How friendships change as you enter the working world

Entering the working world after graduating from university is an exciting time for a lot of people. I entered the working world in September 2020 and one thing I have found is that my friendship circle changed a lot as I started this new chapter in my life. However, I didn’t find this a bad thing. In this blog post, I will talk about how your friendships are likely to change as you enter the working world.

Note that I will be focusing on entering the working world from university, but a lot of what I say would also apply to starting an apprenticeship straight from school.

One thing that I would want to emphasise is that if you start working for a company, you will make new friends. A lot of companies do social events outside work hours, such as going out for drinks in the pub. These social events are a great opportunity to interact with colleagues in an informal setting and get to know them on a more personal level. This will allow you to form meaningful friendships with work colleagues. Furthermore, you may decide to take part in activities outside of work such as joining a football or orchestra club, which is another good way of making friends.

Furthermore, when you enter the working world, it will not be easy to keep in touch with all your friends from university. When you were at university, a lot of the friendships you had were largely driven by the fact that you were in the same place and stage of life, so it was easy to see and interact with them on a frequent basis. Once you and your university friends graduate, everyone gets busy when it comes to their career and other aspects of life. This means that more effort is required to maintain friendships, and you will find that putting in that effort isn’t always possible. Moreover, new people will enter your social circle when you enter the working world, and that will also reduce the time and energy you will have for friends that were previously in your social circle at university.

You may wonder how the size of your friendship circle will change as you enter the working world. In my opinion, I think this will vary from person to person. For me, I feel I have been pretty good at maintaining university friendships, and I have also made a good number of work friends. Therefore, although there are friendships from university that I have drifted apart from, I don’t feel that the size of my friendship circle has decreased from university. However, other people will find that the size of their friendship circle is less than what it was at university if they have either struggled to make new friends or maintain university friendships. On the other hand, some people will find that the size of their friendship circle has increased as they entered the working world.

One thing I would say is to acknowledge and accept that not all of your friends you make at university are meant to be lifelong friends and ones you will keep in touch with after graduation. Most of the friends I made at university that I am not in touch with anymore are friendships that I look back on fondly. The way I see it is that they were great friends for that stage of my life, and we have just gone our separate ways. Drifting apart from old friends and making new ones as you enter the working world is a part of life. Even though it is normal to be sad about losing old friendships, you should equally embrace the opportunity to make new friends.  

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