The saying goes, New year, same friends, but what about New Year, New Friends?
For some reason, we get into this mindset that we don’t need new friends. Assuming that my readers are also millennials in their 20s, we have our friend group(s) that we’ve curated over the years, from recess at elementary school to roommates in college. These friends are there for us through thick and thin and we can’t imagine anyone else by our side. But let’s face it – friends move apart in distance thanks to job opportunities, families, significant others, you name it. Technology keeps us together and weekend gatherings are a no brainer, but who do you call when you just want to go to grab a coffee or head to the gym?
I’m not suggesting we replace our O.G friends (if they have put up with us for this long, they aren’t going anywhere), but why do we have a hard time expanding our horizons and opening ourselves up to new people?
The real reason why: Because making friends at school was so much easier. Friendships were forced upon us and always available at our fingertips (or just a yell down the hall!) In the “real world,” friendships mean vulnerability and hard work. Friendships as an adult mean putting yourself out there and saying “YES,” even if you may get hurt in the end. I’ve learned through personal experience though that not making new friends, and not putting myself out there in my community causes more hurt and loneliness. A girl can only watch so much Netflix alone in her apartment.
My goal for everyone in 2019 – go make a new friend. Take a chance, put on a smile and just be yourself. Here are my tips on making friends in a new year, whether you’re in a new place, new job or in the same town you’ve lived in forever!
1. Make friends through friends: This is my number one tip for making new friends in a new year (or a new city!) I’ve met some of my closest friends through my college friends or their coworkers, friends, and significant others of my boyfriend. As you hang out as a group, it’s inevitable for you to connect with 1 or 2 individuals that you continue to get together with, even outside of the original friends and significant others!
2. Join an intramural team: Whether you’re super athletic or not, joining a sports team is a great way to meet new people who share a common interest in the same sports and activities as you. Most intramural teams offer different levels of difficulty, from competitive to beginner.
3. Take a class at your local community center or gym: Who says the gym needs to be a place of silence. While you may want to stay away from the headphone wearing gym rats, try sparking conversation with someone in a cycle or zumba class who is also looking for fun and socialization in their fitness class.
4. Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and socialize with like-minded people. Volunteering takes away first impression pressures since you’re focusing your energy on your volunteer efforts. Since you share similar values and believes, you’re already creating a solid foundation for budding friendships.
5. Join a group on MeetUp or Facebook: MeetUp is a great resource for people living in a new area, or those who want to find friends with similar interests. From trivia night to hiking club, MeetUp offers a variety of activities for everyone. Plus, you can find groups of young adults in your area who get together to bowl, go to the movies, or even just to a happy hour.
6. Reconnect with old friends: In your 20s, everyone goes in different directions and drifts apart, whether they mean to or not. If you find yourself in a new town uneasy about making new friends, reach out to old friends who may live locally and pick up where you last left off! Plus, since you originally had mutual interests, you may make friends with some of their new friends in the area.
7. Host a club in your neighborhood: Do you love reading, gardening, cooking, running (or all the above?) Invite your neighbors to form a club in your neighborhood around your favorite activity. What’s great about clubs is that it eliminates random small talk you often experience at a block party or BBQ, and instead unites your neighbors around a common interest.
8. Join a Young Professionals Council: Joining a Young Professionals Council is a great way to introduce yourself to other 20-something year olds, while building a professional network of young adults in similar career positions. Young Professional Councils also have committees to join, from marketing to event planning.
9. Get to know your coworkers (and their family and friends!) : Fun Fact: I actually met my boyfriend, Nick, through my coworkers (specifically his mom who I work with and everyone in my office who knew Nick!) Even if your coworkers are different in age from you, they have families and friends that you might get along with! Just remember to keep things professional with your coworkers and not overstep unless they feel mutual about this friendship.
10. Start a side hustle: Are you looking to turn your hobby into a side hustle? From blogging, to furniture flipping, to selling products such as makeup or nutritional items, there are plenty of second job opportunities available for you to become your own BOSS BABE and make friends also in the industry. Side hustles have opportunities to attend workshops and conferences where you can meet other individuals with similar aspirations.
While making new friends, don’t forget to continue building and growing your existing relationships, whether they are from grammar school, extra curricular activities or family friends. Even if your friends are not in the same town as you, make the time for phone calls and weekend trips with your besties. As you make new friends, take the time to introduce them to your existing friends if you think everyone can get along. Because really, is there really such as a thing as too many friendships?