How To Make New Friends After You Graduate College

Making new friends is hard. If you’re fortunate enough to meet someone you like, you have to put the time in like it’s a relationship. There’s the whole getting to know you process, which involves play dates, going out together for the sole purpose of creating memories and ushering them into your social circle. It’s a job you have to be willing to take on because it’s a major commitment.

Remember when making friends was easy though? In high school and college, we existed in cocoons and meeting new people and forming long-lasting friendships was expected. That was our job, to meet the people who would impact our lives forever. When you graduate college though, making new friends becomes harder and harder. Without having a built-in environment and a guaranteed space where you will see people every day, you’re living la vida solo star. One of the things I missed the most about college once I graduated (and I didn’t miss much) was that guarantee I’m going to see a few of my friends on campus every day.

So how does one make new friends after you graduate? Once you get swallowed up in a 9-to-5, you’ll barely find time for the friends you already have, let alone new ones, but listen! One can never have enough friends in the world, okay? And we all have moments when we feel unsatisfied by our social life and want to meet more people. So here are your options:

Try to make friends with people from your work. I understand this might be impossible but if there’s one person who might have friend potential, latch on to them. Fact: You spend more time with people from your job than anyone else so try to make it as harmonious as possible.

Don’t turn any social engagement down, even if it sounds revolting. You never know who you might meet. You might get lucky and score with someone who’s a social connector! When I graduated college, my social life was in an awkward spot but then I became close to a friend of a friend who introduced me to his amazing social circle. It was like instant social life makeover. I had been gifted five new BFF’s just by meeting one. Sometimes all it takes is meeting that one new friend and then it’s a domino affect.

Be aggressive. When I first moved to San Francisco for college, I whored myself out socially. I WAS that bugaboo making plans with you after our first meeting. I had to! Friends weren’t just going to fall into my lap. I had to work for them! Similarly, when I moved to New York I had to put my social hustle on. “OMG, you’re having a party in BedStuy? Can I come? No, seriously, I have no plans. Invite me.” Being shy isn’t going to get you anywhere besides on your Facebook on a Saturday night.

Stalk people on Facebook and Twitter who you think are cool and try to meet them IRL. This might not work and they might think you’re weird but whatever. You’re desperado. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Sometimes I wonder when I’ll meet the last best friend of my life. Can I make one when I’m 40? Does that happen? Can we start our story with “I’ve known him since we were 40 years old!” I think so. I think we can do whatever we want. You can never have enough friends in this lonely world. Start making more. TC mark

All information provided in this article is for reference purposes only.

image – Friends

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • Tanya Barrios

    story of my life right now since i just moved to the city. how do you know my life??

    • Mashka

       the city as in NYC? Be friends with me! I just moved here too

      • Michael Koh

        so much friendship

    • Gabrielle

      I just moved here as well…so far all I know are guys. Sometimes its fun to hang out with the dudes but having a few female friends in the mix would be great!

      • Mashka

         haha this is my issues as well I moved here 3 weeks ago and all my new friends are dudes

  • Sperky21

    long-lastimg friendships

  • Jessica

    As a recent college grad with a brand new 9-5 and few friends with similar schedules to me anymore, I approve of this post. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Guest

    Ok, I absolutely love all of the posts of TC but I have one complaint that I have seen many times in various posts. You do not graduate college, you graduate FROM college. I would have thought that a group of writers would know this simple grammar rule. Keep posting though, I love TC!

    • klaus

      Look at you!!

  • Mashka

    hah. I just moved to NYC and this has been the plight of both my roommate and myself- to make new friends especially in our neighborhood since we don’t know anyone on the UES. Luckily we’ve managed to be relatively successful in the 3 weeks we’ve been here. Also… all of our friends are guys… so there’s that. I guess that’s what happens when two single ladies are incredibly outgoing with everyone we meet.

    I met one guy on the street (yes, on the street) when my roommate asked him for a cigarette. We are now friends that hang out pretty often.

