When we were growing up, to make friends all you had to do was just be around other kids your age. There wasn’t much of an effort to be made and if they were nice, they became your friend. Post-college is a difficult time not only for building your career and stabilizing your finances but also finding friends and maintaining those friendships. Even during college, making friends is pretty easy – you hang out with the people in your dorm, student clubs, Greek-lettered organizations and classes. But what happens when you graduate and it’s no longer convenient to see everyone? That’s when you realize who your real friends are and how much work juggling adult friendships is with work, school, or a family obligations. Having a healthy social life is directly correlated to a person’s happiness but unfortunately friendships are often at the bottom of the list of our priorities.
Making friends in your adult life isn’t easy but here’s four things you can use to make it easier:
Meetup. Meetup.com is a site where you can sign up to receive information on events happening within your areas of interest. These “meetups” are ran by local organizations and are a great way to build a membership. When you entire the site, you can either create a new meetup or join existing groups based of your interests and hobbies including business, sports books clubs and more. Meetup is an effortless way to get information on events you’d be into and meet like-minded people. Building relationships and friendships take consistency, so being active at these meetings regularly is sure to make you some solid contacts.
Social Media. Social media is a great starting point for meeting new people, but you can’t let the connection end there. To build meaningful relationships with people online you have to engage with them and take a real interest in their lives. This means commenting on posts, reading and reposting their work and even participating in Twitter chats. The key to making friends via social media is to eventually meet in real life, whether it be at a professional event or just for coffee – facetime with your new acquaintance is what will turn them into a trusted friend.
In the office. Many people say it’s not good to mix business and pleasure but there is nothing wrong with hanging out with the people you work with. Especially if you’re new to town, take the time to go to happy hour with your coworkers and make an effort to get to know them. The people you meet at your current job can become lifelong friends, and people you stay in touch with even after you leave the company.
Social Networking apps. Did you know there are apps for building platonic relationships just like there is for dating? Apps like Tinder and Bumble help you find dates but there are plenty of other dedicated to helping you find your new BFF. Try joining Bumble BFF, where instead of being matched with men for dating, you’ll be matched with other women who they think you’d be great friends with. PeopleHunt also helps you meet people near you. This app is similar to Meetup by making events you’d be interested in visible to you by tapping into your Facebook groups and other communities. PeopleHunt gives you a platform to share your stories and experiences and look for others to learn and share with. What makes these apps great for making friends is that it uses digital platforms to help you make offline connections.
Friendships can be hard to maintain over long periods of time and even harder to enter new ones if you move around a lot. It may be completely normal to go a month without speaking to a friend but not a romantic partner, which makes it easier to put them to the side when life gets hectic. But by actively seeking new ways to strengthen your network, you’ll never wake up one day when you’re 40 and realize your friends circle is practically nonexistent.
What efforts are you making to expand your network?