Why does it feel like making and keeping friendships is so much harder now than it was when we were younger?


It’s hard to meet new people. It’s difficult to keep in touch with old friends. And it often feels like we don’t have the time to build deep and meaningful relationships.

Everyone is busy and everyone has their own ambitions, for the places they want to go and the things they want to do. It seems that everyone is moving — sometimes in the same direction, but always on their own path and on their own timing.

Mike and I were feeling this pain as we reflected on the Holstee theme of Kinship. While putting together the Kinship Guide, we kept coming back to the one tradition, started nearly a decade ago, that completely flipped the switch on the relationships in our lives.

The solution for us was potluck dinner parties. It was a tradition mostly started out of necessity.

We were young transplants to New York’s East Village and cash-strapped because we were trying to get Holstee off the ground. We wanted a way to connect with people that didn’t come at the sky-high costs of NYC dinner tabs, nor the loud and rushed atmosphere.

We started inviting one person we had met that month to a potluck dinner at our tiny Avenue B apartment, and we asked each of them to bring both a friend and a home-cooked item to the table.

In our home, with lovingly prepared meals, we found ourselves having REAL conversations even with people we had just met. We weren’t just talking about the weather any more.

In time, we found ourselves hosting more often and adding new traditions to the table.

One was to have everyone at the table answer a single question, as a way to bring the group together and let everyone be heard. The stories that people shared often got personal quickly — they shared vulnerabilities and ambitions that brought a new layer of depth and meaning to our conversation and our relationships.

These dinners changed everything.​

Dave Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

P.S. In our Kinship Guide, we share three tips for hosting memorable and meaningful potlucks and we challenge all Holstee Members to host their own.

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Kinship.

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Our Themes

Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.