way to think about it as dating!

  3. 11th May 2018 / 1:51 pm

    Emma, I love this post. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my friendship circles and making new friends with amazing women. I’ve always had strong but small numbers of friends, but it would be good to have a little group to get together with rather than individual 1-on-1 with my friends who all live spread out. Thanks for the inspo!

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