Making new friends later in life isn't always easy. You have the same job and spouse (or you just got divorced or broke up with someone and lost half your friend group), live in the same place and go to the same gym you always did. So how are you supposed to meet someone new?
Even worse, you've moved to a new city but are working from home or in an office where you don't seem to be able to find new friends.
So how do you make new friendships and maybe even find a new best friend? It’s all very well to say you should expand your social circle, but how to go about that? Especially as you don’t have the time to take up ten new hobbies, join fifteen interest groups, take classes, and attend workshops and networking events.
Thankfully, these days, friendship apps are almost becoming as popular as dating apps. People got bored with swiping right on Tinder, going on hundreds of dates only to find they hadn't made a single friend. But like many who use Tinder, they probably realised that some of the people they met were nice. They would have made great friends had they not been so upset the other person labelled them as "not dating material".
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Let's look at some popular friendship apps and more old-fashioned ways of meeting new people and perhaps making a new BFF.
1. Bumble BFF
Yes, Bumble is a dating app. But it’s also an app for meeting new people. In fact, Bumble has three settings. One for dating, one for networking, and one for friendship. You can use all three, or pick the one you like. It’s an easy app to use for finding potential friends.
Meetup has both an app and a website—you can use either to find Meetups in your area. So what is a meetup? It's a group that gets together for a specific purpose. There are meetups for entrepreneurship, paganism, single moms, yogis, screenwriting, Francophiles, hikers, and more. As anyone can set up a meetup, you'll undoubtedly have plenty of groups to browse and join. However, as you'll discover, making a group successful means organising good events and having a group people are interested in. If there aren't enough singles who like to get together to cook in Edinburgh for regular meetups, the group won't work.
Meetup is fantastic if you want to meet people in real life right off the bat and connect with like-minded people. You will find everything from book clubs to hiking groups on Meetup. It's an easy way to connect with people who share your favourite activities.
3. Meet My Dog
If you have a dog but have had no luck making new friends at the local park or dog walking hotspot, then Meet My Dog may be just the ticket.
On Meet My Dog, you'll create a profile for you and your dog. That way, you can connect with other nearby dog owners and set up play dates for your pups or walking dates for the adults.
Definitely the best app for dog lovers!
Yubo is an app that doesn't just match you with other people; it helps you connect with them. There are Q&A-like games and quizzes you can play with new friends to get to know them better. You can also make calls within the app, which helps if you don't want to give out your number right off the bat but want to find out that the person you're chatting with actually is who they say they are. That's to say; they are the person in their pictures! Live video certainly has its perks!
Yubo is a great app but is possibly more geared towards a younger crowd. But that doesn't have to stop you from giving it a go!
This app works by connecting you to people with similar interests. This, in turn, makes it easy to start conversations. For example, as a cooking enthusiast, you can easily find someone who understands your interest in Escoffier and the five mother sauces. Alternatively, if you're a hiking enthusiast, you'll be able to debate whether or not the Scottish Highlands or the Lake District makes for the best hiking trip.
LMK is an excellent app combining audio rooms with traditional friend matching tools. You create a profile and can find other profiles from people with similar interests and swipe right if you want to "friend" them. From there, you can chat with them through messages or audio. You can also join audio rooms to chat with people interested in similar topics to yourself. Great if you feel more comfortable in a group setting.
Alright, so this is not an app for finding friends per se, but it's a brilliant app, and you'll make connections on there. Here's how it works: you set up a short profile, then join rooms where people discuss different topics. Whoever leads the room holds the mike (one or several people), but they can invite others to the stage for conversations.
It’s like the radio; only you can join the conversation. Here you'll find groups holding rooms about anything from tech news to archaeology. It's a lovely social media app.
Think Tinder, but for finding friends. You pop some pics and info in your profile and swipe right on a profile where you think you have something in common with the person.
Yeah, it’s Tinder. But now they have a section on there for finding friends. You just have to go in and adjust your settings. So it's literally Tinder for friends. It doesn't hurt to give it a try, does it? It is, after all, one of the world's most popular apps, and now you can use it to meet new people, not just new dates.
10. Hey! VINA
Hey! VINA is an app for women looking to meet other women. Apart from letting people know your interests and whether you want to drink wine or coffee when hanging out, you can also set your "life stage." Perhaps you just got divorced and want to meet other divorcees, for example.
This app is different because it's an app for making worldwide connections. If you plan to go to Spain next summer (or better yet, in winter to avoid the British rain), then you can make connections on Ablo ahead of time. Alternatively, Ablo is great simply if you're interested in getting to know another culture. So it's great for finding someone to hang out with at the weekend but excellent for broadening your horizons. Oh, and you can use it to live stream and thus bring your new friend to the V&A's next exhibition!
Amica is also an app for travellers but focuses on women wanting to find travel buddies.
Are you going through motherhood alone? Have fertility issues? Dealing with repeated miscarriages? Now you can meet and connect with other women facing the same problems and joys. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an equivalent for dads.
No, this is not an app by Jared Leto. It’s an app for finding workout buddies. Great if you want a new friend to attend salsa classes with or go to keep you motivated and going to the gym.
Bloom is an excellent app if you want to meet people from the queer, kink, BDSM, polyamorous community, or anyone looking for a more alternative lifestyle. They organise events and festivals, so there are plenty of opportunities to meet people in real life, too.
This is an app with a difference. You share random thoughts and niceties, and through these, you meet others who encourage your ramblings in a controlled environment.
Whether you want to date or make friends, Skout has what you're looking for. You can also connect with people when you travel, making it an excellent app for finding someone to have a beer with when in a new city.
This is more of an app for ex-pats travelling the world. Still, as it arranges lots of meetups in various cities, you can use it to meet people from around the world to partake in your favourite activities. For example, many British Londoners use it to connect with the international community in London.
This is an app with a difference. It isn't designed for swiping right on profiles and having video chats and voice calls, but rather to let you know everything that's going on in your community, from yard sales to festivals. If you're new to an area, it can be particularly useful, but also if you've lived somewhere for a long time but have lost track of the local scene.
If you want to meet new people on Snapchat, you can install Wave (available on iOS and Android) and wave at fellow Snapchatters. It may be tailored to a bit of a younger audience, though, and you likely find it easier to connect with people on an app specifically designed to be a social app connecting people through profiles.
Other ways to meet new people
Looking for something in real life that’s not Meetup or InterNations?
- Volunteering; it's said to increase happiness and longevity in addition to expanding your social circle
- Join local interest groups, such as book clubs, angling clubs, cooking clubs and knitting clubs
- Set up a small business selling homemade marmalade, antique books, or handmade wooden spoons at local markets will help connect you to others
- Take classes
- Attend workshops; weekend-long workshops tend to foster connections
- Join the local gym or sports club
- Get a dog and go to the local dog park and attend doggie training
- Check out events at your local library or book store
- Attend business networking events
- Join a mastermind group