4 Fears That Are Holding You Back From Finding Your Post-College People

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“I guess I’d feel better if I had a boyfriend to do things with,” I remember telling my mother wistfully as I looked out the window at the beautiful fall weather. “No you don’t,” my mother answered wisely, “You just want friends.”

That thought stopped me in my tracks. Not only because I was slightly insulted my mother was trying to pretend she knew my feelings better than I did, but because it was really true. Yes, part of me did want a boyfriend to go on cute fall dates with, but I mostly just wanted someone to go with me to do cute fall things in general. I craved having friends I could go to apple orchards and corn mazes with, or someone who would tolerate and even enjoy my love for scary movies. I guess I had just believed that having a boyfriend would mean I would have someone to do things with, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t still be lonely.

This conversation took place almost a year ago, as I was struggling and frustrated with God because I hadn’t really found my “people” yet post-college. I had been living in Lancaster for four months, and the huge group of friends I thought I would have at that point was looking a lot like zero. I foolishly thought that finding friends would be only too easy after college. I remember thinking, I’m fun, I’m likable, I sometimes make people laugh, who wouldn’t want to be my friend? Let me assure you, if you are struggling to find new friends in your new area or hometown after college, it is not because you are not likable. It has nothing to do with you at all. It’s just plain tricky.

Friendships, like any relationship, are built through time and effort. Just like you can’t be in the comfortable, “let’s just stay in and watch a movie,” stage until several months after dating, you can’t be best friends with someone instantly after you meet them one time. But that’s totally what I expected. And I am assuming that is something you were expecting as well.  We plan to make friends right away after college, and when it takes a lot more time, we get frustrated with God and our personalities.

Maybe if I was funnier, wittier, talked less, talked more, etc., I would have found friends by now. Or perhaps you’ve watched Friends one too many times and are wondering where your perfect group of five friends could be hiding? Let me hit you with some truth; I didn’t have any friends in Lancaster until like December. You heard me correctly, I didn’t have friends I felt like I could connect with until post-Christmas, and I only had two of them. I didn’t feel fully comfortable and have weekend plans consistently until April, or this past Spring. This means it took me almost a whole year to establish a legitimate community.

And I don’t mean a community of people I just talk to briefly at church, or flake on plans with at the last minute because I secretly like Netflix better than them, or who talk only about themselves and couldn’t care less about my problems. I mean true genuine friendships or people who sincerely know me and love me despite my flaws. I have found a community of people that I can rely on post-college, and you can too.

So today if you have been attending your new church, living in your new town, or dutifully attending your small group weekly, don’t freak out because you haven’t met your best friend. Good, quality friends and community take time, and today, I want to go through some things that I believe hold us back from finding a good community.

Rejection

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We are terrified that no one actually wants to spend time with us. And, because our confidence is generally running thinner than the shorts at American Eagle during this life change, we become too afraid to ask. What if they say no? What if they laugh at me? What if they go and then hate me? There are so many questions swirling around our insecure brains that we let fear win, and we don’t end up asking anyone to hang out. And because they may be waiting for someone to ask them to hang out just like you are, you both end up lonely on Saturday night re-watching Gossip Girl or that cheesy Netflix rom-com.

I got rejected a lot of times when I asked people to hang out. When I moved to the area, I asked a girl from my college to hang out over Facebook messenger. Even though we hadn’t been friends in college, I was convinced we could be friends now, plus we had so much in common already! Hello, new best friend! She left me on read and never responded.

And I wish I could say that was the last time I was rejected by someone I thought I could be friends with. Girls are cruel, even outside of high school. Sometimes people thought they replied to you and forgot. Sometimes life is crazy, and we have other things on our mind. The point is, we all have the potential to be rejected from a friend date, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put ourselves out there. Someone will say yes to your invitation, and then you can say goodbye to Peter Kravinsky for a night.

We Invest In The Wrong People

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Finding a new set of friends is honestly just like dating. We go somewhere casual for our first meeting or date, like a coffee shop, getting a drink, or to dinner. We are generally nervous and hoping to impress them. And, we have to say lame things at the end of the night like, “we should do this again sometime,” or, “would you want to do this again sometime?” even if we don’t mean it. But, just like dating, sometimes you don’t just click with people. They could appear to have everything you want in a friend from the outside but then end up not being someone you could see yourself hanging out with on a regular basis.

