As sad as it sounds, making friends becomes exponentially harder once you leave the safety of high school. Where once it was as simple as being in the same Maths class or catching the train together, you now need stars and schedules to align to even consider starting a friendship.

This is mostly because you’re no longer in an environment full of hundreds of people around your age with structured time to socialise, and even if you do continue studying, most Aussie universities just aren’t geared towards that kind of social experience.

But that doesn’t mean it’s game over on the friendship front once you graduate high school–there are ways to make new friends, you just need to be creative and determined.

1. Reach out

You know that person you met once years ago through a friend of a friend that you always thought you could get along with? Message them. It’s incredibly easy to do this these days since you probably already have them on some form of social media. So, you might as well give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out then at least you haven’t really lost anything.

2. Join a team or attend a class

This is classic advice for middle-aged people looking for more friends, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for us in our 20s too. Often after finishing high school we become less active due to sport and exercise time not being regulated in our schedules, so joining a team also has an added health benefit.

Look out for social competitions in your favourite sport or pick up something new–most people joining will be in it for the same reasons. If you’re not particularly competitive, beginners dance classes are always a treat, or you could pick up a skill like painting; no one says you have to be good at it but a common interest is always a good starting point for a solid friendship.

3. Hang out with co-workers

It will get to a point where the people you spend the most time with will be your co-workers so take advantage of it. Take part in the social events your workplace puts on, or try to start some if there aren’t any.

Sometimes it takes a while to get past the awkward all-we-talk-about-is-work phase, but Friday arvo drinks are a pretty easy way to change up the conversations.

4. Tinder isn’t a bad place to find friends

Everyone’s pretty much on it by now, so there’s no shame in having an account. It’s also pretty common for people to be swiping mostly for the bantz, so if you find somebody you get along with in that way, why not meet them for a beer? A hook up or a new friend can sound equally as enticing, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article.

 5. Travel

Meeting new people is one of the biggest reasons people travel in their 20s, closely followed by catching ‘grams and finding a sexy Latin lover; it’s something to do with the thrill of a new country, cheep booze, and hostels filled with other people just like you. Sure, some people you meet may be on the other side of the world, but they still count as new friends and it pay dividends when you’re in their country and need a place to stay.

Also, let’s face it–Aussies are always bloody travelling and you’re likely to bump into somebody from your hometown even when you’re abroad.

6. Say yes to everything

Making new friends can be terrifying, and it can leave you constantly craving the familiarity of old friends. But it’s important to throw yourself out of your comfort zone and into new environments and the company of new friends as much as possible–it’s called growth. This doesn’t happen in the shelter of your own room, so one of the best things you can do is say yes to things you normally wouldn’t. Who knows, you might even meet your new bestie that way.