When you’re in your 20s, making new friends can feel super easy. But heading into your 30s, the landscape can start to shift. You might first lose the fairweather mates and keep the quality ones, but then even the strong relationships can start to ebb, pulled by a disparate tide of life changes, promotions and house moves. Before long, you find yourself feeling a little lonely and googling ‘how to make friends in your 30s’ in the hope of finding inspiration.
But, fear not. You can make great new connections at any time of life. It’s still possible to capture that carefree energy of new friendships, especially when you throw travel into the equation. Here’s what happens when you start outgrowing old friends, and how you make new ones in your 30s and 40s.
Why is it hard to make friends over 30?
As we get older, our priorities change and we tend to find ourselves with more responsibilities. From working full-time and balancing finances to taking care of children or elderly relatives, you can suddenly find yourself with a lot on your plate, leaving little time, or inclination, to go out and socialize.
These responsibilities also leave us with less time to focus on ourselves. A lack of self-care and focusing energy on others is not only physically and emotionally draining, but can leave you feeling lonely, too. When we live such busy lives, the thought of going out to make friends can be overwhelming. However, there are lots of benefits to making new connections in your 30s and 40s. And, contrary to popular belief, these are not the decades where friendship goes to die.
As adults, we have a much better idea of who we are and what our goals are in life. This can help us to make new friendships that have a solid foundation based on similar life views. And, they are less likely to dissolve over time as we change and grow. It also allows us to connect with other people who have experienced different things in life and can provide new context for the world around us, helping us to grow as individuals.
Is it possible to avoid outgrowing friends in your 30s?
While we’re experiencing all these changes in our lives, our friends are experiencing them too. They’re balancing their responsibilities and carving new paths for themselves. Unfortunately, our paths don’t always end up going in the same direction. It’s natural for friendships to ebb and flow over time.
Sometimes you can weather the changes by making a consistent effort to reach out and make time for each other, but this isn’t always possible. No matter how much we love and care about the people in our lives, sometimes we simply drift apart. It’s during our 30s and 40s that we see close friends prioritize other things, such as relationships, work, home life. When these friendships change our circle of companions can start to shrink. No matter how confident and independent we may be, we all need a support network to nurture us and help enrich our lives.
How to make friends in your 30s & 40s
There are lots of ways to meet people and make new friends in your 30s and 40s, although they do take a little more effort and proactivity than making friends when you’re younger. Gone are the days when simply existing in the same classroom meant that you had a BFF you could hang out with all day.
So how do you make friends in your 30s and 40s? Here are a few tips to help you meet new people and make meaningful connections.
Join a club
By definition, a club is a great way to meet people with similar interests. You’re all at the same place at the same time for the same reason. Sport and fitness clubs can help you to embrace a healthier lifestyle, as well as being great for your mental health. Throw in a few new acquaintances with similar interests that you see on a regular schedule and you’ll likely make new lifelong friends in no time.
Pick up a new hobby
Spending time doing something you enjoy is always an enriching experience, and it can help you to meet like-minded people. Even solo hobbies can help you to make friends. Whether that’s through starting at the gym, joining a knitting group or finding yourself bumping into someone regularly at the same craft shop, you can turn your hobby into an opportunity to make new friends.
Explore your friendship network
Remember that your friends also have other friends. The more you hang out with your current friends, the more you can introduce yourself to new people and expand your friendship group. It’s an easy and low-stakes option as it gives you the chance to meet new people while hanging out with people you already know and like. And chances are, your friends’ friends will have lots in common with you, making them great candidates for your growing social circle.
Try a friendship app
If you’re wondering how to make friends in your 30s, you’ve probably grown up surrounded by technology. This is yet another area where it can help. There are websites like MeetUp that help you to connect through events with people who share the same interests, as well as apps like Bumble BFF that work like online dating but for friendships. Even playing games online or contributing to forums, like Reddit, offers the opportunity to make connections in the virtual space.
Say yes to more
As we get older, we find ourselves going to the same places and following the same routines, so it’s no wonder we struggle to meet new people. Putting yourself out there is an easy way to interact with groups of people you wouldn’t have otherwise encountered. If your current haunts aren’t helping you to meet people you want to spend more time with, try something new and exciting and see where it takes you — and who you meet along the way.
