Being a post-grad is weird. I’ve been out of school for 2 years now and I’m still getting used to things in the “real world.” One of the biggest challenges after graduating is making friends. In college there are opportunities to make friends at every turn. In your dorm, in class, at parties, clubs, sports. It’s almost hard not to make friends. Out of college though, so many of those opportunities disappear and making friends becomes that much harder.
I’ve been trying to make new friends ever since I graduated and landed my first job. And now that I’m in a whole new city, my friend-making mission is in overdrive again. Here are some of my tips for making post-grad friends.
- Never turn down an invitation. Every invitation you receive is an opportunity to meet someone new or further your connection with someone. Even if you think you will feel awkward or the event doesn’t seem like your usual scene, just try it out! You never know if you will enjoy something until you try it. It can be tempting to just go home after a long day of work, but if you turn down that happy hour with coworkers, the invite may never come again!
- Make use of your connections. Networking pays off in so many ways! Check with your pals and see if they have any friends that live in the area too. Having a mutual friend automatically gives you some common ground. See if your buddy would mind passing along your contact info so you can get in touch with your soon-to-be friend. You can even plan trips to visit each other and kill 2 birds with one stone.
- Try meetup.com and other similar sites. Meetup.com is a great resource for finding people your age with similar interests. You can search your area for all different types of meetup groups ranging from general going out groups, yoga groups, LGBT groups, and anything else you can think of! These types of events are great because everyone is going because they want to meet new people and make new friends. All you have to do is introduce yourself and the conversation will start flowing.
- Volunteer, take a class, or join a team. Join a co-ed kickball team. Volunteer at your local animal shelter. Take a cooking or bartending class. The possibilities are endless. And even if you don’t make a new friend at least you learned a new skill or gave back to your community.
- Be on your toes. View every experience as a chance to meet someone new. In line for Starbucks? Don’t be afraid to compliment the girl next to you on her killer shoes. Chat with the tellers at your local bank branch. Smile and say good morning to the regulars you see on your morning walk. These people might not end up being you BFFs but having just a familiar face that you can say hi to in your neighborhood can go a long way with boosting your confidence and your happiness.
Do you have any tips on how to make friends after school? How did you meet your best friends?