Let’s face it… making new friends is not as easy after college as it was when you were at school. You don’t have as many extracurriculars where you spend time with people who have similar interests as you do, your roommates may live far away, and your home friends may have moved away to pursue other passions. Sometimes this leaves you feeling a little lonely and discouraged. I’m here to tell you that it is still very easy to make new friends after college and beyond. Here’s how to do it!
1. Connect with your coworkers outside of the office
This is such an easy way to make new friends after college. You’re surrounded by your coworkers throughout the week, but always in a work setting. If you’re close with someone at work, go out for lunch with them, invite them to happy hour, or even better… go try a workout class together. Whether it’s a nearby yoga class to unwind after work, or a more challenging spin class you’ve been meaning to try, bring a coworker or two!
Another way to befriend coworkers is to be more open about who you are and what you’re interested in outside of work. Are you really passionate about a specific musical artist or a certain hobby? I can guarantee you that someone else you work with has mutual interests. As soon as you bond over a passion or hobby, it’s hard not to gravitate toward that person.
2. Never underestimate social media
We have numerous social media platforms available 24/7 at our fingertips. Use it to be social and express yourself! The easiest one for me to make new friends on is Twitter. You can follow hashtags of topics you care about and quickly find other people who have the same interests. For example, if you are into UX, start following other UX designers or researchers, engage with their tweets, get involved in discussions, and let the connection happen naturally.
I tweet a lot about Once Upon A Time (I told you all that I’m a big fantasy and sci-fi addict in my 13 Things About Me post) and became part of the fandom and now have a group of close friends whom I talk to daily and hang out with often. No matter what anyone tells you, never underestimate how powerful an internet friend can be. I’ve met some of my closest friends on social media and know I can trust them with anything.
3. Join local meetup groups, especially if you just moved
Meetup.com is a great website to join if you’re new to an area and are looking to make new friends! Whether you’re in search of a new running buddy, people to grab a drink with you, or simply want to learn how to cook, Meetup has it all.
If you’re new to an area and aren’t exactly sure what you want to do in your free time, or you aren’t specifically looking for someone to tag along with you on adventures and you just want to meet people, Meetup holds frequent events at local bars and venues and you can sign up, attend, and befriend others who are in the group or are also new to the area! It’s such a beautiful concept, and I highly recommend it.
4. Expand your existing network & connect with mutual friends
If you’re already friends with someone and get along well with them, chances are they have other friends who share similar interests. Hang out in larger groups and be yourself… people will admire you for who you are and you’ll soon be expanding your friendship circle and finding new people you connect with.
5. Attend local events, even if you go alone!
I despise the stigma around going places alone. Despite my extroverted nature, I cannot tell you enough how much I love love love doing things on my own. Is there a big event coming up that you’ve been dying to go to, but can’t find a friend to attend with you? Go alone, smile at strangers, strike up conversations, and make new friends who love the same things you do!
This rule applies for small events, too. Is there a new coffee shop or bar in your town that you’ve been meaning to visit? Go alone, grab a drink, sit down, and be approachable. Or, even better, put your phone away and just start talking to others around you who are alone as well. It’s an intimate way of meeting new people without even putting much effort forward.
6. Take on a new hobby
Always wanted to take cooking lessons? Do it. Always wanted to try learning a new style of dance? Do it. Stop waiting for life to hand you opportunities, go out and do them! Guess what? Your new best friend may be waiting for you in one of those places you’ve been meaning to go to!
My last tip is the most important, so pay attention.
7. Be yourself! Always. No matter what.
People will admire you for who you are and what you like, without having to force it. It took me a while to learn that, but you should never pretend to be something you’re not just to get others to like you. The best way to make new friends, no matter where you are, is to read the body language of others, be approachable, smile at strangers, and strike up a conversation.
Be true to yourself and be confident in what makes you unique, who you are, what you’re into, and what you stand for. If you’re a genuine and approachable person, you’ll attract others who want to be around that kind of energy!
I hope these tips serve as a good starting point and will motivate you to get out there, be yourself, and meet people who are as unique and incredible as you are. Do you have any other tips on how to make friends after college? I’d love to hear from all of you!