If I’ve learned anything since graduation it’s that networking, friendships, and community are extremely important. Many people say, “It’s not what you know but who you know,” and I couldn’t agree more. That quote piggybacks off of the old saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Basically, you need others in your life to progress. Period.
You could be the smartest person in the world, and could have gone to the best university, but if you didn’t take the time to build relationships and network while in that space, well, chances are you didn’t take full advantage of your time there.
On a different note but of the same vein, while you can stumble through life alone, it’s significantly easier and a lot more fun to do life with other people.
But as young adults fresh out of college, the real world can be quite the wake-up call. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way when I say, it’s hard to make friends as an adult.
It’s not because we’re not friendly or because nobody likes us, but it’s because it’s actually a lot of work. To make friends as an adult out of college, you really have to put yourself out there in spaces where the people you want to befriend are, and sometimes that’s not always the easiest thing to do.
In college, it’s easier because everyone is in the same boat. You’re around people of about the same age, you’re just as lost and confused as everyone else, you’re living in the same area, etc. Despite how organic you think your friendships are, you are most likely living in a bubble and you don’t even know it.
But once you’re out of college and on to bigger and better things, that’s when the bubble bursts. Now, you work with people old enough to be your parents, you might not live in the same area as the “young and trendy” millennials in your city do, and long story short to foster friendships and build your own community you really have to seek that out yourself.’
So with that said, here are a few places that I have been able to network, foster friendships, and build community post-graduation.
Whether you’re looking for a recreational sports team, young professionals networking event, or some people to do your favorite pastime with, meetup.com has you covered. While I find their website and app a little annoying to navigate, once you find what you’re looking for it truly does help you to build the community you want in your life. You’ll find other people who are interested in the things you’re interested in, and it will allow you to network, foster relationships and build community by simply showing up to the events you sign up for.
2. Creative Mornings
Creative Mornings is held in many cities across the world and consists of a breakfast and lecture delivered by a creative in your local community. It brings together creatives from all over into one place where everyone can share ideas, network, and feed off of each other’s energy. I went to my first Creative Mornings event in July and while I was nervous to go alone, I introduced myself to one girl who then introduced me to her friends, and just like that I was networking and building friendships. I actually walked away from the event with a fair amount of business cards too, so definitely bring yours if you decide to go.
Also, you don’t have to be working in a creative field or even consider yourself to be “a creative” to go. If you have even the slightest interest in creativity or just want to check it out I highly recommend it. I went to the one in Atlanta and loved it, but I’m sure they are just as great anywhere else. Generally, they are held on the last Friday of every month, and registration opens up at 9am on Monday morning of the same week.
Tickets are free and they go fast, so look up when the next Creative Mornings is near you and set a reminder on your phone to register or else you might miss out! The people you meet there could be the people you collaborate with in the future or your next business partner and the same can be said for MeetUp.com.
I understand not everyone reading this post is a Christian, but I am and this is one of the ways I have fostered community in my own life. When moving to Lawrence, Kansas for grad school, the first thing I did was find a church. I was new in town and while I had my teammates and a few classmates, I needed something more. I think it is really important to build community as you build your faith because it helps you to learn and grow in Christ, it places you around people who love the Lord as much as you do, and it holds you accountable.
Finding a church in Lawrence taught me the importance that community has in any context, not just church. As I have moved around a lot in the past few years, that is one thing that I try to keep consistent, and so far it’s been working.
So if you’re looking for better ways to network, opportunities to foster friendships, or a chance to build community, I hope this blog post gave you some good ideas. Comment below ways that you connect with others where you live and other apps or “clubs” people can join.
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Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life!