As a kid, making friends came easy to many of us. It was as easy as sitting down next to someone in class and deciding to be BFF.
So many factors play into this phenomenon: In your 30s, you’re not in contact with as many new people as you were in your twenties. You have less time and energy, so you have higher standards about who you spend your time with.
By the time you hit your 30s, forming connections seems so much harder than ever before.
However, making friends in your 30s is significantly harder than making friends earlier in life, here’s why that’s the case:
1. Vicinity plays a big role
When you’re all grown up, chances are there are fewer friendships blossoming with the people that live in your neighborhood. It’s not as if you don’t like the woman who lives upstairs or the quirky guy down the hall, but by the time you reach your 30s you know that you’re not going to be besties with someone just because you get your mail from the same community box. When you don’t meet new people often through the simple act of walking out your front door, friendships are harder to come by.
2. Family ties eat up a lot of time
For many people, the 30s involve settling down, having kids (or a dog!), and just generally paying more attention to your home life. This drain on your time resources can make it that much more difficult to go out and meet people because instead of heading out for drinks and a random adventure on a Tuesday with the girls, you’re more likely falling asleep to your latest Netflix obsession.
4. Your idea of quality friends changes
The days where you can meet a girl in the bar bathroom and continue that friendship are long gone by the time you reach your 30s. It’s not as if you like those beautiful women any less than you would in your 20s, it’s just that you prioritize your friendships a little differently. Unfortunately, those fleeting party friends don’t often make the cut.
5. It’s easier to focus on yourself
It might not be a pretty truth, but it’s true nonetheless—as we age we become shamelessly more self-involved. We aren’t as concerned with being everyone’s shoulder to cry on because we know that we have to invest our time and energy into ourselves, our health, and our priorities.
6. Lack of resources
There are so many dating apps around for when we just can’t seem to meet a great person to spend our lives with but there are very few that give way for making new friendships. Sure, you can meet someone on Tinder and like them as a friend, but it’s unlikely that friendship will stick. It just seems a little more awkward to scour for platonic relationships on an app.
7. Common interests tend to take center stage
When you’re younger, it takes just one commonality to bring people together. People who enjoy sports hang out with others who can talk about the big game and music lovers tend to flock together. When you get older, though, it’s a lot harder to have just one thing in common and still maintain a friendship. Adults want to be able to feel as though they’ve found their tribe, and it’s not likely they’ll waste time on friendships that don’t fully fit.
8. Straight up fear plays a role
There’s nothing quite like wanting to make a friend but not being able to initiate that first hangout. Whether it be a cool new coworker or someone you see every single time you walk your dog, the fear of rejection and anxiety that goes along with all that scaredy-cat business can sometimes be too much to handle. It can be downright exhausting and we’re already so tired a lot of the time!
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé