For the first couple of decades in our lives the friends we make are determined by the educational route we take. We might go to nursery, school, college, university and apart from a few extra-curricular activities or family friends we have to find our friends within a small group of people.
But what happens when we go out into the big wide world and have to make our own way? How are we going to find those people who will laugh with us, cry with us, brunch with us, drink with us and stroke our hair whilst we are watching Queer Eye for the 14th time whilst regretting that round of Jägerbombs the night before?
As of this month, I’ve lived in London for a year and a half, a city notorious for being lonely despite being full of 8 million people. Whilst I can’t say I’ve loved every moment of the past 18 months (having to change tubes at the colossal station that is Baker Street still sends me into a panic), I’ve met some wonderful people here and have had some amazing times.
It is easy to accept that the few people you knew before moving to a city will be your bffs4lyfe and you never need any new friends which works for some people. But if you are wanting to get out and discover new places, new hobbies and new friends then I’ve put together a few tips on how you could do that.
Joining a club
Despite what this photos suggests, I’m not suggesting joining a bdsm club (unless that’s your thing in which case you do you, qween) but there are clubs for all sorts of hobbies. Whether it is board games or cycling, sewing or reading, there will be one to suit you. I recommend the app Meet Up to find local clubs, or check out the notice boards in local supermarkets and community centres and of course google to see what is on offer.
So you already have a hobby but it isn’t the kind of thing you could do at a club? Or you are passionate about the industry you work in and want to meet more people in it? Meet ups are the answer.
When I got bitten by the sewing bug I forced myself to buy a ticket to the New Craft House summer party and I met the four lovely pals you see here: Nikki, Emily, Becca and Daisy. We all come from different areas, are different ages and are in different industries but we hit it off after an evening of nattering about fabrics and French seams. Tickets for their winter party have just been released so grab one while you can!
Friends of friends
Whether you are moving to a new city or branching out in the one you currently live in, the chances are you’ll know someone who knows someone in the area who you could connect with. So ask around and take up the offer of a coffee with a friend of a friend. Yeah it might be awkward at first but even if you have nothing else in common you can bond over funny stories about your mutual friend.
When I first moved to London I lived in my friends boyfriend’s house share for a week whilst I found a place to live. In that week I got to know her now-husband, who I hadn’t met before, and also his housemate who has since become a good friend of mine. I remember standing awkwardly in the hallway as I left the house and asking for her number, feeling like a pre-teen kid asking the coolest girl in the year out. That moment of awkwardness was worth it for all the fun times we have had since.
This is one step that a lot of us, including myself, are guilty of not making the most of. Those friends that you knew five years ago but drifted apart for no particular reason? Give them a text and see if they want to meet up for a coffee. You never know, you might hit it off again and be left wondering why you didn’t do this years ago!
But remember, it’s just a bit of fun!
If your new friends aren’t the kinda people who embrace you for all you are, even when you are over-excited at having a glass Coca Cola bottle and insist on having a photo of it “like I’m Taylor Swift in the Coca Cola advert”, then maybe they aren’t for you.
I’m no friendship guru and I certainly don’t have the natural ability some people have to make everyone like them, but I have managed to surround myself with some amazing people in this noisy, busy and at times overwhelming city who make my life 100 times better. If you are feeling like you have room in you life and heart for some new friends then put yourself out there and try. You have nothing to lose.
And to all those people who have been there for me in ways both big and small, this post is dedicated to you. Fancy brunch soon?