7 Apps For Making Friends In A New City, If Striking Up Conversations With Strangers IRL Isn't Your Thing
When you move to a new city, especially as an adult, making friends may not be as easy as it once was. But, the good news? There are apps to help you make friends in a new city. After all, you're no longer getting assigned to a dorm room and to a roommate who will become your BFF for life; you're no longer in classes with people who will become your friends through a group project; and you're no longer in the city you grew up in, where you know everyone, everywhere. And if you work from home and/or freelance, you may not meet people as often as someone who works in a social office setting. So apps make the perfect making-new-friends companion, and all at the tap of a phone icon or few. Plus, if you and a potential friend end up not clicking, just like with dating apps, there will be other friend options available, so all is not lost.
While some social networking friend apps are geared toward group activities, others are focused on getting to know someone, aka your future friend(s), through one-on-one chats while still others match you in groups of three. Whatever the case may be, there probably is the right friend app out there for you, as long as you take the time to download some and give them a legit try. The best news is, the users seem vetted, so unlike taking your chances with a person who "looks nice" that you meet out and about, the friend-focused apps promote a certain level of safety within them. Plus, they can save you time, as well as help you out if you're not the type of person to strike up conversations with random people IRL.
Here are seven apps to help you make friends in a new city, because the more outlets, the better.
1. PlusOne Social
Whether you're a workaholic and don't have much free time outside of the office to go to events to befriend people or you just want a new way of meeting people, PlusOne Social may be the app for you. Just like it sounds, you can find a "plus one" so you don't have to have dinner alone — again — or someone to go on that hike you've been meaning to try. The app also sends you 20 friend suggestions every day, like having your very own friend curator.
And, yes, some apps that aren't dating apps subtly fall into that category, but with this app, you can specify that you're just looking for friends, so no need to have an awkward convo down the line if someone misunderstands your intentions on the app. In addition, you decide who can contact you on the app, so it's not a messaging free-for-all. You can also suggest an activity for people to join, which will help ensure that you're doing activities you love.
The app is currently available in the Bay Area in California, and will launch in Los Angeles and New York in the next few weeks.
When you are new to a city, or traveling to a new one for a week or two, Skout enables you to meet people all over the world. Safety first: You get to decide if, and when, you want to connect with someone. Whether you want a gym buddy or someone to meet for coffee this weekend, you can do as much "Skouting" as you'd like to find the ideal people, i.e., your soon-to-be friends. Even if you want someone to meet up with in an hour, or a few minutes, the app lets you know who's nearby, which is another bonus. You can also see who viewed your profile and then connect with them... or not.
There's a "Tinder for moms" out there called Peanut. The prerequisite? Yep, being a mom! What a great idea, though, right? Moms can see what fellow moms they think they'll click with and start swiping —up to wave, i.e., like, and down if maybe later. Mutual waves then result in a match. Photos are pulled from Facebook so you can see how close, proximity-wise, your new mom friend is located. Moms do not have to share info about their kids on the app, since not everyone's into doing so, and can wait till they meet moms IRL first.
Moms using the app can also choose descriptors to describe themselves, such as "Geek chic" or "Fitness fiend." Clever! Once moms start to match, they can message with another mom one-on-one or do a group chat to make plans, complete with the capability to suggest meetup times and create invites right through the app. Plus, fun fact: Peanut's Co-Founder and Chief Executive, Michelle Kennedy, is not only a mom herself, but also the former deputy CEO of the dating app Badoo and was on the board of Bumble — the latter of which she named, according to the Los Angeles Times.
To date, Peanut has launched in London, NYC, Dallas, Chicago, LA, and San Francisco, but I'm guessing more cities will be added.
By using MeetMe, you can find people nearby to meet up with, so you could be checking out a new record store alone one minute, and with a new MeetMe friend the next. Of course, you can also plan an outing more in advance with others who share your interests, from going to see a new band to attending a yoga class together.
However, MeetMe+ is their premium subscription service, which starts at $9.99 per month (and less per month if you sign up for 3 or 6 months).
5. Bumble BFF
You probably know all about Bumble as a dating app, wherein women make the first move in heterosexual pairings, but did you know you can use it to find friends, too? Yep, with Bumble BFF, you can... and will! The great thing about Bumble is that the app gets right to the point — once you match with someone, you have 24 hours to contact them, or else (hint: you can pay for features to extend this time frame). In turn, the person has 24 hours to respond. Nothing like a deadline to get you motivated to message, then meet, right? I met my last boyfriend on Bumble and we dated for a year, so I have a lot of faith in Bumble BFF, too. When you're in your Bumble's settings, you can decide if you want to look for potential dates, just BFFs, Bumble Bizz (their new networking feature), or "everyone." Genius!
If you want to use a friend-making app that doesn't match you up with one person, but with two others, We3 (formerly Me3) may be the one. The app stresses that it's not for dating, which I personally find very refreshing, because, let's face it, we don't need any awkwardness or weird tension when downloading a "friend" app. How does it work? We3 promotes meeting friends of the same gender, and in groups of three, your "tribe." As for profiles, they're private unless you've matched with somebody, and the app's algorithm helps with that — they say that more than 150 factors help determine who you get matched with. Once you start matching with potential friends, you'll see what interests and beliefs you have in common, and you can go from there. To help get to know those interests, before the app matches you to people, you answer short quizzes about yourself (is anyone else thinking of OKC's questions right now, or is it just me?). But We3's quizzes also have another purpose — to help you learn more about yourself, so it's a win-win.
If you live in New York and are seeking new friends, GoFindFriends may be the app for you. When users register, they set up profiles (i.e., with photos and activities they'd like to do). Then, the platform uses an algorithm to match users with potential friends, based on people's personalities and interests and voilà — a new friend is made… or several! People can browse others' profiles, as well, and you can chat one-on-one or in groups. GoFindFriends also has a calendar of events online, from seeing Star Wars in Concert at Lincoln Center to meeting up to watch the Columbus Day Parade. Fun! The only caveat? The app is limited to people in their 20s and 30s.
GoFindFriends is free on iOS.
OK, the next time you say you have no one to go to "x" or "y" event with, think again and download one of the above apps. You never know!