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5 Fun Ways To Make New Friends After College

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Friends

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Making friends is easy, right? It’s a skill most of us pick up on the playground in preschool. Throughout elementary school, high school and college, our network of friends grows.

Until graduation day. And then everything changes.

As a young professional with no obligations except to head to my new job every day from eight to five, I was excited to have seemingly endless amounts of free time ahead of me. With no pesky research papers, back-to-back classes and late-night meetings to keep me busy, I dreamed of happy hours, vacations and jam-packed friend-filled weekends.

But I found myself in for a rude awakening; I had all the time in the world to spare, but no friends around to spend that time with.

Making friends post-college can be more difficult than it first appears. Many young professionals relocate for new jobs, often moving to cities where they know literally no one. Others leave campus and head back home to figure out their next steps. That comfortable college bubble where friends live minutes (or even just a few doors down the hall) away is no more. Which brings a new, often unexpected challenge: making new friends.

Here are a few tips to get you back on the social circuit in no time:

1. Become “real life” friends with your tweeps

You know those people who you constantly chat with on Twitter or who you’ve gotten to know through blogging? Take the leap from computer to the coffee shop. (Or bar. Whatever floats your boat.)

Sure, it might be awkward for the first few minutes, but generally, those online friendships translate pretty smoothly to real life. A few months ago, I met a group of girls I’d only chatted with on Twitter, and now we get together once a month for drinks and dinner. #Socialmedia success!

2. Join professional organizations

In college, most of my best friends shared my major and belonged to our major’s pre-professional organization. Once I graduated, I joined a few professional organizations and quickly found a group of people who I instantly had something in common with – our profession.

Hopefully you enjoy your job (or at least the field you work in) and can find common ground with those who share similar passions.

3. Search for unique Groupon and LivingSocial deals

Daily deal sites aren’t just for finding a cheap massage or an awesome discount at your favorite restaurant. These sites also offer amazing deals that get you out of your comfort zone and into unique experiences with total strangers.

For example, a quick search of LivingSocial Adventures offered up deals for wine tours, bar crawls, ski/snowboard day, sushi making classes and more. The best part about these deals are that they aren’t meant to be solo experiences; you can bring along a friend and meet new people during a group adventure.

4. Take a class

Taking a class is not only a great way to expand your knowledge, but also to expand your group of friends. Enroll yourself in that cooking class you’ve always wanted to take, a fitness class to burn some extra calories, or a scrapbooking class to get in touch with your creative side. Or try an online class! You can learn something new, all while getting social and making new friends.

5. Make new friends, but rekindle the old

Reconnect with those high school friends you may have lost touch with when you parted ways for college.

I know, I know – You think you might not have anything in common anymore. But hear me out. Your high school classmates have had four years (or more!) to grow up. It might feel great to resurrect those long-lost relationships (especially if you’ve moved back home). And who knows? You might have more in common than you originally thought.

Have any tips for making friends post-college?

Jessica Lawlor is a public relations professional in Philadelphia. In her free time, she manages a book review and writing blog and is training for the Broad Street Run.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://twitter.com/sayahillman Saya Hillman

    Great topic Jessica, one not many think of/discuss!

    Some other suggestions:
    – volunteer
    – go to stuff solo [I chronicle all the goodness that’s happened to me doing this on my blog, here’s a post – http://macncheeseproductions.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/laughter-and-creativity-is-all-around-chicago/
    – have dinner parties for friends where no one knows anyone but you; when you help your friends make friends, karma usually greets you down the road and does the same
    – go to random talks/conferences/events, even if they’re not in your field; even BETTER if they’re out of your normal zone!
    – do things that scare you [http://macncheeseproductions.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/my-naked-presentation-success-failure-i-dont-know/]

    When I became self-employed eight years ago, I was a video production company. But I quickly realized that folk are hungry for comfortable, fun, unique ways to meet others, ways other than bars/stuffy networking events/the computer, and now Mac ‘n Cheese Productions isn’t video but is a vehicle for folk to challenge themselves, have fun, and make new connections!

  • http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/ Michelle

    These are all great ideas!

  • http://www.IntentionalNetworker.com/ Patti DeNucci

    Some really good tips here. And I would add this suggestion: don’t hesitate to meet and buid relationships with people of all ages. This is how you find wonderful mentors and learn about how to be generationally diverse, which is a valuable asset.

  • Anonymous

    these tips are really effective, I think… but it’s quite difficult to find friends with years… it’s better to do it in your childhood! http://nickelback-albums.net/

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree with making the most out of professional organizations. For a small annual membership fee, you get access to networking events where you can connect with people who already share common ground with you, whether it’s the same field of work, age, expertise, etc.

    I also recommend Meetup.com and language groups.

  • Jessica Ansong

    Meetup groups have served as an excellent for me to meet people.

  • http://www.bantayso.com/tim-kiem/tag/thiet+ke+website thiet ke website

    those’re good ideas. i’m also difficult to make friend. i’ll will try those ways. thanks for your post^^

  • Paul S.

    That’s pretty cool. I wrote an article with 25 Places and Ideas on Where to Meet Friends. Check it out HERE : http://socialcirclepower.com/meet-new-friends/

    See you there
    -Paul

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