I’m now 4 months into post-grad life and 1 month into moving to a whole new city, and my life has changed in so many ways that I didn’t expect. A lot of times I found myself questioning whether certain emotions or experiences were “normal,” and I was so scared that I was alone in how I felt.
But after talking to people my age & older, reading one too many Thought Catalog and Medium articles, and doing a lot of soul-searching, I can confidently say that if you’re feeling doubt, fear, anxiety and loneliness after graduating college: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Your feelings are completely valid, and more widely shared than you might realize! I’m starting this series to both make sense of my own experiences and to hopefully help people make sense of their own too. We’ll get through this together. So without rambling on too much, let’s kick off this series with 3 things people might not tell you about friendships post-college: 1. Intentionality becomes key. In college, friendships were a lot more “set up” for you. You slept, ate, studied and hung out in the same place, schedules were similar, and everyone for the most part had a lot in common. Without that similar structure, it can be really easy to lose touch or not see anyone for weeks if you’re not intentional with making plans or setting up time to talk (video/call in my case with LDFs—long distance friendships).
Don’t be afraid to be the one to initiate hangouts and to keep trying. It can be scary and vulnerable doing that with someone you just met, but keep in mind that post-grad life can be hectic and sometimes it takes several attempts to get your schedules aligned. So don’t feel discouraged if they’re not free this weekend, and shoot for the next one! Gone are the college days of bumping into someone on campus and saying “let’s grab a meal sometime” but never following through (can anyone else relate?) 2. Making friends can take longer. In college, I was lucky that I found my core group within a few months of freshman year, and we would see each other every day, whether for a meal, a random midnight convo in our dorms, a trip to Target—literally any excuse to hang out, you name it. Because we saw each other every day, it didn’t take long before we became super comfortable with each other.
Outside of college, the frequency with which you can meet up with friends/potential friends can decrease, and it can feel like a more arduous process to open up and feel “close” to them, but don’t give up! If you really vibe with someone, try to invest as much time as you can into growing your friendship and before you know it, it’ll blossom into something much deeper and fulfilling than initial small talk over coffee. But yes, that might mean a lot of small talks and rushed coffee dates before it gets to that point. 3. It’s okay to feel lonely, even when you’re with people. I cannot tell you how many times I went out with people to events, only to look around and feel super down when I saw tight-knit groups that reminded me of my good ol’ college days. This is especially poignant if you just moved to a new city, and it seems like EVERYONE around you has established social routines whereas you’re still learning where everyone hangs out on Friday nights! But trust me when I say that feeling of loneliness will subside over time.
Even last night, I went to see my favorite DJs with some girlfriends, and in the beginning I felt apprehensive and like I was “forcing” myself to be social. By the end of the night, I was hugging all of them, holding their hands while singing our hearts out, and planning group outfits for Halloween already (and no, I didn’t drink, I was completely sober!). Side note: I could write an entire other post on why female friendships are magical and powerful as hell. So don’t lose hope, and remind yourself that it does get easier over time. And if you’re still feeling lonely and scared, message me. I'll be your friend and hypewoman.