Friendship in your 30s is tricky. Your 30s is infamous for being the age where friendships can be lost. I remember having a conversation with my mam where she was telling me how many of the close friendships her and my dad had when they were younger had drifted apart now as they were so focused on me and my sister once they had us. I naively said I wasn’t going to let that happen to me but once I had a child, and then another, I realised that it really is much more challenging to maintain friendships as you get older. This blog post is all about staying connected with your friends in your 30s.
Why does it get harder to stay connected with your friends in your 30s?
Many people in their 30s have young children (and their plethora of activities and clubs) and are juggling jobs, businesses, childcare etc. It’s all that harder to find time to see friends. You have to prioritise which friends you do see and you have to face facts about the friends you do have. There have been occasions where I’ve had a disagreement or friction with a friend and I’ve had to ask myself – how good of a friend is this? How much do they genuinely care about me? Have they met my kids? Are they a fair-weather friend or are they there for me when things are tough? Given how time poor I am, do I want to continue to invest time into this friendship or is it time to be brutal and stop doing that? Sometimes this just happens naturally without much thinking at all and you simply drift apart.
Friendship groups can be pulled when some couples have kids and some don’t. Their priorities and mutual understanding can drift. Where they want to go and how they want to spend their free time can really change. It’s easy to feel like you just don’t get each other anymore.
All this is to say that what used to feel relatively easy in maintaining friendships can often require a real effort in your 30s. Like the end of Friends the show, they spent all that time hanging out in their 20s but as they hit their 30s they are all pulled in different directions. And whilst it won’t be the same again, you can grow through disruption and nurture a new and different relationship as time goes on and everyone’s lives change.
Digital tools you can use to stay connected with your friends in your 30s
As a couple, Papa Ginge and I have been really fortunate. We had a great group of friends pre-kids. A bunch of interconnected couples who had known each other ranging from school to university. We used to go out together pretty much every single weekend. We’d go out for meals, to comedy, mostly to bars and clubs if I’m honest.
We were the first of our group to have kids and that changed things – sorry gang! Another couple got divorced and that also changed things a bit more. Some new couples joined the group. Now another two couples in the group have kids so the group has evolved even further.
It’s very challenging to find times where we can all meet up or even activities that are suitable for all. It often falls to me to organise everyone getting together but I persist because I feel it’s important for us all to nurture the friendship.
There are various tools I use to organise us getting together. Obviously a group chat on WhatsApp is essential. This means I can add all the members of the group and we can discuss shared interests in there. Sometimes we can sort get-togethers out on there but it can be an exhausting back and forth if dates are a challenge so I also like to use Doodle to help us organise dates.
Not enough people use Doodle if you ask me as its a fantastic free tool. I’ve been using it for over a decade. No one needs an account, not even the organiser. Then you can simply select the dates you can make or want to include and send the link to your pals. They can just add their name and select the dates they can do and you can choose the date that most people selected. There is more functionality to it if you choose to use it of course but it’s that simple if you want it to be.
I also asked on Twitter what other digital tools people are rating and lots of people came back to me and said the shared calendar app TimeTree. I’ve not tried it yet but I’m looking into it. Papa Ginge and I share apple calendars for managing our home and business and we’d be lost without it. Other people have also recommended Slack but again I’ve yet to try this one out.
Use your calendar to plan the year out in advance
Once you reach your 30s I’ve found in order to stay connected you need to get organised. It becomes less likely that people can do things at short notice. Here are a few ways I try to plan in advance to keep our group together:
- Add everyone’s birthdays to your calendar and try to arrange get-togethers around those.
- Make an annual diary of events you think you might want to celebrate together and schedule them in. We like to go to someone’s house for a Eurovision party each year so that’s one we plan in advance. Can’t get to Glastonbury – why not host a Glastonbury party? New Year’s Eve – could you host a party or rent a cabin somewhere for a little mini-break? Each year Newcastle has a ‘restaurant week’ so that’s a great time for us to arrange a meal out in a nice local restaurant for cheap.
- Keep an eye on local events listings so you can hear about things you might like to do together early and arrange that. I like to go to music gigs with my friends so I need to be ahead of the curve so we can get tickets.
- Could you schedule something in monthly, say the end of the month on payday and everyone knows to expect it then and whoever can make it can make it?
- Don’t worry about getting everyone there. Obviously accommodate where you can but often if you wait for everyone then it never happens. Just do your best and go with it. We are all grown-ups, we know sometimes our availability is an issue and we can’t expect an event not to happen for everyone else because we can’t make it. It’s swings and roundabouts. Just make sure someone isn’t consistently left out.
Hosting a games night to try and stay connected with your friends in your 30s
One way you can ensure your group gets together is by planning more unusual and exciting things to do to hook people in! We recently hosted a games night for our friends which is a perfect way to get a group of (tired) friends together in their 30s.
giffgaff is a mobile network run by its members. It’s small, but it’s big on community. Their ethos is they care about bringing people together and believe that sharing is caring so they recently offered to send me some items to host a games night with my friends.
Before agreeing to work with them on this post I looked them up and was impressed by what I found. This survey by over 6000 Which? members rated giffgaff the best UK network, with ‘nearly every Giffgaff customer surveyed said that they would recommend the service, and that they felt that they were getting good value for money’, pretty impressive!
Now a games night isn’t something that we normally do so I thought, why not? We used Doodle to find the best date and then once we had decided that we created a new WhatsApp group for the attendees. We decided we would get an Indian takeaway between us to share so that we didn’t have to mess about with preparing and cooking food.
We enjoyed all of the games but my favourite was Weird Things Humans Search for – there were no complicated rules to follow so you could just get straight in and play it. Some of the answers were really funny too.
Papa Ginge had also recently bought an (affiliate link) Oculus Quest (which lots of you have been laughing at him playing on my Instagram Stories) so we all had fun playing lightsabre dance games on that too.
To make it fun giffgaff also sent us a note pad, stickers and an actual trophy. giffgaff also provided us with some of their SIM cards so we can’t blame phone credit for not staying connected. You can order a free giffgaff SIM card here.
We had a fun games night. It’s essentially team-building exercises for friends in a way! We played 3 women against 3 men and unfortunately, the men won. Next time though, revenge will be ours.
Now that get together is over, I’m already planning the next and looking for inspiration. I’ve just seen there is a new axe-throwing venue in Newcastle which sounds FUN!
Do you have any tips or tricks to staying connected with friends in your 30s? What do you like to do when you get together?
If you want to make some new feminist friends then why don’t you join my Facebook Group – the Nomipalony Freehouse!
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