Making New Friends as a Career Girl
About 2 years ago, one of my very close friends (we’ll call her Sandra) started to drift away from me. We were really close in college: we were in the same sorority, we went out together all the time, we went to workout classes together, we even synched our schedules so that we could pull all-nighters on the same night. I considered her to be my BFF4L (best friend forever for life).
A few months after she graduated, I noticed we were slowly spending less and less time together. Sandra was starting to hang out with another group of friends more than our group of friends. I saw her less frequently, despite my efforts to make plans with her. I started to feel left out and rejected. Am I not interesting anymore? Is it because I’m still in college? Well I’m about to graduate! Remember our agreement to move in together when we’re old and have margaritas all day?
I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what was happening and blaming myself. I sought out advice from all of my other friends about the situation, but they didn’t have the answer either…until I talked to my co-worker, Max.
“Well,” he said, “they say that you don’t keep the majority of your friends forever. Every few years or so, you’ll have a new set of friends.” NEW set of friends? The friends I have now will always be my friends forever….Right? I quickly rejected Max’s reasoning and went back to moping around, trying to figure out why my BFF4L wasn’t wanting to spend time with me anymore.
But then the exact same thing started happening with some of my other friends. They were either drifting away or I was the one drifting away from them. What was going on?!
Before I knew it, I realized Max was right. As you go through life and change, so do your friends. You may have a small group of friends that will always be close to you no matter what, but the majority of your other friends will come and go. You may find that you are no longer compatible with the friends you always partied with in college anymore. Maybe you don’t even want to be friends with some of your friends anymore. It’s sad, yet completely reasonable.
A lot of people find that trying to make new friends as a professional in your 20’s and 30’s is more difficult than it was in high school and college. Perhaps it’s even scarier than dating. Back then, you were limited to the people in your classes and extracurricular activities that you saw over and over again, so it was much easier to make new friends. But as a young professional, you have many more priorities and responsibilities. As a result, it’s challenging to squeeze in time for making new friends.
If you find yourself in this position, don’t be afraid! Even if you end up losing your closest friends, there are always new friends to be made. Here are a few suggestions on how to meet and make new friends as a young professional:
1. Join MeetUp.com
This site allows people in any city in the US to create an event and invite pretty much anybody to join. Find a MeetUp group that interests you and check it out!
2. Attend young professionals networking events
Not only can you network with your peers, you will be able to meet a ton of people too. Just make sure you have conversations of substance and really get to know someone!
3. Join a workout class
At the end of the class, everyone will be high on endorphins. Endorphins make people happy. Happy people are more likely to be willing to make friends.
To this day, I don’t consider Sandra to be my friend anymore. I’ve stopped trying to salvage our relationship and just let it be. We are in two completely different places in our lives, and, maybe one day, we will be good friends again. It’s important that you are a good friend to yourself and surround yourself with friends who will lift you higher and help you be a better person. After all, the friendship you have with yourself is the most important friendship of them all.