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We All Need A 'Couch Friend' In Our Lives. Do You Have One?

Different types of friendships enrich our lives in different and meaningful ways, but there’s something special about a “couch friend.”

A “couch friend” is a person you feel totally at ease around, who never makes you feel like you need to impress them. You can sit on the couch for hours in your comfiest clothes with no agenda — just talking, maybe watching a show or eating snacks — and still have fun.

The term went viral after Charlotte Negron, a Los Angeles-based content creator, created a TikTok about the beauty of this kind of friendship last year. In the months since, it has amassed more than 7 million views and over 11,000 comments.

“‘Couch friend’ is a term that came from the couch hangs some of my friends and I so frequently have,” Negron told HuffPost. “I would say I started referring to these friends as my couch friends around a year ago and it stuck.”

“To me, a couch friend is a friend who you need no social battery for. You can simply coexist and spend hours doing practically nothing, having the best time just enjoying each others company,” she added.

With her couch friends, hangouts generally consist of watching a show or scrolling on their phones and intermittently chatting or showing each other a funny video, Negron said.

“Basically it’s like doing exactly what you’d be doing if you were alone, but in the company of your friend,” she said.

Why ‘Couch Friends’ Are So Vital 

Modern life can feel hectic and exhausting at times — not to mention expensive. So there’s something very appealing about a friend who you can catch up with in a low-effort way that doesn’t require you to spend money or energy.

“Couch friends are so important because at their core, they are friends you feel safe around,” Negron said. “You can show up, however you are, and just be... It’s a very low-maintenance kind of get-together that can be the perfect way to recharge.”

If we can sit on the couch and talk and be free in our everyday clothes, it says something about our comfort level and intimacy.Danielle Bayard Jackson, friendship educator and author

Danielle Bayard Jackson is a friendship educator and author of the forthcoming book “Fighting for Our Friendships: The Science and Art of Conflict and Connection in Women’s Relationships.” As humans, we crave intimacy and the idea of being able to sit on the couch with a friend is symbolic of the kind of comfort and closeness we’re seeking, she said.

“I think we all desire a friendship that does not require you to get dressed up, to perform, to commute, to come up with something entertaining to do. So if we can sit on the couch and talk and be free in our everyday clothes, it says something about our comfort level and intimacy. And I think that’s why it’s such a popular concept,” she told HuffPost. 

How To Make A ‘Couch Friend’

"I think we all desire a friendship that does not require you to get dressed up, to perform, to commute, to come up with something entertaining to do," Bayard Jackson said.

Perhaps you don’t have a friend like this in your life at the moment, but you wish you did. What can you do? Start by thinking about the people in your social circle who you have an easy time talking to and are content with “no-frills social situations,” Bayard Jackson said.

“Are you hanging out with people who constantly need something flashy, something expensive, as the social backdrop upon which you all interact? Look for people who you feel like it’s safe to be yourself,” she said. “You find that you don’t feel a need to perform with them. They say things that make you feel like you’re safe to share your opinions and to have good humor. Those will be the kind of people you want to find.”  

And perhaps more importantly, think about how you need to show up in order to attract this type person, Bayard Jackson said.

“Being comfortable sharing your true thoughts and opinions, being comfortable being vulnerable — not necessarily in terms of self-disclosure, but vulnerable in terms of having somebody who’s going to come over your house and see your stuff,” she said. “People who you can speak freely to, the conversation doesn’t feel like too much of a task. Those would be the kinds of things you would need to do in order to settle into that kind of friendship.” 

Anna Goldfarb, a journalist and author of the forthcoming book “Modern Friendship: How to Nurture Our Most Valued Connections,” said that being a couch friend is a role one typically grows into over time. Having something important in common is a good foundation for this kind of friendship, she said. Perhaps you share a mutual hobby, work in the same field, do similar volunteer work or are in the same phase of life.

“So you’re not going to go up to someone and be like, ‘Hey, you seem cool. Do you want to be couch friends?’ I mean, you could, but usually it develops as a result of having a clear and compelling interest with someone,” she told HuffPost. “Because when you’re on the couch, you’re going to talk about stuff. What are you going to talk about? What’s of interest to you both?” 

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have as many couch friends as you’d like in this season of life. Know that, as we get older, it can be harder to find those longer stretches of unstructured time for friends that you may have had in high school, college or early adulthood. Your career, romantic relationships, family or other big life events may take precedence.

“I think people feel sadness that they don’t have a couch friend. And it’s not because of anything that they did wrong,” Goldfarb said. “It’s not like you’ve missed the mark in any way — it’s that you might be operating in a different capacity for couch friends than you were when you were younger and you had so much free time. And you didn’t have to be an adult in a complex, busy, unpredictable world.”

But just because this time may be harder to come by doesn’t mean it’s impossible to carve out.

“You can even say, ‘Sunday want to come over and just kick it and watch a movie?’ You can always extend an invitation,” Goldfarb said. “But it makes sense if these opportunities and occasions to have couch friends are going to dwindle over time. But that kind of makes it more special, you know? And when you do have it, it just feels so good.”

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