Why Puzzling is More Fun With Friends

by Kelly Jo Richards

Let’s start with the obvious- sitting down to work on a puzzle is a fantastic way to unwind. If you’re anything like Jenn and me, you probably love to pour yourself a hot cup of coffee or a nice glass of wine, sit down with your puzzle, and decompress. Life can be so crazy and loud at times, and a break from the world with nothing but you and a puzzle can be the perfect retreat.

At the beginning of the pandemic, many people turned to puzzling as a way to entertain themselves while being cooped up in quarantine. People who had puzzled in the past turned back to this form of solace. Some who hadn’t been interested in puzzles before found their new favorite hobby. And many folks who had been puzzle enthusiasts all along found themselves in a position to finally whittle away at their puzzle to-do list. The world was collectively forced to slow down, and puzzling was a wonderful way to adapt.

How we began puzzling together

I was surprised to learn how many of my friends enjoyed puzzling as much as I did. My book club began setting up puzzle exchanges where we could make doorstep trades. Jenn and I made puzzle recommendations to one another and found a way to support small, women-owned businesses. The puzzle world had never seen so much attention! And then something beautiful happened- the world slowly began reopening. Most of us were anxious to reconnect, but to do so safely. And yet again, puzzles were the perfect option.

As I slowly started venturing out and seeing small groups of friends and family, there was one thing I noticed occurring over and over again: partially assembled puzzles in homes. As my loved ones and I would sit down and reconnect, it was natural that we would start working on the puzzle together. In time, these impromptu puzzling sessions became planned events that we all looked forward to. And as much as my introverted soul loves sitting down to decompress in solitude, it is even more wonderful to gather with close friends and do less, together.

While working on puzzles with my best friends, we have shared parenting advice, supported each other through various career woes and heartbreaks, celebrated each other’s wins, and grown closer than ever. When we successfully place a piece in a difficult puzzle, we holler out “ding ding ding!” to toast the small victory. And even in the quiet moments where we’re focused on the pieces and not really talking, inevitably Lizzo’s “Juice” will come through the speaker, firing up an impromptu karaoke/dance party. The connection (pun kind of intended) we have created through puzzling together has even extended to a group text where we send each other pictures as we progress through and complete puzzles on our own.

Puzzling solo remains my favorite way to unwind after a long day or week. But over the last two years, many of my most treasured moments begin and end with my closest friends and a puzzle. If you haven’t hosted a puzzle night in awhile (or ever), now is the time to start! Text your bestie, snag a new puzz to dive into (we love Coffeeology if you want to start light, or Flower Feast if you’re ready for a challenge) and start making memories!

Ready for the full experience? Find our step by step guide to planning the perfect puzzle weekend here.

colorful puzzle pieces