Gradvice: Making Friends After College

When you are in college it’s almost as if you have to try not to make friends. You are constantly surrounded by people and put into situations (group projects, student groups, beer pong tournaments) where forming new friendships is as easy as finding Milwaukee’s Best at a frat party; get their name, work with them a bit, then go home and Facebook them later.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for life in the real world.

Not only are you no longer on a campus surrounded by 400-5,000 people just like you, but the situations that present themselves in college aren’t available after you graduate. At least not as easily. And, no, it’s not going to be like Friends where you live in some giant and totally cool apartment and have hot, funny, and really awesome dudes living across the hall. Not even close.

You can’t walk up to some random girl at the bar and ask for her number (really, really creepy), so how the hell do you make new friends!?

Well, first, you need to realize things won’t come as easily and be ready to put in a little work. Once you’ve mentally prepared, it’s time to put forth some effort:

1. Get friendly at work: The most obvious place to make friends is at work. You spend so much time with these people that it makes sense that you’d get close with them. This is great because it gives you something to look forward to when you wake up at the ass crack of dawn every morning, but it can also be ugly. It’s very easy to blur the line between friend and coworker (especially when $3 tequila shots are the happy hour special) and that can lead to some very awkward interactions down the road. If you play your cards right, though, you’ll make some awesome friends for life.

2. Join something: Be it a community service group, a summer sports league, or a book club, joining a group is one of the best ways to make new friends. You will meet tons of people you wouldn’t normally have access to, you’ll automatically have something in common with them, and you’ll get to know them in a pretty relaxed setting so it doesn’t feel so forced and awk. (The internet makes this shiz super easy, too. Just Google what you’re looking for – “book club, New York City” – and you’ll find plenty of options.)

3. Use your alumni association: People tend to get really attached to their alma maters (and fellow alum) after they graduate. This is great because those same people get super active in their alumni association and plan fun happy hours and events in cities nationwide.  Just look up your city to find a calendar of events and go! You may think you know everyone that graduated with you, but you’re wrong. There are plenty of cool people to be met.

4. Friends of friends: The best referral source for new friends? The few you’ve already got. Ask your friends to facilitate pre-parties or dinners with everyone they know so you can get to know them too. Yes, it seems a little strange to kinda latch onto someone else’s friends, but you already know they are quality people, so why not try and get to know them better?

You aren’t going to find new friends at the bar or sitting around your apartment so get out there and do something. A little effort will reap huge rewards in the form of new brunch buddies, new girls to confide in, and some memorable new experiences.

Yahoo Question of The Week: Is He Gay?
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