If you’re more than a few weeks out of college, you’ve probably realized by now that making friends is not the same as it was in college. We didn’t realize how lucky we were at the time to be living with other students and surrounded by them 24-7. We no longer have students in our group projects that we befriend over a couple of weeks, live in houses with our best friends and have neighbors who invite us to their parties, and go to club meetings each week.
Most grads that we've talked to have either moved to a new city to start a job, moved back home where most of their friends no longer live, or had our college friends move out on us. Several unideal options when it comes to our friend circles...
Some of us have scored making new friends at our jobs right away. Others of us work remotely or hybrid, or have made some friends at work, but they're all 10+ years older than us. So now what do we do to find other people in their 20s who are at a more similar life stage? Here are a few starter steps:
1) Realize that there are THOUSANDS of people in the same boat as you
We need to get rid of the stigma that if you don’t have friends in this stage in life, something is wrong. If you just moved or your friends have moved, how would you expect to have best friends locally? We have talked to tons of recent grads and found that we’re all struggling with the same problem. Once you realize this, you’ll be more comfortable approaching people and attending events, clubs, etc., knowing others also want to make new friends.
Just so you can get a sense: there are about 4.5 million people who graduate college in the U.S. each year, and about 1/3 of these grads move to a new city where they haven't lived before. So that's already a huge number of us who likely do not know anyone, or only perhaps know their roommate, post grad.
This isn't like high school when people already have their set friend groups. People in this stage are actively looking to make new friends. Let this make you feel more confident to lean into new friend possibilities.
2) Get Proactive and Get Researching
We have to be way more proactive about building our social lives now than in college. You don’t just happen to sit next to hundreds of other students each day. So intentionally look for clubs, events, and groups of recent grads in your area. We are of course hosting events for recent grads, so you can see if there is one coming up near you.
Other ideas are looking in Facebook groups to see if there is one for your city for recent grads, and if people are posting about socials. You can also look for recreational sports leagues, gyms, and local volunteering clubs in your area where recent grads frequent.
The point is, be proactive and look for places where recent grads are going. If you came here, then it looks like you are already making progress on this step.
3) Get Comfortable Talking to Strangers
Now that you realize so many people out there also want to make friends, get comfortable approaching strangers! The rule about not approaching people in the gym is so silly…so many people would love for you to chat with them. If you frequent a coffee shop, be bold and say hello to someone you’ve seen a few times. Take the chance to smile at someone new at work, or ask people you encounter at restaurants about their day. You never know when small talk can turn into a friendship.
4) Don’t Lose Hope
It can be really discouraging if you’re not finding your people right away. That’s the exact reason we started this startup—to combat that. Stick with it! Your people are out there and if you keep looking and putting yourself out there, you will find them.
Friendship is really something worth putting the effort into. Post pandemic some of us got very comfortable hanging out by ourselves and not putting as much work into our friendships. However, positive relationships are actually the number one indicator of happiness (according to the 85+ year Harvard study on human happiness), and incredibly powerful for your mental and physical health. Keep pursuing them and working on them, just like you might your nutrition or physical health.
We’re all in this together, and we are rooting for you!