Navigating Young Adulthood: Making Friends After College
January 24, 2020
With young adulthood usually comes independence. For many of us, we have just graduated college and are going to venture off to start our professional careers with a real salary.
With young adulthood usually comes independence. For many of us, we have just graduated college and are going to venture off to start our professional careers with a real salary. However, being on our own can make it difficult to create new friendships and relationships; in fact, after college, many find that friendships and relationships take more effort, commitment, and time to maintain.
For most of us, a majority of our lives are spent at an office or workplace. For eight hours a day, we work and only end up having a few hours at night for ourselves. Since friends should be people we can always go to for comfort or to help us escape from the struggles of the real world, creating and maintaining friendships in the post-graduate world should not be such a big struggle. Continuously engaging with our friends and peers can help us to maintain our relationships, which will vary depending on where and how you have met those people. Below are the four main friend groups you are likely to encounter as a college graduate.
This one is obvious. We spend five of seven days at the office, which means it is nearly impossible to not interact with our co-workers. You can easily strike up a conversation with your officemate or co-worker by talking about industry trends, latest company projects and developments, and outside hobbies. From personal experience, I have noticed that people love to talk about themselves, and with that, you can discover commonalities you share and schedule time to meet up after work or on the weekends for non-work-related fun.
I highly recommend finding a couple of social groups outside of work so your social group becomes more diverse. Social groups help you find friends through shared interests, such as cooking, DIY crafting, painting, or exercising. There are several ways to find and join social groups near you; for instance, try to find a local gym that offers group fitness classes or a community cooking class. Craft stores like Michael’s also offer in-store group classes for anyone interested in learning arts and crafts, such as knitting, sewing, and painting. The best part about these social groups is that they usually meet during the evenings, which means you can join and be involved after work hours.
Another involvement that can help you find friends is to join a religious community. If you practice a specific religion or attend a community religious gathering, then chances are that there are many faces you already know and many new faces you’ll be able to meet. Joining a religious community brings you friends who are of the same faith, and as a result, you are almost guaranteed to see them every week. Often within religious communities, there are other social groups, like youth groups, where friends gather on different days of the week for non-religious team activities.
The Original Squad
There is nothing like the bond between friends who have been with you since day one. After college, in particular, you will find that you can and will constantly rely on your original squad of friends. These friends will always have your back, even if you are far from home, and they are super special to you because of all the memories you share. Your best friends can be from childhood, high school, or college, but regardless, you have matured together and have shared major life experiences. After college, you will find that you miss hanging out with that group as often as you used to or going on spontaneous weekend excursions. In fact, you might reminisce about the times that you studied together or lived together. The bonds among your original crew of best friends tend to be stronger after college, and you should make an effort to call them, Skype them, or meet up with them as regularly as possible.
Whether you are trying to make new friends or maintain old friendships, it is important to note that there are always ways to connect with others and build strong relationships. As a college graduate entering young adulthood, you will see that friends will act as your main support system away from home and allow you to grow as an individual. Actively seeking to strengthen connections will bring forth new relationships and commitment will contribute to making new friends.