3 types of friendship to uplift and transform your 30-something life

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Friendship is the special sauce in life that makes everything that much easier. As poet Molly Burford says, “The women I have in my life are the most constant love story I have ever had”. The same goes for anyone who shows up in a moment of need. 

Say what you like about romance – the giddy highs, the complex lows – it’s platonic relationships that carry this unique quality. Just as marriage is no guarantee against loneliness, research shows that friends play an increasingly important role as we get older. 

The aging process acts as a natural filter process for the friends who matter the most. “You have kept those people around because they have made you happy, or at least contributed to your wellbeing in some way,” says Michigan State University psychologist William Chopik, whose global study identified a clear link between happiness, age and people with supportive friends. “Across our lives, we let the more superficial friendships fade, and we’re left with the really influential ones.”

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People in their 30s stand at a key point in this journey, too. Why? Because making friends outside the halcyon days of 20-something life (College! New jobs! Flare shares!) is more difficult to do. But we’re also more discerning about the people we choose to hang out with.

In other words, the friends you make in your 30s and beyond are more likely to last the distance amid a background of competing priorities. They’re the ones who’ll be there for you – and vice versa – as things invariably become more complex. 

Here are three particularly awesome types of friends to have in your backpocket, as you buckle up for the realities (and joys) of life in your 30s and 40s.

1 - The anchor


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A post shared by Diego Perez (@yung_pueblo)

Perhaps the most important friend type, the anchor is someone you never have to perform for. As Ecuadorian author Diego Perez points out on Instagram, this is the person who is there by your side during the difficult times; and who is the first to celebrate your successes, too. 

“Some friends are irreplaceable because they stand by your side no matter the situation,” writes Perez, who goes by the pen name Yung Pueblo. “They were there for the storms, when you navigated heartbreak, when you found your true passion and when you started rising into your power. They are the ones who simply make life brighter.”

2 - The strong and the silly

At the lighter end of the scale, it always helps to have a strong-and-silly by your side. This is the person who brings out your ridiculous side, who drags you onto the dance floor or who’s always up for a (friendly) tussle. These friends are deceptively strong, too. And, amid all the hilarity, they’ll have your back. 

“Strong silly friends,” writes London-based wellbeing coach Danni Tabor on Instagram. “May we know them, may we compassionately compete with them, may we laugh with them.”

3 - The sharer


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A post shared by Mind Body Soul Coach (@natalie_shaul)

Last but not least, mindset and confidence coach Natalie Shaul is here for the friends whom we can unload on – without putting a filter in place first. “Those that care about us do genuinely care about the answer when they ask how you are,” Natalie writes on LinkedIn. “And just as I feel good being able to lend a shoulder during a time of need for them, they also feel good being able to lend one in return. 

“If I always say I’m fine and they are the only one sharing it disrupts the balance of the friendship,” she continues. “Eventually they will start to feel as their woes are too much for me to bear and they too stop sharing too.”

That wall is broken in the company of friends who are willing to be vulnerable. They don’t feel like they need to pretend, for fear of being a burden. And that openness invites a deeper, stronger, more reciprocal friendship as a result. 

Flash Pack is a group travel company that specializes in small group adventures for solo travelers in their 30s and 40s. Find out more about how we work, and our mission to build a global community of friendships


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