by Anne Renaud is a yoga instructor and works as part of the Live Well / Stay Well Program at Tournesol Wellness
Graduating college is a major accomplishment, yet it is not free from challenges. After the excitement of commencement, there are big adjustments in almost every domain of life. For many, one of the biggest challenges is leaving the social scene you spent the past few years establishing and enjoying. Here are some strategies for navigating a new social scene after college:
Pause and breathe.
Life changes are a great time to assess where you are in life and make changes to anything that does not serve you. Consider what qualities you are looking for in new friends and what types of relationships you are seeking.
Think about your favorite activities, or perhaps an activity you have been meaning to try. Check the website meetup.com to see if your city/town has any active groups. If you don’t see a group you are interested in, consider starting one up. For bookworms, check to see if your local library or bookstore offers a book discussion club. Many cities offer club sports leagues, ranging in skill and commitment level. If intense, competitive soccer seems intimidating, maybe a casual kickball league is more your scene.
Put yourself out there.
Once you start up a new activity, don’t be afraid of taking connections with the people you meet to the next level. If it feels right, suggest a group outing like getting pizza or beer for anyone who wants to come out afterwards. If there are specific people in the group you could see yourself becoming friends with, don’t be afraid to suggest a one-on-one hangout. This can be intimidating, but remember that others are there to make friends too, and will likely appreciate the offer! One way to keep it low pressure is to make hanging out a general suggestion. For example, if someone mentions they are into yoga and you are as well, tell them about a studio you love and see if they want to check out a class sometime. Then the ball is in their court. If the hangout doesn’t come to fruition, don’t take it personally! You never know what is going on in their outside life.
The snowball system
If you are a recent grad, I’m sure you have been told to network more times than you care to count. Fear not, this time it is not a suggestion for business advancement. Use your existing social network to make new connections. Perhaps host a potluck mixer, where each attendee brings a friend and a dish. Sounds like a lot of work? Invite a few people to a community event in your town, like a free outdoor concert or festival, and encourage each of them to invite a few people. This “snowball system” is a great way to branch out!
Make new friends, but keep the old.
Remember, your current friendships are yours to keep. As circumstances change, the nature of the relationship likely will as well – this doesn’t have to be a bad thing! One great way to keep in touch with college friends who move away is to plan a weekend trip to a fun city where neither of you have traveled. Take time to nurture your valued long-distance friendships. Even a short email or text message can do wonders for maintaining relationships.
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