A child at a birthday party can probably make 10 friends in 30 minutes. But if you’re in your 30s, making even one new friend can seem like an uphill battle.
Click start to play today’s Spell It and create the word ‘bonding’ with the letters provided.
It can seem like school and university are the ideal – and the last – perfect environments to make new friends. It’s true!
According to an April 2016 study published in the UK-based journal Royal Society Open Science, we reach the maximum number of social connections at age 25. Researchers from Aalto University in Finland and Oxford University in the UK analysed data from 3 million mobile phone users across several European countries to assess behavioural patterns, like phone call frequency and duration, and social media use. They found that young people continuously make friends up until the age of 25 – but then start losing them rapidly, after that.
The study also found that women usually lose friends more quickly than men, but when they are close to the age of 40, men find themselves with fewer friends than women. Researchers think it’s because women put in more time and effort to maintain and nurture their friendships, and that they are okay with letting go of relationships they value less.
Finding friends is one thing. Finding the time to be with them is another. Factors like family responsibilities, work, and limited time to socialise all end up affecting people's ability to make new friends after they turn 30.
So, is there any hope for making a solid social circle in your 30s?
According to a February 2018 report by the Spain-based Open University of Catalonia – Barcelona (UOC), you can still find your squad in your 30s, as long as you’re willing to put in the work. It starts by just being open and receptive to others, being tolerant, and realising that other people do not have to think the exact same way as you do.
One great tip by the UOC is to travel to learn more about yourself, other cultures, and to meet new people. By getting over the fear of talking to strangers, you can connect on a personal level that you never expected.
Another way to make friends is to just get to know your neighbours – it’s a great way to build a sense of community and belonging, and gives you the assurance that you have someone close by, looking out for you.
And if you are a millennial looking to meet people, sign up for one of the thousands of apps that already exist to find and make new friends. MeetUp for instance, has 32 million active members in 182 countries, and allows you to attend activities with people who have shared interests, like photography or hiking. Other apps, like HeyVINA are solely for women – the app describes itself as a friendship matchmaker for women who travel or who have just moved to a new city and want to make other women friends.