I’ve recently hit the jackpot. I’ve turned 30 and I’ve moved to a new city. Making new friends has a pang of familiarity about it beyond 30. Here’s what I’ve learned.
I recently moved to a new city where I didn’t really know anyone. So, making friends was kind of a priority. Okay, not that recently, but I’ve been busy. Okay, it’s been a year and a half and I’ve been putting it off. Because making friends in your thirties is pretty darn hard, that’s why.
Everyone has either already had their friendship group sorted for the past hundred years or is dropping off the face of the earth to have babies. I work from home and I barely have a reason to get out of my pajamas, let alone leave the house.
So, I came up with a plan, based loosely on my approach to dating in my twenties, which, admittedly, wasn’t what could be objectively called a resounding success.
It looks something like this:
1: It’s a numbers game
This one is straight out of the modern dating playbook: cast your net far and wide. Nobody goes on Tinder, swipes right once, and hopes that one person will not only happen to swipe right on you but also be your soulmate (sorry to break it to you, online dating newbies). There’s no return on investment if you expend all your energy cultivating a serious brunch companionship with a new amiga, only to have her move to the suburbs. Join groups and start finding as many baskets as possible for your proverbial eggs.
2. But latch on to one person, to begin with
We all know there’s nothing more terrifying than being confronted by a room full of strangers, all happily chatting away in their already-formed cliques. (Side note: booze.) So, once you’re in, hone in on one person and do not let them out of your sight. It does not matter who this person is, but bonus points if they’re interesting. If they’re not, don’t panic! They might be able to introduce you to other people who are more interesting.
3. Shared interests aren’t that important
Now is not the time to start being picky about who your new friend is. Seriously, common interests are overrated. Remember how many dates you went on with men who were into the same things as you but were still somehow boring as batshit? Yeah, me too. Maybe your interests aren’t quite as interesting as you thought they were. In fact, could be a good time to get some new ones.
4. The Internet is amazing
I used to think the Internet was just for meeting single fathers and divorced men with tragic breakup stories, but I was wrong. It may surprise you to know that the Internet is actually chockers with women. They’re all on there as well – they just never popped up on your Tinder in your twenties. I’m not saying Tinder is your best bet for finding ladies looking for lady friends but they’re all over the other bits of the Internet too, kicking around on Twitter and posting in Facebook groups. Tap into that (not in a creepy way).
5. Fast track the relationship
This is basically the equivalent of skipping the casual dating part. But here’s the thing: before I moved, everyone was so damn busy (myself included) that I would only see my close friends every few weeks, and they’re the ones I’ve already known for years. So, I calculate that if I meet new people and see them again every month or so, then about five years from now my social life will be set. I’m afraid I’ve got no answer to this one, except to say that time passes faster as you get older and five years will whizz by in no time.
6. But don’t look too desperate
I admit this one is really, really tricky and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to display just the right amount of enthusiasm. For example, when a PNF (Potential New Friend) casually suggests that you meet for dinner, play it cool. Read between the lines, sister: this does not mean they want to meet with you the next day or even the one after. In fact, let them pick a date – and don’t be disappointed if it’s in a month’s time. You’re one month closer to that cracking social life future you will be enjoying in five years’ time.
Oh yeah, it’s going great so far, thanks for asking.