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9 non-awkward ways to make friends as a 30-something

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Making new friends is freakin’ difficult at any age. Though, arguably, the older we get, the harder it becomes. No longer can we rely on a lucky class schedule, or a gaggle of neighborhood kids when it comes to making connections. At a certain age, we actually kind of have to, you know, work for it (ugh).

And if you’re like us (sometimes pretty shy and kinda introverted) finding non-awkward ways to make friends in your 30s is pretty valuable. By the time we’ve graduated from our 20s we’re usually settled into our routines, and we’re not necessarily putting ourselves in a ton of situations where we might meet new buds.

So we went on a quest to find ways to make friends that don’t seem a.) awkward, and b.) desperate. Because, quite honestly, it’s hard not having someone to text when something exiting happens (or, let’s be real, when we just want to share a funny cat video).

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Irene Levine, PhD, posts and Tweets about this very thing on her blog, The Friendship Blog, as well as in a variety of other places. Levine suggests a number of achievable things that could help break barriers between yourself and others, like joining support and meet-up groups in your area and/or asking your partner to watch your kids  (if you have them) so you can venture out for “me time.”

But there are definitely other things we can do at this super weird (sometimes lonely) stage in life. Here are our top nine:

1Give someone a compliment

Have you ever been in close quarters with a complete stranger with nothing to say? It doesn’t matter if you’re in an elevator for only a few floors, standing in line while you wait for your coffee, or sitting at a table in a restaurant. These are the perfect times to push out of your comfort zone without coming off as too awkward. A simple “I love that purse — where did you get it?” Could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Just imagine if you didn’t even try and missed out on finding your person.

Effectiveness level: 6.5, depending on how willing the recipient is to join the conversation.

2Reconnect with old friends

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We all know there are friends and there are acquaintances. If you’ve never reached out to the latter, now’s your chance. Likewise, if it’s been a long time since you’ve spoken to that one friend and there’s no real reason as to why you don’t hang like you used to, send an email or text to test the waters. This could be your chance to rekindle whatever was lost without having to start all over again with someone new.
Effectiveness level: 9 if you were friends previously but lost touch

3Always be up for the group hang

A lot of times, finding new friends can be as simple as having existing friends reach out to their other friends for an event or get-together. We’ve made a great deal of besties over the years by going to parties with friends-of-friends. And while you might not find your BFF soul mate, you and this other friend at least have something in common just by knowing the one who connected you.

Effectiveness: 7 if it’s the right circumstances

4Find a local coffee spot you love

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And then…get to know the baristas. This one might sound a little weird, but creating a go-to place or space can be the perfect way to practice your social skills and even make an unexpected connection.

Effectiveness: 10 as long as your coffee house isn’t full of snobs!

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