For whatever reason, it always seems like the older you get, the harder it is to make new friends. And it's not just that it gets harder to find the time — everyone just kind of seems less interested in connecting with new people as we get older. It's as if we are being molded for 20 or so years, which allows us to be pliable and easygoing (and thus, quite friendly), and then BAM —we're rock solid and unyielding. Suddenly, it's hard to see other people as being worth your time. You already did the entire "getting to know every stranger" bit in college, and you don't want to try so hard anymore.
Listen, people, I get it. Why be friendly to a stranger when you already have a group of adults who you consider family? But while you may think that you don't need anymore members in your posse (hey, you're not T-Swift), there are many circumstances that life might throw at you that will require you to rebuild your friend group. What if you move to a new city, for instance? If you take a great job across country, or move away from home permanently, chances are that you won't be surrounded by old friends. You'll find yourself wanting to meet new people, but now it's more complicated. After college, finding friends is like dating. But luckily for you, I know all about making new friends. Having moved around a number of times after college has given me the ability to strike up a conversation with anyone and find friends in the most unexpected places. And now, I will share those tips with you.
So if you're having a hard time making new friends in the post-grad landscape, this is for you. Just remember: the most important thing is to be open to meeting other people. It might sound cheesy, but it's true: the best asset in the friend search is an open heart and mind.
Chances are, you'll be spending 40+ hours with the same people five days a week. Use those hours! Make new friends out of your coworkers. Not only will it help make your work environment better, it will make your personal life easier as well — it's so stream-lined to have a one-stop shop to have fun and get things done, right?
2. The Apartment Next Door
Neighbors are awesome. You guys can watch each other's pets, borrow cooking utensils, or throw parties together. It's like a grown-up version of living in a dorm. Except you don't have to share a bathroom or feel obligated to go out with them every weekend, so it's actually way better than living in a dorm. It's a wonderful resource. Use it.
3. A Reunion
Unless you hated every single person at your high school, you can make friends at your reunions. They are a great place to connect with people who live near you, or people you liked in high school but never had a chance to really bond with. You don't have to wait for the big five or 10 year reunions — some schools have regional meet-ups for grads each year. And since you have a base of your most awkward years to draw from, the conversations will never get boring.
4. Your Own Apartment
Your roommates might drive you crazy a lot of the time, but they are also your greatest resource for friendship post-college. Seriously! Maybe you found each other through CraigList, or through mutual friends. Either way, don't immediately disregard them as friend material — even if you don't end up being soulmates, they might be able to help you relieve boredom.
5. Your Significant Other's Apartment
If you are lucky enough to be in a healthy and stable relationship, you will get to meet your SO's friends. They are now fair game. Their friends can become your friends. In fact, they might even like you better.
6. The Gym
Working out is a great way to meet new friends. Start taking notes of who else comes in around the same time as you. While I don't recommend hovering over their station and waiting for a good time to talk, I do think approaching them and starting a conversation when they're resting isn't too out of left field. This way, you get a gym buddy and a friend all at the same time.
7. A Class
I prefer a cooking class, but actually, any class will do. I say cooking class because the environment is probably more relaxed than a language class, for example, and you can chat with other people. And you get to learn new tips and tricks for making delicious food while you're at it. It's a win-win!
8. A Group Tour
Find something you are interested in learning about, and go there. Sign up for a group hike at a gorgeous or challenging natural destination, or a tour of historical places. Your common ground (hey, you love nature and/ or history!) will give you plenty to chat about.
9. A Concert
These don't have to be large concerts held at big halls or festivals. I'm talking about small coffee house shows that are intimate enough that you can sit next to someone. You already have an opener — you both like whatever music is being performed. Just strike up a conversation and go for it. It's less scary than it sounds, I swear.
10. A Coffee Shop
Take notice of who gets coffee around the same time as you. Since you probably go there every work day, chances are that the same people will be there every day, as well. See? You already have something in common!
11. A Commuter Train Or Bus
Just like with the gym and your coffee places, your morning commute can be the perfect opener for laying down friendship vibes. If you live in a major city and take public transportation, you will be seeing the same people a lot of the time. If they're carrying a book you like, why not use it as an opener? Maybe you'll make both of your commutes more bearable.
12. A Recreational Sports League
After work/ weekend sports teams are basically assigned friends. You will learn to love your teammates and your good times will very likely extend long after the last goal (or whatever) is scored.
13. A Volunteer Gig
You're doing something good for society, so it doesn't matter than you're also being a little selfish by scouting for new buddies. It balances out! Plus, you'll know that the people who are at the event are decent people — because they're spending their free time volunteering.
14. A Dating Site
If you tried all of the above activities, but have not found one person to hang out with in your new city, try a dating app. Make sure it's clear you are just looking for someone to be friends with (there's usually a "just friends" option). I made sure to mark this as a last resort, because this is less about common interests, and more about just trying to find anyone to spend time with. It's an option, but it probably shouldn't be the first.
Good luck! And may the friendship odds be ever in your favor!
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