Figuring out how to make new friends as an adult may seem daunting, but it’s easier than you’d think! Here’s how to meet fab new friends in no time!
In the months leading up to my move to Germany, I squeezed in as many last-minute coffee dates with friends as humanly possible (seriously, the only free time I had was when I was sleeping at night). As the move drew steadily nearer, more and more friends kept asking if I was nervous about starting my life all over again in a different country. How do you make friends in a new city, they’d ask. To which I’d reply: the same way I met all my friends in NYC! This was often a light bulb moment for them — I moved from Indiana to NYC in 2016 without knowing a single person, and after three years of quality Claire Bear time I think my East Coast friends had forgotten they hadn’t known me all their lives.
But although I can now look back at my move to New York City and pat myself on the back for being so adventurous, I’ll admit that my first few weeks in the big city weren’t all rainbows and butterflies. My number one fear when I moved to New York was making friends. I knew I’d get a job eventually, and I had a cousin in the area I could call if things got rough, but never in my life had I needed to make friends before. Don’t get me wrong, I made lots of new friends in college. But technically I didn’t need to make friends since I went into my undergrad with lots of friends from high school. Plus, when you’re in school it’s so easy to make friends. Many of my best friends from college are girls I started talking to in class one day, simple as that.
But once you move and start your big girl job (or start freelancing and then hop the pond, like I did last year), it can be scary and tough to meet new people. But making friends as an adult doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, figuring out how to make new friends as an adult is sometimes as simple as downloading an app and making a profile for yourself!
Whether you want to know how to meet new friends in college or as a post-grad, here are my top tips for connecting with like-minded people. I’ve only been in Berlin for a month, and my weekends have been jam-packed with friend time thanks to these tips and tricks.
If you’ve been searching for the best apps to make friends, look no further. This is my number one guaranteed way to make friends as an adult. Bumble is a dating app that lets women make the first move (no unwanted messages from creepers here!). But you don’t want the regular Bumble dating function — you need to switch your settings so you’re using Bumble BFF, a platform that connects women with other women in the area who are looking to make friends. I LOVE Bumble BFF. This is the main way I’ve been making friends in Berlin, and I met one of my best friends in NYC this way too.
To use Bumble BFF, all you need to do is set up your profile and start swiping. It feels a little strange to swipe left on potential friends, but I generally only do so if a woman hasn’t filled out her profile at all or if the interests she’s listed on her profile are totally opposite of my own. What I love about Bumble BFF is that it feels like a safe space. No phone numbers are exchanged on the app, so if things don’t work out you can just unmatch and move on. If you forget to check messaging apps like I do, make sure to have the notifications for Bumble turned on so you don’t leave future friends hanging!
Get to know your roommate’s friends
99% of my friends in NYC were also friends with my roomie, which was great because there was no guesswork for me when I first met them. I knew going into it that if the roomie approved of them, I would too. Instant friends!
This method for making friends as an adult may seem obvious, but not enough people take advantage of this! And I get it, if your roommate isn’t someone you know super well it might feel a little weird asking to hang out with them. But if you think you two will get along and you genuinely want to hang out with them more, just say so! They might be thinking the exact same thing.
If you don’t want to seem like you’re inviting yourself to your roommate’s events, see if they’d be open to having a dinner party or game night at your place. Tell your roommate you’re looking to make new friends and would love to meet new people. Or if they mention they’ll be going to a happy hour after work, ask if it’d be okay if you popped by to say hi. Don’t be squeamish, I bet your roommate would be fine with you tagging along. They know your backstory and will know you’re looking to meet new people.
Have your friends invite someone new to brunch
This is a fun rule one of my friends suggested. Whenever you meet up with your friends for brunch, ask each of them to bring someone you’ve never met before. This way you can meet new people in a comfortable environment and can use the friend you already know well as a buffer to help you get to know someone new. I personally prefer meeting new people at meals or group outings versus in a bar for drinks simply because bars are loud and I can never hear what the other person is saying. So then if I meet them a second time, I can barely even remember their name. But the place you all meet up is irrelevant — just ask for someone new to be invited, that’s all that matters!
