Turning 30 made me realize my “friendships” were superficial – here’s how I found my tribe

Turning 30 hit me like a ton of bricks. The loud celebrations filled with acquaintances and distant friends felt increasingly hollow. I realized, with a pang of discomfort, that most of my interactions were on the surface level. We shared laughs and good times, but when it came to discussing our dreams, fears, or daily struggles, the silence was deafening.

I began to question the nature of these friendships, suddenly feeling as though I was adrift in an ocean of superficiality. We shared drinks and dance floors, but did we share a bond? Did we truly understand each other? The problem was, I had never really taken the time to introspect about who I am and what truly drives me.

And then, one late-night YouTube binge led me to a video by Justin Brown, the co-founder of Ideapod. His words struck a chord with me. He spoke about how he used to not have friends and how he found solace not through forced socialization but through understanding himself. Slowing down, reflecting on what makes you tick, and then acting in service of others – it all made sense.

YouTube video

Turning 30 wasn’t just about getting older; it was also about getting wiser. It was time to shake off the fear of solitude and instead embrace it as an opportunity for self-discovery. This change in perspective led me on a journey to find my tribe – not just people who share my interests but those who value my authenticity too.

Returning to Florida from Singapore had taught me about cultural adjustments; now turning 30 was teaching me about personal transformations. It was time to replace superficial friendships with meaningful connections and find a tribe that resonated with my true self. The next chapter of my life promised to be exciting, challenging, but above all, authentic. And I couldn’t wait to see where it would lead me.

Embracing solitude and finding my tribe

The first step was embracing solitude. It wasn’t easy. The silence was intimidating, almost deafening. But it was in those quiet moments that I truly started to understand myself.

I began asking myself the hard questions. What were my passions, my fears, my dreams? What did I want out of life and the people I surrounded myself with? Instead of feeling lonely, I felt liberated. It was as if I was meeting myself for the first time.

As I developed a deeper understanding of myself, my interactions with people began to change. I found myself drawn to those who resonated with my values and passions. Relationships were no longer about filling silence but about meaningful conversations and shared experiences.

This is how I found my tribe. Not in crowded bars or flashy parties, but in quiet coffee shops and intimate gatherings. People who didn’t just share my interests but also valued my authenticity.

The journey had its ups and downs, but it led me to a place of deeper connections and more authentic friendships. It’s a journey that has changed my perspective on what it truly means to have a friend.

Next, I want to talk about a common belief regarding friendships – that quantity matters more than quality – and how my experience led me to a different understanding.

The myth of quantity over quality

There’s a prevalent notion that the more friends you have, the better. The idea that a packed social calendar equates to a successful social life is one that many people, myself included, have fallen for.

However, my experience taught me otherwise. As I started to understand myself better, I realized that having a large number of friends didn’t necessarily mean having fulfilling relationships. In fact, it often led to a feeling of disconnection and superficiality.

The reality is, it’s not about how many friends you have, but the quality of those friendships. Authentic connections come from shared values and mutual understanding, not from shared drinks and dance floors. It’s about finding people who see you for who you truly are and appreciate you for it.

I’ve learned that it’s perfectly alright to have a small circle of friends if they’re the right ones. It’s better to have a handful of friends who truly understand and support you than a crowd of acquaintances who barely scratch the surface.

In the next part, I’ll share with you how I navigated through this realization and took concrete steps to foster deeper, more meaningful relationships.

Seeking deeper connections

Once I realized the importance of quality over quantity, I started to seek out deeper connections. It was a conscious decision that involved stepping out of my comfort zone and being more open and vulnerable.

I started by expressing myself more honestly. Instead of following the crowd, I shared my true thoughts and opinions. This openness often sparked meaningful conversations and helped me connect on a deeper level.

Next, I prioritized spending time with people who valued authenticity as much as I did. I sought out those who were willing to discuss their dreams and fears, their triumphs and failures. Through these interactions, I was not only able to forge stronger bonds but also learn more about myself.

Finally, I embraced the concept of giving without expecting anything in return. By being helpful and supportive, I found that my relationships became stronger and more fulfilling.

Stepping back and taking responsibility

Taking responsibility for my situation was a game-changer for me. It wasn’t about blaming myself for the superficial friendships I had; it was about acknowledging that I had the power to change my social landscape. By taking responsibility, I moved from a place of feeling stuck to a position of empowerment.

This process also involved questioning societal norms and expectations. I had to break free from the idea that having many friends equated to having a successful social life. This was not an easy task since most of us are conditioned to believe this myth. But by identifying it and choosing to think differently, I started to live life on my own terms.

The key takeaways from my journey were:

– Acknowledge your current dissatisfaction with your friendships.
– Understand the societal expectation of having many friends.
– Choose quality over quantity in friendships.
– Embrace solitude and use it as a tool for self-discovery.
– Seek out authentic connections based on shared values.

This journey might not be comfortable, but it’s worth it. 

Picture of Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.