How to make friends in your 30s

How to make friends in your 30s photo of William Chernoff, by Anthony Cenerini
photo by Anthony Cenerini

I have some close friends turning 30 in 2021, so I wondered about how to make friends in your 30s.

I’ve heard that it’s harder to make new friends as you get older, but there’s one resource I hold in my mind as a model for how to make friends in your thirties.

It’s an episode of a show that I enjoy: the Invest Like The Best podcast, featuring Patrick O’Shaughnessy with Brent Beshore.

I thought about it recently because Patrick recently had Brent on again (he’s a recurring guest) and I remembered how much I loved their first episode together.

Patrick and Brent are two American investors, both in their thirties. Patrick works in the stock market and Brent buys and operates small businesses.

From what I understand, they hadn’t talked much before this episode. But in the years since, they’ve invested in each other’s businesses and become best friends. They’ve returned for multiple more episodes of Patrick’s podcast and demonstrated how close they’ve become.

Here are the six key steps of their conversation in this episode, where I listened in as they became friends.

How to make friends in your 30s, with Patrick & Brent

  1. Lead with humility. Brent immediately plays down his pedigree versus Patrick’s previous guests, but he also comes across as knowledgeable. He tells multiple stories about mistakes and youthful perspectives from his past.
  2. Nerd out. Patrick says he met Brent by asking publicly on Twitter if anyone wanted to talk about capital allocation for a research project. The only thing nerdier than the question is that Brent answered and launched a conversation with his own business perspective! Don’t be afraid to ask a nerdy question that could net you an equally nerdy friend.
  3. Stumble upon a favourite book. At this point, it’s likely that you read some of the same books as your friend-to-be. Brent cites a book that happens to be one of Patrick’s favourites, and they explore it together for several minutes. I note the lightbulb moment here as the specific time when their friendship became inevitable. You can hear it in how Patrick responds, “Really?”
  4. Do ‘common target practice’. Patrick throws down as Brent explains his definition of ‘owner earnings’ and says the following about most people’s methods of accounting for profit: “Bullshit earnings.” Brent laughs because they’ve found a common target—something to critique from common expertise—and have hit it in a humorous way.
  5. Show how you treat your other friends. Patrick knows that Brent works with Shane Parrish, someone whom Patrick holds in high regard. Brent speaks glowingly about Shane, showing that he treats his friends well when they’re not in the room.
  6. Apply it to family. Brent says of his wife that he married up, keeping his humility, which encourages Patrick to riff on his own family. If the “Really?” moment about the mutual favourite book made their friendship inevitable, this is when they confirmed their friendship.

Wrapping up

I hope you enjoy listening into Patrick and Brent becoming friends as much as I did, and that you can apply some of it to how to make friends in your 30s.

You definitely aren’t locked-in to any cohort of friends that you had in high school, college, or your early twenties.

There are people out there who can line up with you more than you’d ever know. When you come across one, be sure to enjoy the friendship for all it’s worth.

Curious to know which other podcasts I like? Check out my content diet.