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Friendship Lab Cowley Pilot

Join us for this FREE in-person course at Templars Square!

Make Your Friendships Thrive

Good friends are key to our happiness and wellbeing. And yet one-in-five of us lack close friends and 51% of us find it hard to make new ones. Busyness, job changes, and so many other things get in the way.

The Friendship Lab Course is a new 6 session evidence-based course to help us make more friends and deepen the friendships we have. If you live in Oxford UK, join us for this special pilot at Templars Square, Cowley!

Don’t live in Oxford? Join our online pilot.

Let’s Get Intentional

The research is startling: people with close friends have lower levels of anxiety and depression, increased levels of meaning and happiness, a decreased risk of ailments like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and heart attack, and around seven years longer lifespans. But good friendships don’t just happen. They must be intentionally formed. This fun and empowering course will help you learn how.

WHAT 6 x 75min sessions

WHEN 11am Tuesdays 18 April – 23 May 2023

WHERE The Jungle, Templars Square Shopping Centre, Cowley OX4 3XH


Places are limited

What You’ll Learn

In a warm and welcoming environment our 6 sessions will cover:


What is friendship?

Tuesday 18 April

  • The 3 foundations of friendship
  • The 4 qualities of a friend
  • Overcoming fear and other friendship barriers


How great friendships form

Tuesday 25 April

  • The 4 stages of friend-making
  • How to find like-minded people
  • How to confidently start conversations


How acquaintances become friends

Tuesday 2 May

  • One essential hack to take a relationship closer
  • How to be a brilliant listener
  • How to make confident invitations


How friends become close friends

Tuesday 9 May

  • The 3 things close friends share
  • How to build (or regain) trust
  • Staying close across distance


How to have difficult conversations

Tuesday 16 May

  • The 3 reasons friendships drift
  • How to resolve disagreements
  • Expressing needs without sounding needy


How friendship can change the world

Tuesday 23 May

  • Making friendship work across deep difference
  • Widening your friendship circle
  • Creating shared projects

Who is the Course for?

The Friendship Lab Course is for you if you want to:

  • Make your friendships more enjoyable, meaningful and close
  • Make new friends in your neighbourhood, class, church or workplace
  • Help others to do the same

Be Part of Important Research

We want to make sure the Friendship Lab Course really works. And so we’re thrilled that a researcher from the University of Leicester will join us on this pilot to help assess its impact. You may be asked to share your experience of the course with them over two short interviews. These will:

  • Help us improve the course
  • Help you reflect on your friend-making

More information on this important aspect of the pilot is in the FAQs section below. Sounds good?

Who We Are

The Friendship Lab Course is led by Sheridan Voysey, founder of Friendship Lab, which empowers men and women with the wisdom and skills to make their friendships thrive. Sheridan is a presenter of Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, and was the creative lead on Radio 2’s Friendship Season. The author of eight books, Sheridan has featured in BBC News, The Times and other media worldwide.

Alongside Sheridan will be your hosts Lola, Bev and the team at The Jungle, a community hub run by Cowley Collective at Templars Square. You are sure to be welcomed well!


Why is the Cowley pilot course free?

Three years in the making and with courses of similar quality costing hundreds of pounds, this Cowley pilot is provided free thanks to grant funding, including from the University of Leicester for the research component. But seats are limited so book in quickly.

Why is the course run over 6 weeks and not a weekend?

Good question! Did you know it takes at least 50 hours of socialising for a friendship to form? We’ve designed the course to give you time to implement the material so you have the best chance to see your friendships grow.

What will we do between sessions?

Homework! Each week’s session will have some carefully crafted exercises for you to do. During the week you’ll have an opportunity to:

  • Try the exercises out
  • Reflect on how you went and revise if necessary
  • Share your experiences on the private discussion board on this website for support

Will I have to share anything personal in the group?

You can share as little or as much about yourself as you like in the session. No pressure! Confidentiality will be a rule of the group, and if you’re chosen to speak with our researcher anything you say will be anonymised – all identifying details removed or changed – so you can feel confident to speak freely.

What does the research bit entail, and do I have to take part?

A small number of participants will be randomly selected to take part in the research component of the pilot, which will consist of conversations with you during and after the course with a qualified researcher. If chosen we expect you’ll find these conversations helpful and insightful, and everything you share will be anonymised to maintain your privacy. You can read more about the research process here. By enrolling in the course we assume you are happy to potentially be chosen for this important part of the project.

Why is it called a Friendship ‘Lab’?

A lab is where experiments take place, and we can’t think of a better approach to forming and deepening adult friendship than to treat it as a series of experiments that we try, learn from, and adapt until we’re successful.