Yes, You Can Still Make Friends in Your 30s — Here’s How I Did It
Your 30s is a time of transition — marriage, children, career, a lot of things are happening that take up your time. So it’s no wonder your friendships take a hit as well. But you know what? Friendships are crucial when it comes to your quality of life and wellness. So how do you make friends in your 30s? Editor Sheryll shares her experience.
Making friends is challenging, but making friends in your 30s is a whole other ball game. It’s when the weird life split happens — friends get married, have children, move for a job, sometimes a combination of all three. Everyone starts to move on to their new phases of life, and if you’re not married or don’t have kids (aka me), it can be hard to navigate these changes.
For me, this feeling of isolation was compounded by the fact that I moved to Atlanta from Southeast Asia — a city where I had no friends, no family, and no support system. And yes, of course, I moved with my boyfriend, and he is the most wonderful human on the planet, but every girl needs a few girlfriends.
I don’t really think I realized just how lonely I was until I started going to therapy and, through a few sessions, discovered that a major component of my life (friendships) was missing. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. Like, of course, I was depressed and lonely — I had no close friendships. But then came the next challenge: How do I find friends in a city where I know no one and I work from home?!
To make a long story short, through work and effort, I now have an amazing support group of friends. They’ve come to my powerlifting events, we go to the movies together, or sometimes just hang out on a friend’s porch and chat with snacks. I’ve had friends come over to make dinner with me (which I’ve discovered is one of life’s greatest pleasures) or simply hang out in PJs and binge-watch Parks and Recreation. For one of the first times in my recent memory, I feel happy and fulfilled. And despite what all the memes tell us about being introverted and not wanting to hang out with friends, friendships have been proven to help people live longer and improve stress, depression, and anxiety.
So, just how did I do it? How did I find these close friendships? Read on for my tips.
1. Put yourself out there
One of the scariest things I had to do was put myself out there. You’re not going to find friends cooped up in your apartment. I work from home, so I didn’t even have the luxury of making work friends. I joined Meetup.com and joined a few groups that seemed interesting to me. If meeting people in a group is not your jam, I recommend BumbleBFF. It’s like the dating app Bumble, but only for women who are looking for friendship.
Yes, it IS super intimidating at first (who wants to be judged on your profile and photo!), but it’s actually the place where I found all of the women I now consider my close friends. And it is really affirming to know that there are a ton of women out there that are also looking for friendship. You aren’t alone!
2. DON’T FLAKE
Now, once you’ve put yourself out there, joined some groups or swiped right on a couple of people from BumbleBFF, you actually have to commit to meeting up with them. Yes, I know, after work or on the weekends it sounds really good to order some takeout and watch TV, but you actually have to stick to your word and go hang out. NO GHOSTING ALLOWED.
Some of the first meetings I had with my friends — coffee dates, a co-working date, Korean BBQ dinner, a walk around a bookstore, a dessert date — none of these things break the bank, and they allow you to chat one-on-one with your potential new friend and see if you’re compatible. Think of it like this: How can you want friends if you don’t even want to meet people? No one wants a friend who constantly cancels plans and flakes!
And in the same vein, it’s 2020, we’re all busy. So instead of doing that back and forth:
“Hey, let’s hang out!”
“Oh, I can’t after 8pm because xyz.”
“Oh, well what about this date/time?”
“Sorry, I’m busy then, too.”
Plan on a date out of the month or week that you hang out and stick to it. My friends and I like to do movie dates once a month on the same day, or you could have a bi-weekly coffee date. Just find something, put it in your calendar, and stick to it!
3. Keep up the communication
So, you and your potential bestie have gone out for a friend date and you’ve really hit it off. Don’t let it fizzle out! I like to keep in contact with my friends by sending funny GIFs or just checking in every once in a while. Of course, we’re all busy, but a simple “Hey! How are you?” text really goes a long way. The whole point of friendships is to have someone to talk to or hang out with so make sure that you’re keeping in contact!
Have you found it harder to make friends as you get older? Do you have any tips on making friends in your 30s or at any age? Let me know in the comments!