I'm making my third point about the benefits of GraphQL over traditional RESTful apis when I start to notice my wife's eyes glazing over. She doesn't care, but she loves me so she listens. As a developer, you're also a student. There are seemingly endless topics to learn or improve your understanding of. And if you're anything like me, when you come across something cool you want to talk about it.
The trick is finding someone who will appreciate the topic you want to talk about, naturally leading to an educated discussion in which all involved parties learn together. If you work on a team you might have a few people in mind, but there's no guarantee that a co-worker will equal a friend. I've worked with plenty of people whom I get along with fine, and truthfully do enjoy their company. However, that doesn't mean that that person could fill the same role as a friend. A friend is someone you can be completely honest with, and in my experience, a co-worker rarely fills that mold.
If you try talking to friends that aren't developers themselves, they probably won't enjoy the conversation. Not to say that a non-developer wouldn't find the topic interesting, but they might feel insecure that they don't have anything meaningful to contribute to the conversation. They might worry that they sound dumb when asking a perfectly reasonable question. Or you might just be boring them. So what's the solution? Get some friends who code.
But how do you find friends that code? I would imagine that if you have a CS degree, you probably made some friends in college. But maybe you didn't. I myself am lucky. I'm a bootcamp grad, General Assembly in Atlanta to be specific. While in the bootcamp I developed lasting relationships with a handful of my classmates. We even make it a point to get together atleast once a month, at a local dive bar that we used to frequent on particularly tough weeks.
But what if you're self taught? What if the only conversations about web development that you've participated in have been via reddit or stack overflow? While those are great platforms for bouncing ideas off of other devs, it just doesn't compare to the feeling of getting to gab about your favorite new framework over a beer with a friend.
So where do you meet these friends? The first approach I would suggest is meetups. Meetups are great for getting to know people in your community that share your interests. Meetups aren't specific to development topics, but they are plentiful in that regard. I myself have attended meetups in Atlanta spanning topics from Ruby on Rails to React and Node. If you're interested in it, there's probably a meetup for it. And if there is not, host one yourself! What better way to meet people who want to discuss web development than literally inviting them join you for a weekly, or monthly conversation?
What are some other ways to meet people in your area? Do some research. If you live in a major city, or even if you don't, you'll probably find an organization, or community, of devs. In Atlanta we have tech404 with over 4,000 members on meetup and over 7,000 members in their slack its likely that you'll meet a couple of devs who you get along with.
Do you know any other great ways to meet new developer friends? I'd love to hear! Send me an email or connect with me on Linkedin. When it comes to making new friends, the first rule is: Don't be shy. There's always an extra seat at the bar for an eager dev.