In college, I made most of my friends within the first week of being on campus. Whether it was through orientation, classes, or clubs, most the friends I still talk to on a daily/weekly basis I met fairly quickly and we became fast friends. Since most of my senior class moved to NYC after graduation, I had a built in social network. Parties, dinner dates, drinks after work were all with friends from college.
And then I moved to Chicago and while I had my family and friends from high school to keep me company, I found that I had less of a network that I had become accustomed to in NYC. I mean, there are only so many times you can go to dinner with your dad and my high school friends had their own networks to hang out with so some weekends I would be holed up in my apartment watching reruns of Roswell (don't judge). This is when I set about making more friends. And I quickly realized that making friends in a post-collegiate "real world" is hard work. It takes a lot of time and effort and it doesn't happy over night. Below are some tips that helped me make new friends and this works for people who have been relocated by a job, have recently moved to be closer to a boyfriend, or just people looking for a new group of friends in their hometown.
I have found that some of the girls I have become myself becoming closer and closer to are girls I met through blogging or Twitter. I got invited to my first blogger party by Jess. It was there that I met a slew of amazing bloggers (and Twitters) including Jamie, Jenn, and Allie. After only a few short months Jamie and I became close buds who went to cupcake shops together, saw movies about vampires together, and obsessing over awesome TV shows together. I realized that I loved meeting girls who loved the same things as me (like champagne and trying new restaurants!) so I even ended up hosting a party (with Jamie) for some bloggers and then even attended Bloggers in Sin City this past spring, which made my relationship with some of my new friends even stronger! Starting your own blog or connecting with people via Twitter is a great way to meet like-minded people.
My mom was always very much into being involved in the community. She was always involved at my grade school and high school by being on committees and doing volunteer work for women's boards. This of course instilled in me a want to do this as I got older so when I moved to Chicago I looked around for Junior Boards to be involved in which are not only a great way to meet friends, but also to network. I'm currently on a hospital junior board where I've met a few girls that I have drinks with now and then. It's easy to find a board to get involved in especially if you already have a cause that you are passionate about, but if you don't and you just want to help out the community do some research for junior boards in your area. Trust me, there will be a ton and I know Chicago even has a service night (almost like a trade show) where you can walk booth to booth and learn more about charities/boards in your area. Note: this is also a really great way to meet nice guys!
Join, join, join!
The best way to meet new friends is to be a joiner, which I kind of touched upon above. I personally think this is so important. When I first moved to Chicago, I started a book club with my friends (something I had always wanted to do!) and had them invite their friends and their friends and eventually our book club had 15 people in it and I only knew a handful of them. This was a great way to meet new people and a lot of the girls have become my friends through the book club. Other fun clubs to join are dinner clubs, cooking clubs, knitting clubs, church youth groups - and a lot of these are available through public libraries, YMCAs, park districts, etc. Don't be scared to go to a club solo either - the worst thing that can happen is that you don't meet someone!
One thing I definitely recommend is reconnecting with old acquaitances or old friends that you know live in your area. It's easy to find these things out by consulting Facebook. While I was living in New York, I got a few emails from girls I went to high school with who had just moved to town and wanted to meet up. One of those girls was one of my bff's from grade school and we ended up reconnecting and becoming close again. So you never know - put the invitation out there and you could end up meeting your new best friend! If you don't know someone who lives in the area already, asking your friends to set you up on blind friend dates is a good idea.
Think outside the box
Sometimes it's the least likely place where you meet a friend, so think outside the box! Attending lectures, college alumni meet-ups, seeking out local political events, networking events or going to book readings are great ways to meet people who will like the same things as you. I once went to a public Daily Candy event in NYC with WG1 and while waiting in line to get inside we got to talking with two girls behind us and while we didn't end up hanging out with them ever again, if we had put the effort in I think we could have left with two new friends.
Become a regular
I found this idea on a message board once and it struck me as a great idea. Find a bar, restaurant, or gym and become a regular. You can easily become friends with the staff just by being there. A bonus is becoming friends with a bartender or waiter who can sneak you free drinks or snacks.
The #1 rule when trying to make friends post-college is putting yourself out there. If a coworker invites you to a happy hour, GO! It never hurts to go to something you were invited to because like I said before, the worst thing is that you don't meet anyone or you feel awkward (and then you leave). So saying yes is imperative when trying to find new girl friends.
Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and say yes to new experiences because you never know where they might lead you or who they will introduce you to!