Welcome to your 30s! Hangovers are a little worse, your knees make a loud crunching noise for no reason, if you turn your head too fast you can't use your neck for a week, and for some reason, friends just seem to disappear. And new friends? Making friends feels like finding a unicorn.
And guess what - we've caught you a unicorn. Here's how to make friends in your 30s (from a 30-something who has been there).
Check Out an App
We grew up with technology - we grew up with dial-up internet, AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger, LiveJournal, MySpace, and then Facebook. 30-somethings are the master of apps, whether we like it or not. If you're looking for how to make new friends in your 30s, technology can be a go-to.
- MeetUp allows you to do just that, meet up with people who share the same interests in real life.
- Bumble BFF is a great way to meet up with other adults, single adults to married adults, who also want to make friends. You can customize who you do and who you don't want to match with. Get your thumbs ready! This is what all those years of playing Super Mario Brothers on old-school Nintendo has prepared you for.
Consider Friendship Coaching
If you don't want to give the digital approach a try, you can explore the idea of a friendship coach who does just that: helps you to navigate the world of making new friends and keeping current bonds strong. You can find coaches that specialize in friendship, like Friend Forward; some therapists, counselors, and life skills coaches also offer friendship coaching services as well.
Reach Out to Old Friends
You might be looking around and wondering, why is it that when you hit your 30s, all your friends seem to disappear? Well, people move, dive into their careers, start families, and life takes all of you in separate directions. According to a 2016 study on friendship, after the age of 25 people typically lose more friends too; the study suggests this is because of people's changes in life focus and deciding where to invest their time and energies (i.e. family and close friendships).
But there's no shame in reaching out to old friends and reconnecting. After all, you had much in common, and you might find new things you have in common now too.
Network With Your Friends
Clearly, your friends have good taste! Hang out with friends of your friends to expand your social circle. It's a low-stakes way to introduce yourself to new people.
Get Into a Routine That Can Foster Friendships
Hit up the same place for brunch every Sunday, go to the same yoga class every Wednesday night, and have your brain primed for trivia each Tuesday. Once you start seeing familiar faces week after week, it can be easier to make an introduction or at least break the ice.
Going to trivia night is a great way to make easy conversation with teams that are around you!
Join a Club, Gaming Group, or Sports Team
On the other hand, by the time people are in their 30s, they may have a pretty solid schedule. And if your schedule is too rigid, it can impede your ability to make new friends. So switch things up! Join a new group. A social sports team or beer league team is a great way to instantly and easily connect with people that are your speed and share your interests.
Volunteer - In Person or Digitally
Whether you take on volunteer work online or hit the local park to help facilitate a 5K, the key to making new friends is finding people who share a common thread with you. In this case, it could be fundraising or just having a hobby that you both enjoy that helps others.
Reach Out to Your Co-Workers
While there might be some age gaps in one direction or another, rub elbows with your co-workers. You don't need to be instant friends or best friends, but go ahead and push past the usual, "so, how was your weekend?"
Since so many people in this age group are focused on their careers, finding out how to meet people in your 30s with similar professional interests might be just what you need. So, consider networking with co-workers too to find others you can connect with in your field. Or, try attending conferences or events focused on your career area.
Check Out Organized Social Events
If you walk past a flyer advertising a game night, silent disco, dance class, church mixer, whatever it is, take note! Then commit to going.
Recognize That Age Is Nothing but a Number
You might be in your 30s, but friends come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Don't overlook someone just because they aren't in the same exact decade as you. Expand your friend circle to all walks of life.
Remember LDR Friends Are Still Friends
Your friends that are miles and miles away are still friends! You may not be able to drop in, but you can still text, call, and FaceTime. And, who knows, they may just have some insight into how to help you get yourself out there to meet new people.
Be Realistic and Be Patient
Friends take time, and you may not connect with someone the first time or fifth or sixth time you head out. But life is a numbers game, and the more you try, the closer you get to succeeding.
Take the leap and say yes! Say yes to parties, events, and gatherings you may not normally go for and have an open mind (and hypothetical open arms) to new people you'll meet.
Friendship in Your 30s Can Be More About Quality Than Quantity
The friendships you make in your 30s might look different than the ones you had in your college years or in your 20s. Sometimes people have lots of friends in their younger years and start focusing more on the quality of friendships in their 30s.
As life gets busier, you may choose to limit your friendships a little bit more and spend the time with the friendships that are most meaningful to you - and that's totally ok. It's not about the number, it's about having meaningful friendships.
The Art of Friendship in Your 30s
There's something to be said about the adage, "we're all walking each other home." And no time is that more true than in your 30s. You've conquered high school, college, and survived your 20s. Set your sights on new friends, new experiences, and a blossoming social life.