Happy, happy December, everyone!
By popular demand, today I am going to be taking a deeper dive into how to make new friends in your 20s whether you are in a new city for work, living on a college campus or, simply, need to amp up the friend-gang—I hope we can both be successful in this journey!
In case you missed it, I have another post on The Learning Curve that talks about things that have helped me, personally, adjust to my new community post-college graduation. The post is not specifically about finding friends, but rather, the entire adjustment phase as a whole. You can read it here and, perhaps, find that some of these pastimes will work for you as well!
I polled men and women of different age groups to see what they recommend when it comes to making new friends! Some of their suggestions actually worked for them, while others are something they wish they would’ve known, they said.
Over half of the respondents ages 40+ said that, despite how uncomfortable first conversations can sometimes be, just the act of putting yourself out there in your community is a great way to find people with similar interests.
Some suggestions included joining clubs or classes that interest you, or you are passionate about. Odds are, others with those same interests will also be in attendance. These smaller groups often make it easier to relate to one another and find a common interest, one man said.
If you do not know where to start, or what your interests are, check to see if the city you are living in has an active Facebook or Instagram page where they post current events! Other activities that may provide more one on one time with others include hiking clubs, book clubs, attending sporting events, exercise classes or joining a gym, learning a new skill such as baking, poetry, weight lifting, etc.
They have made it through their early 20s and have formed friend groups in new places with these tricks!
“You have to be willing to talk to anyone,” one male respondent said. “Talk about anything and everything. People are a lot more friendly than we often give ourselves credit for.”
“Go to bars and clubs!” One woman said. “Even if you do not like the ‘party scene,’ you can go early and meet others like you who just want to relax with a drink before the DJ starts.”
A large majority of respondents in their late 20s also noted that making friends online is something that sometimes works. Following and messaging people with similar interests via Instagram and Twitter has proven to be successful for some. Others said that joining local Facebook groups is an easy way to connect with a large number of people at once; these groups sometimes hold events as well.
Last but not least, Bumble BFF is getting a lot of attention! Most of the respondents who suggested this were female, but the option is available for men too. The app is set up similar to a dating profile where you swipe left and right on people who you may connect with. The only difference with Bumble BFF, though, is anyone can send the first message!
“Once you get past the awkward ‘dating-feel,’ it is really easy to be upfront and honest about wanting to make friends!” Another woman said. “I mean, that is what everyone is on their for in the first place, right? Just ask them if they’re up to grab drinks or have a movie night!”
So many people responded to the survey saying to take advantage of co-workers, if you have them. I can personally say, when the pandemic was still fresh and I was working for a newsroom in Indiana, the reporters of similar ages would always make it a goal to grab lunch together once a week. We eventually formed such great relationships that we had our own Kentucky Derby party and met each other’s significant others!
“Having work friends is nice because you often share similar frustrations which makes conversation flow,” one male respondent said. “The only thing I would be cautious of is saying too much. Work friends are great, but make sure you have someone outside of the office to really vent to.”
Consider this section the “bloopers” of responses, yet… I can’t say some of them don’t sound pretty tempting!
“Join a Pickle Ball Club,” -Anonymous male, 40+ years-old.
“Step 1. Find your local Target. Step 2. Shop the dollar spot and wine aisle. If you can’t find someone you have something in common with there, then you aren’t really looking,” -Anonymous woman, 40+ years-old.
"Adopt a dog, go to the dog park, meet fellow dog owners, and maybe a potential wife," ~Anonymous mid-to-late-30-year-old-man.
Pay attention to the moving trucks at your apartment complex. This may sound creepy, this 30-year-old respondent wrote. But, if you notice a new neighbor, that is a great Segway to stopping by with a batch of cookies to welcome them to the area. Everyone loves sweets, and odds are, they will be in search of new connections too.
Exercise a new skill and post about it in social media groups. While it is possible these are friends you will never meet in person, a 40+ year-old man wrote, sometimes I find it nice to relax on weekdays and just play online poker. Friendly banter and good competition pass the time.
Take a walk around your new neighborhood, one late-30-year-old female wrote. It is always nice to be familiar with your surroundings, and a lot of times I end up finding hidden coffee shops or restaurants that I can walk to. It’s a combination! You get the exercise and can treat yourself to a local meal!
1. Meetup.com – Just be cautious and do your research. If an event seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Bumble BFF – men and women can create profiles in their area to meet-up with others close in age or interest!
3. Facebook Groups – join a group! Some are public access and others require you fill out a brief Q+A prompt. Lots of groups exist for people close in age, or who share similar life experiences. You can find a Facebook group for just about anything! Mental health, diseases, sporting teams, graduates and so many more.
4. Eventbrite.com – is a platform where individuals and businesses alike can create events for locals or specific niches, one 40+ year-old-female wrote. I use this even now when we travel because it is a great resource for current events in a certain area! I know my daughters have used it on their college campus to find free dinners, movie showings, blood drives, etc., she said.