Join an intramural team (or other group)
My friend Claire (yes, there are multiple Claires in the world) plays intramural dodge ball and loves it. She’s met so many friends through it and is always telling us about her games. New York City had an intramural team for pretty much everything: dodge ball, kick ball, baseball, basketball, soccer, you name it. I’m pretty sure there are even Quidditch teams! Personally, I’m not a huge sports player (in fact, I’m so bad at sports that it’s a guaranteed way for me to lose my new friends). I prefer other group activities like community choirs and book clubs. When I studied in Freiburg, I joined a local choir for the semester and that’s how I met my friend Flora, who now lives 90 minutes from me in Hamburg.
What I love about joining clubs and intramural teams as an adult is that your shared activity gives you and your new friends something to talk about the first few times you meet up. There’s none of that awkward small talk that sometimes happens when you meet someone for the first time, and because you’re doing an activity together you automatically feel closer than if you’d just met up for coffee.
Meet up with people you sort of knew in college
Did your college roommate’s friend’s friend just move to your city? Message her on Facebook! Just because you weren’t BFFs in college doesn’t mean you can’t get to know one another now. If they just moved to the same city, odds are they’re also panicking about finding friends as an adult.
When I finally told my friends and family that I was moving to Berlin, I started getting messages on Instagram and Facebook from people I hadn’t talked to in years saying that they’d be in the area for vacation, and would I like to meet up? It was truly amazing to realize how extensive my network was — I hadn’t spoken a single word to some of these people since college, but they took it upon themselves to reach out because they didn’t want me to feel alone in a new place. I instantly replied and said that I’d love to meet up, because if they were nice enough to reach out after all these years then I bet we’re going to get along swimmingly when we finally get to meet up.
One thing I will say about meeting up with those people you vaguely knew in a previous stage of life is that you might not wind up being super close (or you might become best friends, who knows!). Deep friendships take time to develop, and you need to learn to be okay with not having best friends in the area for a while. But I promise those first few meet-ups with people you only kind of know will make a HUGE difference in the long-run. I’ve had a few of those types of coffee dates recently, and even though I know I won’t stay in close contact with some of the people I’ve reconnected with, just knowing they’re nearby and are willing to field questions I might have about life in Berlin has taken a weight off my shoulders and made Germany feel more like home.
Put out a blast on social media
Social media can be a nasty place sometimes, but it’s also one of my favorite ways to meet new people. Before moving to Germany, I put out a few blasts on Facebook and Instagram saying that I was moving and looking to meet people in the area. I asked my network if they knew of anyone in the country, and if yes, does that person know anyone in Berlin who’d be willing to grab a coffee with me?
It might seem strange to be so upfront about looking to meet people, but here’s the thing: people want to help you! This is the type of thing your friends and family will happily do for you if it’s within their power, but few people think to initiate connections like this, which is why you have to be so straightforward. And even if you don’t get a response right away, that’s okay. I told my social network that I was planning a move to Germany back in April, and friends are still coming out of the woodwork with people they could connect me with. These things take time, so just put the word out there now and wait to see what happens.
Hopefully this list helps you out if you’re in a new city. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about not knowing anyone yet, give your bestie a call! Learning how to make new friends as an adult can be overwhelming, but don’t forget that you have some incredible friends eagerly awaiting your call back home too!
Tell me: What are some ways you’ve met new friends in the real world?
More posts you’ll love:
- The Best Gifts to Give a Friend Who’s Moving Away
- 5 Apps for Keeping in Touch with Long-Distance Friends
- How to Travel with Friends as an Introvert
- Traveling with Friends: What to Ask Before Vacationing Together
- How to Be the Houseguest Friends Actually Want to Return
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