The Single Diaries points you in the right direction to meet your post-grad BFF
You may have heard that in your 20s, you start to lose friends… Someone moves away. Someone enters a relationship. You no longer share the same interests. Life happens. Your social life doesn’t have to end there. In fact, we’ve found that you can actually meet people more easily and can spot potential friendships more quickly during this time in your life. It just takes the extra effort of putting yourself out there, but once you step out of your comfort zone you’re golden. Here are a few activities you can sign up for to meet friends after college, plus some tips to keep in mind along the way.
This is a natural starting line for any post-grad. When you join an alumni group (whether it’s for your high school, university or sorority), you know you already have something fundamental in common with other members. That means you start off with a sense of trust that can undercut any discomfort. Plus, these groups are often free to join or have a low membership fee.
Organizations like Junior League, Step Up Women’s Network, and the Spinsters are great for anyone who really wants to commit to an extracurricular. With a higher membership rate, you should definitely take advantage of everything these groups have to offer: leadership skills, mentoring, inspiring women to reach their full potential. Why bother? The other girls are just as dedicated as you are, so there’s a better chance of building friendships over time without the pressure of having to exchange information with someone an hour after you meet them.
Always wanted to be in a book club, but all your friends consider Vogue the only “book” worth reading? Want to go on a hike with someone who actually knows the trail? Want to meet other vegans? Just moved to your city? Like happy hour? There are groups for that! Start with a common interest, and build from there.
Religious Youth Groups
Many places of worship offer groups dedicated to those in their 20s and 30s, so do some research in your area. You can get as involved as attending a faith-driven lecture or a one-time mixer to a prayer group that meets on a regular basis or a weekend-long retreat.
Service & Volunteering
Do gooders do make good friends. When you are working toward a common good, people tend to let their walls down. Volunteer opportunities range from once in a while to a year of commitment. Idealist is a starting point if you aren’t sure where to look, but we recommend considering the type of service you’re looking to do (i.e. youth, homeless, disaster relief, care for the elderly) and research specific organizations that have chapters in your area.
Networking, in-store, poetry readings, etc. This may be the scariest suggestion on the list, because not everyone who attends events does so to meet new people. However, I have made friends at in-store events, simply because one girl introduced herself to me and her friends and struck up a conversation… following up with exchanging numbers.
Host a BYOF event
If Mary-Kate and Ashley hosted a You’re Invited event in their early 20s, it would be “Bring Your Own Friend.” Invite 3-4 friends, and have each invite one person he/she knows to a happy hour. This one requires much more effort on your part, but there are many upsides… 1. You have “wing-women.” 2. Your new friends are already curated. 3. Unlike the other suggestions, this one involves the greatest number of people you know… and the potential for the most new friendships at once.
Now that you have your activity scheduled, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Always look your best. It changes your attitude. It induces your confidence. Look good, feel good, get out there!
- You cash out what you invest. I attended 4 events within the same alumni group before I finally met a few girls that I really clicked with. Don’t give up!
- It’s OK to make the first move. We are used to guys making the move for us, but when trying to meet new friends it may be a little more difficult to step out of our comfort zone. Just do it.
- Set a date. Again, a challenging move for us girls… but someone has to take the initiative, so why not do it yourself?
- Step out of “awkwardness.” It’s easy to feel awkward in a room full of people that you don’t know, but I dare you to simply ignore that instinct. Stay off your phone. Make eye contact with people. Smile. Introduce yourself. If someone blows you off, that is their problem, not yours.
Share with us in the comments: How have you been able to meet friends after college?