In dating, people don’t feel bad at all about ghosting someone, so why should you feel bad about not hanging out with someone you met who just wasn’t your favorite? I am not suggesting you “ghost” these people, but don’t feel bad not attempting to make plans with someone again who you honestly couldn’t see yourself becoming close to. We all look for different traits and desire different things from our friends, don’t feel bad when you don’t click with someone.

Likewise, with dating, it may be smart to give someone another chance if your first meeting was kind of bland. But, if you have been hanging out with a girl for a while now and she is just not your speed, a real mean girl,  or someone who sucks the energy out of you, you can stop. It’s not like in high school when you are forced to see the same people day after day if you don’t want to be close to someone, no one is forcing you to be. We all have a limited amount of energy we can extend on our friendships, so don’t waste some of that precious energy on someone who is just ok.

We Don’t Know What To Talk About

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Especially if you are someone who is more introverted, you may be panicked and anxious thinking about how to interact with someone you don’t know well. What if you can’t think of anything to say? Or, none of you have anything to say, and you just sit in awkward silence? Luckily for you, I have come up with some question ideas to get the conversation going and not stopping.

What do you do as a living?

Where did you grow up?

Do you have any brothers and sisters?

Are you a cat or dog person?

Who is someone you look up close?

Coffee or tea?

Books or podcasts?- and what author or podcaster is your favorite?

Where do you go to church in the area?

What is your idea of a perfect Saturday?

What’s your favorite season or holiday?

What is your idea of a perfect meal?

Who is your favorite band or musician?

What show have you been binge watching lately?

Do you live at home or on your own?

What is your favorite thing about the city you live in?

What was your favorite Halloween costume when you were a kid?

What is your favorite store to shop at?

What is your favorite restaurant to eat at?

What do you like most and least about your current job?

Where did you go to college?

Cooking or baking?

Who is your celebrity crush?

These questions may seem silly or like they might not lead to deep conversation, but remember, your first meeting with this person is akin to your first date. You can’t go telling them your entire life story before you’ve gotten your frappuccino. Take it slow and realize that truly getting deep and knowing someone takes time.

We Compare Ourselves To Others

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If you asked post-college grads what something they struggle with the most is, I am sure that comparison would be at the top of their list. With social media, it is almost too easy to see how people we used to know or go to school with are up to. It can be challenging when you are feeling especially blue, to see a bunch of your college friends getting together because they all live in the same area, or seeing pictures of a friend going out with a group of new friends to a big event.

It can be easy to feel like you are really behind on the friend game. That when you do reunite with your college friends, they will have replaced you and you’ll have to pretend the girl you sat next to and briefly had a conversation with at church is actually a close friend and not a mere acquaintance, so they don’t feel bad for you when gushing about their new friends.

But, my mother always taught me this great saying, “Make new friends but keep the old. “

You reached a depth and understanding with your old friends that you most likely haven’t achieved with your new friends yet. Also, just because your friends are making new friends, doesn’t mean they don’t still need you in their lives. I love that I have friends that I go to for different things. I have friends who are better listeners, are great for a night in, great for a night out, better for spiritual talks, and better to gossip with( don’t judge me too harshly for this one). And, if you stop to look at your current friend circle, I am sure that you will notice the same thing. We aren’t replacing our old friends by making new ones; we are simply filling other roles in our lives or enhancing ones that are already there.

So don’t feel shame that your old friends are making more new friends than you, or feel guilty about making new friends. As you get older and spend more time out of college, you’ll realize that you have friends who you kept just for a season, and friends you’ll keep for a lifetime.

And just because someone posts a bunch of pictures of themselves with new people, doesn’t mean they didn’t go home missing their other friends and feeling lonely that night. No one is truly doing as well as their Instagram feed suggests.

Also, it’s important to remember that we have different capacities for friendship and others. It’s even deeper than introversion and extraversion. You may love being around people, but only be able to handle having a couple of deeper relationships. Or, you may be someone who is comfortable being close to a lot of people. Don’t get upset about your limits, instead, embrace them. Because we can all handle different levels of people, you can’t compare yourself to the girl from Instagram who has such a wide circle of friends, you may think you want that, but you would actually be exhausted by it. And, if you want to make more friends, you can always reach out to others as I mention in this article.

