Last Updated on March 15, 2023 by Angela Vaz
If you’re reading this post, then I feel your struggle.
Don’t feel you’re alone.
Last year, I was googling this same query because I was frustrated and miserable.
I kept finding myself struggling to make friends.
And every time I made a friend, life would happen.
- Move away
- Start a family and be too busy to catch up
- Start a new career and be insanely busy to meet up
- Have a completely different life from mine that would make it very hard to connect or talk.
Has this happened to you?
Don’t worry, it’s normal.
I thought I was being singled out and with time, I realized it was my paranoia.
People entering their 30s, change.
They start working on the things that they’ve been putting off for years. Some start a business. Some start a family. Some go off the grid completely.
In general, from my years of experience and meeting so many women through meet-up groups, I have come to realize that women do find it harder to maintain long friendships.
Men find it easy to connect, men find it easy to make plans and catch up.
Women don’t, they generally overthink or have way more anxiety or want to do so many things at once that they usually bail on friends.
Please note, I’m not generalizing but after meeting a lot of women in my 30s, this is what I’ve noticed in my circles.
There is nothing to feel betrayed, angry, or hurt about. That’s just how it is.
And you need to move on.
Maybe friends you considered dear friends don’t hang out as much as they used to.
Or maybe they’ve started new lives and your lives have drifted apart.
It’s totally alright.
But the fact that you are reading this article means that you need to now make an extra effort to make friends.
If you sit inside your comfort zone and expect friendships to happen – I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but it won’t.
One of the biggest hurdles in making friends as an adult is social anxiety.
It can feel incredibly daunting to put yourself out there and try to connect with new people, especially if you’re naturally shy or introverted. But you have to remember that everyone feels nervous or uncertain at times and it’s okay to take things slowly.
Remember, baby steps.
That’s how I did it and I am really, really happy with where I am now.
In this post, I’m going to talk bout how to make friends in your 30s. I’ll also include photos to show you that it’s possible to start going out in your 30s, even with social anxiety.
Now, if you are alone and have anxiety, please read this post to learn how to go out alone with anxiety.
This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may make a commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to click on a link and purchase something. Click here to read the full disclaimer.
1. Let go of the past
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been part of a huge flock, or you’ve never stepped out of your comfort zone.
Let the past be in the past.
Make peace with your past and give yourself permission to be free now.
You owe yourself this much happiness.
This is the first step to self-love. Remember that.
Before anything else, this is what you need to do first.
Take this first tiny step of letting go of the past.
2. Be open-minded
I felt like I was betraying my friends by going out and making more friends.
And then when I reminded myself that every single best friend I have lives in another country or is just not around, I realized that I was putting my life on hold for nothing.
You need to be open to new experiences and people even if it’s something you’ve struggled with all of your life.
Don’t limit yourself to people who look, think, and act like you.
This will not help you grow. You need to broaden your circles a bit.
Every time you feel like you want to change your mind, remember why you’re doing this.
Why do you want to make friends?
- You want to put yourself out there
- You want to socialize more
- You have realized that being around people does make you happy
- You want to get over something personal
Whatever your reasons, keep those in mind. This will help you commit to making new friends.
You need to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and embrace different people, and different perspectives, and cultures.
3. Join a club
Take some time to think about what you’re passionate about.
It needn’t be something you’re terribly good at – nobody is expecting you to be an expert.
Let’s say you have a keen interest in cooking or you’re just curious and want to try it.
You could go the old-fashioned route and use recipe books and Youtube to make recipes. Or, you can hit 2 birds with 1 stone and take a physical cooking class.
You’ll learn from a professional and meet people who have the same passion as you do.
You may even grab a cup of coffee afterward with someone from the class or a whole group of people!
Give it a shot.
As for me, I like to read. So, I joined a book club.
I was so nervous till I got there and I remember my heart racing till I had to speak. But once I started talking about my book, I couldn’t stop.
I was so excited and yes, I stammered, but I had fun.
I made friends.
We ended up having a cup of chai and it was fun!
