Taylor Kuether – @taylorkuether
Making friends is easy…until it’s not. From preschool through undergrad, friends are all but guaranteed. Social circles crop up and envelop you in seamlessly.
Potential new friends are everywhere: raising a hand next to you in class, playing sports with you, attending the same club meetings, singing behind you in choir. You’re all the same age, you all eat in the same cafeteria and, hey, you’ve got one more thing in common – you go to the same college.
Postgrad, is a little different.
You’re in a new city with a new job, schedule, priorities and no social safety net. Take aim, let go – and you might strike out (in bowling, that’s a good thing).
Without a go-to group of friends, your Friday nights are sadly empty of plans and you find yourself drinking that bottle of wine solo you’d normally share with a gal pal as you rehash the week’s events.
Stop the pity party right there. Put down the wine. Potential friendships are out there to be had, but you may need to work a little harder to find them – and that’s a good thing! If you put forth more effort to forge friendships, you’re more likely to choose and build strong ones.
But where to find them? Girl. I got you.
Work: This is often the easiest place to start since you already have something to talk about. Try asking your favorite co-worker if they’d like to grab coffee or drinks after work sometime.
Roommates: If you’re living in a major city, it’s likely you’re not living alone (If you are, lucky you! Skip to the next item on the list). Even rooming with total randos from Craigslist can yield excellent friendships – the TV show “New Girl” is proof of that. Invite your roommate to run errands with you, or ask if they want to tag along to that art gallery opening you’re interested in.
Professional organizations: The Internet is full of organizations aiming to connect cool women with other cool women. Bossed Up and GetBullish are two of my favorites, but here’s a great list of orgs that may be more specific to you and what you do! If you’re in New York City or D.C., you’re about to hit the friendship jackpot. There’s Women’s Information Network (WIN), an organization dedicated to connecting and empowering boss-ass women! Attend one of their happy hour events and you’re likely to leave with at least one new friend, minimum.
Social sports: I’ll be the first to admit I’m not exactly athletic, but maybe you are! Social sports exist in nearly every city imaginable and are inexpensive ways to meet young, fun people while sneaking in a little exercise (which will be immediately negated by the sheer volume of alcohol consumed afterward). If you’re in D.C., check out DC Social Sports or United Social Sports. Everywhere else – Google “[your city’s name] social sports.” Another great resource available in most major cities is November Project. Check ‘em out.
Cultural events: This one is my personal favorite. You’ll need a little moxie (hey, good thing you’re on this site!), but I believe in you. When I first moved to D.C. in summer 2014, I attended a walking tour of Dupont Circle, the city’s historically LGBT neighborhood, as part of Capital Pride. I went by myself, but complimented the shoes of another young woman on the tour alone and BOOM – instant friends. We ended up hanging out the rest of Pridefest, watching the parade together and making plans to hang out again. We were both clearly interested in social justice and cute shoes – so I took a chance and it turned out great. Go to events you’re interested in and strike up a conversation. You already share similar passions and interests – you have nothing to lose!
Happy hours/networking events: I live in D.C., which in addition to being the capital city of the United States seems to be the capital city of happy hours. Seriously. They are constant. Fortunately for everyone involved, it couldn’t be easier to make friends at these events. No one is unhappy with a beer in their hand (I guess that’s why it’s called happy hour?) and if you try to strike up a conversation, it’s likely to go well! Your best bet is to attend organized happy hour events (maybe put on by that professional organization I implored you to join in item three!).
There you have it, my tried-and-true methods for finding your people post-college. I know you’re going to absolutely crush it. I’d totally be friends with you! No, really, let’s be friends. I’ll bring the wine.