My education is something I will always value. I learned a lot in university and I will carry what I’ve learned with me throughout the course of my life. While colleges teach a lot of information vital to one’s career choice, they seldom guide you on how to navigate the post-grad world.
One of the biggest challenges in the “real” world is making friends outside of school. Once you graduate, you’re no longer forced to sit with the same people twice a week, nor are you required to rearrange your entire schedule to meet up for a group project. You may also lose the comfort of having a roommate who’s down to hang whenever. You and all of the friends you made in college are now off to different places and you no longer have that group of friends to hang out with all the time.
If you end up taking the traditional route and moving back home for a bit, you may come to realize that some of your hometown friends haven’t grown up during the past four (or five) years; Or you may come to realize that your friendship with them was more superficial and not genuine.
It’s been almost two months since I’ve walked the stage, and so far, I’ve learned the following five things about forming platonic connections with people outside of school and work:
Apps aren’t always helpful. — Using mobile applications for dating or hooking up is pretty much the norm in this day and age, but now, there are also apps to help people make friends. Tinder Social, Bumble BFF, and Bro are just a few of them. While these apps may seem nifty, they don’t really allow for the friendships to form organically. I tried Bumble BFF but almost everyone who seemed interesting to me lived about an hour away. I also tried Bro, but it seemed as though all of its users were stereotypical gay men who want to trick straight guys into hooking up with them. While apps may work for some people, I’d rather make friendships that are meaningful, long lasting, and not forced.
Those locals on your social media feeds are actually pretty cool. — Everyone has those “social media friends.” These are the friends who live in your area, whose statuses, tweets, and pictures you like back and forth, but you two have never actually hung out in person. I’ve recently come to realize that some of these people are actually the coolest people to hang out with IRL. Conversations with your “social media friends” don’t feel awkward because you know you two actually have stuff in common, plus you have a general idea of what these people are like based on the memes and articles they share. When you have time, invite your e-pal to get a drink or get coffee, have a chat, and hit it off!
Pick up a hobby. — If you want to make friends who share your interests, one of the best way to find like minded people is picking up a hobby. Enroll in a spin class or exercise program at your gym, volunteer to do work for local organizations, or join a book club of some sort. There are many people nearby who would love to converse with others who enjoy the same activities.
Befriend your coworkers. — I know, no one wants to hang out with their colleagues outside of work, but this is pretty much the easiest way to make friends as an adult. I mean, think about it, you already have similar career goals, and can easily help lift each other up in the workplace. Plus, you can vent about your supervisor or annoying coworker over drinks and bar food.
Put yourself out there. — Accept invitations to go out. Or organize a meet up. Being antisocial will literally get you nowhere, but getting out of your apartment will help you find your most comfortable setting and help you find friends who enjoy that same setting.
As you get older, making friends becomes more of a challenge, however, there are several fresh-out-of-college 23-year-olds who simply want the same thing you do; to find their place in the world with a good, genuine set of friends.