The college years are arguably the most sociable time in one’s life. While constantly surrounded by others of a similar age — from going to class together, dining together and living together — moments alone are rare. Once you get accustomed to this type of tightly-bonded community, you may find post-graduation life to be quite the culture shock.
This is why so many young graduates find themselves feeling lonely and searching for a comparable level of community in their new stage of life. They crave the close friendships and consistent company they had with their college roommates and classmates.
According to Healthline, sociologists have determined three conditions that are crucial to making friends: proximity, repeated and unplanned interactions, and settings that encourage people to let their guard down. It can feel challenging to recreate these conditions once you’re out of the collegiate setting.
So whether you’ve moved to a new city or your friends have spread out across the map, here’s four ways you can find community after college.
1. Look within your workplace — It can be intimidating to reach out to coworkers, especially when they are older and in very different stages of life. However, you’d be surprised at how much you might have in common. An easy place to start is by simply inviting a coworker to lunch. A one-on-one setting outside of the office can be the perfect opportunity to let your guard down and make a lasting connection.
2. Join a young adults group — Getting plugged into a local church and joining a young adults group can be a great way to meet new friends. Oftentimes, these groups provide the chance to participate in fun outings and activities that can easily break the ice among unfamiliar faces.
3. Volunteer with a local ministry — Another great way you can meet new people is by volunteering with a local ministry or organization. Working together toward the same cause or to complete a service project creates commonality and forms bonds. You could even get a group of volunteers together to go out for a meal afterwards.
4. Pursue a hobby — Participate in a class or group that centers around a hobby or interest that you enjoy. By following your passions in a group setting, you’ll be able to find like-minded individuals who have similar interests.
As long as you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone, you can find plenty of ways to branch out and find community in your post-grad life. No matter how old you are, you may find making new friends to be uncomfortable at first, but keep in mind that there are others out there looking for that same sense of community.