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Is Making Friends After College a Struggle?

Talk to the recently-graduated and you’ll soon discover that making friends after college can be difficult. There are many reasons for this, but, when examined, they all boil down to one inescapable factor: different goals.

As much as you may beg to differ, college is a pretty homogenous environment. Before you go crying “Diversity,” allow us to explain. Regardless of the mix of race, culture, and a whole host of other variables, the general direction of everyone in your school is the same: graduation. This makes for a generally like-minded group of people; most choices are geared toward that ultimate goal.

Life after college, though, is full of choices that lead you off in myriad directions never to return whence you came. In other words, you now have a number of goals on which you can focus: work (or not), marriage (or not), kids (or not). The list goes on and on. No longer are all the people around you striving for the same goal. Now, everyone has their own aim. What’s more, most of these goals are major life decisions that can isolate you socially from those who do not share your desire. If you’re single (or just married), have you ever tried to hang out with someone (or a couple) who has kids? Often times, it just doesn’t work.

To help ease the process of making friends after college, you need to find places and activities where people share similar interests and goals. This is how you can meet people and cultivate friendships. Below are six ways to get your friend on.

Take a Class

It worked the first time around so why wouldn’t it work again? Continuing education courses are great places to make friends because, chances are, the people in those classes have the same interest you do.

Use Your Pet

And by pet, we mean ‘dog’. You can break the ice in the park when taking a walk. That cute thing your puppy did last week makes a great conversation starter and you can keep the talk going by discussing chew toys and food brands.

Volunteer

Do some work for a worthy cause – preferably something you’re interested in – and give your friend-making a boost at the same time. You’ll meet like-minded people who can become fast friends. Remember that the point of all of this is to meet new people (and work for a good cause, of course) who share your interests. If you’re really not interested in “Hats for the Homeless”, find somewhere else to volunteer. Both endeavors – friend-making and volunteering – will be good for you.

Professional Organization

After graduation, your career will become the next big focus of your time. And that’s fine. You can capitalize on your new-found drive to succeed by joining a professional organization associated with your line of work. You’ll be able to network with potential business interests and cultivate new friends at the same time.

Make Old Friends Into New Ones

This only works if you return to the area where you grew up or some old friends have moved to your area. Sure you may not have had that much in common in the old days but it’s been four years, hasn’t it? How much have you changed since graduating high school? Your friend has likely done the same.

Go Digital

Social networking (online) is everywhere these days so why not take advantage of it for something other than Twitter and Facebook? Sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Meetup are great ways to find experiences where you can meet new people. Groupon and Living Social can get you great deals on more than just clothing and coffee. Discounts abound for tours, athletic activities (where you can participate), wine tours, and classes. Meetup hosts everything from mixers to macramé parties. Have fun and meet potential friends all at the same time. What could be better than that?

Of course, finding people with similar interests and goals isn’t the end-all be-all solution to your problem (or any problem for that matter). A bit of diversity in life is a good thing. So don’t give up if making friends after college is a bit difficult. There are plenty of resources at your disposal to make the process just a bit more manageable. Take advantage of all the 21st century has to offer and you’ll be rolling in friends in no time.