Take a solo trip
Travel is another excellent way to expand your horizons and connect with others. In particular, taking a solo trip means you have no choice but to speak to new people, and you never know where those conversations may lead. You might only meet someone for a few hours or days, or you could develop a lifelong friendship founded on an incredible shared experience — and both of those are extremely valuable. Even if you’re in a relationship, traveling alone is a great way to learn more about yourself, talk to strangers, and have unique experiences that can help you to grow as a person.
Flashpackers on meeting new friends in their 30s and 40s
In our modern world, we can feel connected and disconnected at the same time. Meeting new people and bonding with them through once-in-a-lifetime experiences is a great opportunity for us to learn new things, gain perspective and make real human connections that enhance and invigorate our lives.
Adventure is often a shortcut to fast friendships. Away from the hustle of everyday life, you form on-the-road bonds with like-minded people in a short space of time. The novelty of sharing somewhere new and testing your comfort zones together can create integral ties, pouring concrete into the foundations of new friendships with people who would otherwise be living different lives.
Here are some of the experiences our Flash Pack community has had making friends in their 30s and 40s after embarking on a group solo travel adventure for people in their 30s and 40s.
“From the first day, it felt like a group of friends”
When Neil Mills travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia, he found solace in his fellow travellers. He says, “From hysterical laughter on a crazy Hanoi cycle tour to an overnight train with wine and conversation flowing into the early hours, it was such a heartening testament to the common human spirit to see people from different countries, backgrounds and life experience pulling together. We supported each other through two intense weeks in close quarters, with high energy, great humour and love. From the first day, it did not feel like a tour group for solo travellers. Instead, it felt like a group of friends who had flown out to explore another friend’s home turf.”
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better group”
Lucy Harris travelled to South Africa. She says, “I couldn’t have hoped to share so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences with a better group. We’re still in touch via WhatsApp and I love looking back at all the cool photos we’ve shared. I had reservations about sharing a room but I definitely wouldn’t think twice about doing this on future trips. Special shout-out to my amazing American roommate. Three of my fellow travelers were, like me, from the UK. We’ve met up several times since our return, including a South African wine tasting event, seeing as we’re such experts now.”
“They are people that I would socialize with anyway”
For Lindsay Ferry, a career break traveling lead her to new friendships. She says, “I didn’t want to travel to Chile completely on my own, I wanted to experience it with others. I’m very social. The great thing about Flash Pack is the people I’ve met on the group trips through them. They are people that I would socialize with anyway. And actually, they will be friends for life. Through knowing them, I get a constant flow of ideas and inspiration about places they’ve been to and how they’ve done it. There’s so many things you can do.”
“Everyone was up for a good time”
Agnes travelled to Peru and returned with more than just memories. She says, “Everyone was just very welcoming on the trip, everyone was up for a good time. It’s people that just fancy doing something together and are always up for a new adventure. You get to experience the country a lot more than if you would have done it with your friends, I think. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever had. We’re still friends as a group, still in touch and meet up.”
“You build up friendships that last”
Craig travelled to Peru and found the group trip to be the perfect package. He says, “Within the space of a couple of hours, you will have built up friendships with people that will last. And going with a new group of people to Peru just opens up a whole world of experience. Meeting people that you wouldn’t necessarily come across in normal life, making new friends, meeting people from different countries. For me, it all added to the experience. It was really, really good.”
“I’ve got to meet so many wonderful people”
Teha Kennard had no idea she’d make genuine friendships on multiple Flash Pack tips. She says, “I’ve got to meet and travel with so many wonderful people at Flash Pack. I’ve made friends from all over the world and I’ve visited several of them during my solo travels, too. This was a perk I didn’t plan on and it turned out that having a flexible approach to my travels has been a huge benefit. I’ve been able to adapt and adjust quickly, whether in a new place or meeting new people.”
Making friends in your 30s & 40s can be an adventure
Ready to set off on your own adventure and make some new friends along the way? Join Flash Pack today to meet other like-minded travelers in their 30s and 40s, just like you. We’re a welcoming community of people who love to explore the world, experience new things and make connections with those around us.
While the love of travel means you’re likely to have plenty in common with other Flashpackers, you’ll also be able to meet diverse people from all walks of life. Together, we can teach each other about the joys in everything from traveling the globe to appreciating the simplicity of our everyday lives back home.
Ready to take on a solo adventure? Join Flash Pack today with other like-minded travelers.
Got a story or adventure that could inspire a solo traveler like you? Tag @flashpack on social or email [email protected] to be featured.
Images: Flash Pack