Is it too late to make friends at 40?

Making new friends can be challenging at any age. As we get older, our social circles tend to shrink as people move away, get married, have kids, or become engrossed in their careers. By the time you reach your 40s, you may look around and realize your once-extensive friend group has dwindled to just a handful of close companions.

While it’s absolutely possible to make new friends in your 40s, it does require effort. You need to actively put yourself out there and be open to meeting new people. It may feel intimidating at first, but with some planning and effort, you can meet interesting people and form meaningful friendships, even in midlife. Here are some tips for making friends in your 40s.

Get out of your comfort zone

As you get older, it’s easy to fall into a routine and stick to what’s familiar and comfortable. However, if you want to meet new people, you need to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Be willing to try new activities, go to new places, and talk to people you normally wouldn’t approach. Consider joining a class, club or volunteer organization that will allow you to interact with fresh faces on a regular basis. The more you put yourself in unfamiliar situations, the more likely you are to connect with potential new friends.

Reconnect with old friends

Think back to friends you’ve lost touch with over the years. With social media, it’s easier than ever to find people from your past and reconnect. Search for old classmates, colleagues, neighbors or acquaintances on Facebook, LinkedIn or other platforms. When you rekindle dormant connections, you may find that the spark of friendship quickly ignites once again. Scheduling meetups with old friends can be a great way to grow your social circle.

Bond over shared interests

A great way to meet people is by pursuing hobbies and interests that allow you to regularly interact with the same group of enthusiasts. For example, if you love hiking, join a local hiking group where you’ll bond with fellow hikers each time you hit the trails. If you’re a dog lover, frequent a certain dog park and chat with the other pet parents. Shared interests give you an instant connection with people and something enjoyable to bond over.

Say yes to invitations

When coworkers, neighbors, classmates or others extend casual social invitations, say yes! Even if it’s just meeting up for coffee or grabbing dinner, these little interactions can lead to bigger social connections. Make an effort to accept invitations, show up and engage. You never know who you might meet or what opportunities might arise from getting to know acquaintances better.

Try dating apps

While dating apps like Tinder and Bumble are best known for romantic connections, they can also be useful for making new friends. Look for options to connect platonically and be upfront in your profile that you’re seeking activity partners or friendships. Chat with matches about shared interests and suggest meeting for activities like checking out a new bar, going hiking or attending an event. Apps expand your social network beyond just who you cross paths within everyday life.

Join community groups

Check and Facebook for local groups organized around different hobbies, interests, sports, identities and causes. For instance, search for hiking groups, book clubs, LGBTQ+ meetups, runner groups, and more. Become a regular at gatherings focused on subjects you’re passionate about. Attending recurring events makes it easy to get to know other members and cultivate friendships naturally over time.

Take a class

Sign up for a class at a local community college, recreation center, studio or private instruction space. You’ll automatically have the entire duration of the class to get to know your classmates through weekly interactions and group work. Chat before and after class, partner up for projects, and suggest going out for drinks or meals with a smaller group once you’ve broken the ice. A class provides structure and repetition to get familiar with the same people.


Volunteering your time for a cause you care about is extremely rewarding, plus it introduces you to like-minded people who are passionate about the same issues. Spend time working alongside other volunteers at an animal shelter, environmental conservation organization, neighborhood beautification project, or any charity important to you. It’s a fulfilling way to build community and make new social connections.

Smile and make eye contact

Even in everyday situations like riding public transit, shopping or grabbing coffee, you can be open to meeting people. Make eye contact and smile at those around you. If you hit it off chatting with someone in line, suggest continuing the conversation over coffee. Being open and approachable puts you in the right mindset to connect with people wherever you go about your daily routine.

Value quality over quantity

While it’s great to expand your overall social circle, remember that just one or two true, close friendships are more meaningful than a large quantity of shallow friendships. Focus on building connections with a few people who share your values and interests. Bond through intimate conversations and shared experiences. Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to be friends with everyone. Cherish a handful of deep, rewarding friendships.

Pursue multi-generational friendships

Don’t limit yourself to only befriending peers your own age. Some of the most fascinating friendships develop across generations. Seek opportunities to meet younger and older people who offer fresh perspectives and life experiences. Become a mentor to someone starting their career or take a young person under your wing. Or learn from those further along in their life journey. Varied ages within your social circle keeps things interesting.

Leverage friend’s connections

Once you start establishing new friendships, have your new friends introduce you to people within their own social circles. This allows you to organically widen your network by bonding over a shared connection. It’s less intimidating than starting from scratch with total strangers. You’ll also gain unique insights into potential new friends through your mutual friend’s perspective.

Embrace episodic friendships

Not every friendship needs to be a lifelong ride-or-die relationship. Episodic friendships come and go naturally with life’s changing circumstances. Appreciate people you form temporary bonds with through various activities, classes, jobs, travel and living situations. Stay open to short-term friendships and enjoy them in that moment without expecting them to last forever.

Initiate plans

If you meet someone you click with, don’t just wait around for them to initiate hanging out. Be proactive in following up and planning get-togethers, even if it’s casually grabbing lunch or coffee. People often need a little nudge to move a new acquaintance to a friendship. Show you’re interested in getting to know them better off the bat. Keep suggesting plans until they stick.

Manage expectations

Understand that forming friendships takes both time and effort. You’re not going to meet your new best friend immediately. Focus on having brief, pleasant interactions at first without big expectations. Relationships take many cumulative hours together to develop intimacy, trust and understanding. Let friendships progress naturally without forcing things prematurely.

How to be a good friend

To successfully maintain new midlife friendships, be sure you’re putting in the work to be a good friend yourself:

– Make time for your friends and show consistent interest. Follow through on plans you make.

– Be trustworthy and don’t gossip. Keep your friends’ secrets and establish loyalty.

– Give emotional support when your friends are going through tough times. Listen without judgement.

– Avoid competition or jealousy. Be happy for your friends’ accomplishments.

– Take interest in your friends’ hobbies and passions. Do activities together you both enjoy.

– Give small gifts, send cards or do favors just because. Show you’re thinking of your friends.

– Compliment your friends and cheer on their goals. Provide encouragement.

– Don’t take advantage of your friends’ kindness. Maintain a healthy balance of give and take.

– Apologize when you’ve made a mistake and hurt a friend. Sincerely work to repair any damage.

– Make communication a priority. Check in consistently without your friends always having to initiate.

– Provide advice when asked, but avoid being preachy. Don’t impose unsolicited opinions.

– Respect your friends’ boundaries. Don’t overstep if a friend needs space.


Establishing fulfilling new friendships in your 40s is absolutely achievable. It simply requires putting yourself out there, being willing to try new things, and staying open to meeting a variety of interesting people. Focus on shared interests, deepening existing acquaintanceships and strengthening social connections. Don’t write yourself off as being too old to make friends. Bring the same curiosity, vulnerability and enthusiasm to bonding with new people that you did when you were younger. Prioritize quality over quantity in nurturing meaningful connection. With some concentrated time and effort, you can create wonderful new friendships that will enrich your life well into the future.

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