The New York Times recently ran an article titled, “Friends of a Certain Age, Why Is It Hard to Make Friends Over 30?”
This prompted many other publications around the web to begin posting self help lists for making more friends, after you pass the 30 year old mark.
The NYT article cites three main ‘friendship conditions’ that naturally diminish over the course of one’s life, making new connections difficult to build.
“it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other … This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college.”
Playing off of the NYT article, Business Insider offered some practical solutions to help overcome the lack of ‘friendship conditions’ in its post titled, “How To Make Friends When You’re A Grown-Up.”
Both articles have some well crafted advice for the ageing and lonely, logically explained in the proximity, unplanned interaction, and (let’s call it) vulnerability deficiency inherent in adulthood. Not being able to meet these three conditions really does make it harder to form friendships over 30…but all conditions are really just a subset of one overriding factor that dictates and determines your entire past, present and future friend timeline…that factor is location.
Location takes many forms, from the country, city and town you live in, all the way to a location micro level which includes your job, apartment, nearby shops, gyms, schools, churches, clubs etc…
All that matters, when it comes to making new friends is being situated in a location that lends itself to creating the three ‘friendship conditions’ laid out above. It all begins with location, the rest of the ‘friendship conditions’ follow in natural progression.
To be even more blunt, if you live in the right city (maybe somewhere like Phoenix or Denver) or work in the right job (say…bartender or sales exec.) then the elusive ‘friendship conditions’ are not that elusive anymore…proximity, interaction and vulnerability effortlessly just happen, yielding to an ever growing circle of friends.
Best part of all is that the right location on a macro level has a trickle down effect on a micro level. Choosing a city to live in where interaction and conversation is more open and accepting will most likely dictate that locations within the city (schools, gyms, shops, work) will also emanate the same open and accepting attitude. This means that proximity, interaction and vulnerability (the three ‘friendship conditions’) are all but assured.
Being in the right location, as you grow older, helps increase your friend network which also leads to other substantial life benefits including better job opportunities (through those friends), more dates (through those friends), better psychological and physical health, and a more active life all around.
It all comes back to that old adage, ‘location is everything’…and it really is.
The bad news is if you live in a location that is restrictive, suffocating and generally closed off then you are pretty much screwed.