In high school and college, making friends was so easy. All you needed to do was go to class, join a club, or hang out on campus. After graduation, however, it might seem impossible. How do you make friends while adulting? We’ve got some tips just for you.
At the end of the movie “Stand By Me”, there’s a quote along the lines of, “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve.” It hits hard once you’re in your 20s because after college, meeting people suddenly becomes something you have to actively go out and do.
Even bars are intimidating if you’re going to them alone, and how can you even be invited to parties if you don’t have friends around you? Being thrown out cold into the adult world can be jarring. They teach us how to better our careers, but what about how to find places to meet new people?
It’s hard enough to make friends in your 20s or your 30s, too, let alone making friends when you have social anxiety. Whether you realize you have it or not, social anxiety disorder affects approximately 15 million Americans. It’s a fact of life.
Life is hard. Adulting is hard.
But here’s some steadfast tips for meeting new people and making new friends, (tried and tested by us)!
Career Events and Meet-ups
Finding it hard to make friends as an adult is super common, which is why going to career related social events is an easy start. Are you a developer? Go to a code-night. Are you in marketing? Go to a marketing and PR panel or mixer on Eventbrite. You don't have to go to industry events based on your career. You can attend ones based on a hobby or maybe as a learning experience. Do you do photography on your off-hours? Attend a photography conference and mingle. It's a great way to meet like-minded people that have similar interests.
Move to a City
As wild as this sounds, uprooting your life away from your college town could be exactly what you need to start fresh. While this isn’t the most logical of ideas, starting anew somewhere else can give you a clean slate to make all the friends you could want.
Go to Gigs
Not everyone likes to go to concerts and for those of us that do - especially those of us who have social anxiety - going alone is something you grow accustomed to. However, even if you don’t smoke or drink, wandering out to the bathroom or the bar can be ample opportunity to meet new people. Bonus: They clearly like the same music as you do!
Take a Class
If school worked when you were younger, why can’t it work now? You’ve seen Community, you know it’s possible. There are classes for just about everything in almost every city. Whether you like arts and crafts or want to learn yoga, having similar interests is a great way of meeting new friends.
Use an App or Social Media
Apps can be an ideal way for you to start off slow. Getting to know each other through text is easier on those with social anxiety. Pen Pals is a great example of creating meaningful conversation that could lead to friendships in an organic way just like real life.
The most important thing in establishing new plutonic relationships after college is to just to relax and be yourself. It might seem uncomfortable at first to put yourself out there but in the end, it's more rewarding to make that leap rather than sit at home. With 7.53 billion people on this planet, there are plenty of opportunities to meet new friends. 😀