Wrapping It Up

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If you have been starting to get the friendship blues lately, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. There are young adults all over the world that are facing this issue. Women out there who are craving deeper, God-centered community, who are looking for someone like you to reach out and be their new friend. God has not abandoned you. He has great plans and great friends He wants to influence you, and also for you to influence. So put yourself out there, put down that Instagram feed, and stop letting fear hold you back from making new friends in your area.

Let me know if you have any tips to help make friends more easily in the comments below!

Action Steps

1. Pray for God to bring you new friends and to open your eyes to those around you.

2. Invite one person this month or week to get coffee. Don’t worry about what you’ll talk about or let fear hold you back, just do it.

3. Follow Up. Once you have had a great coffee date or hang out time with a potential best friend, don’t hesitate to follow up and ask them to hang out again. After all, you can’t have a real relationship with someone if you’ve only gone on one date. Be intentional in the pursuit of friendship, and it will pay off!

5 Ways To Grow and Strengthen Friendships Post-College

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When I moved to Lancaster a year ago, I didn’t know a soul. I only knew my uncle, his cat, and the people I had briefly met while interviewing at the job I was taking. I had big dreams to move out of my incredibly small town, find some new forever friends, and take the Lancaster social scene by storm.

But, what most people don’t realize until they actually move, is that moving far from your home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You may see social media post, after social media post of people bragging about their new apartments or homes, going out to new hot spots and coffee shops, getting dressed for their first day of work, but I am here to reassure you that moving far from home is not all rainbows and butterflies. More the opposite.

For me, it looked more like tear-filled nights missing my mom, my aging dog, and the bed I had always known. It was the great frustration of having to program the grocery store into my GPS because I barely knew where anything was. It was going to church by myself for months on end and crying in the parking lot because I desperately wanted friends to sit with or at least a boyfriend. Yes, it was so fun and exciting to finally get out of the small town I had always felt trapped in, but it also came with a price.

Like I stated in last month’s article, making friends in college and even in high school isn’t too difficult. We are thrown together with people who are our age, normally think similarly to us, and who are going through the same experiences we are.

Making friends after college is much different. Many of us start jobs where our colleagues may be our parent’s age or older. Our Sundays start by attending churches that are filled with faces that look unfamiliar. Many of us may be terrified at the thought of going to a young adults group by ourselves or asking strangers we met one time on “get to know you better,” coffee dates.

I think that the problem that many of us find when trying to make friends after college isn’t so much the fear of rejection or lack of people in our areas, but it’s the fact that we might not actually be as good of friends as we thought we were. Instead of moaning to our college friends or moms about how we’re not finding anyone we are “clicking” with, maybe we should spend more time figuring out if we’re even someone we’d want to be friends with.

Just like it’s not too hard to make friends in college, it’s not too hard to maintain those friendships either. Most of the time we are living within walking distance or halls from each other. Our social calendars are dictated by sorority or college events where we are entertained together. We have three meals a day to get to know others better, and we have class projects and study spots that encourage interaction. Unfortunately, we don’t have anyone influencing our social calendars in the real world besides ourselves.

If we don’t put ourselves out there, we are going to be spending our Saturday nights with takeout and Netflix, not with a community. And though it’s all too easy to think about what we want in friendships, I think that sometimes we need to take a better look at how we are as friends. So, in today’s article, I want to talk a little bit about what to look for in a friend, but mostly how we should be friends to others. It’s been said that we attract people like us in friendships or even romantic relationships. Which means that if you’re a terrible friend, you won’t be finding any great friends anytime soon. So here are some steps you can take to assess how you are as a friend and to see how you can go about finding that community you may be missing from your college days.

Talk About Yourself Less

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This is definitely a tough one for me because I love to talk and sadly talk about myself. But, after high school, I was super convicted that I was gossiping and talking about myself much more than regular people. So, if you are someone who wants to be a better friend, take stock of how much you talk about yourself. When you meet someone for the first time, try to challenge yourself to ask more questions than you answer. Some great questions to start with are:

  • What do you do?/ Are you in school?
  • How long have you lived in the area?
  • What did you study in college/ where did you attend?
  • Do you have any siblings?
  • What church do you attend?

