College is such a unique time in life where you get to live with your best friends and do life with them all the time! It’s amazing and it can be a hard transition after graduation. My husband and I both had incredible friends in college and are so thankful for them and love getting to see them when we can. When we moved to the Twin Cities back in September, we knew that to make new and solid friendships, we would have to be a lot more intentional. In college, friends are found in classes, in the dorms, through college ministries, and so much more, but it can be a lot harder when your work schedules are schedules and you aren’t living in as close of proximity with people in the same stage of life as you.
One of the number one ways we have found a solid community is through finding a church. The first weekend we were in our new apartment, a church plant was starting in Minneapolis that I had heard about through mutual friends. We went the first week, kept going back, and decided to jump in, but it’s not like friendships just magically happened. Actually, it was kind of hard at first because so many of the people starting the church plant had moved up from Iowa and knew each other, so we felt a little on the outside. As soon as we joined a Connection Group and started talking to people after church rather than just leaving right away, friendships were made. Through this past year, here’s what I’ve learned about community after college.
1. Be Intentional
During college, everyone has pretty similar schedules and lives close by. In the adult world, people have jobs and other commitments and don’t live in the room right next to you, so being intentional is a huge aspect of having a good community. Find pockets of time in your schedule to make plans and hang out with people.
2. Stay Committed
It can be easy to miss church or skip group events, but what I’ve experienced is that the more committed you are to meeting new people and getting to know them on a deeper level, the more quickly friendships will grow. The first couple weeks, we left right after church was over, but as soon as we committed to talking to a few people each week, we felt more connected to a community.
3. Find Common Ground
After meeting new friends this year, I have found it’s pretty easy to connect with someone once you’ve found common ground. Whether that’s knowing a mutual friend, studying the same major in college, or knowing something about their hometown, once a connection is made, it allows the conversation to keep going and get deeper.
4. Never Say No
Now, I don’t mean you can’t ever say no or have to attend every single social gathering, but the more you say yes, the more people will ask in the future. There have been times I’ve wanted to stay home and not be social, but I know that in the long run, developing those friendships will be so much more impactful.
5. Just Go For It
If there is someone you’ve met through church or a new job that you want to get to know better, ask them to coffee or to grab some food. Better yet, invite a few friends over for dinner or a game night. It’s always better to just initiate something than sit around wishing someone would reach out to you!