Figuring out how to make (and keep) new friends in my 30s has been one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in my adult life.
Up until my mid-20s, I lived in the same city where I went to college and graduate school. My circle of friends was well-established and my social life was pretty busy.
When I got married and moved to a different state in my late 20s, I had a rude awakening. For the first time in years, I had to build a new circle of friends (from scratch) or at least attempt to insert myself into an existing circle.
I wish I could tell you that after the move I easily made a new friend at the gym or that I became friends with one of my neighbors in our apartment complex, but sadly that is not what happened.
While I did start to create some very loose friendships with people at my new job, the deep and meaningful friendships that I craved seemed unattainable.
Then, at 28, I became pregnant with twins and my quest for friendship was put on hold for several years as I began my journey into motherhood.
It wasn’t until I hit my 30s, that I even attempted to restart my whole ‘friendship-building’ process and by then, it seemed to be even more difficult to find my tribe.
Anyone who has ever put effort into making friends in a new, unfamiliar city knows just how grueling and draining and often times disappointing the process can be.
There were times I cried because of the loneliness. There were times that I completely swore off the idea of ever making new friends, making Drake’s song “No New Friends” my own personal anthem.
But at the end of the day, the truth is that friendships improve your quality of life and simply make life better.
While there were a ton of ways that I attempted to make new friends (and failed), I did manage to build a handful of friendships that I’ve continued to nurture now 7 years into my 30s. Below I share a few things that actually worked for me.
3 Ways to Make New Friends in Your 30s
Meeting Moms at Daycare/School
Clearly, by the time I hit my 30s, I was already a mother. However, I didn’t put my children in childcare right away. When I did finally find a daycare I loved, it turned out to be a blessing for both me and my kids.
This daycare center allowed parents to sit with their kids in the cafeteria for breakfast. I ended up meeting 3 mom friends from these early morning interactions. We’ve exercised together. Gone on double and triple dates together. Celebrated our children’s birthdays together, and much more.
So, if you’re a mom, don’t underestimate the power of building relationships with parents of school friends.
Meeting Mutual Friends at Social Functions
Another great way that I’ve been able to forge friendships is through mutual friends of my friends and associates.
In once instance, I was invited to a book club by a woman I worked with. During the book club, I really connected with a childhood friend of the book club hostess.
Over 5 years later, we continue to schedule lunches with each other, talk and text, and even get our families together every now and again.
In another example, I was invited to a 5am workout session by one of my daycare mom friends. I absolutely loathe working out that early in the morning, but thank goodness I went. She’d invited another friend of hers and we just totally clicked! Her family is now like my extended family.
Hosting an Event at Your Place
This suggestion kind of ties in with the mutual friends example. A great way to build on existing friendships and make new ones is to host an event at your place.
I’m really into trying new wines, so I hosted a few wine parties. My first party was a “Wine and Bra” party. I had a friend who was a bra-fitting expert come and teach us all how to find bras that properly fit. The next party was a Wine and Makeup party. I had a friend who was a MUA come and give all my guests tips on how to create smokey eyes and date night makeup.
There are a ton of other ideas of gathering you can host at your house like book clubs, cooking lessons, vision board parties, and more. It’s a great way to connect with people you know and make new friends by allowing them to invite a mutual friend.
Figuring out ways to make new friends in your 30s is no easy feat. And yes, it can be a discouraging and lonely process. But often times you just have to let new friendships play out organically.
New friendships can’t be forced, but you have to at least put yourself in situations that expose you to opportunities to make connections with people.
Don’t give up. Your tribe is out there!