For many men and women, the thirties are the best age to be. This is the time when you are through with the uncertainties and experiments of adolescence but still have a window period to explore your options in relationships. Again all that slogging at school and college is over as you now know where you belong professionally and have already started climbing the ladder. Your social life however may take a backseat while your focus is divided between dates and data. So here are a few ideas on how to make new friends at thirty.
Invite fresh blood
If every weekend you find yourself hanging out with the same four people you know since high school, then perhaps you seriously need to induct fresh faces into your social circle. A good way to do this would be have a get-together where each friend brings with him/her a guest whom no one else in the group has met before. Yet another way to meet new people and perhaps make friends would be to tag along a sibling, parent or a neighbor to any party where they have been invited.
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Join a club
Hobby clubs are great ways to make friends since they bring together people who already share a common interest. So think about a hobby or an activity that excites you or that you have always wanted to pursue but didn’t have time for. It can be as varied as an adventure sport like sky-diving or a dance form like the tango. When people get together to do something they like, they are that much more eager to open up to others and exchange notes– in short one of the best conditions for a budding friendship.
Don’t fake perfection
You might have difficulty making friends if you present yourself as Ms/Mr. Perfection all the time. Spouses stray, kids fail classes and promotions get passed over sometime or other and if you pretend that these things never happen to you, others may feel your presence reminding them of the lack in their own lives. Rather be honest but positive and you will see people being drawn to you.
Learn something new
Very often people stick to pursuing only those interests which they are familiar with and which they are already good at. But unless you get out of your comfort zone, how will you know what else you have a knack for and more importantly how will you bring variety into your social circle? So, take a language class just because you are partial to the doughnuts in its cafeteria or go ahead and sign up for the Lebanese cuisine class simply because their ingredients sound so exotic. Who knows what new people you may meet in such places and discover capabilities you never thought existed in you!
Avoid getting too personal
No one would want to be friends with someone who uses a first encounter to moan about how depressed they are and how badly they have been treated by their ex spouses. So in the earlier stages of a friendship try to keep it light and focus on getting to know the other person better. This is not to say that you can’t discuss personal problems with friends but wait till your relationship has matured and you know the person a little better.
Tap into family members
Get to know the partners of other people who work with your spouse or partner. Attend Halloween and Christmas parties at your partner’s office or encourage your partner’s co-workers to bring a friend/partner at barbecue or pool parties held at your place. Likewise if a nephew or an older aunt asks you to pick them up from a school concert or a bridge party, don’t hesitate. Look on these as opportunities to meet new people and who knows you may even strike a chord of friendship with a few of them.
Don’t be an overbearing parent
Kids are usually a wonderful way of getting to know new people. You can find a lot in common with the parents of other kids who go to the same school or music classes as your child. PTAs, soccer practice and playgrounds are usually the places where lots of parents gather and exchange notes and you could find yourself hitting off with another mom or dad among them. However remember not to appear an overbearing ‘Little League parent’ pushing your child to go for a run at four in the morning or an overly neurotic one examining everything your kid eats or drinks in microscopic detail. Such behavior may put off any potential friend and make you appear difficult to get along.
The internet has not only revolutionized the way people build relationships but opened up a whole new world where friend is a verb. The very reason for the overwhelming popularity of Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace is because they offer hitherto unimagined possibilities in making friends. Your social networking profile can not only enable you to find friends according to particular interests and hobbies but also on the basis of age, location, gender, ethnicity, religion and a whole range of choices. In this age when time is at a premium, such sites offer quick and convenient ways to know and interact with interesting people through text as well as visuals.
The thirties are that stage of your life when there is so much to do and so little time to do them all. The only way you can juggle a satisfying social life along with a demanding career and perhaps a family too, is by weighing your priorities. Ask yourself why you want new friends for – is it because you have moved on professionally and emotionally while your pals seem to have got stuck on high-school peeves and thrills. Or is it because you have broken up with your partner and want to hang out with people who know little and care less about that part of your life. Deciding why you want a new set of friends and what you are looking for in them, will make it easier for you to find such people and in effect have a meaningful social life.