If you’d of told me back in primary school that by the time I got to thirty I’d find making friends hard, I would have laughed and called you silly. Thing is, making friends in your thirties is far more tricky than you can imagine, we just don’t have the opportunities like we do back in school or even in our twenties at university. So how can you make friends in your thirties? Before I go into ways I’ve found new friendships, let’s look at my approach to friendships.
Less is more
I remember those days back when Facebook first appeared, and my friend list was hitting the 400 marks. Seriously! What was that about, I essentially had everyone you could think of, probably people I’d befriended on drunken nights where we promised to stay in touch, then never spoke again, it was just a bit nuts really. A friends list that extensive now is just daft in my eyes, how could you know and actively have that many friends? I took the less is more approach to Facebook a few years ago, as I was fed up of people knowing my business when either we didn’t really talk or hadn’t spoken in years.
With that approach in mind, I’ve realised that it isn’t about having 400 people as your friends on Facebook, quite frankly, you aren’t ‘friends’ with that many they are just on a list… it’s about having even a handful you can really call friends. I’d rather have a small number of amazing friends than people I wouldn’t know from Adam. Basically, don’t be disheartened by not having dozens of friends, some people are lucky and naturally do, but it is rare. Trust me, having a less is more approach to your friendship circle in your thirties is the way forward.
As humans we change, it’s natural, so we’re going to grow in and out of friendships. That’s not a bad thing, it’s a fact of life. Friends we had in Primary School might not be our friends still in our thirties, or we may reconnect with someone we knew of in Primary School and become friends in our thirties. But people change and that’s not the end of the world, things like gaining new hobbies or simply a change location, can all be factors in the break of a friendship. I never would have imagined I’d be interested in triathlon back in my twenties, in fact, I didn’t exercise a great deal, but now it’s my life. We just develop every day, sometimes we take friends with us, and sometimes we drift in different directions. It’s okay, it happens.
Finding new friends
It dawned on me a while ago that whilst I have a lovely set of friends, (who I love to pieces) I lacked friends that wanted to be as adventurous as me. I adore travel and talking about travel, and quite a few of my friends aren’t as involved with that. That’s okay though because it is healthy to have different friends for different things, but I wanted other friends who wanted to be active with me. For me, finding new friendships was about filling that missing piece of my friendship circle.
How to find new friends
I felt ridiculous saying I wanted to find new friends, it felt a little pathetic, until I realised so many others felt the same. But how could I do that? I explored a number of options, which I will list below.
- Reconnect with old friendships – for example, friends from primary school or friendships that had grown apart. Maybe we’re on the same wavelength now
- Joining a new club – if you’re active perhaps a running club as you’re more likely to meet like-minded people. If you do something you love, chances anyone you meet there who is a potential friend will like the same thing as you.
- Make friends in places you already go – I made a big effort to chat with the girls who go to the same gym class as me every week. turns out we have heaps in common. Can you make friends from things like the gym too?
- Join a friendship app – Yes, there are friend apps. This is actually genius. I made two great friends on this Bumble app, one I met and we found out we had heaps in common, then the other we’ve chatted on Whatsapp but both been so busy we haven’t met up yet. But again a lot in common. Just like the swipe left, swipe right of a dating app, this app allowed the same for the friend side. You could look at profiles to see if the location was close by and of course, if you were likeminded.
Keep your current friendships
Have you got friends right now? Make the effort to see them and take an interest in their lives. When did you ask them how they were? What about asking to do something? Often, we forget to take the time to work on the friendships we currently have. So if you have a friend you haven’t messaged in a while, or you’d love to see, make it happen. Friendships, like romantic relationships, need work to make them work!
My friendship journey
I’m lucky to be honest because I now have a good understanding of what I want in a friendship, but I’ve also realised I’m quite content in my own company! I like a bit of me time, and I don’t need to surround myself with lots of people, I don’t need to fill my time being busy constantly either. It is about finding a good balance. You also need to make an effort to get an effort back, I am blessed with a lovely set of Uni friends, some from school and my girls who I have made friends with in my thirties.
But, I will say that the most beneficial things for me and my friendships are three things.
- Numbers don’t matter – whether you have 5 or 500 friends, it’s quality, not quantity
- Find friends in something you love – I’ve made incredible friends through blogging and my personal passions
- A little effort goes a long way – unfortunately, when we get to our thirties it is harder to meet people, so a bit of effort will really help make those friends.
If you’re here because you want to make new friends, be that proactive, positive person you clearly are and make it happen. I love making new friends and only after giving myself a little reality slap, am I now achieving it and you can too.