4 Tips for Making Friends in Your Thirties and Why It’s So F***king Hard
posted on July 3, 2019 | by Vanessa Peers
I treasure my friendships and have always been surrounded by a large circle of friends, many of whom I met at school. I also met a handful of friends at university and a few through my husband, but honestly, for most of my adult life, I have been too busy making plans with my existing friends to worry about meeting new friends. It was only when I moved literally halfway across the world in my early thirties that I realized just how difficult it can be to make friends later in life. Gosh, for some part, meeting new friends made me feel like I was dating again!
The problem is, in your thirties, you don’t often find yourself forced into situations where you have to spend time with people of a similar age and with similar interests, as you do at school and university. Even at work – depending on your role and level of responsibility – often times, it can be best to keep a professional relationship with colleagues. This is compounded by the fact that people in their thirties can be at very different life stages – some are single, some are in relationships, some are parents, some have huge work responsibilities. So, finding someone who lives in your city, that you have something in common with and that you really connect with, is no easy feat!
However, by putting in some effort and following my tips below, it is possible to make wonderful friends in your thirties.
Put yourself out there
Attend every social engagement you can (even when you don’t feel like it) – go for happy hour with a colleague; go to the neighbourhood party; or join your roommate/neighbour for a bbq. Even if you don’t think that you have much in common with your colleague or neighbour, you never know who else will be there and you may end up meeting someone you really hit it off with.
Pick an activity that you enjoy and find a class, group or club. At least you know you will have a shared interest with the other attendees. Into running? Sign up for a weekly running club. Enjoy reading? Sign up for a book club. Meetup is a good platform to use to find events where you can connect with people in a similar situation and with similar interests.
Don’t be shy
Now that you’ve got yourself to all of these events, put on a smile and go and mingle! If you regularly see the same person at your exercise class at the gym, don’t be afraid to go up and say hi. And if you think you’ve really hit it off with someone, ask for their phone number or find them on social media and message them soon after meeting. Don’t let your doubts and thoughts like “Does that person also like me?” or “Won’t that person think I’m lonely and desperate?” stop you; it’s likely that the other person feels the same way.
Put in the time
Friendships, like all relationships, require a huge amount of time and effort to thrive. Think of all the wine nights, dinners and even time spent on the phone with your best friend over the years. I know it can be difficult when you’re busy but make sure to prioritize time with new friends. An easy way to do this is to invite them to join you for events you were already planning to attend or read Chelsea’s article for more tips about how to make time for friendships.
Remain true to yourself
Perhaps, one of the reasons it’s more difficult to make friends in your thirties is because, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably become more selective about who you spend your time with! It may be tempting to try and keep seeing someone you know you don’t have much in common with, especially when you’re feeling lonely and you don’t have your best friend nearby to grab a drink with on a Saturday night, but you’re probably better off scheduling a call with an old friend and having a glass of wine at home!
Staying connected to my oldest and dearest friends will always be a priority but I am so thankful for the amazing friends I’ve now made in my thirties, many of whom I know will be lifelong friends. If you’ve been in a similar situation of having to make new friends in your thirties, I’d love to hear about your experience.