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Make Friends Fast! Try Our Latest Party Idea

Want to expand your circle of friends, but don’t have time to meet new people? Stop waiting for new girlfriends to show up in your life and do something about it with our “Fast Friends” party. Using a format borrowed from “speed dating,” we’ll show you a fun, proactive way to bolster your social circle.

All of us need to refresh our social circles from time to time, for various reasons. Perhaps you’ve just moved to a new area, entered a different stage of life, have drifted apart from your old friends, or are merely seeking a change. Yet, your busy schedule makes it difficult to meet new people. Our readers write to us with this dilemma all the time. That’s why we are so excited about this party idea. You’ve probably heard of "speed dating,"–an event where singles pay to meet other singles in a controlled setting where every participant chats with every other participant for a set length of time, then rates the encounter. Later, mutually interested parties can contact each other for a real date. Speed dating is extremely popular with time-pressed singles. Now, speed-dating groups are extending the concept to platonic relationships as well. So, we figured, why not host our own girlfriend-style "speed friending" event? With our Fast Friends event, you won’t charge admission, and you won’t play matchmaker. But you will have prescreened, fun girlfriend participants.

Think about it–you can probably think of many women you’d like to get to know better. Now is your chance to learn about them–and help other wormen in your circle make new friends too.


Now, who to invite? We can think of a dozen women right off the bat we’d like to get to know better. But, keep in mind that you must limit the number of invitees to keep this party at a reasonable length. Twelve (including you) is the maximum number, per event, in our opinion. Any more and you risk "chat fatigue."

It’s hard to imagine a party where you don’t invite your best girlfriends. But if everyone knows each other well, there’s not much point to this get-together. So, we recommend asking a couple of friends you know, and then inviting some women you don’t know well at all. Or, ask each of your friends to bring two friends, and so on. A less-awkward way to handle the invites is to use evite and invite all your local acquaintances (making RSVPs private so only you can see them). Ask them to quickly forward the evite to all the interesting local women they know and trust. Make it clear that the event is limited to the first 11 signups. You can certainly have a waiting list if people cancel, and you can always hold a second event if response is overwhelming.

The invitations themselves might say,

"Don’t have TIME to make new friends? It’s TIME to change that!

Meet the most interesting women in town and see which ones might become your ‘Fast Friends.’

It’s speed-friending–girls only!"

On the invitation, let your guests know that you will be distributing a list of phone numbers and emails at the end of the event. You may want to ask each guest to provide a short profile statement such as "I am looking for a friend to attend gallery openings with" or "I’d love to meet someone who enjoys antiquing" or "I like mountain climbing." You can use these one-liners later on name tags you have prepared for your guests.

Setting and setup
We suggest a breakfast or brunch timing for this event—everyone is fresher in the morning, and a little more "business"-oriented. You can easily host this event in your house or yard, as long as you have enough "conversation stations" for people to talk. Of course, a church basement, VFW hall, or other open space would work well too. You’ll need six stations, spaced far enough apart for your guests to have private conversations. (There will be 2 women at each station–which means you’ll need 12 chairs, and 6 small tables). Setting up for this event is not difficult, but here are some things to remember:

  • You’ll need a bell and a watch, clock or timer. Unless you can set a timer to automatically ring every five minutes, you will need to be the "bell ringer" as each timed interval ends.
  • Prepare name tags for everyone. Each guest should be assigned a number and her name tag should be labeled with that number. You can also include each guest’s "one-liner" on her nametag.
  • Ahead of time, print out our Fast Friends Tracking Sheet. You can download the PDF here. Please note that this is a three-page document. Print the first page separately and then print pages two and three as a double-sided page, if possible. Collate and staple to give your guests.
  • Have enough pens or pencils on hand for all your guests.
  • Prepare a phone and email list to distribute at the end of the event. (see below for additional content) 
  • Finally, you’ll need to label each conversation station with A,B,C,D,E or F.

