How to Build a Social Life at 30

If you’ve recently entered your 30s, you might notice that your social life just isn’t what it used to be. Or maybe you never made a lot of friends in your teens and 20s, and now you’re worried that it might be too late. Either way, you’re not alone. Although building a social life gets a little trickier as you get older, it’s totally doable—and you might find that the friendships you make in your 30s are ultimately more satisfying and long-lasting.

Steps

Method 1 of 11: Stay in touch with your old friends.

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It’s easy to drift apart in your 30s. As you get older, people tend to move away, settle into busy careers, and grow their families. All these things can make it harder to spend time together like you used to. But if you’re missing your old friends, there’s a good chance they’re missing you, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out and get caught up, even if you haven’t talked in a long time!

  • Even if a friend lives far away, you can still give them a call, shoot them an email, or chat over text.
  • Reaching out to an old friend can feel awkward. The best approach is to just be honest about why you’re contacting them. For example, say something like, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately and was just wondering how you’re doing. I’d love to start keeping in touch again!”

Method 2 of 11: Reach out to friends of friends.

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Is there anyone in your circle you’d love to get to know better? Maybe it’s a friend of your partner, your college BFF’s cool roommate, or a friend of a work buddy that you met at a party. If you’ve ever felt a connection with someone in your larger social circle, don’t hesitate to get in touch with them. It could blossom into a new friendship!

  • If you’re not sure how to approach the other person, try striking up a conversation online or in person the next time you see them. When you do, casually invite them to hang out.
  • For instance, say something like, “I actually have the day off tomorrow afternoon, if you’d be interested in grabbing a coffee and catching up!”
  • If you don’t have any close friends or a romantic partner, there are still other ways to expand your social circle. For example, try approaching acquaintances, coworkers, or family friends.

Method 3 of 11: Talk to strangers.

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You never know if a chance encounter could lead to friendship. Plus, having friendly interactions with strangers is good for your wellbeing! Next time you’re out somewhere, make it a point to strike up a conversation with someone. This could be as simple as asking your barista how their day is going, or complimenting a stranger on the bus about their cool hat.

  • When you’re in public, make a point of putting your phone away. It’ll make you more approachable, and you’ll have an easier time engaging with people around you!

Method 4 of 11: Join a social group.

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Look for groups in your area that match your interests. This is a great way to meet people who have something in common with you! If you’re not sure how to find a group, try searching on websites like Meetup.com or Eventbrite.com.

  • For instance, you might join a group that centers around a hobby you enjoy (like painting or hiking) or a lifestyle you identify with (e.g., 30-something singles, dog owners, or working parents).
  • Once you find a group, try to go at least 3 times. Going repeatedly can help you form deeper and more lasting connections with other people.

Method 5 of 11: Socialize online.

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You can form real friendships in the virtual world. Sometimes, they eventually translate into face-to-face friendships! Once you’ve found some online communities that you enjoy, reach out to other members of the group that you seem to vibe with. Try leaving a comment, asking a question, or shooting them a DM to say “hi.”

  • For example, if you’ve joined a subreddit for writers, you might send a message to someone who wrote a story you love.
  • Asking questions is a good way to get a conversation going. For instance, try saying something like, “I love all the historical detail you worked into this post. How long did it take you to research all that?”

Method 6 of 11: Adopt a pet.

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Animal companions can help you meet new human friends. Studies show that adopting a pet is a great way to meet—and bond with—new people. And of course, a pet is also great company! While going to the dog park is the most obvious way to meet new people through your pet, you can still strike up a conversation with coworkers, neighbors, or strangers about other kinds of animal friends.

  • Try joining an online or in-person group for people with the same kind of pet you have. For instance, you might get involved with your local bearded dragon owners’ group or labradoodle playdates club.

Method 7 of 11: Get together with other parents if you have kids.

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Making friends as a parent can be especially tricky. But getting together with other parents is a great way to expand your social network—and meet other people who understand your busy lifestyle. Look for ways to connect with new friends through your child. For instance, you might:

  • Volunteer for school events and chat with other parents or teachers there
  • Invite your child’s friends—and their parents—over for play dates
  • Talk to fellow parents at the local park or playground
  • Join a group for parents in your area or online

Method 8 of 11: Say “yes” to invitations.

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Always be open to making new connections. How many times have you ignored an officewide invite to an after-work get together? What about a call for volunteers at your kid’s next school party? Whatever it is, look at it as an opportunity. If possible, make time to go to the next event you’re invited to, even if it doesn’t seem like your cup of tea.

  • If you’re an introvert, going to social gatherings can be exhausting. Just take it slow and give yourself permission to leave early if you aren’t enjoying yourself. It might also help to go to the event with someone you already know, if possible.

Method 9 of 11: Set specific socializing goals.

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As you get older, it’s important to be intentional about socializing. Your schedule’s probably busier and less flexible than it used to be. You’re also not constantly surrounded with opportunities to socialize, like you were in school. That means you’ll need to put in more of an effort to make things happen.

  • For example, you might set a goal of talking to a friend at least once a week, or to organize a get-together for your coworkers at least once a month.
  • Take a good look at your schedule and set aside specific times for socializing. For instance, you could devote every Saturday evening to playing board games with friends or attending a social club.
  • You may need to initiate social interactions more often as you get older. Don’t wait for people to invite you to hang out—take the first step and invite them to do something with you!

Method 10 of 11: Plan your social time around activities.

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A little structure makes it easier to have quality time. Instead of just making vague plans to “hang out,” invite your friends—or potential friends—to do specific things you do. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. For example, you might plan to:

  • Have a game night
  • See a movie
  • Go for a walk or hit the gym together
  • Go shopping
  • Visit a new attraction, like a museum or park

Method 11 of 11: Focus on quality of friendships over quantity.

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Having just a few good friends is better for your wellbeing. When you were in your teens and 20s, you might have found it easier to make lots of friends. As you age, this gets a lot harder. But studies show that the friendships you do make will tend to be deeper and more satisfying. Try not to worry about not having as many friends—instead, do your best to nurture and enjoy the friendships you have.

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