Have you ever done a mental audit of the number of humans you consider close friends? If so, would you need more than 10 fingers? This is a question I’ve pondered every so often throughout my life, probably because I’ve never needed any additional digits.

The figure has fluctuated, of course, but what’s most interesting to me is how the same people seem to come and go and often come back again. I tend to think this is a sign of a strong relationship, one in which life circumstances might draw you together or tug you apart, but the ties that bind are never really broken. Over the past few years, for instance, a distance has developed between me and a friend I’ve had for almost 30 years. It hurts and I miss her, but something tells me that we’ll find our ways back to each other one day. Friendships, I try to remind myself, need to be able to evolve, and this momentary disunity is just part of the evolution of this particular relationship.

I also try to remind myself that I’m not the only one low on kindred spirits. In this issue’s “Some Friendly Advice”, features editor Spencer Campbell examines the unhealthy reality that Coloradans are among the country’s loneliest denizens—and provides some guidance on how to rebuild your roster of buddies. “Since the pandemic, it feels like we keep doing new things to try to feel better,” says Campbell, who himself has taken up (and put down) meditation, running, and journaling. “Really, though, the one thing that is proven to make humans happier is fulfilling relationships. But knowing you need friends is much easier than actually making them—especially when you’re an adult.”

As we close out 2023 and look toward 2024, I don’t anticipate that a new year will bring more friends than I can count on two hands. However, with a little help from my good pal Spencer Campbell, I hope I can both make new friends and keep the old.

Illustration by Arthur Mount

Michelle Johnson
Home Editor

Each year, architects, interior designers, and homeowners submit their spaces for a shot at winning a spot in 5280’s Top Denver Home Design feature. When home editor Michelle Johnson met with her team in July to decide on this year’s most worthy projects, they were faced with the difficult task of selecting from a record number of submissions. While whittling down the contestants wasn’t easy, Johnson notes that each of the final picks included in “The High Life” displays a special element. “There has to be some sort of wow factor,” she says, “whether it’s the quality of materials used in the design or the striking architecture.” This year, Johnson is particularly excited about the accolade bestowed on the “whole home” winner. Although 5280 has given the award in the past, the team has not doled it out every year. For the 2023 champ, Christine DeOrio penned a longer piece that details the inspiration behind the home from both architectural and design standpoints. “Whether one of these spaces sparks a lightbulb moment for their own home’s design or introduces them to a local design pro they were previously unfamiliar with,” Johnson says, “I hope readers feel compelled to dog-ear the pages and use this feature as a resource.”