If you join a class or a club like a photography class or a pottery class or a book club, you’ll have so much fun:
- You’ll meet new people who share similar interests.
- You will build friendships. Clubs and classes like these meet regularly, so this will give you a chance to build ongoing relationships with them and you will feel like you truly belong.
- You’ll learn a new skill: Joining a club or a class focused on a particular area of interest can help you expand your knowledge and become well-versed in a particular skill!
- You’ll have fun: I never know where the hours go. Joining a club or class can be such a fun way to spend your free time. It is satisfying.
- You’ll increase your confidence: By joining a class where you are voluntarily meeting people and trying new things, you are invariably expressing yourself.
- Your stress will decrease: Since it’s a break from your regular routine, you will have a chance to relax and cool down.
So, don’t hesitate! Join a class right now.
4. Reach out to old friends
Reconnecting with old friends can be an excellent way to rebuild connections and strengthen existing relationships.
Every time I visit Hyderabad (a city close to Bangalore), I call my friend (I’ve known her for 12 years) and we catch a cup of coffee.
We’re not often in the same place, so whenever we are close by – we make it a point to catch up!
Don’t be afraid to reach out and catch up over coffee or lunch. People really appreciate it when you take the initiative to stay in touch.
You can even ask them to introduce you to more friends so that you can expand your circle and meet new people.
Even if the person says no, you can pat yourself on the back and know you’ve tried.
So, what’s the worst that could happen? The person says no. That’s fine. Move on and call somebody else!
Just because a person says no, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.
5. Never let an age gap come in the way
If you’re in your 30s, don’t feel shy to make friends with 40-year-olds, 50-year-olds, or even 60-year-olds.
Because I’ve been through a divorce and lost my mom to cancer, I’m able to connect with a lot of older people.
This is part of broadening your circles.
Just because you’re in your 30s, doesn’t mean you have to necessarily make friends with people your age.
Color outside the lines.
My partner’s mum is a wonderful woman and I love hanging out with her and her sisters when she’s in town.
We usually go to Ikea or get some grub.
6. Attend local events
You can do some research on Google and find out what events are happening near you.
We have apps here in India where we can see what’s happening and we can book tickets for them too.
You can look up events that match your interests. Check online event calendars, social media, local newspapers, and community bulletin boards or even ask around at cafes or stores.
It can be anything that captivates your interest, like a local stand-up, a concert, an art exhibition, a festival, an online marketplace, a jazz show, a talk, etc.
RSVP and register for events. It’s okay if you’re alone. Just secure your spot asap because many events have a limited number of tickets.
And most jazz shows or standups have people over 30.
When you attend, go out of your way to talk to people. Introduce yourself to people and strike up a conversation!
Be friendly, approachable, and engage in conversations. Ask questions, listen actively, and share your own experiences.
If you like someone, exchange contact information – don’t be shy. Follow them on Instagram or suggest catching up for coffee to continue the conversation.
I know how scary it can be, but I did this and I’m so glad I did.
It’s always scary doing something new, but you have to step out of your comfort zone to make friends.
Remember, just like you, there are others who are going out of their way to connect with other people because they too feel lonely and want to socialize.
7. Use Meet Up to meet people
Social media can be such a powerful tool to connect with people.
I’ve been going to Meet Up Groups for a whole year now and I love it so much. I end up meeting so many people and I always have such lovely and fun conversations.
Download the Meet Up app and look for meetings in your area.
You can join book clubs, coffee dates, get together, and so much more.
I started my own group to help women connect with each other and I’m really enjoying the weekly get-togethers.
Here’s a photo of our first meeting!
It’s a very easy-to-use app and you can search by location, interest, or date to find groups and events that fit your schedule!
These groups are created and run by people who want to give back and encourage socialization.
I never in my wildest dreams thought that I’d start a group – a person with social anxiety. Oh well, there’s a first for everything!
Meetup groups offer a variety of events ranging from casual gatherings to more structured activities.
If you do find a group you enjoy, try to go regularly so that you can build relationships with other members and potentially make lasting friendships!