These are just basic questions that will hopefully open up a conversation for you to go deeper. The goal of any friendship is to get past these surface level conversations. But when you are making friends for the first time, be comfortable with the fact that you will have these seemingly more shallow conversations at first. After a while, and more questions on your part, you will go deeper.

Be The Invitation

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Unfortunately, in the real world, people aren’t going to be lining up at work, or your church to invite you into their friend group. Most people are just like us and are afraid to make the first move in a friendship. So, instead of waiting and constantly grumbling that no one invites you anywhere, be the invitation. Make it a goal to invite a new friend or someone you want to get to know better to coffee once a month or week.

It can be really intimidating to ask someone to hang out for the first time, you may be afraid that you’ll get rejected. I know that I got rejected by a couple of people I asked to get to know better, but I didn’t let that keep me down. You can’t be friends with everyone, and if people are offended or put off by you wanting to get to know them better, they probably aren’t the people for you either.

And if you meet someone that you click with, ask them for their phone number and follow up. God gives us friends in the most unexpected places. It could be through other friends’ parties, at a cafe, in a young adults group, even in your yoga class. Be open and look for opportunities to meet new people everywhere you go.

Be Open

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It pains me to admit that I had a certain idea of the type of friend I wanted after college. I thought they needed to look like me, like my college friends, and act like them. But the beautiful thing about friendship is that it exposes us to the differences in others and challenges our beliefs. Yes, you should find similarities in people you want to be friends with. It will be too difficult to be friends with people you have absolutely nothing in common with. However, don’t write someone off because they seem a little “too out there” or don’t look like the rest of your sorority sisters.

You should be friends with people of all looks, personalities, shapes, and sizes. I know that I was superficial of this when I first started looking for friends, but I quickly threw it out the window. Be friends with someone based on how they are, not on how they look or what they can offer you. And give people more than one chance. Some of my best friends from college were people I thought were snobby when I first met them( they were just quiet). Just because someone rubs you the wrong way at first doesn’t mean they won’t be one of your good friends in a couple of months.

Pray

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Pray that you will make great friends and that you will also become a better friend in the process. God is faithful, and I have seen in my own life how He has provided me with the people I’ve needed. Also, pray for the new friends you are making. This will help you to become closer to them as well. I know I have been slacking on this lately, but after the end of phone conversations or Skype sessions with far away friends, I always try to ask them how I can be praying for them.

Do the same with your new friends you are meeting. It can be intimidating, but it will make your friendship so much stronger to know that someone is praying for you and invite deeper conversations about what may be really going on in their lives. Praying brings us closer together, so don’t underestimate the power of asking someone what they need prayer for.

Realize Quickly Everyone Can’t Be Your Best Friend

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This is a lesson I constantly have to keep learning the hard way. I am someone who likes to have a wide circle of friends. But, as I entered the working world and all that entails, I realized I have much more limited time than I did in college. I don’t have three meals a day which I can fill up with the different people I want to get to know better. I now have the weekends and weeknights to invest. And, if I’m not careful, I can burn myself out.

Part of growing up is realizing that it isn’t selfish to be more inclusive with who your close friends are or who you want to invest in.  Honestly, it can be pretty selfless. You see, when I try to be close and best friends with everyone, it takes away from the ways I am able to invest and care for the friends I value the most.

I may push back conversations and hang out times with the people who are truly pouring into me as much as I am to them to give attention to someone who doesn’t matter as much. God expects us to love everyone, but He doesn’t expect everyone to become our bosom friend. So, I would encourage you to take stock of your friendships during this time of transition or when you start making friendships in your area. Who are the people you are content just running into from time to time at church, and who are the people you want to make an effort to see?

Likewise, when looking at faraway friends, who are the people who are continuing to reach out and put effort into me? Who are the friendships I really want to preserve? Who do I find myself praying for? By realizing that you can’t be best friends with every fun and nice person you meet at a young adults group, you will save a lot of time and energy to invest in the people who are or will become your people.

Action Steps:

Here are some easy steps you can take this week or month to start growing in your friendships and forming a community wherever you located.

