Updated: Sep 21, 2021
The time at school and university is usually pretty blissful when it comes to connections. You spend days surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of other similarly-aged people. You could meet new people at the drop of a hat by sitting somewhere else at lunch, studying in a new area of the library or joining a student club. But once you're an adult, that's all gone and it feels so much harder to make new friends. The freshers events are over, the societies are lacking and the people you meet are the people at work and those you see on your daily commute to and from work. And unless you're changing job every 3-6 months, these people will pretty much stay the same. Throw in a year-long pandemic with a housebound lockdown, and we've all been royally screwed over for meeting people and making new friends.
So here's three ways to find YOUR people now that lockdown is being lifted:
Everyone has their hobbies. Whether it's as adventurous as rock-climbing or laidback as arts and crafts, finding a community of people that love doing that thing too gives you the common ground to start conversations and see where they lead. This might be a weekly book club at your local coffee house, a running group or an online community for learning, health and wellness or even sci-fi and games. Whatever it is you're into, find people that love it too and you'll be able to use that as the starting point to build your confidence and then take conversations further. You can find these groups through Facebook quite easily whether they stay online or meet offline, else you can also use the Meet-Up app, mentioned in point number 2 below!
One of the best things about uni was the nights out; the pub quizzes, cocktail evenings and summer balls. Now that you don't have your trusty team of housemates to join the ongoing party that is university, how can you apply this in the big wide world?! That's where Meet-Up can come in. An app that identifies local groups of people, sorted by location and often with the age range included in the name, you can find the right Meet-Up group for you. Each group runs its own events with many of the in-person events starting back up again now that we're free! If you want to get to know people before the event, you can get in contact with those that have clicked attending and make yourself more comfortable ahead of time.
If you're not feeling the group environment, making one-to-one connections might feel easier for you to start your friendship-making journey off. Bumble BFF is an option on the Bumble Dating app to be matched with local same-gendered people for finding friends to talk to go out with. It's a low-key way of getting to know people before you meet them in person without the pressures of fitting into a group and having to be part of a big social activity.
What is it that you love doing? What is it that you're passionate and could spend hours doing and talking about? Once you know what that is, volunteering for something to do with that could be just the ticket to helping you make new friends. You could help at an animal shelter, support a local children's club or organise a charity event to raise funds for a local group. Much like hobbies, this gives a common ground for something to start talking about but you're also surrounded by like-minded people and you're giving back to a greater cause at the same time.
Each of these methods take a little bit of putting yourself out there in a varying scale of challenge. Go with the one that feels most comfortable to you, and start small and digital if you’re unsure of meeting in person. Try these out and comment below with how it went!
4. Speed Friend Events
You've heard of Speed Dating, but have you heard of Speed Friending?! This is a fun evening where you can meet people that are like YOU and are just looking for friendship! Because it isn't always a relationship you're really looking for. It's the closeness, the sharing of your day, having someone to send TikTok links too, that person to check in with every few days. THAT'S what you're really after. Speed friend events can take place in person, which makes for a fun evening out, or virtually, which takes the stress and effort out on a Friday evening. Just like speed dating, matches are revealed at the end or after the event for you to connect individually!