8. Host a gathering
If you’ve socialized and met a few good people, invite them over.
Throw a house party at your house or a dinner party. Or host a game night.
Keep it simple.
You can make a potluck or you can get a few starters and see where the night leads before ordering dinner.
If you’re comfortable cooking, do that.
There are no hard and fast rules, everything needn’t be perfect.
Consider inviting a mix of acquaintances, friends of friends, colleagues, and so on if you want to socialize.
This will create a diverse and interesting group of people.
Who knows? You might just encourage a few other people to step out of their comfort zone and make more friends.
9. Be yourself
No matter what you do, be yourself.
It can be hard to fit in especially when you’re 30 and you pretty much know who you are.
We become set in our ways when we’re around 30-40 – it’s normal.
We are less likely to try new things and we are less flexible than when we are in our 20s.
So, be yourself. But at the same time be open to people and ideas.
Authenticity is key when it comes to making friends.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not or parent to like things you don’t. Be honest and open about your interests, values, and beliefs.
When you are really genuine, you’ll attract the right people who appreciate you for who you are.
In a country like India, being a divorcee is hard.
People judge you for your past and even though it’s easier to hide it, I always come right out and say it. I don’t try to hide my past.
And in doing this, I’ve helped so many other women gain the confidence to talk about their failed relationships and be open and honest with themselves and others.
I’ve connected to so many women who are divorcees and single moms only because I’ve been open about who I am.
10. Be patient
No matter what you’re trying to do in life, it takes time to get results.
- Want to play the piano? Practice till you get better.
- Want to become a Youtube sensation? Be consistent with your videos and eventually, you’ll get there.
- Want to make friends? Be open and put yourself out there, you’ll eventually make some.
Nothing good in life comes easy. It takes hard work, persistence, and patience.
Keep showing off.
You aren’t going to hit it off with everyone you meet. It’s not practical.
Some events may be duds, but what matters is you’re trying.
Building relationships takes time and as long as you’re consistently going out and trying to make friends, you’ll find your tribe.
I know it’s hard.
I’ve been where you’ve been.
I was never this social and I’ve always been inside my comfortable home with my dogs.
But I did feel like something was missing and that pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and do something different.
I make it a point to step out every week – 2 times at least.
If I’m not going for coffee with friends, I catch up with my partner’s friends to play board games all night. Sometimes, we throw house parties or we go for a trek or a road trip.
My point is, do whatever you can to socialize and be around something you like.
Eventually, it will click and you’ll end up making a few good friends who will want to stick around.
This is kinda how you make more friends in your 30s. You have to attend classes, volunteer, and put yourself out there in social gatherings.
You have to be open and willing to meet new people in order to make some meaningful connections.
I hope that helps!
Here are some posts that will help:
- Finding Peace: How to Stop Thinking About Someone Who Hurt You
- How to Go Out Alone with Anxiety (Safely and Comfortably)
- How to Give Yourself Grace (When You Feel Low)
- How to Glow Up After a Breakup – Here’s Everything I Did
- 7 Healthy Habits to Develop in Your 30s as a Woman
- 49 Fun Things to Do When Bored at Home With Friends
- 11 Warm and Comforting Books to Read During Difficult Times
- 49 Fun and Interesting Things to Do with Old Notebooks
- How to Rebuild your Life After Losing Everything that Matters
- How to Go Out Alone as a Woman (Safely & Comfortably)
- Bored Out of Your Mind? 37 Fun & Impulsive Things to Do
- Alone and Bored? 45 Fun Solo Date Ideas to Treat Yourself!
- 13 Ways to Feel Loved When You Feel Nobody Loves You
- Alone Outside and Bored? 45 Fun Things You Can Do!
- 9 reasons why friends come and go
- Struggling with singleness? What I did to combat this
- 33 ways to become a nicer person
- 55 ways to comfort yourself without eating
- 13 ways to reset your life
- How to enjoy the simple things in life
- 17 small things successful people do every day
- 19 benefits of being yourself