A few weeks ago I did a poll on my story about what you were struggling with.
There were 3 recurring themes:
- Lack of confidence
- Time management
- Struggling with how to make loyal friends after college which is what we’re going to focus on today.
Before I polled you guys on my story, I actually had a girlfriend ask me how to make new friends after you graduate. If you are in this boat too, don’t worry at all. You aren’t the only one!
Struggling to find solid friends is really frustrating. You could be single and living alone, and feeling really lonely and isolated, especially in times like these.
Or, you could be in a relationship and start to lose yourself because you’re always hanging out with your partner’s friends all because you don’t have any of your own. If this is you, DON’T be ashamed. Like I said before, you aren’t the only one!!!
Back in college, it was so much easier to meet people. You’d see the same faces on campus and you could leave your dorm room door open for people to pop in and say hello.
But what if you didn’t go to college? Or you graduated and start to lose touch with the people you used to hang out with?! Now, what the heck do you do?
Even though making friends after college can be frustrating, it’s not impossible. It’s actually quite doable once you step outside of your comfort zone and I’m going to give you a few ways you can do this in a bit.
Erik and I moved to New York together a few years ago, and I REALLY struggled to make my own friends.
It was different for Erik, he went to school in New York and a lot of his college friends still lived there, so I found myself hanging around his friends a lot. And while I love his friends, I wanted girlfriends of my own too.
I had friends at work but I worked in Manhattan and we lived upstate so it was hard to do much on the weekends because of the distance.
You know those Saturdays where you just want to grab a glass of wine with a girlfriend and talk about how annoying your boyfriend is and the leggings you just bought that she has to try? I really struggled with this and it affected me a lot mentally and emotionally.
After 2 years in New York, we packed up our things. We moved 2,000 miles away to New Mexico where we didn’t know a single soul. We didn’t even know anyone who had ever been there before. So I found myself in the same boat, and Erik found himself in a new one.
I am really happy to say that we have made some awesome friends out here in New Mexico. Having a strong friend group makes a huge difference and if I can do it, you can too sister.
So let’s dive into 4 things I did that lead me to make loyal friends after college so you can start doing the same!
1. Be talkative at restaurants and bars.
I know this one is tricky now with Coronavirus and especially tricky if you’re an introvert, but hear me out.
If you’re sitting at the bar by yourself or with your significant other, make conversation with the person sitting next to you.
Is there someone around you that’s maybe wearing a jersey of one of your favorite sports team? Maybe everyone at the bar is watching the same game or show and you can make a joke or comment about it? Is someone having a loud conversation that you can laugh your way into?
I know that can seem intimidating, but challenge yourself to SAFELY put yourself out there. Obviously do not do this if someone is being even remotely creepy. But, if someone or a couple is just enjoying some drinks, I challenge you to start a conversation.
What’s the worst they can do? Not engage back with you? Whatever, you will likely never see them again and if you do, WHO CARES!
Before COVID happened, Erik and I went to a bar down the street to grab a beer and a sandwich. The guy next to us was wearing a Celtics hat. We are from Boston and love Boston sports, so we started talking to the guy. Come to find out, he’s from the town next to where I grew up (over 2,500 miles away!) and we all ended up chatting for hours. He had a bad day at work and ended up going right to the bar.
You’re never going to regret trying to be nice. You never know whose day you’re going to make by talking with them.
Put yourself out there sister!!
2. Put your phone down when you’re going to be around people, even if it’s people you don’t know.
No one is going to come up to you and start talking if you’re staring at your phone. Make yourself look more inviting by being present.
This goes for when you’re out with friends, at the nail salon, getting your hair done, etc.
When I first moved to NM I desperately needed color and found a hairstylist. I could have gone into that hair appointment sitting on my phone while she was working her magic but instead I challenged myself to start talking to my hairdresser.
That first appointment lead to the start of a friendship with my hairdresser Sophie. We both have 2 Pitbulls, we are both Gemini’s and have the same birthday and we are both in serious relationships.
We had a lot in common and that appointment lead to other appointments which lead to us getting drinks together which then lead to me officiating her wedding.
You never know who you could meet guys, and I would have never met Sophie and her family if I sat on my phone the whole time.
3. If a friend invites you to a party where you don’t know many people, GO.
I’m not gonna lie when my friends used to invite me to parties and they were the only people I knew, I’d usually not go unless they dragged me out of the house.
I am an extrovert and love talking to people, but I can definitely get social anxiety sometimes.
But here’s the thing, how are you supposed to make loyal friends after college if you don’t step out of your comfort zone and do something different?!
Nine times out of ten there are people at the party who want someone to talk to.
Think about it like this, there are a lot of people in your position. So many people are looking for friends and struggling to find them. So do yourself both a favor and start a conversation!
Back in college, a friend from class needed someone to live with and I needed to find someone to live with as well. We decided we’d live together and the only apartment we found was a 3 bedroom. So my friend from class asked her friend whose name was Cathy, to live with us. I’ll admit, I felt funky about it at first because I was over living with random people, but guess what? Cathy is now one of my best friends and I would have never met her otherwise.
4. Bring your dog out with you.
Dogs are always a great conversation starter and people are more likely to come to chat with you if you have a pup.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a dog. Call your local shelter and ask if they allow the dogs to go on field trips, and if so, take one to a brewery or a restaurant with outdoor dining.
I can guarantee that having the pup around will spark conversation so it’s a win for you and an extra big win for the dog to get out of the shelter for the day.
And who knows, you might fall in love and want to adopt the pup anyway. 😉
I know it’s tough guys, but you CAN make loyal friends after college and I strongly encourage you to try these methods.
Next time you’re getting your hair done, put your phone away. See what happens. Or next time you’re in the nail salon, chat with the lady getting her nails done next to you and see where it leads.
I am someone who swears by a small circle. I can honestly count my best friends on one hand and my motto is less is more. Focus on finding 1 or 2 loyal friends, and don’t worry about finding a group of 30.
You got this!