Your thirties are a critical time in the life of a modern man. A time during which he often attempts to salvage whatever remainder of untapped youth he has left for putting the finishing touches on his big plans to build an empire. A time when financial matters are more pressing, family starts to become more and more important as family members age, and our own personal goals come under heavier scrutiny.

It’s no surprise that career and family are two of the most time consuming things for the man in his 30s. It is the beginning of the busiest time in a man’s life. At this stage he’s usually done with college and has a good footing on the career path he’s chosen. Many of us either have wives, or committed girlfriends who beseech us to give them amounts of time equivalent to if they were our wives, not to mention children, or at the least, pets which require attention not much different than if they were our children. Indeed, we have a lot going on in this stage in our lives that we didn’t have going on in our twenties. Hence the shift toward a tendency to over-work, and, as it concerns relationships, under-nurture.

When you’re 20, it’s not unusual to form bonds over hockey or hot girls. But when you’re 30, time is so much harder to come by. The relationships you maintain in your 30s need to be relationships that are founded on strong bonds and areas of connection that have great value for both of you. That’s why the relationships have to be less about things that you could do without, (such as hockey when you’re job hunting, or hot girls when you’re either happily involved or looking to be,) and more about things of substance, like the community, helping each other be accountable for personal goals, or just being respectable, so you view one another as a source of good advice, and inspiration. I don’t know about you, but most of my friendships at twenties weren’t predicated upon understanding and the utmost mutual respect.

This doesn’t mean you don’t still have fun. Having fun is something that is ultimately programmed into us as something not only desirable, but a necessity for a healthy life. You can still shoot pool, play pick up basketball games, or talk about your crush on Jessica Alba. The difference though, is that these are afterthoughts in an already rich friendship, rather than the feature presentation of the friendship. Unlike the people you partied with when you were twenty-one, these people are people you would consider family now.

One of the most important things to mention is that it’s very important for your friends at 30 to have a lot in common with you. If you think about it, that’s one of the biggest reasons why people fall out in the first place. People grow up. Our hobbies change, our personalities change, and our attitudes change. We need to make sure at this stage that the people we keep around, we keep around for a reason, and that reason is because we’re genuinely good friends. Not because we have the same math class.

It’s not easy maintaining relationships in your 30s. But the fact is, the real friendships you do have at this stage are more like family than friendships, and family is one of the most important things we have on this earth. So too, mature friendships are one of the best gifts we have in life. If you don’t have as many mature friendships as you’d like, I would definitely encourage you to make and maintain some. It can be one of the most rewarding, and is without question one of the healthiest things you can do.

What are your experiences with this? Have you lost a lot of friendships over the course of your 20s or 30s? Are you in your 20s now, and already seeing this shift? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

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