Food and drink

Coffee, tea and juice will fuel conversation, and easy-to-eat brunch items will help your guests focus on the chat at hand. Think quiche, coffeecakes, fruit kabobs, bagels. Keep alchohol to a minimum, as it’s morning and wed like everyone to maintain their decorum, but champagne mimosas or a nice punch could be appropriately elegant. You decide.

Making connections

Now it’s time to get the fun underway! As guests arrive, distribute their name tags pens, and tracking sheets. Start the "speed friending" as promptly as possible. Each conversation should be timed to the same length. We suggest 5 minutes. You’ll need to be the timekeeper, which shouldn’t interfere too much with your own enjoyment of the party. Encourage your guests to make notes so they can remember their conversations. You may want to provide some "conversation starters" on each table. Tent cards are often used in a speed-dating event so each side of the table can see the questions. Here are some sample conversation starters:

  • Tell me about a place you visit frequently?
  • Where is someplace you’ve always wanted to travel?
  • What are the top two things you enjoy doing with a friend?
  • If you could meet a famous person, who would it be? 
  • What is your proudest accomplishment?
  • What is your favorite book of all time? 
  • What was the last  (concert, theater production, movie) you attended?
  • Which holiday is your favorite and why?
  • If you had only one hour to lavish on yourself this month, what would you do? 

About halfway through, stop for a (timed) bathroom break and refreshment stop. Fifteen to 20 minutes should be plenty of time.

Unless you really want to get into the matchmaking business, we don’t recommend you try to determine who is compatible. Everyone at your party is “vouched for” by someone else at your party. These are not strangers who paid to enter a speed dating event, so we  feel it is appropriate to distribute a voluntary phone or email list and let the interested parties contact each other.

Party favors

You’ve already given your guests the gift of arranging this party to help them make new friends. In addition, you will be sending everyone home wih a list of phone numbers and email addresses. You may also want to provide a list of activities to try with your new potential pals. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • See a movie and discuss it afterward
  • Visit a bookstore to browse and talk books over coffee
  • Window shop at the mall
  • Have lunch
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Meet at a gallery opening and have a drink afterward
  • Walk your dogs together

The Art of Friendship is a great book to send home with your guests if you are in the mood to splurge. It offers dozens of wonderful tips for creating and sustaining friendships.

Finally, remember to follow up with your new potential pals by phone or email within a week of the party. Take a risk, and make a specific invitation to get together based on your shared conversation. Don’t let the thought of rejection scare you. We believe you have the potential to put yourself at the center of a really exciting social circle. If you are willing to make the effort, your Fast Friends event(s) will be the hot ticket of the season in your town. Keep it inclusive and friendly and you’ll reap the rewards–new female friendships to make your life better!

We cannot wait to hear your feedback on this party idea, girlfriends! Use the comments form below to give us a shout.


  1. I am trying to plan this type of party and I would like to try to get a circle of friends together to do more girls nights throughtout the year, but I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on how to get enough tables for this or what to use? Thanks!

    Comment by Elaine — February 8, 2008 @ 5:33 am

  2. If you don’t have enough tables you could always ask a friend or neighbor to borrow a table or two. You could also ask a few of your guests to bring a card table with them (or you could pick them up ahead of time). Sometimes just looking around the house with an open mind can lead you to some usable surfaces. For example, a stool, side table, or bookshelf can easily be transformed into a table with a pretty throw or small tablecloth thrown over it. If you’re doing finger food only, a creative way to mix it up is to use a couple of big floor pillows as a station (assuming your guests are flexible, of course !) Don’t stress about it–remember everyone will be there just to have fun and make new friends. Please be sure to let us know how it goes–we’re excited for you!
    –Tina and Dawn

    Comment by Dawn — February 11, 2008 @ 5:15 pm

  3. I just wanted to say thanks for the great party ideas. I have started a kind of club for young women in my community. It is called Blush and last night was our first party. Everyone loved the Fast Friends. It was a great way to get to know each other and get excited for many more events to come. Thanks for your help!

    Comment by Brook — March 15, 2008 @ 11:47 pm

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