A new town means new places and a whole lot of new people. When you enter this town alone, it can be a little lonely – especially if you’re a grad student, it’s summer, and everyone is away on vacation.
So how do you make friends in this new place? How do you make friends post-college when you’re not forced to sit in a class with people and do group projects? When you don’t have to have roommates?
I’ve been in this new stage of life for a few months and I’m proud to say I’ve already made some pretty good friends – as good of friends as you can make over one summer. And here are some of the ways I did it.
1. Go to bars alone.
You heard me. Try out the local wine bar, bring a book, sit at the bar and eavesdrop on the conversation next to you until you find a decent time to introduce yourself. The key is admitting you’re new around here. People love newbies. It opens up so many avenues for questions. And, if it’s a wine bar or brewhouse and not a trashy college bar full of undergrads, it feels a lot safer to be there alone.
Start like this: “Excuse me, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but I heard you say something about the restaurant down the road… is it any good? I’ve been wanting to try it and I’m new around here…” If they’ve had a couple glasses of wine, they’ll immediately start leading the conversation. It’s a fun way to get to know people, even if you never see them again. But hey, it’s also a good way to make a new girlfriend with a good taste in wine.
2. Get a job.
Even if you’re a grad student continuing school or you’re waiting for answers to job applications, pick up a job around town. Even a temporary job is a good way to make new friends. I’ve made most of my friends through work. They’re around my age and so fun to be around.
Make sure you go into any workplace with an open mind – post-college friends don’t have to be your age!
3. Find community events.
My first week in this new town, I looked at the city’s calendar and saw they were teaching yoga for free in the botanical garden. I met a fellow grad student there and ended up spending an evening with her and her friends, mixed drinks and party games included. Again, make sure you’re willing to strike up a conversation.
And don’t be afraid to try something where you know the other attendees will be out of your age-range! I went to a writing group one night, made entirely out of senior citizens. It was one of the funniest nights I’ve had here. (Be prepared for them to make fun of our generation, though).
4. Visit the pool or the park.
Laying out at the pool is a great way to make new friends. There is almost always a group there with some beers to share and pool volleyball to join.
The park may provide a little bit of a challenge, but if you’re a reader or an introvert like me, you may find people more suited to your personality type, reading on the benches or walking their dogs alone. (I’ve heard guys use dogs to get girls – if you don’t mind that, you pet that dog, girl).
Ultimately, making new friends is about being bold and willing to enter any conversation you come across. You may feel creepy, but how many times have you been weirded out by the girl next to you striking up a conversation with you and your friends? It’s the only way to meet people – so even if you’re an introvert, put yourself out there. If it goes sour, just remember you never have to see them again.