How to Make Friends After College

Eliot Elisofon / LIFE

Making friends in college isn’t hard compared to making them once you’re out of college (or are even just in your mid-late twenties.) I went to college with friends I went to high school with, so I thought we’d stay tight forever. Wow, was I wrong. But hey, these things happen. Friendships need work, just like any other relationship. And when you don’t put in the work, they wither, and yes, they can die.

So it was onto new friendships. But how would I make friends? It seemed impossible. And then I realized, the answer was in front of me the whole time.

The Internet!
Yes, the internet was more for just shopping for things I would never admit to buying on Etsy. It was for friend shopping, too. I’m going to tell you how to make friends with the help of the Internet. Here are your resources:

 

Your favorite blogs.

I made so many friends — real, actual friends — through blog networking. Some people commented that they loved my blog and I theirs, and we met up in person, and neither of us turned out to be crazy! Listen up though — I’m not suggesting that you send mass emails to all 50 of your favorite bloggers. I met up with lots of bloggers at a blogger conference. Yes, those exist! I went to the incredible Bloggers in Sin City, which sadly is no longer running. I almost didn’t go because the idea of meeting bloggers, people whose work I loved and read, to meet them, IRL, was scary! And what if they hated me? Or I hated them? I was stranded in Vegas! Wait, that sounds awesome. Thankfully, we all loved each other and now I have real friends, not just “internet friends.” (I even met some of my friends from — get ready for this — Livejournal. SSssshhhh.)

 

Facebook.

Yeah, you know Facebook? How it was originally meant to be a way for college kids to get to know each other? You can still use it that way. I’ve gotten friends through Facebook. A friend of a friend contacted me, told me she thought I was great, and would I let her buy me a drink? You’re goddamn right I would. And now we’re friends. If you met someone at a party and you both said, “We should hang out sometime”, find them on Facebook and suggest you actually hang out.

 

Let’s get offline for a sec. Where else can you meet people?

 

A class.

I don’t mean a college class, I mean an activity class. For example, I used to be into acting. I met people through acting classes that are now my friends, and they’ve (mostly) stayed with me longer than the horrible memories of some daft acting teachers, like the one who asked me in front of the entire class how old I was when I got my period (and no, it really didn’t have to do with ANYTHING, and even if it did, so not appropriate, lady!). Have you always wanted to take a knitting class? Do it! If you’re worried that everyone will be there with a group or their bestie, keep in mind there’s stragglers in every class who have no one. And sometimes, groups are very friendly and if they see you alone and you smile and say “hi”, they’ll invite you to join them.

 

If you’re perpetually shy, the Internet is really the best way to meet people. I’ve met people through all forms of the Internet, even Twitter!

 

Some tips when meeting your Internet buddy:

— Tell at least one person exactly where and when you’ll be meeting this person. Even if the person you tell isn’t within driving distance of you, it’s still good for someone to know exactly where you’ll be.

— Meet in a very public place.

— To avoid any awkwardness, have a set time that your “date” has to end. If you have work to do, let them know that you’re going to have to leave at ___o’clock so you can finish up work. Or maybe arrange something before an appointment. This helps avoid awkward goodbyes and gives you an out if the person is creepy and/or boring.

You may not be in college anymore but that doesn’t mean your days of making new friends are over. Far from it! Go to Facebook events. Say hi to people. Meet friends of friends. Be a little less shy. Not pushy, not weird, not intense, just a little less shy. It’s the first step towards doing anything, really.

 

Photo: Kim Novak by Eliot Elisofon, 1958 for LIFE magazine.
Reposted from The Gaggle.

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