How to make friends outside of college

It's too big of a world out there to be alone

Jordan Zy

Since kindergarten we have been rounded up and left in rooms of people our age making it easy to see the herds of peers and find a few to befriend. The real world won’t be so easy because you won’t have such easy access to so many different types of people to buddy up with ever again. So how do you make friends in the real world?

This article is not for self-help, you’re going to have to actually step up and strike a decent conversation with people who look interesting. I’m a shy-at-first and won’t-shut-up-after type of introvert myself, so I know the stress of talking to strangers and starting over with new people. But the scariest part about relocating is probably being lonely. You’re going to have to put in some work or let your anxieties control you. I know I will because I’m graduating soon. In a few months I’ll be moving away from here and making my own new friends.

1. Work

Get to know your coworkers. Offer to meet up after work or invite them over for a football game. Maybe you’ll meet some of their other friends later on. That’s networking, it’s not just for business.

2. Church

Find a church that fits your fancy. Depending on your area, your local church’s demographic could include plenty of young adults. Go to the Sabbath school or small group meetings that other cool church people like, join in on potlucks and maybe host your own. Get to know these people and you’ll have a good group of Jesus freaks in your top contacts real quick.

3. The Gym

Gain muscle, gain friends (or lose weight, lose lonely weekends as the case may be). Volunteer to spot someone at the gym, strike up a conversation about their routine, or discuss workout playlists. Friends are very influential part of you life so if you aren’t the type of person to be motivated to go to the gym, then find a friend who will hold you accountable. It is a win-win situation.

4. Volunteer

Start giving back in your community. You’ll meet fellow philanthropists with big, happy hearts. On top of that, people who do volunteer work have increased confidence, better health, and it helps fight depression. Even if you don’t make a friend right away, you’re adding to your own resume and general-well being.

5. Find your hobby

Nothing is better than a buddy who loves doing what you love to do with its time to hang out. Do you like a certain sport? Join a league team. Do you like making movies, music, or art? Try entering competitions. If you don’t know what your hobby is, then it is a perfect time to try something new. Take up cooking lessons or a standup class; join an improv club or workshop for woodworking. You’ll run into all kinds of people this way, and you’ll already know what you can do together when you meet up.

Befriending new people isn’t easy for everyone, and the biggest mistake I see is when a person waits in hope that someone will come into their life. I suggest taking initiative to go out into the world and do something productive at the same time. Being a part of something will give you and others around you connections, topics to break the ice. But most importantly you are doing something for yourself, too. Even if you didn’t meet the people you had hoped, you’re doing something for your own benefit. So get out there and start networking!

Jordan is a senior studying psychology.