5 non-awkward ways to make friends as a 20-something
Do you remember being in school and thinking the entire time about how excited you were to be out of school? Life after graduation, as an ominous ’20-something,’ definitely has its perks, but making friends is not one of them. Luckily, there are tons of non-awkward ways to make friends as a 20-something. And really, you aren’t alone: no on has any idea of what they’re doing, we promise you.
Back when we were younger, friendships just ‘happened,’ usually based on proximity. Oh, that girl in your bio class also hates bio? Befriend her! Oh, your mom’s best friend’s daughter is also your age and has been in the same school as you since preschool? Total BFF material. Once you have ‘launched’ and are living in the ‘real world’ though, making friends takes a little more effort — and can also be really awkward.
Time to say ‘No’ to flashbacks to early childhood days of sad isolation, because when you do make friends in your 20s, it’s oh-so worthwhile. Here are a few, non-awkward ways to make friends as a 20-something:
Take a class
If it felt like making friends was easier in school, that’s probably because it was. The good news is, there are tons of community classes you can take even after graduating, and it’s even better because you don’t get a grade! So try an improv class, a writing class, or even a painting class– maybe you’ll get a nude model as hilarious as Ilana Glazer.
This is a great opportunity to try something that you’ve always wanted to do, and to meet people who have similar interests as you! Plus, the class you’ve taken is a great common ground on which to build a friendship.
Get to know your neighbors
If you live in a city, as many 20-somethings do, chances are you have tons of potential friends living in your building. Meeting your neighbors doesn’t have to be awkward either, it could be as casual as simply asking them over for a glass of wine or even just inviting them to a party that you’re already having. Maybe even start by giving them a copy of your key to hold onto so you have a spare in the building– if they’re a fellow 20-something, they’ll understand.
Knowing the people who live nearby will likely ease your loneliness when you’re doing things around the house, and they can also be the most helpful friends in times of need! C’mon, make Mr. Rogers proud.
Become ‘a regular’
Frequenting the same coffee shop or bookstores or even yoga studios (sorry, Classpass) can lead to beautiful friendships. It all starts with a nod to your fellow laptop workers across the communal table. Five weeks and a jillion milligrams of caffeine later, you and your fellow ‘regulars’ now know each others names, have discussed your dreams and passions, and are one bar-visit away from being friends.
Sometimes, it’s as easy as seeing the same people over and over again to just naturally start seeing each other intentionally. Also, you can always chat it up with the barista, who may just be your future bestie.
No, you don’t have to volunteer for a fight-to-the-death-weird-dictatorship competition, but volunteering for an organization or cause that speaks to your heart is an amazing way to meet like-minded people. Not only does volunteering boost your happiness, it also grants you the opportunity to meet people who are passionate about similar things as you. Nothing makes a friendship stronger than knowing that your BFF will back you up in a heated debate about some social justice issue that you both want to fix. What better way to get to know someone than while making the world a better place?
Go on an organized trip or retreat
If you live in a city, town, or hamlet in the United States, chances are there’s a yoga studio nearby. Many yoga studios host retreats — small or large scale —that offer your community the opportunity to get out of town together. This is a great way to get to know people from your area, since the distractions of everyday life are eliminated once you get on that bus.
Yoga’s not your thing? Many of the same places that offer classes (see #1) also offer retreats! Check out various gyms, theaters, art schools, and community centers nearby for some chances to get out of town and get intimate with strangers! Yeah!
Making friends can definitely be hard as a 20-something, but chances are, you’re not the only one looking to build their #squad. You are not alone and you will not be alone — there are plenty of friendships to be made in your 20s.