It’s been three weeks since I started the new job and while it’s not exactly what I expected, I think I’m ultimately going to like it. There’s a learning curve to start and my orientation process was about 95% data dump, 5% practical application, but once I get my hands on my first project it will all start to come together.
I feel invigorated by the transition and that’s motivated me to continue improving other areas of my life. My health and fitness goals are on an upswing – I’m at the gym four times a week and I’m currently undergoing a sugar detox – I’ve surpassed my reading goals for the year – third time winner of the 52 Book Challenge – but I still want to do more, especially when it comes to my interpersonal relationships. Now that I have plenty of time on my hands and a healthier attitude, it’s time I made this a priority.
In 2015 it was one of my New Year’s Resolutions to make new friends. I excelled, but it really should be an ongoing endeavor rather than one that gets crossed off. Many of the people in my life are transient right now. My closest friends are getting married, taking on new jobs, or going to graduate schools out of town and I’m concerned that if I don’t keep my doors open then I’ll wind up with a much smaller social circle than someone my age should have. The best thing I can do to combat that is put myself out there and into situations where I can meet new people as much as possible.
So how am I going to do it? As many of you know from personal experience, making friends as a post grad can be tricky. You’ve lost the common factors of geographic location and school so now you have to go out of your way to make connections. But it’s not impossible.
- Friends of friends are a great place start and a method that’s been very effective for me these last few years. I spent most of college absorbed in my sorority, which kind of limited my social circle, but I did have a few friends outside the Greek system. They have since introduced me to a lot of their friends and I’ve become quite close with some of them. This method is also good if you have a roommate you weren’t previously friends with. Some of my favorite people are my friends’ roommates and of course their friend groups are fair game too!
- Coworkers have never been an option for me in the past because I’ve always worked for small companies who didn’t employ many others my age (at my last job, there was only one other person in their twenties, everyone else was 30+ with families). But now that I’ve changed jobs I actually have coworkers my age! I’m still the youngest by a few months, but there are at least five other people in the office under 30 who are all very social with one another. I’m already eating lunch with them daily, so I’m sure that will grow into something more in the coming months.
- If you really want to get out there and meet people, you pretty much can’t go wrong with Activities. I participated in a social sports league last summer and had an absolute blast. Not only is it good exercise, but win or lose it’s fun to socialize with your teammates afterwards at the sponsor bar. It’s a little too cold to get back on the field just yet (I’ll be signing up for a league in the spring), but to keep myself busy this winter I’ve decided to take on a pottery class at an art studio near where I live. I’ve always been interested in art and since most classes are small it’s a great opportunity to get to know people.
- I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve fallen behind on my Volunteering since I graduated. (Say what you want about Greek life, but my sorority did a lot of philanthropy.) I’ve been so focused on myself these last two years, that I lost sight of how important it is to give back. But now that my own life is somewhat in order, I’ve made arrangements to volunteer at the local food bank. I’ve only signed up for one shift so far, but if I like it then I’ll try and make it a regular thing. If not, I’ll try another place until I find the right fit. It’s important to volunteer regularly for two reasons: one, being a regular allows you to develop a relationship with a particular organization. The more you know about them, the better able you are to help them either by spreading word about the organization’s focus or by soliciting donors to help support their work. Two, if you put in enough time in any one place, you start to become familiar with the other regular volunteers, i.e. you make friends who share your passions and commitment to doing good. And who wouldn’t want that, right?
So that’s my plan of action for the next few months. I’m a very goal oriented person and now that I’ve got the new job routine all settled, I really feel like I’m able to take on the world again. Maybe that sounds crazy, but it’s like there’s this massive weight off my shoulders and a whole big world of opportunities open to me. I have the time, I have a little bit more money, and I’m in the right mindset for self improvement.
Volunteering, art class, and social sports are the most concrete things on this list, but I’d also advise my readers to focus more on saying yes to trying new things. Saying yes was my stepping stone to making connections with friends of friends and coworkers, the building block I needed to feel comfortable stepping outside my bubble. As an introvert it’s very tempting for me to say no whenever people invite me out (I’m quite happy to sit on the couch with a book), but I usually have a good time when I agree to meet up with people. And that’s a complete 180 to how I felt two years ago, when I always felt like a wallflower at social gatherings.
All in all I think it’s going to be an exciting couple of months. With this plan in place, I really believe that 2017 will be another year of growth for me. Let me know in the comments if you’re up to anything fun or if you have any other suggestions for how to meet new people as a post-grad.