When we were young, making friends was easy. You were partnered up with someone in class, you were on the same sports team as someone or you were in the same extracurricular activities with other kids. Remember how hard it was to create a guest list for birthday parties? Well, in your twenties making new friends is not as easy as you would think.
College is a place where people from all over the world come together to learn and make friendships. The downside of this is after graduation many of those friends go back to their hometowns to find careers. Your best friends are now displaced all over and if you’re lucky, a few are in the city you move to.
You go through the same experiences with your college friends over the course of a four-year period. As you grow up, you tend to experience things on your own and so the interaction with other people diminishes. You don’t have the same opportunities that college gave you. In college, you usually have someone to bridge the gap, but in a new city people tend not to give you the time of day. It seems the most common way to meet new people is through friends of friends, and it can also be said about dating.
As we get older, it becomes much more difficult to make new friends and to keep them. If you are lucky, you work with people whom you can hang out with. Unfortunately, this does not happen to the majority of people. Between a 9-5 job and the newly acquired need for sleep, who even has time to make new friends? You are much busier at this time in your life, so making new friends isn’t always going to be on the top of your do to list. You have so many new concerns and responsibilities you did not have in college.
The financial obligations of living on your own can be quite tremendous, so you do not always have the money to go out and meet new people. You have expenses that you previously did not have to be concerned with. Meal plans and dorm supplies are things of the past. Instead of all of our money going toward partying, it is now going towards toiletries and groceries.
The problem with post grad life is it is difficult to get involved in activities that would foster friendships. The point is you need to create new experiences to share with people. The difference between now and college is that you have to actively seek out these activities. Clubs, organizations and sports teams were enthusiastically promoted throughout college campuses, you literally had hundreds of opportunities at your disposal. In the real world it is much more difficult to find organizations you would like to take part in.
Another setback is the act of putting yourself out there. Say you finally find an activity you would like to take part in – some people cannot do things alone. This is problematic because you will still be lonely. You literally have nothing to lose by immersing yourself in new activities.
People are constantly changing, so it would make sense that you would not want to be friends with the same kind of person you were friends with in college. As you realize what kind of person you are and want to become, you will seek out people who fit into this new mold.
This is an extremely important time to make friends because as you get older and you enter your 30s, many people look to settle down. The opportunities you have in your twenties are far vaster than if you are coupled off in your thirties or older.
Regardless of how busy we are in our new lives, friendship still provides value. Having a constant support system is healthy and beneficial. If something horrible happens in your life, wouldn’t you want people around you to support and help you? Of course you would.
Ashley Fern | Elite.