This week I’m handing over the reigns to Jacinta who has put together my first guest post ever (!). I’ve mentioned before that one of my biggest worries about moving abroad was around making new friends in a brand new city, so I’ll take any opportunity I can to give you as many tips as possible.
Now handing over to the lovely Jacinta…..
Moving to a new city is an exciting personal challenge, but it can also be pretty intimidating. It’s normal to feel a bit nervous about making new friends, especially in a city of more than eight million where people don’t always know their neighbours or feel like they’re part of a community. London life doesn’t throw up too many opportunities to turn a friendly chat with a stranger into an actual friendship, so what are the best ways to meet new people in the city?
1. Move into a share house
Moving into a share house can be a shortcut way of making new friends fast, if you choose wisely. Make sure you pick flatmates who are sociable and enjoying hanging out together. Not sure where to start? Spare Room is the best app to use when looking for a share house – it makes scrolling through potential flats and trying to suss out your would-be roomies a weirdly addictive activity.
2. Get to know your local
Is there anything more British than heading down to the local pub? Relaxing with a nice cold pint in summer or warming up with a hot toddy on a rainy day is one of the easiest ways to get to know your neighbourhood and feel part of the culture. Making the effort to join Friday night drinks with your colleagues is also great for turning work relationships into lasting friendships.
3. Become a regular somewhere
Stopping by at your local coffee shop on the way home from gym, taking the same train to work each morning or joining the book group at your local library can help you branch out socially. You’ll begin to feel part of the community and odds are you’ll get to know the staff and other regulars over time.
4. Go and volunteer
Helping out is another great way to expand your social network. And the best part? Lending a hand is something you’ll feel really good about, so making new friends this way is a win-win. A quick Google search will turn up loads of volunteering opportunities in your local area.
5. Pick up some new hobbies
If you’re looking to meet new people, now’s the time to take a cooking course, learn a new language or join a regular gym class. Picking up a new hobby is one of the fastest ways to mix with like-minded people and make new social connections. Need some inspiration? Check out City Lit, The Cass or UAL.
6. Use the latest apps
Described as the hopeless romantic among dating apps, Happn helps you find people you’ve already crossed paths with. Less sleazy than Tinder, this app gives you the chance to strike up a conversation with someone you’ve passed by during your day. Citysocializer is another one that helps young professionals and re-locators to London make new friends and explore the city. You can use the app to organise after-work drinks, gigs, trips to exhibitions and other get-togethers.
7. Get to know your friends’ friends
Having your friends introduce you to their friends is an easy, no-stress way to branch out socially. When catching up for drinks or throwing a party, encourage your friends to bring someone along so you can meet new people. Making a habit of saying yes to invitations you might normally turn down is also a great way to put yourself out there.
8. Check out a supper club
Trying new food and sharing a meal together is one of the best ways to make new friends. Check out Grub Club, a platform that connects foodies with the best pop-up restaurants and supper clubs in London. These adventurous dining experiences can range from a sit-down meal in a beautiful apartment in St Pancras clock tower to Christmas Day lunches for people who are on their own during the holidays.
9. Take a London walking tour
Taking a walking tour is a great way to get to know your new city with some like-minded people. Check out Free Tours by Foot, Free Tours of London or London Walks for a casual day out and about in the city, or try something a little creepier like a Jack the Ripper tour.
10. Join a social group
Meeting people who are already looking to make new friends means it’s easier to build a connection fast. Popular social groups like thinking bob or Spice London hold fun social activities all over the city like pub quiz nights, escape room events and camping weekends.
11. Connect with other expats
Connect with other expats by joining online communities. Jump on the London New Girl Facebook group to reach out to others and make a new friend or two in no time.
Real friends aren’t always easy to find. To make it happen, try not to come on too strong too soon, stay true to who you are and make the effort to put yourself out there. Starting from scratch in a new place can be daunting, but don’t forget that many of us are new to the city too. London might be a big city but it doesn’t have to feel that way, after all, making great connections is the first step to truly feeling at home here.
Jacinta Butterworth is a content marketer at #tagvenue, the London venue experts transforming the way people discover and book spaces for their events.