Where'd All The Good People Go?

Where do all the twenty-somethings go after college? Seriously. Are they in New York City? L.A.? I can’t be sure, but I can tell you one thing: they are few and far between when you’re living in a small city like I do. I see plenty of people in their thirties. I see plenty of high school kids. But I see virtually nobody in the 23-27 age bracket. It’s a little weird. Some people look for guys when they’re out and about, I look for girl friends. It’s not as creepy as it sounds. I just try to spot people that I think I could be friends with and then find a way to talk to them. Usually it doesn’t work out. Think about it: there’s really no non-creepy way to go up to a girl you don’t know at a bar and strike up a conversation. What am I going to do? Buy her a drink? Ask her to leave with me and go to Starbucks and then get a mani? Nope. Creepy. That screams “let’s date” and not “Want to be my new friend?”

It’s gotten to the point where I’m hunting for friends at the airport and at the grocery store too. A girl my age who also likes coconut water? LET’S HANG OUT! Girl at Gate C16 working on her laptop? You are career-focused and also live in my city! New BFF alert! Look, don’t feel bad for me or anything. I have plenty of friends, they just live in places like Boston, Chicago, New York City, and Florence, Italy (I know, so jealous). My band/clique/posse is limited here, and it’s not that fun. I love hanging out with my boyfriend, don’t get me wrong. He’s great. But sometimes you just want to have someone to call and say, “Hey! Let’s go to Target and buy things we don’t need.” A boyfriend is not the ideal candidate for that.

While I’d like to blame this issue on my location, I don’t think I can. I know plenty of other people living both in large and small cities who have the same friends issue. It’s not easy to meet good people once you’re no longer a student. Your whole life you have a built-in group of friends. They’re in your classes. They’re in your girl scout troop. They go to camp with you. They’re in your dorm. Then all of a sudden you’re picked up and thrown into an area that’s full of plenty of thirty-somethings and/or married people and you’re left saying, “Hey? Guys? Where’d everyone go?” It’s not the best.

My mom always tells me to make friends at the gym, but there’s something really unappealing about walking up to a strange twenty-something girl when I’m super sweaty and she’s trying to run on the treadmill. Creeper alert. I could try to make friends in yoga class, but that’s a time for peaceful relaxation and Zen stuff. Not, “Hey! I’m Lauren! I have a job and I’m fun and I like to drink but not in an annoying way!” stuff. I could meet friends through mutual friends but…I don’t really have any people to be the mutual friends anymore. I used to. I really did. But one by one they moved, and I’m the last woman standing.

I don’t feel starved for human contact. I go visit my friends frequently and talk to them on the phone all the time. But it would be nice to have a group to go out with on a Saturday night like I did to college. I’m not expecting to roll eight deep anymore, those days are probably over once you stop going to frat parties, but just a few friends would be ideal.

Do you experience the same situation? How did you go about making friends after school?

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  1. This is my life. And I always see other women my age saying the same thing on Twitter, but I can never find them in real life! Or I see girls going in and out of my building, but don’t have the courage to deliver an elevator speech about myself and all the fun activities we could do together.

    My boyfriend made an excellent/frustrating point when we were at a bar last weekend. In less than an hour he could be best buds with most of the guys in there. There is no way I could make that kind of headway. If anyone lives in Indianapolis, I would love to go to Target and scope out all the Essie nail polishes with you!

    • ljmlevine says:

      Hey Kateri,
      Your boyfriend is so right! It’s so much easier for guys to become friends. I remember several occasions where my boyfriend struck up a conversation with a guy sitting next to us in a bar, and they really hit it off. Not saying that all guys like sports, but a lot of them do. My boyfriend is a huge sports fan, so it’s instant common ground when he meets someone new. It seems like girls lack that thing that unites most of us. Even when I meet girls and think that we could be friends, it seems like we never get past the “getting to know” you stage and move into the ” yeah, we’re friends” stage. Love the last part of your comment. If I lived in Indianapolis we could definitely do some Essie damage haha

  2. I feel this way a lot, too! I moved back to my hometown after college to save money and work near home for a bit. Most of my high school friends are still finishing up grad school or something, so I rarely get to see them. Then the other people in my town are all about going out the bars 5 days a week and most are losers. So…. I hang out with my boyfriend (who lives 2.5 hours away) and visit friends occasionally.

    I feel like this happens to a lot of people after college- whether they want to admit it or not. Especially to those of us in relationships. It’s so hard to meet other “couples” or even just girls when you’re in a relationship I feel like. I always worry I’ll be too forward with girls asking them to hang out, just like you mentioned. You’re not alone! You’re a friendly person, so if someone doesn’t want to be friends, then it’s not worth it 🙂

    • ljmlevine says:

      It’s so true! It’s a lot harder when you’re in a relationship! Before I met my boyfriend, I remember that it was always easy to talk about your current guy situation with a new-ish friend. Chances are that they could relate. Now everyone is in different stages (some in serious relationships, some not at all) so that common thread is gone. Then when you try to hang out with couples, either they’re too PDA or they fight. Or you like the girl but your boyfriend doesn’t like the guy. So complicated!

  3. I can’t believe you hate Jack Johnson … but I guess many people do. It’s fine though. I love Jack because his music help me chill out and the songs has deeper meaning too.

    It’s true what you said though. I guess we can’t seem to find good people around us, or maybe we are becoming old and understand more about life and people around us. We don’t trust people and live with your heart like we did back in the days anymore. I think the best time in one person life is the high school or college time because we only think about studying and playing. Now everything is money and money. It changes people attitude about life.

    Just my opinion.

    • ljmlevine says:

      Hi Paula,
      You make a good point. When you’re young, you’re friends with anyone and everyone. Proximity is a major part of what determines you’re friendships. As you get older, you want to be friends with people who share the same values, goals, and lifestyle. It’s not enough to just live near someone or participate in the same hobbies.

      Sorry about the Jack thing. I know a lot of people love him! I just don’t get the appeal! haha



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