During my senior year, everybody failed to tell me how difficult it would be to find close friends once I was out in the real world.
I learned quickly upon graduation that life suddenly was centered around work, my cute new apartment, and responsibilities.
Whenever I would have time to pause though, I missed how easy it was to develop new relationships while back in school. All I would have to do was peak my head out of my dorm room or sit at a new table in the cafeteria. It's much different now - but it doesn't mean it's impossible to find friends.
It may take a little more effort and time than it would in college, but community is an important aspect of life that we want to make sure we are investing in. You may not be surrounded by a ton of people your age anymore, but they are still out there and with a little intentionality you can find those connections. I've managed to try a few things that happened to work. These things have provided more opportunities for meeting people and helped me to create a community around me.
Here are 5 ways to make friends after college:
Social Media: I know this may seem like a weird way to meet friends, but I happened to meet my best friend through Instagram and we were even in each other's weddings! I searched for the hashtag of my location, for example #Boston, and she happened to use that hashtag in some of her photos. It looked like our interests aligned and I winded up messaging her. We met in the city to hang out and the rest is history.
Don't think that you can't meet people online. There are so many amazing people that live in your city that you would never cross paths with if it weren't for social media. Take a chance, and if you are nervous, pick a public place to meet up the first time. Ask them deep questions and get to the heart of who they are, you may find (like me) that you have more in common than you would think.
Classes: I absolutely love salsa dancing and I went to a free class in a near by town. I began talking to one of the other women there and we winded up exchanging numbers! Whether you are into dancing, painting, or yoga, sign up for a class and push yourself to talk to other people! This is a great way to meet people who are not only in the same city as you but also enjoy similar activities.
Church Hopping: I am not advocating for you to go to a different church each week and for you to never settle down at a congregation, but I am saying that if you visit churches in your area, you are bound to find people your age that want to get to know you and invest in you! When Ron and I were dating, we visited multiple churches before finding one that we loved. It's pretty cool because we still keep in touch with the friends we made in the churches we visited!
Get To Know Your Coworkers: Be intentional about sitting with your coworkers at lunch or inviting them out for coffee after your shifts are over. If you are bound to see these people every single day, you might as well see if there is potential for long term friendship. I know it can take a lot of work or may not even be convenient in the moment, but you never know what a conversation over taco salad could bring about. Ask intentional questions and try to get past the "work chatter" to really get to know who your coworkers are outside of just the work environment. You may be surprised at what you discover.
Reach Out To Old Friends: Contact your old pals from college and ask them to hang. If they agree, urge them to bring one or two of their own new friends so it is a group setting where you could meet other people. I love getting to know people through mutual friends. Just because you are in a new phase of life, that doesn't mean that you have to ditch your past relationships. It may take more effort but do your best to stay in touch, even if that is simply face-timing once a week. Staying connected with people that you are already close with can make you feel less alone in a new and unfamiliar season.
These are just some of the ways that you can find and create friendships after college. They have made all of the difference for me and I am so glad I put in the work to develop friendships after college. Making friends does not have to be stressful or laborious, it can be a fun and engaging process that helps you to experience new things and new people. All it takes is a little intentionality. So get out there and meet other amazing people you can connect with, enjoy their company and build a sense of community with!