I’ve been living at home after graduating for about a year now and I’ve learned a hard truth about post-grad life:
It’s really hard to make friends.
Especially for us loud and proud introverts. I am not the first person who will voluntarily go out just to meet new people. I’ll spend more time trying to make awkward eye contact with someone so I can tell them I like their shirt and by the time I muster up the courage to do so they already left the room and I’m feeling discourage.
I’ve had a few months of practice at making new friends and while I’m definitely not a pro, here are some tips on how to feel a little less anti-social if you’re not the most social.
Say “yes” more.
This might get exhausting. That’s okay. Learn to give yourself little breaks, but ultimately spend more time accepting invitations than rejecting them. It’s very tempting to skip out on happy hour when you’re getting back from your second job Thursday night and the parking is sparse and happy hour ends in ten minutes anyway and you just got to a really suspenseful part in your book and you haven’t showered since yesterday morning so your hair is kind of greasy and you’re in no shape to show your face. But go anyway, and text your friend that you’re leaving at an early hour. This gives you time to breath at home if you need it. While you’re there, chat with your friend, smile at your neighbors, and enlist your friend to jump on board with your endeavor to make more friends.
Encourage your friends to invite their friends.
Often times, my outgoing and extroverted friends have an easier time making friends than me (no surprise here). It’s refreshing to hang out with mutual friends, but you have someone that’s familiar to you so it’s a little more comfortable, but you’re still meeting new people. And if they’re already friends with your friend, then you know they’re cool!
Take part in activities you already love.
Sign up for a class or go to that pick-up sports game. It’s easy to meet new people if you’re sharing a similar interest with someone already. I’ve been going to my yoga studio for months now, and I always smile and say hi to my neighbors. Sometimes they just smile back, and sometimes we share a quick conversation before the class starts. I have yet to become full fledged friends with someone yet, but it’s a slow moving process and that’s ok with me.
Keep in touch with your acquaintances.
What’s easier than talking to people you already know and like? All of your friends once started off as acquaintances, at some point. If you take the time to develop the buds of a friendship, it’ll be easier to develop a closer relationship with them. This is something I need to work on, because often times I chalk up “liking” a Facebook status as keeping in touch with someone. Reach out, send them a link to something that reminded you of them, write them a letter, send them a funny photo, or just strike up a conversation on Tuesday night.
What are some things you do to make friends out of college, even if you’re introverted or shy?