The events of this and last year have made us consider new ways of socialising, connecting with people and making friends. Some of us may be apprehensive, others itching to meet up, but all in need of company.
From joining sports clubs to using social media, we’ve picked 10 ways to help you meet people and get the most out of a city like London. Whether you’re new to town, or you’ve been here a while, there’s plenty of conversations out there waiting to be had, just as long as you know where to find them.
1. Be Open-Minded
It may seem obvious that being friendly is key to making friends but it can be easy to forget to put the extra effort in. Smiling or making the first move might lead you to wonderful places and open more doors than you would imagine. When the opportunity arises, don’t be afraid to say yes to plans, even if things might seem slightly out of your comfort zone. Though it goes without saying that you shouldn’t push yourself to a point where you feel unsafe. See where life takes you and enjoy the journey.
- Be open-minded: say yes to opportunities, be friendly and doors will open for you.
2. Take Up Coliving
Community living is an excellent way to meet a truly diverse bunch of people. The Collective’s co-living spaces in London have been carefully designed to foster human connection through shared social spaces and a curated weekly events programme. It is one of the world’s largest urban co-living communities, so chances are you'll find someone you connect with. Hang out in the lobby, strike up a conversation in the kitchen or learn a new skill with your neighbours - there’s a whole network of people to befriend. Shared living could even help you meet your next business or romantic partner.
- East London living at The Collective in Canary Wharf
- West London living at The Collective Old Oak
- New York living at The Collective Paper Factory in Long Island City
- More global sites to choose from coming soon.
3. Discover New People on a Dating App
Dating apps are so much more than just a tool to find the one. Apps these days are great for creating authentic social interactions, provided you have the right intention. Shift your expectation to discover interesting, like-minded people to meet up with for activities you enjoy. Get started with the following:
- Bumble App, use the friend option to swipe through potential mates.
- Hinge, match with someone and invite them along to a food market
Get Sharing on Socials
Rethink social media and use it to your advantage. Social platforms are literally designed by experts to connect people. Both Facebook and Instagram could really help you broaden your reach and ability to discover the world around you. Post about your new city or a place you are visiting, ask for recommendations and advice, you’ll soon see your inbox filling up with destination suggestions, events happening near you or an introduction from one of your friends. Users love helping each other out with peer to peer recommendations, which in turn will help you navigate your way around a new city through places, people and events. Try these:
- Instagram Stories, start sharing your journey by adding location tags.
- Facebook news posts, share your journey in pictures and add location tags.
- Facebook search functionality can help you find existing friends by filtering by city tags, be proactive and start reaching out to people you already know.
5. Attend More Work Functions
Working for a multinational company could be a good idea when moving cities because of the huge potential for social interactions. But even if you work for a medium or small company, don’t be afraid to make plans with someone you click with. You may even expand your network further with some of their friends from outside the company.
- Tip: Chat to your human resources team or events manager to line up your calendar with the work functions that appeal to you the most.
6. Become a Regular Park Goer
Discover your neighbourhood park. Visit regularly and strangers will become familiar faces. Open a conversation, ask them for a recommendation, or see if they fancy a game of tennis. Parks are a great place to meet people over the weekend when they have more time to relax. We think these are the best parks in London.
- Regents Park, rent a paddle boat from The Boathouse Cafe.
- Telegraph Hill, bring a picnic blanket for sunset viewing.
- Hampstead Heath, visit the outdoor ponds for a summer swim.
- Primrose Hill, another vibrant sunset viewing spot.
- Battersea Park, get active and workout alongside strangers.
- Hyde Park, visit the Serpentine for a weekend paddle around the boating lake.
7. Explore Vibrant Spaces
Of all the things to do when you’re feeling lonely, solo exploration can be a great way to remember the time you spend alone has value. Plan your free time with visits to vibrant spots in and around the city. These places are often filled with similar people looking for social interactions along the way. Even a quick exchange can really boost your mood. Here are some of our favourite London hotspots:
- Visit public galleries and museums like the Tate Modern, V&A Museum and The British Museum
- Discover London’s vibrant food markets like Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle or, Borough Market in Southwark and Pop Brixton.
- Check out rooftop bars like Netil 360 in Hackney
- Explore London’s Columbia Road Flower Market on a Sunday morning.
- Book tickets for Regents Park Open Air Theatre
8. Go Lido Hopping
Outdoor public pools are a great way to make the most out of a British summer. They’re a great way to relax and make casual conversation with others bopping about or sunbathing beside you. And if you’re brave enough to go all through winter, you’ll easily get to know the regulars, often a diverse community of all ages and backgrounds. Here are a few to add to your list:
- Brockwell Lido in Dulwich
- Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds
- Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park
- Tooting Bec Lido
9. Become a Member
Membership clubs are designed to connect people with similar interests and hobbies. Whether those are sports-related, wellness-inspired or of social desire. We’ve put together a list of some of the best and most affordable London memberships to consider:
- Join The Collective. There’s only one of its kind, a global community which embraces and celebrates diversity. The Collective Canary Wharf is the world's largest co-living space designed to cultivate authentic human connections through an events programme, shared living spaces and a community-focused ecosystem.
- Soho House Membership: The membership for young professionals, creatives and trendsters living or visiting from around the world.
- 1Rebel Membership: If you like working out to be more like raving with incredible DJs, lights and base, this could be for you.
- Tennis Club Membership: Meet your match, or just fall in love with the game itself by joining a tennis club.
- Barry’s Fitness Membership: Barry’s early on a Saturday morning is a pretty social place.
- Classpass Membership: Discover London through the fitness scene by trying out different classes all over the city.
10. Cultivate a Hobby
Not only will this help you cultivate an interest you love but it is one of the easiest ways to start a conversation with someone. Bond with fellow enthusiasts over shared interests or start conversations and ask for advice if you’re new to a hobby. Try collaborating with new friends at these craft and cultural hubs: (And make sure to keep an eye out for special events too.)
- Indoor Climbing Club: Join Canary Wall for indoor climbing expeditions.
- Fencing Club: Discover the art and science of fencing, a growing social trend taking shape across the UK. Check out Knightsbridge Fencing Club for a group training.
- Ceramics Club: Discover the world through clay and paint when you visit one of London’s top ceramic classes.
- Skate Parks: These are a great way to hang out, ride the city and meet others who like to skate or BMX.
- Burlesque Classes Perfect for anyone feeling sassy and looking to meet others in the performance industry.
- Raggeton or Latin Dance Classes can be great fun and usually involve working with partners, while ballet is a great option too.
The Collective builds one of a kind co-living spaces to live or stay. Enjoy a private studio or ensuite, with co-working, pool, gym and spa and connect with great people at events like yoga, coding and cocktail making. For true peace of mind, everything is included in one easy bill. That’s all the big stuff, like spaces, events, gym membership and the little things, like maintenance, wifi and cleaning too. We sort the boring stuff so you’ve got time for what really matters. Discover more at The Collective.com.