How friendships differ in your 30s to your 20s

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For many of us, our 20s are a period when we tend to have quite a large circle of friends. However, in our 30s, we’re more likely to focus on our most important friendships instead of trying to make time for everyone. This can be the decade when we begin to really think about which friendship groups and activities bring us joy and prioritise how we spend our time accordingly.

Of course our priorities and responsibilities are likely to shift over time, but cultivating and maintaining strong friendships will always be important. With the Red Cross reporting that before the coronavirus pandemic, one in five people in the UK said they often or always felt lonely, making the time to reconnect with friends, even when life feels hectic, can be an excellent way to boost your mood, and theirs.  

Becoming parents

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As you head into your 30s, you may find that instead of planning big nights out for your friendship group, you’ll be choosing cute baby gifts and helping friends organise their baby showers, hen dos and weddings. According to the Office For National Statistics, most men and women become parents after the age of 30, so this could be the decade when you start planning a lot more family-friendly get togethers.

Finding that your social circle is shrinking

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According to Grazia, an Oxford University study found that our social circle starts to shrink from our mid-twenties, with women losing friends at a faster rate than men. If you’ve noticed this happening, and have a few old friends who you miss, but don’t have as much time as you used to for big nights out or weekends away, why not suggest smaller plans, such as scheduling a phone call to catch up on their news, or meeting up over coffees if they live nearby.

Appreciating your close friends more than ever

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Our 20s can be a time of transition, when lots of people pass through our life. For many of us, by our 30s, we’re starting to really take stock of the friendships that have made a big difference to our lives and which we want to nurture. Although you may not get the opportunity to spend quite as much time with your friends in your 30s, you may well find yourself feeling even more grateful for the time you do spend together.

Setting boundaries

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In an ideal world, we’d all like to form healthy relationships that encourage ourselves and our loved ones to thrive and to achieve all that we’re capable of. However, if you have friendships or relationships that don’t bring out the best in you, as you enter your 30s, this can be a good period to take stock and reflect on which friendships you want to maintain. This may mean setting some boundaries and seeing some friends less often or not at all and may also mean making more time for the friends who you want to be a key part of your tribe going forward.    

We’re very proud to bring you this feature in association with MORI. For more articles, please pay a visit to our lifestyle page.

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