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Dear Therapist: How Do I Make Friends After College?

Creator:
Published:
May 27, 2024
May 27, 2024
Read this article for advice on how to meet new people as an adult and truly feel connected to others after college.

Dear Therapist,

I’ve been living in the same city since I graduated from college five years ago. I’ve gotten so involved and really put myself out there, but just can’t seem to find “my people” or truly deep friendships. I’m at a loss: do I call it quits and move somewhere new? Or stick it out and hope I find closer connections?

 — Seeking Greener Grass

Dear Seeking Greener Grass,

First of all, I commend you for being proactive and getting involved! Many people feel intimidated at the thought and struggle to put themselves out there. And second of all, you are not alone. Finding your people as a post-college adult can be tough. My theory is that it’s easier to make friends in college primarily because it offers a readymade community of like minded people. It’s much easier to make friends when you are sitting next to someone in class multiple times a week, for example. 

On the other hand, in post-college life, it can be much more challenging to find that same community. It isn’t impossible. You just have to be a little bit more strategic in your approach. In fact, I will often tell my therapy clients that making friends as an adult is a little bit like dating. You have to be proactive, know what you are looking for, and be willing to put in the time to find potential friends. 

Since you mentioned that you have been consistently putting yourself out there for some time, here are two options you might want to consider:

First, if you genuinely like the city you live in, you could consider changing your approach to getting involved. This could look like expanding the radius of how far you’ll commute to attend events or it could look like switching up the types of groups you attend. For example, if you are part of a lot of professional organizations already, maybe you’d consider joining a sports league or some other hobby that could provide a community. Ask yourself, “Where would the type of people I’d like to be friends with congregate?” In general, events like a book club or small group setting will help foster deeper connections more than a lecture. 

Secondly, there’s no harm in discerning that your current city has served its purpose and it’s time for you to move and start a new chapter. If this is the case, it will be important to consider what you are looking for in a new city and it will be key to think about what changes you’d like to make regarding your approach to finding community. If you move, it will still likely take some time for you to establish and find your community so it will be helpful to have a plan in place. 

— Julia Hogan-Werner, LCPC

Creators:
Grotto, Julia Hogan-Werner
Published:
May 27, 2024
May 27, 2024
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