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. 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.
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. 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’ve got some kitchen skills of your own, you can also 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.
If you can’t make bond over a brightly coloured baby guitar, what can you bond over?
7. Consider 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