Why You Should Be Picky with Friendships in Your 30’s

In an early episode of the NBC comedy 30 Rock, Liz Lemon– a quirky, food-obsessed comedy writer–is considering breaking up with her boyfriend, Dennis. He is, after all, a terrible human being.

But in a moment of nostalgia, she finds herself questioning her decision.

She flashes back to a moment when he had surprised her with doughnuts, and then to the time he had cooked her dinner after work and then to the moment they both were craving cheese steaks at the same time.

All of the sudden, she realizes all of these moments had one thing in common– food! Nothing about the memories actually had to do with Dennis at all.

In my experience, friendships in my teens and twenties were a bit like this, in that they were born out of shared situations, experiences and foods. This is not at all to say I didn’t enjoy the people I called my friends. Certainly I did– and still do! All I’m saying is that circumstances played a huge role in my earlier friendships, rather than deliberate choice.

For instance, in high school, I became friends with whomever was in my classes.

In college, most of my friends were those who lived in my dorm.

Post-college, I pretty much hung out with anyone who liked to stay up late and watch endless episodes of The Office while eating junk food.

After getting married, my friendships shifted a bit; they were more dependent on who my husband and I had the most fun with– collectively.

But as my husband and I have entered our 30’s (and had a baby), I have noticed yet another shift in our friendships.

Mainly, I have noticed we have much fewer friends than we did before– for no other reason than a lack of time! Between increased work and home responsibilities and having a baby, our free time has shrunk drastically.

Which leads me to my point…

In your 30’s, it’s not a bad idea to get a little picky with your friends.


Put another way, rather than letting friendships happen, it is a time in life when it’s important to choose your friends– with great thought and intention.

Let’s be honest, raising a kid (or kids) is no joke. You need people around you who will strengthen you, make you laugh and give you perspective in a way that others cannot.

Ask yourself these questions:

Who in your life brings you great joy to be around?

Which people/couples inspire you to reach your goals?

Who in your life do you say: ‘When I grow up, I wanna be like that person?’

Who comes to mind?

Whoever it is, consider setting intentional time to be with them and let the other friendships fall where they will.

5 Replies to “Why You Should Be Picky with Friendships in Your 30’s”

  1. Yes it is interesting how friendships are abundant in school & college years. But things do shift in adulthood. I love your thoughts about being intentional and discerning. A friend taught me that too with my kids. She would subtly ‘adios’ friends of her kids’ out of their life who had bad attitudes, bad habits that were rubbing off on her kids. I had never thought of doing this! But it was wise. Of course this is only in the early years& school years that this works! But hopefully by then your kids will learn the wisdom of choosing good friends on their own.


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