Friendships 101: From “Getting Coffee” to “Netflix & Chill”

How do you, as an adult who is no longer in school, move beyond “Getting Coffee” friendships to “Netflix & Chill” friendships?


Definition of Terms:

  • “Getting Coffee” friendships (GCFs): people that crossed paths with you at some point in your life and had enough of a connection that you “get coffee” every few months to catch up on each other’s lives, not communicating in between except to schedule said “get coffee” date
    • Two GCF sub-types:
      • Local: Random text after not speaking for months asking to get together “for coffee” to “catch up”. You spend exactly one hour, manically trying to explain the last 3 months of your life and feeling a little awkward because you can’t remember details from the last time you saw them. Also, awkward silences.
      • Non-local: Do not exist. They were local at some point, and because you cannot get coffee, you become “Facebook friends” (the death of all real friendships).


  • Netflix & Chill” friendships (N&CFs): people who you crossed paths with at some point in your life and lived life with them to such an extent that you can get together and you don’t have to DO anything (i.e. get coffee), and it’s the best time ever.
    • Two N&CF Sub-types:
      • Local: you go to each other’s houses, you get together spontaneously, it’s longer than an hour and doesn’t have to involve doing anything in particular.
      • Non-local: you text on the regular, sending funny memes or pics or bitmojis; you Facetime with absolutely nothing specific to talk about; you see each other once a year if you’re lucky and you don’t have to catch up because you are actually caught up even though you live 3000 miles apart. So you marathon the Great British Baking Show.


Today, I went to my dietitian appointment. We talked about food for like ten seconds, and then she uncovered a whole bunch of junk about why I eat at night like a crazed animal in my pajamas on my couch under a blanket by the space heater.

In a word, I’m lonely.

I made all my N&CFs by my first year of college, exactly 20 years ago. Back when you saw people everyday at school for years upon end…

Why is that GFCs are all you can seem to make as an adult? GCFs drive me crazy. What are we catching up on every few months? If we think we only need an hour to talk about everything else going on in our lives without actually spending time together ourselves…what’s the point?

Is it just me? Does anyone else out there struggle as an adult to make actual meaningful friendships? The kind where you see each other more than just to get coffee. The kind where you can sit in silence and it’s totally fine. The kind where you don’t try to find random things in common because you happen to have kids the same age. The kind where you do life together, not just talk about the rest of life together.

I would love to open the comments for people to share…what are your secrets to ease loneliness? Outside going back to K-12 education again (lord help us all), how do you make real adult N&C friendships?

PS I hate coffee. Can’t stand the stuff.

PPS I tried to find memes for this post. Apparently, both “Let’s Get Coffee” and “Netflix & Chill” mean more than platonic friendships to Google.

9 thoughts on “Friendships 101: From “Getting Coffee” to “Netflix & Chill”

  1. Ugh I hate coffee too and I feel like either when you are trying to make a new friend now it’s all about coffee. I miss being in college and saying, hey want to come over and watch tv or go to that party? I always have to go and debate if I really want to order what I actually want, which is just water but then it’s clear I didn’t actually invite them for coffee (which we both knew anyways but then it is out there) and it’s too much. This is why I have dogs and I’m lonely. I feel like I made friends too easily growing up because I played sports even all through college so I always had automatic friends and then the people I befriended on top of that just happened naturally. I don’t remember ever thinking about it and I’m not sure I understand those skills lol.

  2. I think we all want the same thing but don’t think others are in the same boat, so we keep quiet about it & nothing changes. One of my Netflix & Chill friends started out as a GCF type friend until I asked her if she wanted to hang out because I hadn’t had enough time with her…she told me that really made her day and I think we went shopping together or something. I think just about anyone would accept an invitation to just about anything, if we would just make it a habit to ask. Look for local events in the area that interest you that you wouldn’t necessarily want to check out alone & ask someone to go along with you – it gives you something to focus on other than catching up on each other’s lives & the more you do things like that, the more you have to talk about on a more regular basis. That said, I moved to where I now live over 5 years ago, and all of my local friends are still just GCF friends because I don’t make the time to try to make more close friends & I spend my free time either with my husband, with our families, or getting together with my Neflix & Chill friends who live in the area I used to live over an hour away, so those become more infrequent as time goes by.

    1. I think you’re right…it’s really hard to make the effort (I’m terrified of rejection and being let down), but maybe we all want true friendships and someone just has to take the first step…

    2. I love your suggestion of inviting someone into that deeper friendship level.
      We just moved across country for my husband’s new job. Most of the men he works with did too and brought their wives who are in the exact same boat as me. I am the newest, but I know I need to push myself in a way that I have never done before, so that’s a huge challenge.
      My older daughter just told me there are two ladies outside waiting on the school bus to arrive and that I could go talk to them. I’m fighting with myself as I type this!

      1. I went out and met the woman who sold us this house! She’s keeping her kids in the school while they bounce staying with one mother and the other until they find their next house. Super welcoming lady and she offered to help introduce me around the neighborhood. Great encouragement for my venture.

  3. I feel like I’ve always been even more behind in this area than most (and we all are, except the rare social butterfly unicorns), due to entering an abusive relationship at 19 where he controlled all of my social interactions for 9 years. So, I never even had the college years N&C friends experience and have no clue how to make/have those now. My therapist has said you just have to bite the bullet and ask someone to do something (non-coffee or lunch) and go from there, but that’s definitely easier said than done. Everyone hates rejection, and I think those of us dealing with self-esteem issues are even more risk averse in that area. What if they say no? What if asking moves them from GCF to nothing from awkwardness? Sigh, I have no tips, just commiseration that I think many 30-something’s and 40-something’s are dealing with this.

  4. I struggle with the hang out and say nothing or do nothing relationships. Probably the only person I could do that with would be a significant other/partner or roommate…basically someone I’m seeing and cohabiting with on a daily basis. Even then I’m chatty, I will find something to talk about. Existing silently together in a space isn’t something I’m super interested in, I’d rather go hiking and just be alone.

    If it’s anyone else I need a goal, or an activity, even if it’s just walking around the block 10 times. I get enough sitting with school (or work if I had an office job) so the idea of sitting for hours to chat or watch a movie just doesn’t appeal to me.

    Where this typically bites me in the ass is that I WILL make walk/run/activity dates a priority and go out of my way to show up on time every time, but no one else seems to be willing or able to do the same. When someone cancels because they didn’t plan their day well or it would just be easier to skip the get together because they’re not feeling it, it’s deeply painful. I know in their mind they just don’t want to do the activity or go through the time it takes to travel to the activity, but for me it feels like they don’t desire to spend time with me.

    I would probably have an easier time making and keeping friends if I could ease up on my standards/requirements(?) for a friendship but I don’t seem very able to do that as of yet. Though I am trying, offering to come sit and chat with people in their homes, asking them to think of me when they decide to go out and see a movie…my heart isn’t super in it though.

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