I was given the opportunity to speak with women about Why Is It So Hard For Women to Make Friends Over 30 years old. Meeting friends at any age can be challenging but when you are over 30 years old there are unique issues that get in the way of us cultivating meaning connections. I will highlight some of those challenges and offer hope on how to make friends.
Why You Need Friends
A 10-year study in Australia, found the sheer act of having meaningful relationships extends your lifespan. Having friendships is an act of self care. Friends encourage you to live a healthier lifestyle. As we age, quality becomes more important than quality.
Reasons That Get in Our Way of Having Friends
We Are Busier
Let’s face it, folks over 30 have jobs, kids, spouses and tv shows to watch (I watch a lot of tv). Making time for anything outside of our typical routine is challenging.
Comparing New to Old
Our new friendships will not resemble the older established friendships. We have to accept that we are in a different place, therefore our ability to cultivate new connections will be different. In early friendships, we had time to spend developing deep connections but, our time is now limited and those deeper connections may take longer to form.
People Are Picker
As we age, we are better able to identify our friend type. A friend type is a set of personality qualities that you might associate with potential new friends. As you’ve aged you may look for different things such as people who are creative, adventurous or confident. Again, due to our limited time, we are quickly able to identify whether or not someone meets our Friend Type. You are no longer growing into your own with your friends. At 30 years old, you may be heavily established in who you are. Therefore, you might look for people who seem to be similar to you.
We Have A “Friend Type”
If you haven’t developed your friend type, do so now. The friend type is based on personal and similar interests. Be careful not to rule people out if you aren’t in the exact same place. For example, if you are single, it’s okay to have married friends. Remember friendships help you grow. Don’t stunt your growth by only hanging out with people in similar in lifestyles as you.
The Need Is Devalued
In this stage, we believe that if we have close relationships with family that we don’t need friends. A family is not a replacement for friends and friends are not a replacement for family. Both are needed to thrive. Also, we think that friends are optional and not necessary at this time in life.
Fear of Transparency
Opening up is hard to do. Choosing what to share and when is scary. Show who you are in small doses. Too much too soon can scare off potential friends.
How to Make Friends
Put Yourself in physical spaces with other people
You won’t meet anyone on your couch while watching Scandal. Get out and mingle. Go to events in your city, ask a co-worker out, or join a fitness group. To meet people you have to be with people.
Rekindle Lost Connect
Call your college roommate or that friend you lost touch with years ago. They may be willing to re-establish a friendship especially if you remain consistent.
Take Online Connections Offline
It is possible to make friends on Instagram, Facebook or other social media platform. Take the interaction offline by asking your potential friend out to lunch or for coffee. Don’t settle for likes and the occasional back and forth messaging.
Making friends over 30 might have its challenges, but it is possible with some effort and consistency.
Nedra Glover Tawwab, LCSW
904 E. 8th St. Charlotte, NC 28204