Post-Grad Life: How to Make Better Friends

By Monday, July 27, 2015

In the previous post, I offered a few pointers on how to do life after college. Making friends can be one of the most difficult parts of suddenly being away from the college atmosphere. You’re no longer around people your own age all the time, and it’s easy to spend all your time at work and your house if you’re not intentional. It takes work to get out and meet people, and it’s awkward. Embrace it, and it’ll pass. At some point, you’ll start to see who you’re going to want to spend more time with, and there are obviously scores of fun ways to start connecting more deeply with certain people. But here are a few things that I’ve found work well as I’ve gotten close to different girls over the past year (sorry fellas, but yes, this one is pretty squarely directed at the ladies... I don't know what y'all do to hang out. Really, it's kind of a mystery).

This doesn’t necessarily mean you must be drinking coffee as you talk (I don’t even like it, unless you count the super whipped-up frappuccinos that mute the coffee taste), but there’s something about meeting in a nice coffee shop with the smell of coffee all around that helps you relax. It’s also an atmosphere very conducive to chatting for a while since most shops are open late and have lots of people staying for hours on end. It helps that you don’t feel rushed to leave or like you’re in someone’s way.

Movies are good too of course, but a TV show or book can give you something to talk about over a period of time. I’ve lured many into the Downton Abbey fandom over the past year and I’m quite proud of each one. :) When the fifth season ran earlier this year, I had people over for it almost every week and also got to host a lovely tea party for the finale! It’s those types of things that make great friends and memories. And recently, I’ve also read a few books that a friend recommended, and it was so fun to text her as I laughed and cried and stared in shock. Meanwhile, I got to introduce this same friend to Masterpiece’s new show Poldark, and she’s the type who texts me her play-by-play reactions, which is fantastically entertaining and a great bonding experience. Here’s a sample:

And that’s just the basic idea. Once she had caught up and we were both watching a new episode on TV, our texting conversation got so animated and I loved it!

Adult friends don’t do these enough. An old friend and I were talking recently about how sleepovers are all the rage in elementary and middle school, but in adult world, they seem to disappear. But there’s something special about sharing a space with someone, even if it’s just for a short time. It forces you into close proximity at odd hours, and therefore pushes you to get along. I think girls especially get more comfortable with someone else if you’re both sitting around in your PJs at late hours. It’s a natural, homey environment that helps inhibitions fall. And let’s not forget the need to just be kids sometimes. Forts are especially great for this. I’ll never forget when one of my college roommates and I did this my senior year at Auburn. Yes, I was still in college, but it was at a point that we were becoming cool with each other, and it’s a memory that we still talk about. There’s seriously nothing like a canopy of sheets and a mountain of pillows to get girls giggling and talking about life.
The fort my roommate and I came up with. We were pretty pleased with ourselves.
It really could be any kind of trip. A trip to the lake, the mountains, a neighboring city, or carpooling to a wedding together for a day (because everyone and their brother has weddings to attend after graduating college) can all be great options. Being in a car for an extended period with someone can be a good place for cool conversations to happen – I still remember some pretty epic discussions that have happened on road trips. Plus, it’s a chance to see each other’s musical tastes, and if it’s a long one, you’ll see each other get delirious, which means quick bonding for sure. Pull out the tunes and pick a destination, and you’ll have good new friends in no time.

Cook for a family in crisis, participate in a church service project together, pick a cause to support together… there are so many possibilities in this area. And serving together creates a unique environment to see the character of another person, and that’s what you’re trying to know, right? To get past the surface level, you need to see how they interact with something like serving needy areas. What do they value? How do they respond to hard situations? What’s their attitude like? All of those questions arise when you serve with someone, even if they’re subconscious, and you often can come out of it much closer.

That’s all for now! I’m still working on this, so I’m sure I’ll have thought of more ideas by this time next year, or even in a few months, but I hope these give good starting points for anyone who’s also navigating this weird new stage called post-graduation. :)

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