Experts say finding friends more difficult after 30

MINNEAPOLIS -- A friend is defined as a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.

We all have them, have had them, effortless to find in our youth and even more so in our twenties but apparently there is then a breaking point.

"The pool of friendship opportunity when we get into our 30's, 40's and 50's is a smaller pool," University of St. Thomas professor Dr. Carol Bruess says.

Social Psychologists point to the age of 30 as the tipping point when making friends becomes a bit more of a challenge.

"There is a stigma to being someone who is 30 and looking for friends," UST Social Psychologist Dr. Ryan Bremner says.

We aren't talking about facebook friends; we are talking about living breathing people who you interact with.

"I think for sure it's harder to make friends after thirty," thirty-something Carrie Erickson says.

Answering why is easy.

Many people at the age of 30 and beyond are done looking for their next BFF, their dance cards are full.

"We have our social needs fulfilled with work relationships, with spouses or partners, with children, with extended family so it gets kind of difficult to say hey I am going to choose new friends," Dr. Bruess says.

What also happens combines the time crunch and being picky.

"I don't think you are in a place in your 30's to have twelve friends. You just don't have time," Erickson said over coffee with a couple of her close friends.

That lack of time narrows the outer layer of friends on its own.

"You have less sort of peripheral friends, like you kind of stick to more of close smaller group," Erickson's pal Caitlin Scanlon chimed in.

But some of us are forced post 30 and beyond to start over and make new friends due to a divorce or a move to a new city.

Some would argue that is especially hard in Minnesota as Census numbers reflect that nearly 7 in 10 people were born and raised here which often translates into them having a longer track record with friends.

In that case the pros advise getting involved in an activity.

"Engage in community organizations because it's going to put you around people who are looking to do something other than just work and getting things done," Dr. Bremner suggests.

Or better yet, meet up.

The website, offers gatherings for like minded people in every genre possible.

On a cold Thursday night this month the group Get Out Get Social offered up a happy hour for folks over 40 looking to make new friends.

"If you are in the right environment it's easy but the only way to do it is to be around people," Get Out Get Social organizer Scott Harrison says.

The science of friendship says to make friends you must interact over and over again.

That's the basic premise of Get Out Get Social.

"It's my very first time," Mumtaz Walli told us at the happy hour, nervous to be there not knowing anyone.

If it seems easy don't kid yourself.

"I'm not used to doing things on my own. So I keep challenging myself to do something new at least once a week," Walli said of her reasoning to take the plunge and go out.

That right there.

That's the key to making friends after thirty.

"You need to get out of your zone. You need to get out of whatever context you are in every day," Dr. Bruess echoed.

So cheers to pals, old and new and be nice Minnesota, you never know who may need a friend.


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