Making friends can be a seriously tricky business growing up. I think we all remember those super awkward moments at school when you try chatting to someone for the first time. It’s awful! Feel sorry for us socially awkward who tried to hide from all contact. Friends were like a currency of school life. Depending on who you made friends with ensured what your time at school is like.
It’s not quite like all the scenes we see in high-school TV shows/films!
You make friends, you lose friends.
Not a lot of fun when you fall out with people you might have known from primary school. Surprisingly, I didn’t fall out with any of the people I knew. They just grew in their confidence and I kind of stayed socially stumped. That said, I am still friends with a handful of people I’ve known since I was 11. One of these people actually bullied me early on and we’ve seen past that since he joined the Army and apologised!
What school doesn’t really ready you for is making friends when you are an adult.
Sure you can meet new people at college, university or even at school but they are usually acquaintences. You speak to them at that particular place but it doesn’t go any further. According to an article I read last year, we don’t become emotionally mature until our 30s and sometimes even into late 40s.
I second this article! I might not be the most stable mentally anyway due to my mental health problems, but I’ve always felt like I have moments where I’ve acted like a teenager. Mood swings, randomly crying and all those wonderful feelings! The elderly may suffer a lot with loneliness if they are house-bound or have no family, but even younger adults can feel really lonely!
HA! I made it sound like I was young.
Why do we need to have friendships in our 30s? You need minds that know what you’re going through. You share how you’re feeling about things, chat about when you were all at school and makes you feel less lonely. Woo! Plus you get to meet up with them for long chats or even go on holiday with them. The perks of being a grown-up! There are a few ways you can make friends at this age!
Find something that connects
The way I’ve made most of the friends I’ve made in my 20s was through sharing a common interest. As you can guess, that was through Harry Potter and blogging! These have led me to being able to talk to strangers and even bonding with them.
I’ve gotten the chance to connect with so many quirky people like me and they have truly made me feel special! If you see someone wearing some merch for something you like, compliment them about it. That’s the first step! You can then tell them that you also love that thing.
Makes life so much easier!
Chat with people you already knew
New friends are great but why not reconnect with people you’ve already met? Remember those friends at school that you might not have chatted to for years? Friend material! You already have that first hurdle done and you’ll have a bunch of things to catch up on. They might be married and have kids now or have started a career you couldn’t have guessed!
It’s never too late to start chatting again. I actually chatted with a girl I met when I was 5 over Facebook a year ago so it can be done! If any of my old school friends see this, let’s chat!
Take your time
We might be getting closer and closer to being middle-aged (we old!), but we still have a bunch of time to meet people. Don’t feel like you have to rush things with someone just so you have that one friend. You have more time than you meet! If that person really becomes your friend, they won’t be going anywhere.
Don’t be afraid to chat with someone different
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed as I’ve grown up, it’s that I have found myself drawn to a number of different people. Back at school I would only talk to adults or people in my class. These days I have friends who are parents, teachers, nurses, tattoo artists and actors. You meet so many incredible people over the years and I’m honoured to know that I have such a wide group of people to gush over!
I had one person last year say that I seem to know more people who are considered ‘different’. Whether it’s because they are LGBTQ+, disabled or from another country. We’re all the same at the end of the day! Plus they put up with me so that’s handy! Haha!
It’s okay to have younger friends
I always feel a little weird with this one but then I accept that there isn’t anything wrong.
What is the one thing that connects almost all of my friends?
They are a few years younger than me. I think the youngest of my friends is 20 and she is like the oldest-minded 20-year-old that I know! I’m more her age than she is and she constantly tells me too! My best friend is even in her mid-20s! I used to think that I must be creepy to only go for people who are younger than me. Why didn’t I have friends of my own age?
The answer is that I’ve always been like this. Even when I was at school, my close friends were younger. I was in Year 11 and had friends in Year 8. I didn’t see age as something that should be stop me from chatting. If we have something in common and we enjoy each other’s company, then we can be friends! I’m pretty sure my brain is still stuck as a teen anyway!
There are going to be a few times in your life where you move home. Whether you’re staying in the same general area or moving to a different part of the country for work, you have the same chance to start afresh. It can be really hard to make friends when you know absolutely no-one but it can also be fun. You can start chatting with your neighbours, join in events in your new communuty and talk.
I did this when I moved to my flat and made friends with my elderly neighbour! I can now happily go over to chat with her, drink tea and she even gave me a birthday card yesterday.
What tips do you have to make friends in your 20s/30s?