Between the constant pressure to flourish professionally and finding time to date in your 20s, there is a middle ground that is typically looked over: making friends in your 20s.
We’re gonna be honest: sure, dating is fantastic. Spending time with another person in order to grow as an individual sounds like an absolute dream. But the reality? If marriage isn’t in the cards, relationships end. And without the comfort of friends, you’re left alone after a breakup and nobody enjoys being lonely.
But it’s not just those in relationships that need friends. With your 20s being a time of constant change, going through it with other people can provide you with a feeling of camaraderie, and can make these confusing times feel a little less lonely. And while making new friends in your 20s can seem like a tall order, Twenties & Thriving is here to help.
Looking to make some new friends in your 20s? Here are our five places to check out.
1. Local clubs
One of the main foundations of friendship is having common interests. Whether it’s as simple as reading, or as complex as participating in debates about the state of the economy, there are so many people in the world that share the same exact interests as you. And, luckily, there are even clubs dedicated to just that.
When you’re looking to find places to make friends in your 20s, check out local clubs that align with your interests. Online, you can find things like book clubs, travel groups, and even debate clubs for other 20-something year-olds in your area. Once you find a group that looks appealing to you, simply show up.
Although it’s easier said than done, being around other people with the same interests will open the door to easier conversations, as opposed to starting from scratch with a person you know nothing about. With the common foundation of a hobby, making a friend in a local club can come easily if you open your mind to it. Who knows? You might just meet a new best friend or future member of your bridal party!
2. The gym
Surprise! Going to the gym can provide you with more than a great physique. In your 20s, going to the gym regularly can be a great way to meet other people. And the plus? They’re just as dedicated to fitness as you.
Meeting friends at the gym can introduce you to people with the same healthy hobbies as you, and can even motivate you to hit the gym every day in order to maintain those relationships. What may start as small-talk in between machines can easily lead to grabbing something to eat after a workout class, or planning a fun hike with a group outside of the gym. So, wake up, hit the gym, and don’t be afraid to say “hi” to other people your age. You never know who could end up becoming your new buddy—inside or outside of the gym.
3. Places of faith
While this isn’t exactly the best bet for folks who aren’t religious, places of faith can be a great way for others to make friends in their 20s.
If faith is important in your life, chances are you’ll want to surround yourself with people that have those same values as you. And, it’s likely that your place of worship will have groups dedicated to those in their 20s who are seeking to have meaningful conversations about faith.
Whether you’re attending a catholic church, a Christian place of worship, a synagogue, a mosque, or any other religious institution, you may find that your palace of faith can be a great place to make friends. Attend the events that these places may plan, stay active in social groups, and make time in your life to have these meaningful conversations—if that’s something that pertains to you.
4. Clubs, bars, and other social settings
The idea of meeting people at a bar is, in simple terms, terrifying. Nobody wants to show up alone, and casually striking up a conversation with a random person may come off the wrong way. However, if you’re looking to expand your circle, hitting the social scene may prove to be beneficial when it comes to making friends.
With so many young people all in one place, the pool of new friends is vast. If you’re looking to add to your circle of friends, or simply looking to add new names to your contacts, striking up a conversation with another group at a bar can open you (and your friends) up to new, exciting faces. Not only is this a win for you, but a win for your circle as well!
Even as a solo agent, making friends in your 20s could be as easy as attending an event at one of the social settings. Between hosted game nights and singles events, the opportunities have never been broader for making new friends. Plus, the presence of liquid courage never hurts anyone when it comes to conversation, right?
Finally, making new friends at work should be a no-brainer. If you’re just entering the workforce, chances are that there are a ton of young people just like you who are trying to find their place in the world. When you’re starting a new job, look for co-workers who are around your age, and make an attempt to bond with them. Whether it’s asking to have lunch with them, or inviting them out in a group for happy hour after work, making friends at work can not only make your social life better, but it can also make your work day just that much more bearable.
What may start out as bonding over your hatred for a supervisor may very well turn into bonding over a hobby you never would’ve known you had in common or a spontaneous midday shopping trip! So, when you’re looking to make friends in your 20s, don’t discount your co-workers! They might just become your new friends for life.