This post is all about how to make friends after college and how to navigate the adult world.
Is It Hard To Make Friends After College?
Having to make friends from scratch after college can be quite difficult and intimidating. At school, you’re basically forced to be in the same classroom or group with people your age. So even if your intention wasn’t to make friends in college, you’ll inevitably get to know a bunch of people.
After college though, apart from work, you won’t really have the chance to be in the same room with a group of like-minded people unless you make the effort to. For introverts (like me), this can be really challenging! To make friends after graduating, you have to be proactive and put yourself out there. Staying at home all day would probably get you nowhere (unless you try online friendship apps of course… we’ll touch on this later)!
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How Do I Get a Social Life After College?
There are a ton of ways to maintain a social life after college, but as we mentioned before, it does require that you make an effort to put yourself out there. During your free time on the weekends (assuming that you’re working a regular 9-5), go out and try something new!
Even if it’s just checking out the new coffee shop or restaurant around the corner, or attending a music festival you’ve been dying to go to… When you put yourself in a new environment, it’s much easier to expose yourself to interesting people that you might want to befriend.
Ways To Make Friends In Your 20s
Making friends in your 20s is super exciting! In fact, the people you meet during this period of your life can easily become your lifelong friends. Below, I’ve listed 12 ways that you can meet friends after graduating college and entering the “real world”:
Attend Meetup Events
If you’ve never attended a Meetup event before, I highly recommend that you try it out. Most of the time, it’s completely free, and you can meet a bunch of people who share the same interests or hobbies as you.
After graduating from college, I moved to Mexico City where I basically knew NOBODY. But with the Meetup website/app, I was able to attend a few “digital nomad” community meetup events and got to know tons of cool and interesting people!
Another great thing about these meetup events is that it’s not awkward at all. Everyone is always excited and open to learning about each other and building a community, which I love!!
Join a Busy Gym
Many people don’t know this, but gyms are actually great places to meet potential friends and romantic partners! Even though I’ve never been hit on by a cute guy at the gym (I wish!!) I’ve definitely made friends with a few people who also go to the gym at the same time as me. When you see the same people on a regular basis, it’s hard to not say “Hi” eventually!
Another perk of making friends at the gym is that you both like to work out, so automatically, you already have something in common. You can share workout routines and do exercises together to better yourself physically!
Bond With Your Co-Workers
I know a lot of you don’t like being friends with your co-workers, but it’s honestly not that bad! Haha! A lot of my super close friends actually started out as my co-workers. Since we shared the same struggles at work, it was really easy to start bonding almost immediately.
If you’re working a remote 9-5 office job, it might be a bit more difficult to connect with your co-workers on a regular basis. But if you’re working at a cafe or restaurant, for example, it’s quite easy to chat with your co-workers while on the job or during breaks.
Give it a try! Be open to becoming friends with your co-workers. You have nothing to lose!
Make Friends With Your Friends’ Friends
For me, this is one of the easiest ways to make new friends! If you’re introverted like me and don’t really like making the first move when it comes to building new friendships, using existing connections can save you a lot of mental effort. Next time your friend asks you to go to events or do activities with her/his friends, accept the invite!
I actually met a lot of my close friends in life through mutual friends! Even in high school! This is also one of the major perks of having an extroverted friend, haha. Trust me, they’ll introduce you to everyone they know and force you to become friends with their friends lol.
Try Bumble BFF
Did you know that Bumble has a “friend-dating” option? Lol, I didn’t either. My friend told me about this a few months ago and I’m shook! So it’s basically like regular dating, but you’re now swiping on people that you’d like to become BFFs with.
My friend said that she actually made a few close friends through Bumble and they still hang out and stay in touch to this day. In your “friend-dating” bio, you can write down the things you’re interested in and activities you want to do so that like-minded people swipe right on you!
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Go On An Organized Trip or Event
Does your city have free walking tours on the weekends? Or maybe a bar-hopping event where you get to drink with a bunch of strangers, lol? Go on Facebook and check out the activities that go on near your city! This could be a great way to make friends with locals and travelers while getting to know your city at the same time.
Also, when you go on these trips or events, try to stay off your phone and make an effort to be present. Introduce yourself to others, make eye contact, and smile!
