Five months after graduation, I found myself going weeks and weeks without seeing a single friend. Sometimes it was boring, but most of the time it was depressing. Part of my problem stemmed from having moved back home while most of my friends stayed around our school. With the majority of my social life in another state, I found it difficult to find things to do besides the occasional trip to the grocery store.
Post-grad life ironically makes it more difficult to keep up with your friends. School may be out of the way, but other obligations or pure laziness take over. No longer is socializing as easy as a mass text message asking who wants to meet for dinner in five minutes. If you want to have dinner with anyone, you might have to plan a week in advance.
I am very slow at making friends. I’ve been out of school for a year and only within the past couple months have I gained some semblance of a regular social life. It takes me a while to warm up to people and I’m usually not the one to take initiative on reconnecting. I’ve accepted this. I make friends at my own pace and that’s fine. The key, I think, is letting friendships happen naturally.
Finding some sort of regular weekly activity helps too. Right now, I have three: Dungeons and Dragons, a writing group with my coworkers, and tennis with one of my high school friends. Many times, plans still change or fall through, but the difference between me now and me one year ago is that I finally realized how crazy I get when I don’t go out and do something for a while. As much of an introvert as I am, I still need that interaction.
But when it seems like you and your friends have completely opposite schedules, what can you do? In those situations, you have to really plan ahead. I know people whose schedules are so crazy that they have to set dates a month ahead of time. My life isn’t that chaotic, but I can see how it might become that way.
There seems to be a general notion that life is incomplete without constant socializing, but that sounds like a very stressful life to me. It’s not the quantity of friends or activities you have; it’s the quality. Your extraverted coworker might like to throw house parties every month, but you might get your social fix just from going out to dinner with a friend.
No matter what you plan or how often you plan, post-grad socializing takes a little more effort. It’s not impossible nor is it completely daunting, but it’s an adjustment from running into your friends on the way to class and making plans for later that night.