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Growing up, especially for girls, friends are imperative. They were the lifeline to surviving our teenage years. Of course, these friendships weren't always easy. They were filled with plenty of drama, break ups, and the occasional little push and shove. OK, maybe the verbal and sometimes physical debacles were just my friends and me, but for every shove and insult came hugs, tears, and promises of friendship forever. What can I say, that's how central New Jersey girls roll. Ha!
Fast forward 15 years. Thirty years old, wife, mom, and new in town. Not knowing many people aside from my in-laws, I never took into consideration how hard it would be to make friends in your 30s. Even harder, MOM friends. Luckily, I still had my girls from childhood who still play, and will always play, a dominant part in my life. But they were far away and my life was now here.
For the sake of my children and the giant pool in my new yard, I was determined to find some mom-mates and get this suburb party started. Now let it be known I am not your ordinary bobbed hair mom (although I do love a good layered bob). I have tattoos, sometimes colored hair, and a loud mouth often filled with wildly inappropriate sarcasm, but I also show love to everyone and give anyone a chance. Some would even say I am too nice, but for me, I see no such thing. Anyway, for a woman with my particular style, I knew it wouldn't be as easy because even though people shouldn't judge a book by its cover, many do. I decided to take my "make new friends" plan by the (soccer)balls and put myself out there.
I won't lie, it didn't go well at first. Through my son's preschool, I found myself timid to talk to people and handing out my digits like a goddamn creeper. "You should call me sometime, let's get the kids together, what are you doing later," were the endings to every conversation with a female of a child in a three-mile radius. There were moments I thought, forget this stupid town, forget these moms who don't see a cool ass chick right before their eyes. I even told my husband who also has ink, an insane sneaker collection, and sometimes likes to dress like a senior in high school, that we weren't made for this town. That quite possibly this wasn't the home we imagined it to be.
I never was big on patience. However, with time and perseverance, I kept on chugging along and soon enough friendships started to form and with one especially close friend then opened up a door to a group of women, families, I now find irreplaceable. I know it may sound ridiculously cheesy but I hold so much pride in what I've done and the relationships I have made. Proud that as a grown woman, I was able to push aside any fear of rejection, and form real, solid, and loyal bond. And not just female relationships, husbands and children too. To understand how to make friends in your 30s you should not just focus on yourself; it's also about your family and their family all connecting. How long can a relationship last if the kids are beating the crap out of each other or the husbands are acting like a bunch testosterone lumberjacks partaking in a pissing contest? Not long at all.
So if you are a woman interested in knowing how to make friends in your 30s these aren't just my suggestions; these are from women all around who have at one point felt your pain. If you're willing to put in the work, swallow a little embarrassment, and can accept change, then it won't be hard to make friends in your 30s.
Let your guard down.
The most important rule, if you are unsure how to make friends in your 30s or at any age, is to let your guard down. You have got to open up and put yourself out there. You have to give people the opportunity to see and hear who you are or else you will be just another face in a crowd of faces. I have come across so many women who don't even acknowledge anyone outside of their safe circle or those who you see time and time again yet still know nothing about them. Sometimes, those women don't even realize they give off this vibe and that is why it is important to make sure you don't.
Follow your child's lead.
If it weren't for my son and his already good taste in humans, my life would look very different. He, in a sense, chose my first few friends. The children he really bonded with wound up being the children to many of my new friends. I guess that shouldn't surprise me, because usually where there are good children, there are good parents. So if you want advice on how to make friends in your 30s get involved with your children's lives and relationships and use those connections as an opportunity to meet new people.
Never, ever, ever judge a person by your first introduction.
This is a lesson for everyone, especially if you're trying to figure out how to make friends in your 30s. In high school, all anyone knew was how to judge other kids by their clothing, hairstyle, and hobbies. Like all those teenage angst movies, cliques were obvious and at many times harsh. Now, as an adult, not only do you know better, but it's virtually impossible to assume who a person is just by what they're wearing. Adults have jobs which require certain attire. Women have babies which often leave us looking a bit disheveled now and again. And how can we leave out the moms who go to the gym? If you were to judge a woman for wearing yoga pants, then prepare for a lonely life because active wear is everywhere. Also, look past age. No longer does our age group us together. We are women living in the same town, raising children, and dealing with life and it makes no difference if you're 33 or 43. Lastly, one of the easiest ways to stop being so judgmental is to remove the friends who perpetuate these thoughts. It's easy for old friends to make judgments about your new life; don't let them. Being open minded is key to success here.
Use friends to make more friends.
This is probably one of the best ways to expand your friend roster. All it takes is one acquaintance, one friend, to open the door to not only their relationships but the area around you. Now that I think about it, 90 percent of my current friends were all made through other people. All it takes is that one first friend.
If you don't leave the house, then you will never meet new people; this is an obvious reality. Whether you have children or not, you have got to get out there if you want to know how to make friends in your 30s. Doing things you enjoy and activities that are good for your family will help you make friends. Obviously, sports are a no brainer for those with kids. It's like a goddamn meet and greet on the fields and courts of any sport. I have met dozens of people through my son's soccer, baseball, and martial arts classes. The gym is also a great place, especially classes. You know when your instructor is ten minutes late, instead of sitting there seething, strike up a convo with your fellow angry gym neighbors. Instant bitchy besties!
Be a host.
What better way to start making friends in your 30s than by hosting? I don't mean riding around town handing out flyers, but if an introduction has been made and you see potential, then that's all you need. Keep the gathering small and don't be disappointed if it doesn't fall into place right away; just try again. Do you know how hard it was for me to invite new people over? I was scared they would say no or they wouldn't like my food. The worries were endless, but I planned a party anyway. And let me tell you, they didn't say no, they all loved my spread, and almost all stayed five hours longer than I expected.
Be yourself (overtime).
The last thing I would ever want for myself or any other person is to be someone they are not in order to make friends. I see it all the time and I want to shake them by their shoulders and say, STOP, life is too short and if they don't like you for who you are, then forget them. I understand that being yourself is something that happens over time, and that's a good thing. When I first met my group of girls I took things slow. Yes, I know that once again I sound like I am giving dating advice, but in a sense it's all the same. First hangout I was myself, but the quieter version. Instead of a bottle of wine I only had two glasses. Instead of being the total goofball I can be, I simmered down the jokes and of course I didn't offer any shots of Fireball until the second hangout. Duh! Each hangout I showed more and more of myself and was able to weed out who could handle me and who could not. It mostly happened naturally. Some took longer than others, but for my few very close friends, it was instant. Like love at a first playdate. What's important is to always be you. Never change who you are, what you like, or what you deserve to please anyone. Offer a little bit of yourself every time and watch the magic of true friendship happen right before your eyes. Soon enough you'll know how to make friends in your 30s with ease.
Accept the fact that not everyone is nice.
Last but not least, you have to accept the fact that not all people want to make new friends. Not everyone cares if you are nice and approachable or that your children play well together. Some people are very content with what they have or are just so absolutely miserable that welcoming in a new person just isn't on their agenda. This even goes for the current friendships in your life—if that person is no longer supportive or loving, then all you can say is good riddance. We are adults, not children, and no longer do we have the time for drama or nasty attitudes; we have actual lives to live. Regardless, I hope this has made understanding how to make friends in your 30s a little bit easier. Deuces!