Why Is It So Hard to Make Friends After 30?

I don’t think I ever officially announced this on ManMade, but one month ago today, I turned 30. I won’t bore you with reflections (but if you wanna know how I feel about it, feel free to email me), but it certainly makes articles such as this great piece by Alex Williams much more engaging.

In “Friends of a Certain Age,” Williams seeks to explore why it be tough to make new friends – real friends, confidants – after you leave college and other proximity-based experiences of early adulthood (roommates, casual dating, etc).   Williams quotes sociologist Rebecca G. Adams, “as external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other… This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college,”

Plus, once adults begin to couple up, there is not one but three relationships that have to click. “The challenges only increase. Making friends with other couples ‘is like matchmaking for two,’ said Kara Baskin, a journalist who works in Boston. ‘Not only are you worrying about whether the other woman likes you, you’re also worrying if her husband likes you, if your husband likes her, if your husband likes him.’ ”

Besides these external factors, there are also lots of changes in how one approaches friendship, and what one wants to get out of relationships. Individuals often know themselves better, and you become pickier about with whom you want to spend your time. 

The piece is fascinating, whether you relate to it at this time in your life, or not. Worth a read.

Friends of a Certain Age [NYTimes.com]