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!
It’s pretty clear that making new friends can only be a good move, but here’s the thing: making new friends as an adult is hard - especially in big cities like London. 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 and co-workers, here are our top tips for making new connections in the city:
1. Exercise, but more fun
If you’re wanting 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 this 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. Party differently
Getting to know people over a laidback drink is a great way to make new friends, but London’s crowded, noisy bars and clubs don’t make this easy. 3 Degrees are reinventing the house party, throwing awesome parties in the homes of interesting people in the city. Why not bond over a game of beer pong?
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 likeminded 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 bond 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! 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.
5. Explore co-living
If you’re feeling really passionate about meeting new people, why not integrate social connectedness it into your everyday lifestyle and explore co-living? Launched this summer, The Collective Old Oak is the world’s largest co-living space, comprised of self-contained studio apartments and fantastic shared spaces and amenities. Old Oak members joint a diverse but tight knit community, and have the opportunity to connect with other members through weekly events - from yoga and dance classes, to film nights, to laidback drinks and live music. While there’s definitely a place for organised meet ups and events, co-living puts connectedness and community right on your doorstep.
Written by Grace Waters