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Making Friends in Your 30’s!

Without Losing Your Head

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Do you still remember when making friends was simple and easy? You come up to someone and introduce yourself; shake hands; maybe find something you both like and that’s that. Things were really less complicated when you are younger. That random kid in kindergarten you were playing with in the sandbox might have been your first best friend at one point. Remember when you both partook in the sand and made a meal of it? In grade school, that kid who stood up for you when you were being bullied became your most reliable buddy. Both of you might have made a blood pact hastily by a sliver of light from the moon; in camp one summer night.

High school friendships are more intense. It was always “ if you’re not with me, you’re against me!” College made you step back. It was about partying and boozing, just all around “kings of the universe” and devil may care attitude.

But as you grew older, you probably realized that making friends took some considerable work. Some of the childhood friendships have slipped away. Some of the intensity and drama have faded. And this fade out would continue until you start working. Eventually, the chasm would widen when you reach your thirties.

As a 30-something millennial, you surely must have maintained at least a small group of close friends. People who have cheered you on in your victories and shared your joys; people who have seen you at your worst, yet, still stand by you. But you rarely see each other because you are all busy. A couple of calls once every couple of weeks but who has the time, really? You are taking command of your career, after all.

A couple of friends are getting married in the next few months. Some friends travel for work and you see them take selfies somewhere in Europe or Asia. You love them with all your heart, but after a while, you just don’t have anything in common anymore and while that’s painful to admit— it also leads you to the realization that you will need to expand your social circle.

Maybe you have always been a bubbly and extroverted person, and yet, making friends seems to stump you. You can just imagine the struggles of shy, introverted individuals. Research shows that as people grow old, they get wary about putting themselves out there. In fact, people in their thirties are satisfied with causal connections rather than investing in lifelong friendships.

Regardless of your preferences or personality type, you still need to go out there and interact. Make your presence known. Grace the world of the blessing that is YOU!

Here’s some easy ways you can make new friends without feeling awkward:

Be Open To Your Friends’ Friends

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If you have maintained a group of close pals over the years—maybe a couple of them you play sports with every week, there must have been opportunities where your friends introduced new people to the group. Sure, you might have even harbored some petty jealousy. You have this irrational fear that these people are taking your friends away from you.

Grow up and let go of these insecurities. Remember, your goal is to meet new faces, and being jealous of your friends’ pals will not help you. You are supposed to give them a chance. Let them join your activities or partake in the events where they have invited you. Who knows, your next best friend might actually be the person who just joined karaoke night.

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Join An Interest-Based Group

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You and your best friends are together because your differences complement each other. But this has a side-effect. If your hobbies and interests are not right up your friends’ alley (or vice versa), you might find yourself doing your own thing—and that’s a little sad! The key is to look for like-minded individuals. If you love crocheting and knitting, there are a bunch of groups everywhere. Join book clubs, cooking clubs, and even outdoor clubs, if that’s your thing. Into playing the Panamanian flute? Or perhaps yodeling is your jam? Start a new club. If you are into politics, volunteer for someone who holds the same convictions as you do. If you want to learn a new language, there are conversation meetups at your local library. You will be surprised by how many people actually share the same interests.

Socialize At Your Office

They say that you are not supposed to make friends in the office; you are there to work and that’s it. People have their own motivations and agendas, and it could be hard to trust someone. But this is not always true. You have to pick the right people. The friends you have at work are among those who will truly understand your hardships, especially when it comes to career. It is because they are with you every day in the trenches; these are blood brothers in war (and the boss is the enemy?). You spend more time with coworkers than (probably) your family, so take the chance to stay connected. Make the most of Friday night drinks and interact with them during lunches.

Look Back And Reconnect

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The old friends that have slipped by your hands may make a comeback in your life—that is if you let them. According to research, the average 25-to-30 year-old woman contacts about 17.5 people per month, while a man contacts 19 people. This decline continues up until retirement. This is why rekindling old friendships can be crucial. The foundation has been laid out. The relationship has been tried and tested. So when there is a reunion or you accidentally bump into one of them, take the chance to reconnect. If you have seen that nothing much has changed, there’s a great possibility that you could be good friends again.

Perhaps take it up a notch and visit old friends. After all, there are friends, who you just laugh and come away feeling as if time stands still. When making friends, there are two words that you should not forget: be proactive. Friendships do not just happen. You make it happen. It is perhaps one of the best investments you will make in your lifetime.

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