  • Join a small group
  • Ask a friend out for coffee, for hiking, even to an exercise class
  • Ask a good friend from college to Skype or talk on the phone
  • Pray for courage to make better friends and to become a better friend
  • Ask a co-worker to go to a happy hour after work one day this week
  • Sit next to someone your age at church or a young adult group and introduce yourself
  • When you are waiting in line, strike up a conversation with whoever is in front of you.
  • Go to public places to hang out even if you just want to cuddle your comforter and stay in
  • Accept invitations even if you are tired and would rather stay in.
  • Ask your friends honestly about your good friend qualities and also areas they think you could improve

As you can see, there a lot of elements to being a great friend. Friendships means sometimes we are going to succeed, and sometimes we are going to fail. Luckily, there are plenty of people in the world right now that we can be doing life with. God brings people into our jobs, churches, small groups, and vicinities for a specific purpose. Some come for seasons and some last for a lifetime. Focus this time on being a better friend, and I can guarantee that it won’t be long before you are surrounded by a healthy community.

3 Pieces Of Advice For The Scared To Death College Senior

Honestly, sometimes I still have a hard time realizing that I have been out of college for a whole year. Then I’m grocery shopping, getting up much too early, unsuccessfully making jello( real story), and going to work every day, and I remember.  Oh, do I remember.

College is such an amazing time in every young person’s life. It is where you discover who you are, meet friends that last a lifetime, and nap as much as you want.

However, like all good things, college also has to come to an end. Soon enough everyone will walk across the stage and hold a diploma in their hand that signifies everything they have worked and cried for these past four years. And, then, just like that, it’s all over. You pack up the dorm room full of memories, hug your friends tightly goodbye as you scatter across the country, and move back home to wait. Wait for your life to begin or at least get a job.

As much as you may say you are ready and that you loathe college, no one is really ready for the transition that comes after college. One day you’re walking around safe in your college bubble, and then pop! Suddenly you have to cook for yourself, and pay for everything, and get up early.

I hope that in this article I can help to give encouragement and strength to those of you who are about to embark on the messy, hilarious, and incredibly new journey to adulthood. Though the college years are amazing for most, society lies to us when they say that college is the best four years of our lives. They are not the best; they are the start of a much more fulfilling and joyful life. So, if I could go back to this time last year when I was studying hard for my finals and trying to squeeze in every possible second with my best friends, what would I say?

Laugh At Yourself

Adulthood is going to kick you around that first couple of months. You may be starting a job you thought college prepared you for, only to realize that you have retained nothing and have no idea what you are doing. You may move into an apartment for the first time and have to cook for yourself, only to realize that you can only make cereal. You may be moving to a city far from your family and friends, and have to find your own church and a new community.

Times will be tough, confusing, and hilarious. I can’t tell you the number of times that I screwed up cooking, I mean terribly,  and still am, my first year out of college. So learn the difference between the things that should upset you and the things you just need to laugh off.

Be open and willing to learn new things. I have learned more this past year than I did all four years of college combined. Most of that comes from the real experience I am getting at my job, but a lot of it is personal. I have learned how to be a friend outside of college, how to order deli meat at the grocery store, how to go to church by myself, how to be on my own, what I like to do in my spare time, and how to successfully not nap through the day. You will be learning a lot too. So, don’t go into that job thinking you know everything or act that way to your friends. I guarantee after a week of being a real adult you’ll realize just how little you actually know.

For instance, this time last year I had no idea that in two short weeks, the internship I had secured for the summer would be taken away, and several weeks later I would be starting at a company I had never heard of my four years at Grove City. God definitely has a sense of humor, but He also will lead you. When everything else around you is changing, including the scenery, know that the God that you have worshipped and loved for many years never changes.

Action: Keep a journal of that first year after college. This will be a great place to keep your thoughts safe when you need to whine, and to laugh at the misadventures that you are sure to get into. I promise you after your first year out of college you will be able to find yourself chuckling at the entries of you not knowing how to grocery shop or do things that are second nature to you now at your job.

Let Go Of Crazy Expectations

I think that society puts a ton of pressure on college grads, or maybe we just put that pressure on ourselves, to have it all figured out the minute we walk across that stage. But that is completely insane. If anything, you are even more lost and confused after graduation than you were going in. The world is your oyster, and you enter the workforce fresh and having no idea what you are doing. No one is expecting you to get a raise two months after starting that first job, for that first job to be your forever job, or for you to have it all figured out.

Do yourself a favor during this time and take a break from social media. This is especially true if you aren’t quite sure what God has planned for you after graduation. It can be all too easy when you are stuck at home at your parent’s house desperate for anyone to hire you, to compare yourself to those around you. To the people that have those coveted jobs, are getting engaged, are moving to new cities. Everyone looks so pulled together, much more than you are sitting in your childhood bedroom.

