How do you make new friends (and connections)?friendzr
We live in an increasingly hyper-connected world yet meeting new people can feel daunting – especially in adult life where we no longer find the ease and safety a ready-made community a new school, college or university can bring, and are often far more self-conscious than we once were in our childhood.
At different points in our lives we may feel the urge and need to make new connections. Perhaps you’ve moved house, settled in a new city (or even country) for work or to be closer to family, or have simply changed your working pattern to evenings or weekends. You may have recently split from a long-term partner and want to rebuild your social circle somewhere that doesn’t see you as ‘his/her other half’. Maybe your kids have finally flown the nest and you’re desperate to fill all that new-found time with your own social calendar and interests for once. You might simply be bored of your current social circle – or desperate to find people or groups with whom you can try out new hobbies and activities.
Whatever drives us to find new friends, there are a number of things we can do to help us along our way. Here are just some ideas from the Friendzr team (who would also advise downloading the Friendzr app and joining our community!):
Join clubs or groups that interest you
Book clubs, cheese and wine clubs, walking groups and knitting circles, in most local areas there will be lots of social groups you can join to share common interests and hobbies. Seek out a social club that devotes itself to your key interests and you’re certain to meet lots of like-minded new friends in your area.
Start your own group
If you can’t seem to find any clubs or groups that you’d like to join locally, why not start one of your own? Spread the word through neighbours, social networks, local shop or library noticeboards and you can bet that there will be other people in your area who would be interested in joining.
Connect with local cultural organisations
Poles, Australians, Pakistanis, Romanians, South Africans, New Zealanders, French, Greek, Russian…. The UK is lucky to play host to many nationalities. Across the UK, and particularly within London and the major cities, cultural institutes and local cultural interest groups provide a warm welcome to those who’ve chosen to make their home here from overseas and still want to celebrate or practice traditions, language, arts, music and food – as well as those locals seeking to learn more!
Youth groups, food banks and a host of charitable organisations working to protect and support children, families, individuals, animals and the environment are crying out for your support. There are no shortage of opportunities to volunteer to help out the local community across the UK. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people – pick a cause that’s close to your heart and you’ll be well on your way to meeting like-minded people in your neighbourhood.
Take up a new hobby
Life drawing? Salsa dancing? Archery? Pottery classes… now’s the time to challenge yourself and try out something new. By joining a class or workshop you can also get to know new people in your area while you pick up plenty of new skills.
Your local library, newspaper or council website will likely list the opportunities available in your local area. Put your name down for a class or two – your new hobby could become your biggest passion, and if you make some new friends, it’s a bonus!
Join a fitness club or sports team
Sports provide people with a great way to bond. Whether you’re a seasoned football, netball, badminton, cricket or volleyball player, you won’t have difficulty finding sports teams to join in your local area.
If team sports isn’t your thing, consider joining local running clubs, park runs and fitness classes (sometimes these even run free at your local park). Registering with your local gym is another great way to meet people through a shared love of exercise and fitness. Gyms and leisure clubs can bring a real sense of community, and often organise social events and special workshops.
Connect with neighbours or colleagues
Put yourself out there! If you’ve moved to a new area or started at a new workplace, be sure to greet neighbours and colleagues as you pass and even try to strike up a chat. Keep the conversation relaxed and upbeat. Alongside talking about your move (where you’re from, how the move went, how’d you find out about the neighbourhood or company, etc. because they will ask), talk about other common ground topics, such as the space around you, the weather or favourite places locally.
Be sure to ask questions to keep them engaged. “How long have you been living/working here?” is an easy one, and asking for recommendations on things like which café has the best coffee or the best local gym gives your new connection the opportunity to contribute and possibly share some helpful insight.
Avoid any subjects that are personal, controversial or unpleasant, like politics, religion, the COVID pandemic – anything you wouldn’t want to discuss with your distant Aunt at Christmas!
Consider a house share
Depending on your life-stage and circumstances, a house or flat share can be a great way to meet new people as soon as you arrive in a new area. House shares and flat shares are always readily available in London and the larger towns and cities – with people regularly moving in and out of the area.
Look up old acquaintances
Remember that university friend who used to live in the area, or that ex colleague who was always great company over a lunchtime sandwich – the ones you’ve never really hung out with but would always stop for a chat if you passed in the street? If you’re looking for ways to make new friends in your local area, reach out to people you already know and see if they’d like to catch up over a coffee, or join you at an event.
Building on existing acquaintances is a great way to start a friendship because you already have some common ground and know a little bit about one another.
If you try any of the routes above and it doesn’t work out, that’s ok! Making genuine connections can take time and patience – just try again with something new. Not everyone you meet will have the same interests and values as yourself, and it is all part of the process of trying new things and meeting new people.
Friendzr app helps you to find new friends, events and happenings in your local area through shared interests and values. Soon to launch in beta version in London, Friendzr brings hundreds of opportunities to your doorstep through one platform – all with minimal data requirements and totally within your control. Sign up to become a beta tester and make new friends in London today!