1. You have much less in common with the friends you partied with in your 20s until 4 AM when you had to be back at work by 9 AM the next morning. Your patience is gone for the friends who make you feel bad—for not returning their phone calls or texts quickly enough, for not staying out past midnight on their birthday, or for spending too much time with your significant other.
2. You don’t have time for bullshit, and the friends you make in your 30s don’t, either. Your free time is extremely limited these days so you choose to spend it with good people who actually lift you up. You’ve stopped making mental space for the friends who once drove you crazy. Those brain cells are now focused on your career, your family, and settling down.
3. The girlfriends you meet post 30 aren’t needy because they’ve lived without you for a long time. They can stand on their own two feet so they won’t lean on you constantly for advice or time or faux emergencies. This new brand of adult friendship will seem really refreshing.
4. By the time you meet, it’s probably because you’re at the same place in your lives. You’ll subconsciously gravitate towards friends whose habits, interests, and schedules mirror yours. It’ll be far easier to maintain these friendships in the long-term, whether you move, change careers, or go back to school one day.
5. The friends you meet through your kids will be your instant new besties. There’s no way around it—it’s purely about survival. You need friends with kids the same age as yours as much as you need oxygen, carbs, and yoga pants. You’ll come to rely on this group for almost everything and speak to them more often than your actual spouse.
6. In your 30s, you are much closer to being the person you’ll be for the rest of your life. People’s circumstances seem to change a lot more frequently before turning 30 in almost every way—geographically, financially, career wise, romantically. It’s almost impossible to predict whether a friend you felt connected to at age 18 will still be your BFF at age 30. When you meet new friends in your 30s, however, most of that change is already slowing down, allowing you to stand still and enjoy the new people around you.
7. Your hobbies, and the friends you meet as a result of them, are sustainable at this stage. You’re no longer the fickle exerciser who does Pilates one week and then extolls the virtues of Soul Cycle the next. You know what you like, and you make new friends as you pursue your true interests. You’ll find a friend or two you like to do yoga with at sunset, or a few women who also like to get their nails done every Saturday at 2:05, just after the midday rush, and you will spill all of your secrets to them. Instead of going out and drinking every night with a big group, you’ll join a book club or a women’s group and bond with the ladies who also enjoy these activities.
8. Friendships forged post 30 are a chance for a clean slate. There is no past bitterness, resentment, or hostility between you, threatening to rear their ugly heads at any moment. You’ve matured enough to understand how to be a better friend and what type of a person you can clique with instantly. Armed with this insight, you will establish stronger, longer-lasting friendships.
9. Once you know what you need in an amazing friendship, you’ll fall hard and fast (just like with dating). New adult friendships are exhilarating. It’s thrilling to get to know someone brand spanking new. They don’t know about all the crazy things you’ve done in your youth and there’s no need to share those things—unless you want to, of course. You’ll bond instantly and fall in friend-love faster than you ever thought possible.
10. The concept of a frenemy has long faded away by your 30s. The people you’re drawn to in your 30s are the ones who don’t value drama. They’re ready to hang out when you are. You’re not negotiating for weeks just to get a dinner on the calendar. They care about you and your family and quickly accept you for who you are, not who you’re going to be or who you used to be. That type of acceptance in a relationship is much more easily found in your 30s and pretty much guarantees lifelong friendship.