But friends, no one posts their tears on social media. No one posts the number of rejection letters they got before landing that job, no one posts when they are crying of loneliness during those first months in a new city, no one vents their frustrations about having to put their own gym into a GPS because they have no idea how to get anywhere in their new strange town.

As a college graduate, I can guarantee that everyone is struggling in some new way. It might not be the same way that you are, but trust me, your peers are just as lost and clueless as you feel.

Action: Pray. Pray on your knees and be honest. Don’t let social media make you question who you are or how much God loves you. Be honest with your friends and family when you are struggling. Vulnerability leads to more vulnerability. Your friends may just be waiting and wanting you to admit you are so freaking lost.  We are all works in progress; we are not completed until we get to heaven. So take the pressure off and realize it’s totally normal to be so lost and so confused. Isn’t that what your 20s are for?

Lean Into Community

One of the hardest parts of leaving college behind for me was the incredible friends that I made. There is a certain bond that is unlike any other that you have with your college friends. You lived with them, learned with them, and experienced life closely together for the past four years. They shaped you into who you are, and you shaped them. It can be hard to set out to find a new community and to keep the old. But here are some tips I have.

Set a schedule

  • Life gets crazy and so busy, make those friendships that you want to keep in your life a priority. Set aside a time each week or month to talk to certain friends. Trust me; if you don’t plan it, it won’t happen. And don’t be worried to initiate talking with friends first. The last time I checked people don’t get upset when you want to continue to invest in them.

Set up visits

  • Yes, phone calls, social media, and Skype are great, but you also need to make time to see these friends. Plan a girls trip, come together for Homecoming, or drive down to see them some weekend. This is especially vital if you are single because when you get married, it is going to be more challenging to visit those dear friends whenever you feel like it.

Community takes work

  • It doesn’t really take any work to make friends in college. Yes, you do have to talk to people and put yourself out there, but from what I remember from my freshman year, pretty much everyone is thirsty for friends. You are surrounded by people that have similar beliefs and are actually your age. You can walk up to someone, introduce yourself, and they are your new best friend. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t quite so easy. The truth is, if you don’t put yourself out there and seek out finding new friends and community, you won’t find it. If you stay in every Saturday night to watch Netflix, you’ll be watching it alone by yourself six months later just the same.

Yes, continue to invest in your college friends, but as Christians, we were created for community. Phone calls from long distance friends every week are great, but we need face to face interaction too. As a very extroverted person, I thought finding community would be so easy. It is NOT! It takes a lot of effort and time. It takes dealing with rejection and awkwardness and showing up to a young adult group again and again when you know no one.

But, after those months of trying your best to find that community, I promise you it will happen. When you put the effort in, pray for Godly friends, and seek them out, you will find them. But don’t expect people just to befriend you automatically.

So here are some tips if you are moving to a new place:

Join a small group

This is an easy way to get close to people and also have a weekly commitment. These are people just like you who are seeking out a community and are willing to put in the effort to find it. Go a couple of times before you throw in the towel, I know that my first judgments of people are usually very wrong.

Connect with other college people

Try to scope out if anyone from your college is moving to or around the area you will be living. Yes, you may not have been close or even known them well in college, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become some of your closet friends post-college.  These are people who can help to fill the college-shaped hole in your heart that throbs so much that first year away.

Go Out

Go to public places. Join a gym, go to a coffee shop, go to church, but don’t sit on your couch, cry, and call your mom. Get out there and make some friends.

Yes, finding community outside of college is a longer and harder process than it is in college, but it is so worth it. God will bring you the friends you need and friends that also need you, but you have to be willing to put in some work.

Action: Make it a goal and priority to invite someone new or someone you met for the first time to hang out with you this week. When I first moved to Lancaster and started meeting people, I made it my goal to try to hang out with two new people each month. Now, I didn’t always meet that goal, but it definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone to meet up with people and make those close relationships happen.

Life after college is a crazy, unexpected, but beautiful journey. I am so excited for you to begin this journey and hope that my advice can help you along the way. Remember that God directs your steps and He will not lead you somewhere He isn’t. Trust that He knows your plan and enjoy the ride.