3 foolproof ways to make new friends in London
Ways to make new friends in London is sponsored by Pal
Whether you’re new to the city or have been living here for years, inevitably there always comes a time when you want to make new friends in London. It’s no secret that we need friends to feel happier and more connected to society. Even the most introverted Londoners still need someone to talk to every now and then.
Living in such a big city means that people come and go all the time – something that’s especially true for expats. Living in London for six years, I’ve been through at least three different rounds of friendship groups. Each time they’ve slowly dissolved as one-by-one, friends moved away. Some found new jobs abroad, others returned home. I got to a point where I wasn’t interested in even chatting to people if I knew they were only here for a limited time.
It sounds a bit harsh, but if you’ve been through the effort to make new friends so many times then you can probably relate. Why? Because making new friends in London, and as an adult in general, can be seriously hard work. Quoting fellow expat Stephanie from her recent interview – the trick to making new friends is to “try often and try hard”.
It’s not enough to just go to work everyday and come home again, and expect to meet a whole new group of friends along the way. It takes a lot of effort to make new friends in London. That means saying yes to after work drinks when we really want to say no and snuggle on the couch watching reruns of Friends (ironically, of course). Downloading an app like Pal and joining in on some fun activities to meet new friends. Or going to that London New Girl meet up on our own even though it’ll feel a bit intimidating not knowing anyone there.
Since moving to Paris three months ago, I now have the pleasure of doing it all again. It’s actually a great reminder of what it was like when I first moved to London, although I feel so much more prepared now. This ain’t my first rodeo.
So in light of this, I’m going to share some fool-proof ways to make new friends in London. Here’s where to start.
Get on Facebook
Fo real. That pesky social media network that we mostly keep around to brag about our holidays to a bunch of people we went to high school with once upon a time. Oh and to keep in touch with our mothers.
Starting the London New Girl Facebook group was the best thing I ever did for this blog. It’s a thriving, wonderfully positive and supportive community of expat women in London who are there to share advice and meet new friends.
Since moving to Paris, I’ve found similar support on Facebook groups here and they’ve been the fastest way to meet like-minded people. Meeting others who live here an don’t speak French gives me hope that I’ll survive! 😅
So if you haven’t joined any Facebook groups yet – start with London New Girl (obvs) but branch out to other niches that sound good for you.
For example, my list of Paris groups is getting ridiculous but it includes the following:
- Women in Paris
- Paris expat dog and cat owners
- Social women (30+) in Paris
- Paris rooms and flats to rent
- Paris for her
- Girls Gone International | Paris
- Expats living in Paris
- International jobs in Paris
You get the idea. Get out there, meet new people in your area and make the effort to go along to some meet ups.
Download Pal app
I came across Pal a few months ago when I was doing research for a similar article on how to make friends and meet people, and I knew we were a perfect match right away. Their app is pretty much a much better-looking, more user-friendly version of the London New Girl Facebook group.
Pal connects people in the neigbourhood based on their activities, which is perfect in a huge city like London where the closer our friends are, the better. The app is like an alternative to Tinder really, but for friends only. Whether you need a gym buddy, someone to go to a gig with or want to find a mum meet up in your area. There are different categories to choose from to keep it relevant.
The Pal home feed shows who’s planned which activity in your area. If you’re interested, you can hit the join button. If you don’t see anything you like, you can just make one yourself. You can also find other users based on their interests and other criteria. Add you existing friends to the app and make a little group for yourselves too!
My favourite feature is the option to exclude men from finding you (sorry guys!) I see how many creepy guys try to join my LNG ‘women only’ Facebook group every day. It’s awesome to be able to just exclude them all together when we’re trying to meet new gal pals.
You can check it out here. If you’ve tried the app before to make new friends in London, I’d love to hear what you think. Let me know in the comments.
Start a hobby
This is a two-fold win. Firstly, you get to do something that you really enjoy doing. Secondly, you get to make new friends while you’re doing it. Perhaps it’s something you’ve always wanted to try – like pottery or yoga. Or something you used to always do at home and want to start again in London – like playing netball, studying a new language or starting a book club.
Starting a group hobby that you love doing means you’re bound to meet some like-minded new friends. After all, you already have at least two things in common – your hobby, and London!
Now I’m not promising that this is a one-stop-shop to make new friends in London. Again in the words of the wise Stephanie – you have to “try often and try hard”. Don’t be shy to see if anyone wants to go for a drink after class. Maybe you can take the initiative to arrange a group outing somewhere. If there’s one person you get on with particularly well, see if they want to grab a bite to eat afterwards and take it from there.
Keep an open mind, be prepared to put in some effort and you’ll make new friends in London in no time! Getting started is as easy as getting on Facebook or downloading an app like Pal. Then it’s time to get sociable! Stay positive and good luck. I’ll do the same here in Paris and we can swap some notes afterwards 😆
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