Join a Local Sports Team
This is my dad’s favorite way of making friends outside of work and I love it too, haha! When you’re on the same team, no matter the sport, it’s almost impossible to not bond with your teammates. When you win, you celebrate together. And when you lose a game, you try to cheer each other up and work harder next time.
Not only do you get to get your weekly exercise in, but you also get to make close friends. How great is that? Have you been wanting to get good at basketball or badminton? This is your sign to join a local sports team and get started!
Lean Into Your Hobbies
If you’re an avid Salsa or Hip-Hop dancer, making friends outside of college can be super easy for you! Join a dance class or a free community club and start socializing with people who share the same interest as you.
Even if you don’t have any hobbies, you can still join these free clubs or classes and learn something new! Who knows, maybe knitting is your calling and you just never knew!
Stay at Hostels While Traveling
This is ALWAYS my preferred way of making friends when I’m traveling abroad. Every solo trip I’ve been on, I’ve always managed to befriend solo travelers from around the world by staying at hostels.
Since you’re sharing the same room with a bunch of people, you’re basically forced to socialize with different travelers during your stay. Also, since you’re all in a new city or country alone, you can go on trips and explore together!
When I was solo-traveling in Vietnam, I got to know a group of 5 solo travelers and we rented motorcycles to explore the rural parts of Vietnam together. It was absolutely amazing and a beautiful memory that I’ll cherish forever.
Find Volunteer Opportunities
Do you like the idea of giving your time to help others? Then why not volunteer and meet like-minded people this way. For example, animal shelters or after school programs often need volunteers to help out, so it’d be a great opportunity for you to provide service and also make friends!
If you’re wondering how to find volunteering opportunities, Volunteer Match is a site that helps match you with causes that you could be interested in.
Rekindle Old Friendships
If you’ve moved to a new city after graduation, check on social media to see if you have friends that are in the same area as you. It’s okay if you haven’t talked for a long time, still reach out to them! This would be a great opportunity for you guys to rekindle your old friendship and catch up!
The great thing about this is that you technically won’t have to make new friends from scratch, and can just skip the whole “what’s your favorite color?” phase.
Go Out More!
Okay, so if you hate going out to bars and clubs, feel free to skip this section! But you’re not opposed to this idea, then you might want to try going out more after graduating college. (This would also work if you’re single and want to meet a potential partner)
Most people tend to let their guards down and open up after having a few drinks. This makes it so much easier to have conversations with people you won’t usually have the courage to talk to.
If you’re going out alone, I recommend that you sit at the bar so you can chat with the bartender and also the people sitting next to you. Also, stay off your phone and make yourself approachable!
Just Go With The Flow
Sometimes, the more you want something, the more resistance you put out into the universe. Have you realized that when you just go with the flow and live in the present, unexpected and amazing things just happen to you?
That’s how I feel it is with friendship. When I’m in a desperate state “trying” to make friends, everything just seems to not work out. And when I stop forcing it, opportunities and friendships just show up out of nowhere!
Am I saying to not try at all and stay in your house the whole day? No! Still put yourself out there and go to fun events! But don’t do so out of desperation, but out of a genuine desire to get to know people and enjoy life!
Is It Too Late To Make Friends After College?
No, no, and no! Absolutely not! Your life is JUST starting after college, so you still have plenty of time to make friends. I met this guy a few weeks ago and he told me that he met all of his closest friends after graduation (he’s 28 by the way).
The great thing about making friends after graduation is that you mostly have more in common. In college, you’re the same age as your friends, but you might have completely different interests, majors, or life goals. On the other hand, if you meet people at a Meetup event or a conference after college, you’ll most likely share the same interests and career goals.
Don’t let social media or society make you feel like you’re falling behind or not making enough friends. Take your time! Everyone is on a different journey in life and will go through completely different experiences. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your best friend/soul mate at 52 or 68!
Making friends after college or in your 20s, in general, can take a bit of effort. But! That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Just think about this, there are so many awesome and amazing people that you have yet to meet in your life! Isn’t that so exciting?
Your life has just begun and there is so much for you to explore. Yes, leaving your college friends can be sad, but forget to move forward and make new friendships!
Hopefully, this post has helped you come up with a good strategy to make new friends after college. Just put yourself out there, go with the flow, be yourself, and you’ll do great! You’re a super cool person and I’m sure you’ll have no trouble making awesome friendships outside of school : )