How to Make Friends in Your Twenties
Post-grad life is a confusing time for most people, and when I graduated with my Bachelor’s ahead of schedule from the rest of my class, I found that I was no exception. All of my friends were still in school, I was living at home, and I had a job in retail with demanding, inconsistent hours. I was hard at work chasing my dream of singing full time, but as many opera singers know, the path requires patience. In order to fill a void, I got on a dating app, and proceeded to go on a lot of dates. That all got old pretty quickly. Months later, I quit my retail job for a voice teaching position, and I ended finding someone I clicked with, without looking for him. Fast forward to when that relationship crashed and burned, I knew there was no quick fix to the emptiness I then felt. Within the first week, I re-downloaded Bumble. I know what you’re thinking… I wasn’t using it to find dates though. I had it set exclusively to the “friend” setting, so I was only swiping through to find new friends. Here’s the deal: your career can fulfill you beyond measure, especially when you’re an artist. However, everything that informs what I do on stage comes from social experiences. Not to mention, your career doesn’t hold you when you’re crying. Your career doesn’t stop you from desperately texting an ex. Your career doesn’t show up to your 23rd birthday at 20+ people. Friendship is one of the greatest treasures in life. I’m not saying your social life should come before pursuing your career. That is a recipe for disaster, especially in your 20s. However, it is something that needs to make the priority list. At this point in my life, it is far and above finding a partner. From the beginning of this past fall to today, I have made several new friends. Fresh out of post grad, I had 3 people come to my 22nd birthday, a year later, 20 people came to my 22nd. Here are all the ways that I took the initiative to make new friendships. If you guys like this, let me know in the comments. I’m thinking of making a post about fostering existing relationships as well!
1. Go on Bumble BFF
Online dating for friends. Now, I am not a fan of online dating, but I think this is a great way to meet friends. So what’s different? Well I believe we’re much less selective when it comes to friends, and for good reason. There’s no exclusivity agreement between friends. You can have as many as you want. “Loyalty” between friends doesn’t entail the same things as a romantic partnership. As a result, we’re much more likely to swipe right on all sorts of people we find interesting, having more positive social interactions as a whole. People on Bumble BFF aren’t looking for someone to sit at the lunch table with. This isn’t high school. This is adulthood where major life changes such as moves, career changes, marriages, etcetera happen every day, and people often find themselves alone. And don’t you want friends that took the initiative to meet like minded people? There are plenty of people who are still hanging out with their college sorority sisters they can’t relate to anymore simply because they’re too afraid to put themselves out there.
I met two wonderful friends on Bumble. One of them took these photos!! Christina of the Authentic Adventurer on Instagram is my girl! We hit it off on Bumble BFF, had happy hour, and ended up going out and partying that same night. We have standing plans every weekend when both of us are in town. She has visited me when I’ve been sick and couldn’t leave the house. So yeah, Bumble BFF, give it a go.
2. Rekindle old friendships
Out of the blue is better than never. Always. This year I rekindled two older friendships. One I hadn’t seen or talked to for four years, the other five years. That means since high school for me. There was no shame in the fact that we had lost touch. Why? Because I let it go, and so did they. Neither of us remember who was the last to flake or why we lost touch. All we cared about was seeing one another again. Chances are, most friends you lost touch with will feel this way. And if they don’t? At least you tried! All you have to do is send a text, saying “I know it’s been a hot sec, but do you want to catch up over ice cream sometime this week?” That’s really all it takes. For me, those old familiar bonds brought me back down to Earth. People that knew me in my adolescence see me differently, in a good way. They remember how I grew up; they know my parents. They know how I was before I was stressed about making ends meet or worried sick about love. In short---they understand me on a simpler level, and not much is more comforting than that.
3. Use social media
The logic is pretty simple to me here; although, it seems to escape most people. You have 100s-1000s of “friends” on social media platforms. There has to be someone in there you want to grab coffee with. I follow 1,000 people on Instagram alone. If you have any sort of online presence like myself, there may be tons of people you’re connected with that have similar interests! I understand that social media can be intimidating. There’s a comparison game, sliding into DMs is stigmatized, and so forth. However, I’ve slid into the DMs of so many bloggers and photographers, and I’ve made so many real connections. Not networking connections. Friendships. I began hanging out with one of my best friends because of a spur of the moment juice date that I DMed her about super spontaneously. The worst that can happen from a DM is that you receive no response. If you made it to a second decade here on Earth, I really hope your skin isn’t that thin that someone leaving you on “read” will hurt your feelings.
4. Make some plans and invite some people
Either you want to waste your life away on Netflix, or you don’t. Taking initiative this way is something that comes pretty naturally to me, and I’ve always had a hard time understanding introverted mentalities. I love a lot of introverts, but please don’t complain to me about your social life if you’ve never invited a group of people anywhere. I’m not here for it. The first thing I did last fall after my heartbreak, was get a group of friends together for bowling. Yep. You read that correctly. Bowling. Some good clean fun. I even drove that evening so that I wouldn’t have a single drink. Well, we got to the bowling alley, and not being aware you needed reservations, we weren’t able to get in. That didn’t stop our fun. We got pizza and went dancing at a dive bar that was having a 90s night. It was an evening I’ll never forget with people that truly care about me. And none of it would’ve happened if I wouldn’t have sent a text out of the blue to 20 friends. Of course about 5/20 showed, but that should never get you down or surprise you. PERIOOOD.
5. Start saying “yes” and showing up to that invite.
I’m not saying that you should develop a case of FOMO like myself and say yes to everyone. (I’m working on it okay?) However, I think that the majority of time, especially when someone asks you with enough notice, you are missing out if you don’t go. Especially, if you flake. Saying you’re going to someone’s birthday or even the random Tuesday happy hour, and then following through, is huge in today’s world. Not to mention, meeting new people is always a possibility in social situations, and you can learn something from just about everyone. Also! If you accidentally ignore someone’s invite for a long time and missed whatever the invite was for, remember: better out of the blue, than never.
In life, we don’t get time back later on. If you let your inhibitions get in the way of being vulnerable and connecting with someone, you’re far more likely to have regrets later on. Be the friend who says yes to things when they can, engages fully with the people they have in front of them, and places true value on bonding and loyalty. As Clarence tells George in It’s a Wonderful Life, “no man is a failure who has friends.”