Your early 20s are full of big life changes – graduations, moves, new jobs, and more. Some of these changes can land you in an unfamiliar area full of people you don’t know that well. While we often make friends naturally with the people we spend the most time with, like when you have a class together or play on the same sports team, you might find yourself in a new environment where you need to start from scratch with new friendships.
Whether you feel alone in a new town or just looking to expand your friend group, here are some ways to make new connections that can lead to lasting friendships:
Get comfortable being by yourself
Wait, isn’t the whole point of this article to learn how to make friends and stop being lonely? Yes, but there’s a difference between loneliness and being alone. When was the last time you were comfortable being by yourself? Make sure you aren’t just looking for friends to take up space in your life. Friendships should be a meaningful addition to your life, not a distraction.
You are your most constant companion, so start by getting to know yourself! What are your values and interests? What are the things that make up your identity? Who did God create you to be? These are all great questions to ask as you get more familiar with yourself in this stage of life. Then, as you start pursuing these things, you may naturally draw people in who like you for who you are!
Plus, you’ll probably have to jump into a few situations by yourself in order to actually meet people. If you’re comfortable flying solo, these other scenarios will feel a lot more scalable!
Go to events
If you’re looking for friends, go wherever the people are! Local events are a great way to immerse yourself in your community and get to know the other people that live there. Keep an eye out for trivia nights at your favorite restaurant nearby, or check your city’s website for upcoming festivals and events.
Engage with familiar faces
Part of the reason it felt easier to make friends when you were younger was because you saw a lot of the same people every day. This can still be a great starting point for starting new friendships as a young adult. Who are the people you see most frequently? Introduce yourself to a barista, cashier, or a neighbor. You could even ask them for recommendations on things to do if you’re new to the area, or invite them to one of the events you just learned about by following the previous step!
Connect around a common interest
One of the easiest ways to make new friends is to connect around a shared interest or hobby. Look for intramural sports teams at your local recreation center, or check with your local library to see if any book clubs are starting up. Meetup.com is a great way to discover other groups in your area that are getting together to participate in an activity or discuss a common interest. Here at LCBC, we’ve made it easier than ever to find a group to connect with on our website.
Don’t see a group that interests you? Consider starting your own! It may feel daunting, but there are so many reasons why starting a group could be worth your while.
Take a class
In a similar vein, signing up for a class can be an effective way to get to know the people in your community and start making connections. Have you always wanted to learn to make pottery or sharpen your cooking skills? Do a little research to find classes in your area. Being among a group of beginners is a great way to break the ice.
Volunteer for a cause you care about
Common interests often bring people together, and so do shared passions. What’s a cause in your community that you’re passionate about? What skills do you have that can meet a need in your area? See what local organizations align with your values and sign up to volunteer there. If you’re not sure where to start, try searching for volunteer opportunities in your community on a website like volunteermatch.com, or check out some ways to serve here at LCBC!
Attend Young Adult One Day at LCBC
We have an event coming up exclusively for young adults at our Lancaster City location! At One Day, you’ll join with college age and young professionals for a day of conversation, connection, and worship. It’ll be a great way to connect with young adults across all of our locations. Mark your calendar for Saturday, February 18!
Check out some other resources on starting and maintaining meaningful friendships:
LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!