    We also posted a sign in our apartment in absolute desperation in order to get to know people in our building. It started off with “We’re NOT creepy… ” and then continued on with our ages, the fact that we know no one, and our general interests. Actually let’s be real we posted a sign on every floor- they promptly got taken down within a few hours by our wonderful super. They kinda worked though, we got 2 responses: 1: a typed up response on our door the next morning from a guy on the 5th floor asking us to “email him” with any questions about the neighborhood. The fact that he typed it and suggested emailing him to his hotmail account leads me to believe he’s at least 80 years old. Fantastic. 2: a knock on our door from two girls who live below us who granted, are pretty cool, but we later found out they are only 19 and suggested going out with us with their “fake ids” and subsequently made us 25 year olds feel insanely old.

    Making friends in the city is quite an adventure. 

    • Erin

      Upper east side thought catalog party, let’s be friends! everyone I work with/lives in my building is 40+

      • Mashka

        Yes please let’s be friends! Seriously

    • guest

      im on the UES too and it is very hard to meet new people (being 23 and not in grad school) that awesome though you typed the letter up.

    • Olivia Moore

      I love that you typed up a letter to everyone in your building. I always feel that I need to add that “I’m not creepy” line haha. I live on the border of Queens and Long Island so I’ve been trying to explore the city more when I’m not at work. It’s definitely difficult to meet people at work because I’m like the baby here- everyone is old enough to be my parent. You’re lucky you came with a roommate though I definitely think it’s easier to meet someone when you already have someone around. And yeah that email dude is definitely a 70 year old creep!

  • Guest

    Just for the record….are you openly inviting us to try and find you IRL by stalking your twitter? Because you’re moving into some dangerous territory here.

  • Anton

    That awkward moment you realize you don’t want to be friends with anyone on Thought Catalog anymore.

  • Eric

    I work 9 to 5, most of my friends are already married, the ones who aren’t are still in school or live far away. I basically have like one or two (really one) friends who I try to get together with once every week or so.

    I am pretty friendly with some of the people at work, but it just hasn’t extened into after work hours. The guys I am friendly with here anyway, are younger than me by a few years.

    Most of my nights after work is spent watching TV or browsing Reddit, blogs, etc…. I go to the gym about 5 times a week as well. Nobody there to be friendly with, they all have so much more muscle than me.

    I don’t think this post will really help me.

  • Tara Lane

    i met my current roommate/best friend in my new city over twitter, in a convo with a mutual friend. i’ve made some other contacts in philly the same way. our friends who don’t get social media don’t really understand it…

  • holly k

    this couldn’t have come at a timelier time. 

  • Meghan

    thank you. this is awesome and optimistic.

  • guest

    I just graduated and all of a sudden all my friends disappeared. :'( 
    okay but, I can do this. gonna be a “bugaboo” 

  • Guest

    who needs more than like…2 friends anyway? having a lot of friends isn’t that great, especially if you don’t feel a connection to them.

  • Lola

    ryan o’connell is such a goddamn lazy writer. “ever noticed this? ever thought too much about this? you know? anyway, modern world lol.”

  • Sed

    Ryan O’connell- can we meet in IRL?

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    My parents are socialites, they’re in their 40s and making new friends everyday. Join a club or something else exclusive

  • Kelly

    This is such a great article! I graduated from college in May and moved to NYC… my social life is so random and slightly awkward. I find myself hanging out with the oddest of odds… from rollerskating by the high line to playing kickball for Zog Sports with a bunch of random dudes. Post grad social life is a weird phase. Although, I definitely keep in touch with all my college friends- hanging out with new people can offer you so many weird and fun life experiences. Weeeeee!

  • Jennifer

    This is wonderful. I don’t graduate until 2013, but making friends after graduation is definitely something that I worry about. I’ll just have to pull out the ‘ssuper friendly, not shy at all’ Jenn who made an appearance during the first 6 months of college.

  • Scofield Smd

    Compensating for the lack of individual enthusiasm, skills and charisma through forcefully wasting your time with the pack of people you barely know and call “friends”.. Pathetic. 

  • spence

    Good advice. This will sound jaded, but I’ve discovered those college friends who I thought would be my BFFs for life …. well, they just aren’t. People go their separate ways after college. Don’t assume you’ll have that same clique by your side forever, a la How I Met Your Mother. But on the flip side, the friends you work to make after graduation will really enrich your life in ways you never would have imagined. It sucks to have “lost” some old friends, but the new ones I’ve gained are so much healthier for me.

  • Thought Catalog

    Reblogged this on Enter the Void (Personal Blog).

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