Moving to a new city can be an awesome experience, but in some cases it can be a little intimidating as well. And one of the biggest worries that some people have is how to meet and make friends once you’ve arrived.
Being sociable is something that comes pretty naturally to most people – although it’s human nature to feel a little apprehensive about it. So keeping this in mind, here’s our top tips on how to meet and make new friends in London.
The power of conversation
We’ve all got it, even if you might feel a little bit awkward striking up a conversation from nothing. But it’s almost guaranteed that at various times – be it at work, college or even standing in line at the supermarket – you’re going to be surrounded by other people.
So start talking… A smile, a hello, that’s all it takes to spark a chat. And sure, some people won’t want to take it further than a bit of polite conversation, but others will.
And what’s the worst that can happen? They don’t want to talk… Not too much to risk, really – even for the shyest of people out there.
Signing up for volunteer work is a win-win situation. You get to meet people, you get to (hopefully) improve other people’s lives and, if you’re really lucky, you get to take part in an activity that you enjoy.
There are loads of places you can sign up to volunteer. For example:
- If you like animals, what about the London Wildlife Trust, who offer nature-inspired opportunities all across the city.
- For those who’d love to get an insight into museum life, then consider the Museum of London, who offers loads of varying placements for volunteers.
- Hands On London is a charity that’s all about community based volunteering. They have a huge amount of diverse opportunities, and you’ll be helping out disadvantaged people, whilst meeting potential friends as you do so.
- Charity Job is a website that lists many different volunteering roles. You can search for the type you’d like, and even create job alerts in the same way as you would on a job hunting website.
Join a club
London Salsa provides everything you need to know about ‘salsaesque’ goings on in the city.
For those who enjoy travel, check out The Globetrotters Club who have regular London meetings.
If acting and drama is your thing, then there’s loads of information about various London drama clubs on the website Acting in London.
Whatever your penchant, there’s sure to be a club, group or society of other likeminded individuals. Joining in with those who have the same interests as you is a fabulous way of meeting new friends.
There are many websites for people to meet new friends in and around the London area.
Meet Up is a great place to start, and you can filter your search for groups close by where you live, or by the activities you enjoy the most.
And if you’ve got a smart phone (who hasn’t?) then new app, Smeeters is really taking London by storm as a great way to enhance your social life. And no, it’s not simply another Tinder – Smeeters is not a dating app, it simply encourages groups of like-minded people to get together.
Gum Tree is also a great website where you can find potential friends and groups of friends to hook up with. You’ll find people looking for companions to play sport, such as 5-a-side football, people who’ve just arrived in the city looking for some social contacts, folks looking for language exchanges…
And for those who like taking part in adventurous activities, then check out Spice London, the social adventure and activity group with over 2000 active members in the city.
If you’re on the shy side, joining a forum where you can build up an online relationship before meeting in real life might be the answer. City Socializer is a website where you can do just that.
Never turn down a social opportunity
One thing we’re all guilty of is sometimes saying ‘no’ to invites. When you’re new in town, one of the best ways to meet new friends is through all those causal invites: you know, the ones after work when colleagues ask you if you’re ‘coming down the local’, or college acquaintances invite you to join them shopping, for example.
It’s easy, especially if you’re a bit shy, to turn these down. But decline too often and people will begin to think you’re not interested, and the invites are likely to dry up.
And a few tips on communication…
Once you’re in a social situation, there are a few things you can do to enhance your chances of striking up real and lasting friendships.
- Body language. Very often we give off vibes that we’re not even aware of. Such things as folded arms, failing to make eye contact and not smiling all give negative messages to the person or people we’re talking to. Sure, we might come across that way simply due to shyness. But one of the easiest ways to overcome that is to smile – and we can all do that.
- Compliment others. Not in a creepy way, of course. But this is a great way to start a conversation. It doesn’t have to be anything difficult – something like, “I love your bag. Where did you get it?” is a simple way to begin conversing.
- Listen. Many people make the mistake of not listening to what the other person has to say. Again, this can be due to nervousness, as many of us tend to babble in such a situation. But taking a deep breath, relaxing and tuning into what someone else is talking about is a great way to get a conversation flowing. Then you can ask pertinent questions – even easier if you’re talking about a subject that interests you. And before you know it, voila! You have the beginnings of a fledgling friendship… It really is as easy as that.