here are so many reasons to value the friendships we make through our lives from basic human connection to emotional support and health benefits. But friendships change depending on where you find yourself in life.
In high school, you’re surrounded by the same people day after day, making it easy to stay in touch and create a strong bond within your friend groups.
In college, you’re separated from your high school friend groups and surrounded by a fresh community where you make a whole new friend group that you spend four years creating memories with while you grow into adulthood.
In college, you move away from the friends you made in high school and spend 4 or more years creating memories with a whole new group of friends as you progress into early adulthood.
Once college is over, however, friendships can start getting tricky. Everyone has different plans after graduation. Some want to see the world or move to a different city for a new job. Others want to settle down, marry their high school or college sweethearts, and start a family as soon as possible.
No matter which path you most closely identify with, it can be difficult to hold up personal relationships when you find yourself moving in a vastly different direction than the people you’ve been closest to over the years. This is a part of life for everyone at some point or another.
The good news is—and something to remind yourself—life isn’t over just because you’re leaving college. It’s easy to feel like college is all there is when you’re there, but you still have years ahead of you to meet the people that are going to become staples in your life. They may replace certain friendships that have naturally grown apart or become a welcome addition to the ones you have now.
The idea of making new friends when you’re in your mid-20s can feel daunting. It’s like dating without the romantic aspect. Meeting new people doesn’t have to be a nerve-racking experience, though. It’s helpful to remember that most people your age are experiencing the same uncertainty when it comes to transitioning into the real world and there are a wide variety of avenues available to meet your new friends.
So, here are some of the easiest ways to meet new people who may turn out to be your new best friends.
Bumble isn’t only for dating
Bumble is one of the biggest dating apps around in addition to Tinder and Hinge. It offers an easy way to meet new people, but Tinder and Bumble aren’t only available for dating.
There’s an option on Bumble called Bumble BFF to match with people in a totally platonic way. We are in the digital age of relationships--and that includes friendships. Tinder Social works similarly but instead lets you find and create friend groups.
It may not be the most exciting way to meet your BFF, but if you’re willing to meet your significant other through an app, what’s the difference between finding friends on it? Nothing!
Bumble BFF is an especially good plan if you’re new to a city where you don’t know anyone else. Chances are there are other people in your shoes looking for some friends and they’re searching for you through Bumble too.
Just be sure to stay safe and secure when using an app to meet people. It’s the easiest way to connect, but it’s also possible to manipulate the truth. Kinda like when you meet a guy from Bumble or Tinder who says he’s 6’ 1” but he turns up to be 5’ 7”.
Work on friendships while you work on fitness!
Fitness centers are a win-win because you create a great sense of community while also bettering your health. Meeting like-minded people who prioritize their health can create great friendships, plus crushing brutal workouts together can give you a chance to bond over the pains and gains.
It’s helpful that a lot of boutique gyms have after-work-out hangouts on the weekends, so you can crush some calories and then enjoy a beer or two while getting to know the people you work out with.
All work and no play...No way!
Befriending your coworkers is probably the easiest way to make new friends after college because you see them every day. You already have something in common considering you experience the same work-related frustrations, but you might find that you have other interests in common with them as well.
Not to mention, most workplaces hold holiday parties and weekly happy hours for their employees to celebrate their hard work and let them blow off steam. This is the perfect time to get to know your colleagues in a fun and low-stress environment.
Having a friend at work will make the weeks fly by faster too. Just be sure to limit the amount of office gossip you take part in. We know it’s fun, but if the tea gets too hot, you might get burnt.
Meet people who like what you like
Starting a new hobby or activity can help you get involved with people who are learning just like you. Maybe you’ve always wanted to make pottery or learn how to cook. Attending classes regularly increases your chances of running into the same people each week, which will make it easier to connect.
And chances are, you’ll have something in common with someone in the class if you all decided to try something new.
If you’re a competitive type, joining a recreational sports team is another fun hobby to get involved with when trying to meet new people. Chances are you’ll be on a team of people who are open to making new friends as well.
Try to get to know your new teammates outside of the court by organizing post-game drinks or an end-of-the-season party to get your teammates together. All you have to do is give it a try.
Networking isn’t only a professional thing
Connections can be crucial for getting further in your career, but they can also be helpful in a less-professional way. Meeting new friends through people you’re already friends with is a great place to start if none of the other options seem to work for you.
If you’re surrounding yourself with good people, your friends will be happy to introduce you to people they think are fun to be around.
Social gatherings—when it’s safe
Social gatherings aren’t suggested right now during the pandemic to lower the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus, but one day we’ll be able to party again. When that day comes, (we’re all patiently waiting to blow hundreds of dollars at the bar) it’s one of the best ways to meet people.
If you’re an introvert and the thought of meeting new people sounds like an absolute nightmare, don’t worry you aren’t alone. You can take the pressure off of meeting new people by bringing along a friend or two when going out.
Use your digital connection to make a real-world connection
We’re lucky to have ease of communication thanks to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. It’s nearly impossible to find someone under the age of 40 who isn’t on social media these days, which means you can connect to almost anyone you choose.
Whether you like the family-centered vibe of Facebook, the fun and aesthetically pleasing photos on Instagram, the memes on Twitter, or the dancing and personality videos on Tik Tok—you can make friends from any corner of the world thanks to the screen in your hands.
Facebook offers the helpful option of personalized groups made for anything from book clubs to wine of the week clubs which gives users the chance to connect and possibly meet new people.
Twitter has a way of bringing people together through their shared opinions. And Instagram easily connects content creators with targeted audiences. You can create friendships out of any of these connections. All it takes is a friendly direct message.
Catch up with old friends you haven’t talked to in forever
The busy schedule you managed to hold in college may have made it difficult to keep up with friends from high school. Just because you haven’t spoken to someone in a couple of years, doesn’t mean that connection is severed completely.
Reaching out to a friend who you haven’t seen in a while to catch up over coffee or lunch is a great way to continue a friendship that may have fizzled out.
Put in some effort with people
Maybe you have a group of friends, but you don’t feel as connected to them as you once did. Putting in a solid effort is crucial when maintaining healthy friendships for a long time.
We know how easy it can be to cancel your plans to stay in and binge Netflix all night, especially when the winter weather is brutal, but nothing good comes from zero effort. If you are constantly turning down plans to hang out with your friends, they’ll eventually stop inviting you once they realize it’s a lost cause.
Being a part of a person’s life takes effort. If you’re simply expecting to be a part of someone’s life even though you aren’t putting forth any work, it’s time to change your attitude.