How to Make Friends in Your 20s

You are out of college and officially an adult with a job and what passes in NYC as an apartment; you’re even cooking for yourself! (Or at least ordering your own delivery, which counts.) When it comes to your social life, well, let's just stay you're still figuring that out. Your best friend is living in a different city. Your college friends are all over the place. How do you make friends as a twenty-something? 

None of my college friends live in my new city and now I spend my Friday nights scrolling through photos of them hanging out without me. How do I learn to make new friends when the school environment made it so simple for so long?
Growing up, we fostered friendships while sharing crayons, competing on the same swim team, bonding as freshman roommates, or taking the same classes. So how do we make friends when we aren’t forced to work on a group project and bond over it? You do just that: Go out and talk to someone, find some common interest, and let the conversation blossom. The most important thing to do when making friends is to be friendly and willing to put yourself out there. 

Where can I meet friends? Are there speed dating services but for friendship?
It is harder to make friends when you aren’t in a classroom together, living on the same floor, or meeting through a mutual friend. So where do you go? Despite the horror stories, the internet can actually be a good way to meet people, even platonically. There are apps like Bumble, which has a “bff” mode and Meet My Dog, which lets you connect with fellow dog owners. You can also put yourself out there by joining a Meetup group, volunteering, or finding others who practice your religion. Try inviting yourself (I know, but trust me) if a casual friend is talking about her Monday nights watching Big Bang Theory or the Bachelor; just say “I love BBT” and suggest a group viewing of the next episode! The next time you are out at a bar with friends, or in a coffee shop by yourself (bonus points for this one), slowly work up the courage to casually chat with someone. Channel your inner romantic comedy heroine and make the first move. 

How do I get over feeling weird about making friends? This is starting to feel like dating but worse.
It can be daunting to attend an event alone and going on a friend date with someone you met on Bumble is stressful. These situations may make you feel awkward and weird – like, what do you even do on a friend date? Just be yourself, act like you are meeting up with someone you’ve known for years, and talk to the person naturally. The easy thing to do is go with the flow and relax because at the end of the day this is someone you’re trying to develop a friendship with; it’s not a business meeting.

How do I ask to meet up again? Are we friends yet? Are there friend bases too???
Like dating, it is daunting to vulnerable and put yourself out there. The best thing to do when trying to strike up friendships is to keep it casual. Follow each other on Instagram. Ask to get coffee or go for a walk again next week, same time, same place and see where it goes. If you feel weird, it’s going to come off as weird, so keep it simple. Chances are they are looking for new friends too and will be excited you asked them. 

What if the person I meet isn’t exactly the right friend for me?
When you first meet someone, you're not going to know everything about them initially, or even if it's going to become a lasting friendship. You'll probably bond over the things you have in common. You soon begin to learn more about them and either grow closer or apart. Let's say you give a possible friendship a solid try and still find you don't have much in common. For whatever reason, you don't see it progressing further. So what do you do? Don’t ghost them; just let it fizzle out naturally, because it's likely a mutual feeling. You can always stay social media friends, and maybe that thing you initially bonded over will pop up and bring you back together every now and again. Friendship shouldn't be forced. The people you will get along with will click naturally.

How do I deal when they seem uninterested or too wrapped up in their own lives to embrace my amazingness?
Just as it can be hard to find friends around your age, it's often even harder to find friends at the same stage in their life as you. Some friends may have  a significant other that takes up the majority of their leisure time, or maybe they're married with children, or a workaholic. The best way to keep the friendship alive lies in making an effort and meeting halfway. If your friend can only meet for coffee on Wednesday with her two kids, say yes. The plus side to this particular scenario is that you now get to play with kids without having to take them home with you. 

What about my other friends? Will they get jealous? Should I get a second phone?
Who says you can’t have more than one group of friends? You now have friends for different reasons. You're still going to have that best friend you’ve known since you were six years old, you will still meet up with your old roommate, and your college friends will be there for those occasional drunken Friday nights to relive your glory days. But now you have your work friends, roommates and yoga buddies to enjoy too.  Order delivery and invite a new friend over to enjoy it with you. 

Feature photo by Freddy Castro via StockSnap.io