Losing friends in our 30s is a real problem for most of us. I can see around me how people have fewer friends as they get older, and most of them like to say that this is the best way and it is how it should be at their age, but is that true?
I wrote an entire article about having fewer vs. more friends, and I don’t think that we lose friends as we age because this is best for us, it might be in some cases, but not as many as people think.
We indeed have less time, and all of the reasons I will list below are somehow related to this, but that doesn’t mean we have to ignore our friends completely.
7 Reasons we lose friends in our 30’s
We lose friends in our 30s because our careers are in their prime, and we usually spend more time and energy at work than ever. So, we have to cut time from other parts of our life, and hanging out with friends is the candidate for that.
It seems a no-brainer since hanging out with our friends seems to be a waste of time when you are focused on your career, but in the long term, this might be a disastrous decision when we talk about happiness.
We actually start losing friends in our mid to late 20s since that is when careers become more important, but in the 30s, this becomes visible.
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Many people hang out less often with their friends when they are in a relationship, let alone when they are married. I’m not saying that it should not happen, we actually start setting boundaries with friends when we are in a relationship, and that is healthy, in my opinion, but many people cut hanging out with friends completely when they are in a relationship, and that is not good.
So you should not think about this as a decision between friends and relationship but rather try to prioritize both as much as possible.
Most people have very young kids in their 30s, and this can take up a lot of time and energy. Having kids makes hanging out with friends less important and less comfortable since you always have to leave the kid with someone or take the kid with you, which is not the best experience when it comes to spending time with your friends.
4. Fewer things in common
In your 30s, you start having fewer things in common with your friends, since you are not in school anymore, and you might have very different careers now.
Having more things in common makes us enjoy the time spent with our friends, as those things become less important for one or both of you, it’s easy to see why you start enjoying less the time spent with your friends.
5. Setting boundaries
When we are teenagers or young adults, we don’t have to set as many boundaries with friends as we have when we are adults.
Starting to set boundaries with someone is tricky since it can easily be interpreted as you don’t like them as much anymore or you ignore them. This happens because we don’t usually set boundaries with friends when our time and energy are not as limited, and to be honest, when we are young, spending time with friends and going to school are the only big things we do in life. So you don’t have to set boundaries as often as you have when you are an adult.
Setting boundaries with friends is a delicate process in which good communication and empathy are crucial.
6. Cutting off toxic people
I noticed that many people use this as an excuse, it is true that we get better at knowing who is toxic and who is not, but there are moments when we have to understand that we will never find someone that has no flaws and is a perfect friend.
I would encourage you to analyze your friends a bit more before saying that someone is toxic, it might be one or two things you don’t like about them, but that is fine. We are not the same and don’t have the same principles and values, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.
So, cutting off toxic friends is a real reason why we lose friends in our 30s but make sure that is exactly what you are doing, and it is not just a convenience to say that they were toxic since you can find a reason to say that someone is toxic all the time.
I can find a few things I don’t like about all my friends, they can probably say the same for me, but that doesn’t mean we are toxic people, we are just different, and we have good and bad parts.
7. Not prioritizing friendships
Most people will say that they don’t want to spend time with their friends because they are a bad influence when in reality, they weren’t willing to make an effort to fix some problems in that friendship. Or they simply ignore their friends because they don’t consider spending time with friends as important as before.
In a relationship, you will take time to explain to the other person what you think they are doing wrong, but when it comes to friendships, we don’t do that anymore when we are adults, and that leads to lower-quality friendships. So we prioritize our relationships, family, and career more and less our friendships in our 30s.
What can you do to stop losing friends in your 30?
Here are a few things you can do to stop losing friends in your 30s:
Actively thinking about keeping your friends is the first step, knowing that it is something you have to do and you should not take it for granted is key.
Many people consider that you don’t have to intentionally think about your friends and pay much attention to them since they are your friends, everything has to come naturally and without effort. But this is like saying that in a relationship, you don’t have to continue paying attention to your significant other after marriage.
In reality, we must be actively thinking about improving our relationships and friendships to avoid losing them. That doesn’t mean you have to think about them all the time, but taking them for granted is a sure way to lose them over time.
So be intentional as you think about ways to get better in your career or your hobby, you should think about how to become a better friend or partner.
In order to have a healthy social life in your 30s, you must have more initiative when it comes to hanging out with your friends than before.
The thing is that those seven reasons above are true for all of us, you can’t influence how much your friends will prioritize their friendships, but by having initiative and asking them to hang out, you at least put the friendship on their radar.
It is a bit discouraging to see that you have to be the one with the initiative most of the time, but unfortunately, this is how it will be, at least for a while. We have a sense of reciprocity, so when you ask them to hang out with you several times, they will feel the need to reciprocate that, and they will also start to have the initiative eventually.
Make sure you are not annoying your friends, if you ask them a few times but they keep avoiding you, take that as a no and leave them alone. If you are the one with initiative and they gladly accept, that is fine, especially in those years when they don’t prioritize friendship as much.
3. Make new friends
I know this is not about keeping the friends you have, but it is important to know that you have to make new friends all the time.
If you rely on the friends you have and they are not as many, you might end up alone over time since there are also other reasons when it comes to why we lose friends that we can’t control, like changing the city/country or other worst reasons, so you have to be able to make new friends all the time.
That doesn’t mean that you need to be looking for friends every day, but make sure you don’t miss the opportunity when you meet someone that you would like to spend time with.
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I hope this article helped you understand why you lose friends in your 30s and what you can do to stop that. The truth is that we don’t think about friends as much because until we are in our 20s, friends are there no matter what, and we take that for granted.
The school makes making friends easy since you are already there with people that have the same interest and you have to spend time with them. Also, not having many responsibilities after school gives you a chance to spend more time with friends you made at school or from other circumstances. So everybody prioritizes spending time with friends in those years, but things change when we start to work and have a relationship.