The exciting days of college are becoming a distant memory and finding new friends just isn’t as easy as it used to be. Here are some ways that I forged new friends outside of college; forcing myself out of my comfort zone.
- Be willing to be rejected. I’ll be honest, this one is hard. For me, I don’t send an invite unless I already know the answer will be yes. But, I’ve learned to make new friendships and to possibly meet my next date, I have to step outside my norm and be willing to receive a “no”.
- Check out sites for things to do in your city or town. I am not from a very large city, but I have been surprised at how much actually goes on if I actively look for things to do. I subscribe to a website that gives local events and I’ve also found a group on facebook for young adults in my city. Both give me great ideas of free and cheap things to do throughout the week. I’ve become the girl who “always knows what’s going on around town.” Not a bad description.
- Now, once you’ve found something to do…don’t be afraid to go alone. But first, ask a coworker you would like to get to know better. Or ask that new acquaintance you met at the last event you attended. Technology makes this easier because you can send a quick facebook or text invite. Enjoy your netflix and hulu time…but stop saying no to things just because you don’t want to go alone. (I’m still preaching this one to myself…baby steps right?)
- Get plugged into a church. I know you hear this one all the time, but remember church isn’t for us to be served, but to serve. Anytime you’re able to serve alongside others you will naturally form relationships. I was reluctant to go to an all women’s Sunday School class…but now 3 years later I am so glad I did. I have learned so much from the 20 and 30 something ladies that I worship alongside every week.
- Meet your neighbors. I live in an apartment complex, and I remember it was two weeks before I ever ran into anyone else. TWO WEEKS! I was used to meeting people on the stairs or the elevator in college, but here I had not seen a single person outside their door. I didn’t know what to do. One night, I heard someone come in downstairs and so I hurried to slip on my shoes and run to “get my mail”…only to find my aunt and uncle coming up the stairs to visit me. I was happy to see them, but was disappointed I would have to keep waiting to meet a neighbor. But, once I did, I made some lasting friendships. Whether your neighbors are elderly or your age, remember they may be lonely and looking for friendship too. I now hang out with two of my neighbors regularly and check in on some of my elderly neighbors, especially if we’re expecting bad weather.
- If you’re in a relationship, don’t discount new single friends. They need you more than you know. If you’re single, don’t discount new couple friends. You will be amazed at how much fun you can have as a third or fifth wheel. For a while I felt in the way when I would tag along on one of my couple-friend’s dates. But eventually, I stopped feeling like I was being pitied and realized they did enjoy my company. Some of my best friends right now are married couples. Even though they are in a different stage of life than I am, we are both able to encourage and learn from one another. Also, as a woman, it’s always great to get a guy’s perspective about things when his wife and I are overthinking something (this doesn’t happen often or anything).
- Once you’ve found a few people to start hanging out with, create a tradition. For me, I started a Bible study every week. It’s really become a lifeline for me. I know every week I have somewhere to be and people to invest in. Then, we try to make plans for other fun things to do, like going to ballgames or catching a drive-in movie. Or if your friends all love a certain show, ask them to watch it together every week, all of the comic book shows on right now make a great invite to get guys and gals together regularly.
The main thing to remember is you aren’t the only one struggling. After your school years, unless you work with them or go to church with them, it’s hard to form new relationships. Don’t be afraid to step out of your apartment (I know it gets lonely) and just say hello to someone new. You never know where God might lead the conversation.