Making friends over the age of 30 is easy. Every month or so, through a social feed, the topic of friendship over the age of 30 comes up. Considered hard and often unachievable these articles give tips of locations you can make friends. At the office, in group fitness classes or volunteering locally. Statistics are mentioned, ‘80% of millennials say they find it hard to make new friends’ and experts quoted, ‘People start to reduce their friendship circles as adult routines fall into place’.Recently on one of my morning chats to Instagram stories I spoke about making new friends and the response I got was fantastic. I’ve moved around a lot in my life because of my dads job, often reciting to people 10 schools in 13 years! It wasn’t until I quickly listed my thoughts on the topic of friendship that I realised there was more to it then going to a group fitness class or asking a work colleague for a drink. Making friends over the age of 30 is easy and here are those thoughts from my instagram fleshed out further!
Be Patient. Adult life means baggage and people over 30 have already lived a life. Friendship means navigating humans that may have experienced intense heartbreak, marriage, divorce, children, inability to have children, death in the family, illness and much more. Like you there are family commitments to consider, work deadlines, career aspirations and partners all demanding attention. You need to be patient.
Find events that you enjoy. School and university brings together like minded individuals which result in friendships and local events can do the same. Have a look on instagram and find events that you would enjoy or try websites like Meetup and Eventbrite. Are you listening to any podcasts? Their live shows will bring like minded individuals into your life. I’ve gone solo to events at Hoxton Hotel here in London, wildlife drawing held by a local Florist I follow and brunch at Topshop before the store opens.
Become a ‘chatty Cathy’, introduce yourself to everyone and use the event topic as a starting point. Move around the room. The first person might mention something that is a friendship deal breaker and there is no reason to spend the whole night with them and get stuck. If you see someone standing by themselves bring them into your conversation circle. Friendship is a numbers game. The more people you meet the more chance you find that new friend.
Invite someone to be your plus one. Is there an event you are going to and you know someone would be interested in being your plus one? Buy that extra ticket, write a list of the people you want to invite and start contacting them. This works particularly well if you aren’t asking anyone to pay for the ticket. Yes this means you are covering the costs but you are investing in your new friendships.
Build a relationship. Most people connect via social media so it is time to utilise the chat functions. Engage in their profiles, like and comment. Ask them questions. Remember to be patient (see above) when messaging. You need to allow them time to respond and this might not be the best place for them to communicate. If you are feeling bold swap numbers and set up your next coffee meet.
Let go of friendship expectations. Every friendship is different and all are of equal value regardless if you catch up weekly, monthly or once a year. Some of my friendships are exclusively online. One of my friends has three young children, a full time job and ill mother in law. Being able to catch up is hard. Whilst I suggest a face to face every now and then I am not upset that this rarely happens. That is just life.
Luxury of time. Time is something I have in my current life. My work has flexible hours, I have no boyfriend or little humans to look after. This means in my new friendships I often visit my friends. I have recently been to Brighton for the day and Bristol for a weekend because it is easy for me to do. If you know your friend is on night shifts and the commute would be a factor suggest a location that gives them the advantage. No one is going to say no if its near their home!
Make an effort and it will be reciprocated. In your 30’s there is a hesitation with new relationships as people have been burnt in the past. You may need to make the effort with the people you have chosen to make contact. A new friend recently said to me they weren’t great with new people as they could never tell if someone wanted to be their friend. They realised that I was serious about it when I travelled to another city to have lunch! Now we chat all the time. If you make enough effort it will be reciprocated.
Remember your friendship is new. Your friend from high school has seen you at your best and worst so this current moan about your job over the life span of your friendship isn’t that big a deal. However in a new friendship this could be all you are telling your new friend and don’t be surprised if they don’t return your calls. To be honest for me when someone is constantly demanding attention in a friendship or just wanting to moan about their life it is a deal breaker. Equally I then try not to be that person in a new friendship. I’m no advocating lying or not being yourself just keep negativity to a minimum.
Move on if you are dumped. I’ve dumped friends and been dumped. Sometimes you never find out why and this sucks. Try to be the bigger person, remember the nice things about the old friendship, what you gained from it and move forward. I have had friends dump me and then swing back into my life years later. I don’t always let them back in, sometimes time heals and sometimes you know they are just wanting to see where you are at hoping their life is better!
Take yourself out. As I’ve written this I have realised I am writing this from a place of confidence, unhooked from friendship expectations. Not an easy place to get to and I know it is because I take myself out, all the time. It can be to the local park to practice photography, spending a small fortune on a cinema ticket or going to a sketching class in soho. If you are doing things this also helps to create conversation with new friends. I find it helps reduce the impact of a bad friendship or the loss of a friendship if you have your own things to occupy your time.
I’d love to hear any tips you have for making friends in your 30’s. What are some the things you have learnt to gain a new friendship? PF xo