A Relatively Painless Guide to Making New Friends

Recent college graduate, fellow alumnae, and brilliant blogger Katt wrote me, saying “The thing that worries me the most about life outside of college is making friends. All my life I’ve made friends at school, and my work friendships have never been as strong. I miss my college friends and am worried I won’t ever feel the same feeling of community and friendship that I had in college.

Katt’s clearly not the only person concerned with making friends in a post-collegiate environment.  Over at Jezebel, they had an article today with some tips for making friends once you’ve moved on from dorm rooms and keggers.  Their suggestions:

  • Be a joiner
  • Say yes to things
  • Live with roommates
  • Reconnect with people from your past

I think all of these are great, easy suggestions and are pretty squarely in line with my own post-college experience.  When I graduated from college, I stayed in town but made a conscious effort to expand my circle of friends beyond the college community.  This meant getting involved in town by volunteering, going to as many free/cheap events as possible, and trying to force myself to work through my natural shyness.  It may not be for everyone, either, but spending a night or two at the local watering hole, chatting up the bartender and locals, is a really good way to start meeting people.

Also, from my own experience, one of the best things I did after finishing school was to say yes to everything, as Jezebel suggests.  If coworkers went to happy hour, I said yes.  When a fellow alum wanted a buffer on a first date and asked me to double, I said yes. When one of my first non-college friends asked me to join his poker night, I said yes. Not every time I said yes resulted in a new best friend or the best night of my life, but most of them did!  The key difference between myself, who loved post-commencement life in our tiny town, and my first roommate, who hated it, was that one of us left the apartment more than the other.  Take a guess at who.

Of course, college friendships are important.  Take the time and put in the effort to stay in touch! The internet is a miraculous thing in that regard – in our house, Skype and G-Chat make it possible for my roommate and I to keep up to date on what most of our college friends are up to.  It’s also great to have that support system – everyone is struggling with their first jobs, first apartments, financial worries, relationships, and trying to make it on their own.  That’s the beauty of great friendships – they don’t fade away with distance!