Research shows that London is one of the loneliest places in Europe, with 52% of Londoners feeling lonely. This is pretty grim information on its own, before you factor in other research that has directly linked loneliness and social isolation to mortality. Not good!
Making friends in London can only be a good move, but here’s the thing: as an adult finding new friends is hard – especially in big cities. If you’re looking to break into the dating scene, or wanting to network in a business or entrepreneurial context, there’s apps and events galore – but what can London offer people simply wanting to make friends? If you’ve exhausted your immediate network of housemates, co-workers and uniform dating apps, here's our top tips for making connections and finding friends in the city:
1. Exercise, but make it fun
If you’re itching to keep fit, have fun and connect with new people, London’s got you covered.
Check out Rabble, a novel type of social sports club disguising exercise as fun games like dodgeball, British bulldog, and something called ‘zombie hunt’ (we’re extra curious about that one!).
There’s also Project Awesome, a free fitness movement in London offering ‘badass workouts’, bright clothing and bucket loads of energy. In their own words: “We hug. We high five, we behave like overgrown children and get ‘accidentally’ badass fit in the process” – what better way to meet new people!?
2. Learn something new
It’s always fun to learn something new, plus it’s a good way to meet people! Check out Hotcourses, a fantastic platform to find nearby courses in just about anything. Bond over painting, wine tasting, astrology, knitting, philosophy – whatever takes your fancy, you’ll sure to find like-minded people and learn a little too.
3. Check out online platforms
By now most of us have heard of Meetup, but in case you haven’t, the premise is simple: browse the website to find a group you like the sound of in your local area, join, then attend in-person meetups. With a meetup for pretty much every demographic, interest, hobby or occupation, meeting like-minded people couldn’t be easier.
Citysocializer is another online platform for social events, functioning a bit like a mix between Meetup and Time Out. If you’re looking to meet new people whilst experiencing interesting events in the city, this social discovery network is the place to go. There’s all sorts of socials on offer: art and theatre trips, gigs, clubs, Sunday pub lunches, bike trips and jogging, walking tours, cinema trips, cocktail classes and weekends away.
In a similar vein, thinking bob is another platform facilitating new connections through fun and quirky social events. There’s no need to worry about awkward small talk when you can connect over treasure hunts, murder mysteries, pub quizzes and escape rooms!
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, and do some good whilst you’re at it. As luck would have, London was voted European Volunteering Capital in 2016!
Check out The Sock Mob, a friendly group of volunteers working with homeless people in the city. On a mission to cut through misconceptions, prejudice and stereotypes, mobbers take the time getting to know the people on the streets, forging meaningful links rather than just handing out food and supplies — join a mob to see a different side of London, and connect with other mobbers over a pint at the end of the night.
You can also check out Hands On London, a popular charity facilitating community based volunteering.
5. Bond over food
If you’re into food (who isn’t?), check out Grub Club, a platform that connects users with London’s best supper clubs and pop-up restaurants. Dine with fellow foodies and bond over something delicious. If you’re a dab hand in the kitchen, you can even host your own Grub Club!
6. Meet via music
For something a little bit different – but nonetheless awesome – check out Learn to Uke for their 4 week ukulele course. You’ll learn to play your first song within an hour, and later be invited to alumni meetups and jams.
What could be more bonding than a brightly coloured baby guitar?
7. Consider co-living
And if you're down to try new things, why not think about co-living and bringing human connection into your everyday. The Collective is re-imagining renting with co-living buildings, comprised of self-contained studio apartments and one of a kind shared spaces. Members have the chance to meet new people through weekly events – from yoga, crafts and meditation classes, to film nights, coding classes and live music. And finally, there’s the host team, who are on-site 24/7 to help members settle in and get the most out of their co-living experience. And the best bit? All this is included in one easy bill.
There’s always a place for organised meet ups and events but co-living puts connectedness and community right on your doorstep.