How do you make friends as an adult? How do you find ways to relate to other grownups who have developed friend groups, packed schedules and, lives of their own? It’s tricky. If dating in your thirties, forties and beyond is tough, making friends can be that much more confusing. Luckily, you’ve got something in common: Kids! That’s right, your kids are the perfect introduction to the new, cool pals who are going to be onboard with the fact that you’re ready to call it at night at 9pm at the latest.

Start with a Play Date

This is a pretty easy one and something you’re likely already doing! You’ve been chatting with parents at dropoff, or at school events maybe your kids are already friends or not familiar with one another yet, get started with a simple playdate! Try for something different, a place you and your kids haven’t been before. This opens up space for conversation. New, shared, experiences are the quickest way to develop lasting friendships both for the kids and adults! One tip, try to make sure all parents are involved in the first outing. No, not everyone has to be best friends all the time, but it’s easier to gauge how these new pals will fit into your life if you and your partner can discuss.

Take it to the Next Level

This is the scary part of developing any relationship: Putting yourself out there for more. Remember dating? That awkward moment when you’re trying to suss out if you and the other person are on the same page? Oof. Making friends is no different. Well, it’s a little different. Start slow, invite one or both parents over for a playdate at your house. Opening up your home to new people creates a sense of connection and intimacy. Think of some lowkey activities for the adults while the kids are playing, maybe a barbeque or swimming (Editor’s Note: if you have a pool, I will happily be your new friend!). Having tasks takes pressure off of making constant conversation, and if there’s still a lull, hey, that’s what the kids are for!

Everyone Likes Food

Okay, now we’re ready to take the kids out of the equation. Dinner for four? Yes, it’s time. If you’ve developed a rapport, discussed some common interests, this should be a snap! If you’re still fretting about things to talk about, try checking out a movie beforehand. Sure it’s a little extra money going to the babysitter but it’s a good conversation starter. Making friends as an adult is a lot like platonic dating, so if it feels like your basically going through a guidebook on dating, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Put in the Work

Like anything in life, relationships take work. You have to treat your new friendship with love and follow-through. Yes, we’re all busy, but make sure you take the time to check in with your new pals regularly. Unlike older friendships, you don’t have the years of history to fall back on that allows time to pass without much changing. Hanging out every day is a bit much, but keep your new friends in mind when hosting a dinner party, or sharing a book you just read. Little things that show you