The Social Wasteland
One of the major advantages of attending college or university is that it gives you a structure for social interaction.
Students are becoming more mature every day, and they have an opportunity to test their social acumen in classes, at parties, and in the dorms.
But here’s the thing: college ends. All of a sudden you’re out on your own or back at home with your family, trying your best to get your life started with the help of your brand new degree.
Many people have trouble adjusting to life on their own, especially when it comes to social activities.
If you happen to live in the same city or town as your college and/or high school friends, then you’ll have an easy way to maintain a healthy social life while meeting new friends through your college pals or the workplace.
But if you’re on your own in a new city or you’ve been out of school for several years and everyone has since moved away, you may find yourself without as many friends as you’d prefer.
We’ve put together a guide on how to make friends in your 20s by following some easy steps that may also help you improve on your self-confidence in the process.
There’s an App for That
If you’re looking for ways to make friends that don’t involve immediately leaving the house, then we would recommend looking into apps and websites that specialize in bringing people together.
The popular app Meetup is built around a fairly simple premise: let users make their own groups for people who share certain interests.
The search function finds meetups happening near your GPS location. Just about all of the groups on the app are open to the public.
You can narrow results by singling out certain interests like movies, cooking, or dancing. From there, you can peruse the various groups under each category to find events that fit your schedule.
Best of all, there are no commitments to attend events. You can simply dodge the meetup if something else comes up.
Try to have some real-life friends go through the app with you, and plan to attend an event together.
This will make the first meetup you attend a little easier to navigate.
Aim for Conversational Businesses
A real-world method for making new friends in your 20s is to get out of the house and aim to hang out at businesses where patrons tend to be more willing to have conversations.
And before we list some stores that tend to be great spots for conversations, we just wanted to make a quick note about interacting with strangers in public.
Not everyone you speak with in public will be willing to start a conversation. Don’t take it personally and remember to always respect others.
Whether you’re looking for friends or romantic partners, never pester someone after they’ve told you they’re not interested in speaking.
It’s a very basic rule, but one that you should keep in mind when trying to make new friends in a public space.
Below, you’ll find just a few stores and types of businesses where conversation with others is typically acceptable or even encouraged.
Bookstores can be a great place to find others with mutual interests. You can tell a little bit about someone’s personality by observing what kind of books they’ve been taking a look at.
For example, if you come across someone who is spending a lot of time in the Fantasy and Sci-fi section and you happen to enjoy these genres, ask them for recommendations.
If the other customer says that they’re just looking for a gift for a friend or family member, offer a few suggestions that they may enjoy.
Coffee shops can provide a calm, thoughtful environment for anyone who just wants a break from their day.
Don’t go out of your way to speak with someone sitting across the store. Instead, try to strike up some small talk with the people who happen to be sitting nearby.
Don’t interrupt anyone who’s busy working on their laptop or listening to music. But you can find opportunities to give polite compliments to those around you.
Even if you fail to start up a real conversation, you may make someone’s day just a little bit better.
And when we say music stores, we specifically mean musical instrument stores.
If you already play a musical instrument, then you’ll have plenty to talk about with sales associates and other customers.
And if you don’t play, feel free to ask for advice and express interest in playing different instruments.
Music stores that focus on guitars, drums, and electronic instruments can be found in just about any big city or small town and tend to be filled with people eager to trade tips and talk about their favorite gear.
Take Night Classes
As we’ve already mentioned, school is a great way to get to know people at a very natural pace.
Here’s the good news: even if you’ve already graduated college and you don’t plan to enter a post-graduate program, you can still take classes, for a relatively modest fee.
Many local community colleges offer night classes for adults in a wide range of subjects. It’s always the perfect time to take a cooking class, a basic accounting class to better handle your finances, or just a fun dance class.
You’ll meet other adults who are interested in learning something new, and you could easily form a study group or just a group that grabs drinks after class is over.
Trying to make friends in your 20s can definitely feel discouraging at times. You’ll probably experience some degree of rejection on a few different occasions.
You may also meet people who just don’t mesh very well with your personality type.
These feelings are natural, and they don’t mean that you’ve failed in any way or that you’re not cut out for making new friends.
You may also want to arrange some social events at your place of work to get to know your co-workers better.
All it takes is a decent amount of time, effort, and dedication to find your people out in the world, who will become your future friends.