After graduating from college (nearly three years ago, ah!), the making new friends part was a big transition for me. Everyone disperses into their adult lives and the comfort of having a clique of friends suddenly disappears. I love being social and meeting new people but it wasn’t enough to hit the ground running in New York City. It’s actually pretty hard! It took me a while to gain the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and to meet new people, but it’s been so worth it.
My brother graduated from college last year and he is currently having a similar transition period. I found myself 100% relating to everything he was saying and I started giving him some older sister advice. Here are a few things I shared with him based on what I’ve learned along the post college frand journey:
1. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations // Going to any sort of social gathering where you may only know one person out of 50 is pretty uncomfortable. There is a lot of uncertainty and a bit of anxiety – millions of questions used to run through my head. But the best thing I’ve done is forcing myself into these social situations. You have to just jump right in and go with the flow, it might feel awkward for the first five minutes but it’s such a great way to connect with mutual friends.
2. Reach out // Instagram, email, gchat, text, call – there are so many ways now a days to reconnect with old friends, meet new friends and maintain current friendships. Having people over for dinner, inviting an acquaintance out to coffee, or grabbing drinks with a co worker, all happens if you just reach out. Don’t wait for people to come around because they may never come around, be the first to take action and invite, I promise it’s worth it.
3. Sign up for an after work sports team // Playing dodgeball in central park or spring soccer on Randall’s island, sign up for a sports league. It’s a great way to connect with co-workers outside of the normal 9-5 environment and you get to know people on a bit of a personal level. It’s also a great way to network, the whole “teamwork” aspect does actually come into play. And if someone invites you to join their sports work league, that’s the perfect opportunity to meet new people outside of your 9-5 day.
4. Go to work happy hours (even if you don’t feel like it) // Work happy hours are easy to skip out on but don’t skip! They are actually fun and it’s a great way to meet people that you may not interact with on a daily basis. There may be someone you’ve run into on your floor, in the elevator, worked with them briefly on a project, or exchanged a few emails, but it’s great to connect on a fun level too. I’ve found that when I do open up parts of my life, like having lived in India for 5 years or speaking a few different languages, co workers end up really appreciating it.
5. Tag along // I dislike imposing on people. I would never want to put anyone in a Natasha is tagging along situation. If a roommate or friend used to say “hey, you should hang with me and my friends” my response often “no, that’s okay, no worries” because I really didn’t want to impose. It took a bit of time for me to realize, hey why not tag along? It’s probably the best way to get to make new friends and to put myself out there. And more likely than not, they actually WANT you to hang out and come along.
Is there anything you’ve learned along your post college frand journey? Share your words of wisdom!