How to Take a Post-College Friendship to "BFF" Status

One of the things that I’ve found to be most difficult in post-college life is making friends. While I’ve definitely built up some good connections, I’ve noticed that it’s really hard to take these friendships from “let’s get coffee” level to “I’m having a horrible day and need to rant, please listen” level. Part of this is because it’ll always be more comfortable to call a longtime friend in a time of crisis than it will be to call someone you’ve only hung out with a few times. But another part of it is that it takes real work to upgrade a friendship status from “acquaintance” to “BFF.” It takes time and dedication, and minimal effort means that you’ll be stuck in the acquaintance zone for a while.

While I still haven’t fully perfected the art of developing strong friendships with someone you just met, these are a few tips I’ve figured out along the way:

  • Don’t be afraid to share: When you and that pal constantly talk about surface-y things (celebrity gossip, silly work drama) it’s hard to develop a strong trust. If you’ve got a friend you’d like to become closer with, you’re going to have to be okay with spilling some details about your life. Instead of just talking about the ridiculous assignment you got during a meeting that day, speak up about a new guy you’re dating or a problem you’re dealing with. Don’t dump all of your most intimate secrets on the new friend, but telling this person information that you wouldn’t tell your cube-mate shows that you trust her and value her opinion. I once put in serious time and effort trying to get to know a family friend’s daughter, only to feel like I was pulling teeth every time we hung out. I then realized that she was really private. I knew nothing about her work life, her hobbies, who she dated, and what she did on the weekends. We would literally end up talking about the weather whenever we saw each other. The fact that she wouldn’t tell me anything about her life made me feel like she didn’t trust me or wasn’t interested in getting to know me better, so my interest fizzled quickly. Friendship is all about give and take, and keeping it really vague and surface-y makes it hard to develop the friendship fully.
  • Put in some effort: When you’ve known someone since first grade (or the first day of classes freshman year) it’s easy to go a few weeks without talking and then pick up right where you left off. When you’re still building up a new friendship, it’s much harder to do this. When you don’t talk for a few weeks, your connection fades and you have to start from square one. When you’re trying to make a new friend, make it a point to stay in contact, even if it’s just with a funny text.
  • Try new things together: Coffee dates and mani/pedis are fun, but they can get monotonous after a while. Trying something new, whether it’s a trendy exercise class or a new restaurant, gives you guys plenty to talk about and helps to form shared memories. I love Starbucks as much as the next girl, but there’s nothing particularly memorable about trip after trip to the java giant. When you venture outside of your comfort zone together, you can relive that memory and build upon it later.

 

Do you find that it’s harder to get to know new friends after college? How do you go about doing it?

 

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