Adulting can be complicated. Your once carefree life has been replaced by work, commitments, meetings, deadlines, and endless responsibilities. Your friends from school and college may not stay in touch anymore, while your work colleagues don't have to be your best friends today.
At some point, you find yourself spending more time in front of a TV watching a movie, than hanging out or reconnecting with old buddies.
You call it "me time" but even you know better, you haven't met your best friend in ages.
Of course, there are many reasons we lose friends or drift apart as we grow old. As responsibilities happen, our priorities change. While you're glad to get rid of the drama from time to time, you do miss catching up with your buddies.
Here’s the thing, irrespective of age, we all need friends and a human connect. And friends often become our family outside of our homes. Where most people falter though, is in thinking that they can’t make friends as an adult.
There’s no age limit in making friends, whether you are six-years-old or 60. With that in mind, here’s how to make friends in your thirties with these seven tips that will help you reconnect with people as an adult.
1. Accept that you need a friend
First and foremost, accept the fact that you need a friend. Acceptance will help you get over any mental block in realising why you need a friend or a connection outside of your home.
When you don't have a contact outside of the house like a friend or confidante, it's usually family members who are at the receiving end of things from you — both good and bad.
That's why, begin with accepting the fact that you need to go out and make friends. It's also about approaching the same with a positive mindset. You also need to tell yourself that it's healthy to make friends as an adult.
2. Get out a little more
Now that you've acknowledged you need friends, here's how to make friends in your thirties — actually go out!
As much as we want to, online conversations can only go to an extent when it comes to friendships. You need to actually go out and meet people to keep relationships alive.
As an adult, we do understand that this takes effort. But it's also necessary for your mental well-being.
Meeting people helps build an emotional bond with the other person, which may be missing in other forms of interaction. When you meet people in person, both of you are investing time, energy and emotion into each other.
This leads to how you ultimately want to feel, which is having a connection.
This also means going to places where you share common interests. So, fitness enthusiasts are likely to find friends at gyms, religious folks may want to go to a church, or someone interested in books can try out a library or a bookstore.
You can also look for common events, concerts, or a group activities that put you in a situation where you need to interact with new people.
Do not join a cult though. It will remove one barrier of how to approach someone and you will automatically have more organic friendships.
3. It’s okay to be vulnerable
We tend to shut down emotionally in adulthood. Past experiences or a bad relationships could be contributing factors but we do avoid emotional intimacy outside of our closest bonds.
But talking about what's bothering you is actually a good thing. In most cultures, guys talking about emotions is usually frowned upon since it may not appear to be a masculine quality.
But mental wellbeing really needs you to talk about your feelings. Bottling them inside you does not help. The same applies to women too.
So, if you do find yourself surrounded by the right people, it's okay to talk about things that bother you or your emotions.
People who are genuinely your friends will take the time out and listen. They are your real friends.
4. Reconnect with old friends
Sometimes, making friends isn't as much about finding new ones, then it is about reconnecting with old ones. Like we said, the sometimes, friends drift apart but that does not mean the connections have been lost.
Some friendships are a lot like the "pause" button. You could catch up five years later and continue from where you left off. And that's completely okay.
Even if you don't find yourself sharing the same bond again, it could help you understand how can you be a better friend.
The experience will only help you shape into a better human than before and also a better friend.
5. Say 'yes' more often
If your friend asks, “Hey, do you want to catch up for a movie this weekend?” Say yes to that. If your friends ask, “Want to go camping, clubbing, golfing, or join a house party?”
Say yes. Over the years, we tend to avoid situations that we think make us uncomfortable. But discomfort is the pathway to friendships.
All you need to do is make that first move of actually showing up and you won’t regret it.
6. You can’t have everything your way
As we tend to enter our thirties, we have our systems and processes in life in place. This may mean that you would be far less accommodating that you were at 20 years of age.
So, when you want to rekindle or friendships or begin new ones, you may come across a dominant person to the other individual who likes to do things in only one way — yours. No one like a know-it-all.
Friendships are all about balance and being equal. Which is what makes them special in the first place. So dial down on the chest thumping and ease in to your relationships with friends.
Thinking about how to make friends in your 30s can feel like a daunting task and may be enough to trigger your anxiety. But remember, it’s necessary for your own mental wellbeing.
That’s why take the leap of faith and allow people to get close to you.