Coming from Miami University to Chicago was honestly a pretty much as easy of a transition as anyone could hope for after college in terms of knowing people. I got to skip the scary part of being completely and utterly alone in a new, huge city, and for that I am especially grateful.
On the other hand, I mostly hear incredible stories and adventures from those people I know who were really on their own, and they said it helped them grow and change more than any other life experience! To each their own, but I was very content having a support system to lean on in those first few months.
Whether you’ve got your entire graduating class surrounding you, or you’re isolated and alone – finding and interacting with new people after college is so tough and AWKWARD! You don’t get to just sit next to someone in class and suddenly become their best friend anymore, and you feel like you’re too old to simply stroll up and say “Hi, want to be my friend?”
Proof is in the picture – this is me and my friend Zoe, the very first day that I met her in NYC! She was a best friend & roommate of an old friend of mine!
Despite having a ton of college friends, hometown friends, and even some family and familiar coworkers from my internship after graduating, I still felt like it was really important to me that I branch out and meet new people.
In case you’re struggling with how to do that without seeming totally crazy, keep reading for some of my best advice on how to make new friends in a new place after college!
The same NYC trip, where these lovely ladies graciously granted me a weekend-membership to their girl gang.
Utilize Your Network | Not to make this sound like getting a job, but I would say networking is the single best way to meet new people in a city. If you even know one person there – take advantage of that. Probably 95% of the new friends I’ve made since graduating were because they knew someone that I knew…I’ve met some of my best friends at other friends’ birthday dinners, at friends’ apartments before going out on a weekend, or even at brunch when we all try to bring together our various groups. If they like your friend, there’s a good chance you two will have something in common too!
Coworkers | I realize that not everyone is lucky enough to work in a young or bustling work environment filled with people your own age…but if you are (or even if you aren’t) coworkers are still a great resource to meet new people! This also ties into the point above. If you and some coworkers go out for drinks and each bring a friend or roommate along…that’s such an awkward-free way to meet new people!
Join Something | Whether you’re into sports or not, find a club, group or intramural league and JOIN. This was the rule of thumb in college, and it holds true now! See if your company or your neighborhood has an intramural sports league, or a volunteer idea. Drag one of your friends along if you want to make it a little less lonely, but don’t lean on them so heavily that you seem closed off to meeting new people!
Fitness Classes | I truthfully still don’t understand how people claim they “meet at their gym”. I always made it a point to stick to my own thing at a gym, but if you feel confident doing that, more power to you! I was never really a fitness class girl until I joined Pure Barre – but I’ve never looked back! It took me about four months to really start striking up conversations, but I realized there were a few girls there every single day at the same class time as me…and now we’re friends! We grab drinks after class and text on the weekends. Plus, it’s so nice having someone else going to help motivate myself!
Family Friends | This goes hand in hand with the first point, in a way, but if you’re really truly on your own in a new place…I can pretty much guarantee you at least know someone who is a family friend who knows someone else there. The world is smaller than you think! This one might feel a little awkward, but I really can’t recommend it enough. My cousin lives in Colorado, and a friend of mine moved out there literally all alone. I kept pushing them to touch base and grab coffee, and they were able to introduce each other to some new people and they got along great! It’s a start, and personally I’d rather feel awkward for one minute than alone for many.In case you try out one of these “friend finding spots” but still don’t know how to un-awkwardly approach striking up a conversation, this article has all of my favorite go-to’s and some solid tips for breaking the ice without feeling like we’re in kindergarten again!