021: Why We Need Adult Friendships with Kat Vellos, Speaker and Author

Kat Vellos headshot (1)

Unlike family, we get to pick our friends. These relationships of choice are vital to our overall wellbeing and resilience. But as we become adults, there are many challenges to keeping those friendships and making new ones.  So, how do we overcome the challenges? That’s what podcast guest, Kat Vellos, is here to discuss.

Kat Vellos is a trusted expert on the power of cultivating meaningful friendships. She’s a speaker and author of the book, We Should Get Together: The Secret to Cultivating Better Friendships

In our conversation, Kat walks us through the six categories of people we typically spend time with, what happens to friendships over the course of our lifetime, and the challenges of making friends as an adult. She then guides us on how to determine what we want in a friendship and how to design quality time with friends. Kat finishes with what to do before you call it quits on a friendship and how to reconnect with one that has faded away.

Key Highlights:
  • The peak of time with friendships is age 18 and drops until the age of 30, then plateaus for the rest of life unless you purposely take action to spend time with your friends or co-workers in your free time.
  • Healthy colleagueship shares many of the same traits as healthy friendships and can provide many of the same benefits. 
  • Challenges to making friends – hypermobility, busyness, partnership/having children, and difficulty establishing intimacy.
  • Ask yourself – What is possible in that time and space together and what is not? 
  • Be clear with yourself with what you want out of the relationship. Speak those hopes aloud or show with actions how you want to make that a relationship. Invite them to join you in something that elicits a deep conversation.
  • Are you serving the friendship anymore? You can’t expect everything to serve you. It creates a one-sided transactional model. Reciprocity in friendships is important.
  • Before you call it quits on a friendship, acknowledge that many friendships go through phases of dormancy and activeness, just like seasons. The expectation of constant presence is not needed.
  • Reconnecting with a faded friendship – offer what you are willing and able to do with no expectations. If they don’t respond, try not to take it personally.
  • Find a thing you like to do and find a group of people who do that thing and become a regular (or create your own thing). Practice extending invitations.
Links Mentioned:


Data on relationships

Who’s Your City? By Richard Florida


Kat’s calendar: Better Conversations Calendar

Interintellect – Conversation salon

Power of Regret by Dan Pink

Kat’s book: We Should Get Together

Full Bio:

Kat Vellos is a trusted expert on the power of cultivating meaningful friendships. She’s a speaker and author of the book, We Should Get Together: The Secret to Cultivating Better Friendships. She’s also the creator of the Better than Small Talk conversation cards and the Better Conversations Calendar.

In her former career as a user experience designer, she researched, designed, and advised on the user experience of apps and websites serving millions of people at companies like Slack and Pandora. With the publication of her first book, We Should Get Together, Kat turned her background in experience design towards combating the loneliness epidemic.

Her writing is read in over 100 countries and her work has helped thousands of people experience greater wellness through the cultivation of healthy friendships.

Her interviews can be found in a variety of media outlets including The New York Times, Forbes, NPR, Communication Arts, The Good Life Project, Hurry Slowly, and Parents Magazine. Kat is also a sought-after speaker who has graced the stages of TEDx, San Francisco Design Week, Design for America, the Transforming Loneliness Summit, Rosenfeld Media’s DesignOps Summit, and many more.

You may connect with her on: Instagram: @katvellos_author