Checking Instagram, you'd be forgiven for thinking everyone but you is part of a big, active social group who spend weeknights holed up in cozy restaurants and weekends going on long country walks. It can make for a lonely scrolling experience for anyone — especially if you feeling like you don't have enough friends yourself.
First things first: Instagram is a lie, you know this. If you find you feel lonely at weekends, delete the app (you can get it back on Monday). It's designed to make you feel lacking in everything – from health to beauty, life experiences to friends. Get rid and focus on the IRL.
Anyway – back to making friends. Perhaps you've just moved to a new area and don't have a social group yet. Perhaps your friends have scattered post-college. Perhaps you've decided to ditch some friends who weren't making you feel all that great. Perhaps you're a new mom and all your mates work. Perhaps you struggle to get out of the house.
Whatever reason you have for feeling like you need new friends, don't despair. Yes, it might be more difficult to make pals as a grown-up than it was as a kid, but it is still doable. And with the internet on the case and apps like Meetup, Bumble BFF, and more appearing every day, it's only going to get easier to find like-minded people to hang out with.
We asked the women of the Money Diaries Facebook group how they made friends as an adult and they didn't disappoint. Click through to find 26 actually useful tips on how to meet your new best mate.
Please add your own stories of making friends in the comments too.
I joined a bouldering gym. It’s a very social sport.
When I moved from Liverpool to London six years ago, I joined a Crossfit gym – made loads of friends through it who I’m still friends with long after I stopped going to the actual gym.
City Girl Network
City Girl Network are fab for this, they've got groups in cities up and down the country.
So I joined Manchester Girl (City Girl Network), they organize coffee meet-ups and nights out. I’ve also managed to find people to come to events with me (like plays and exhibitions).
When I first moved here, I joined Meetup.com and found groups of people with similar interests to me. I've recently made some local friends through vegan groups on Facebook too – we meet up and go out for dinner every six weeks/two months or so, which is really lovely.
A few years ago I was a single adult in my late 30s and was finding life difficult socially as most of my friends were married and had kids or were planning to have kids, so I joined a couple of Meetup groups via the Meetup app. This gave me the opportunity to meet people, often in a similar situation, while taking part in activities I enjoyed – mainly walking/hiking. My life’s changed a bit now as I met someone (through a good old fashioned dating app), but I still regularly hang out with friends from the Meetup walking group, one of whom has become a good friend.
I used Meetup. I met a lovely group of ladies. I attend meet-ups semi-regularly and have made a group of lifelong friends that I see at least a few times a month.
Group for moms
I had a baby in October and after I recovered from my C-section I immediately booked onto some baby groups – I was going stir crazy on my own at home all day! Since joining I've met a couple of local moms who I go for walks and coffee with!
After moving to Bondi from London, my new local bookshop asked me to host a monthly book club through which I’ve met lots of friends and like-minded people.
A book club. It’s very social anyway and most of the time [they] meet up in a coffee shop or a quiet pub so [you] can always stay longer and chat.
Bit out of date since Facebook’s dying on its arse, but I set up a feminist group in 2007, still friends with many people I met through it today, and have even lived with one of them.
After feeling isolated after a break-up, a friend recommended Scottish Women’s Walking Group on Facebook. There are walks every day and lots of ladies of mixed ages. Have made many new connections and also improved my health through being outdoors.
I have amazing friends through 1) church 2) having a baby and 3) Parkrun. We have a house group with church and meet weekly as well as for ad-hoc social things at weekends. Having a baby means you meet an entire group via NCT (or equivalent) and spend months going around baby groups with the same parents. It also means you're desperate to get out of the house at weekends so more excuses to meet people. Parkrun is also an excellent community and I go with a group of what started out as mums from church (combining 1 and 2) but now our husbands all run too and we take it in turns as well as meeting other people there who we've come to know.
I’m a military wife and making adult friends is hard enough without moving all the time and having to deal with rank snobs! I set up a wine club – I know nothing about wine, it was just a way to meet other ladies who like to drink wine. Round mine once a month – bring wine and cake!
There's an app/website called GirlCrew that I've used before. It's biggest in Dublin I think but also fairly big in London and various cities around the world. I made a few friends on there when I first moved cities and now we're good friends and even travel together! I also keep meaning to use Meetup but haven't got round to it yet.
A couple of years after I moved to London, I joined a theatre here, not knowing anybody who was involved. It's such a fabulous community and I've made some brilliant friends. What's especially lovely is that you don't only meet/make friends with people who are like you. I have some great mates in their 50s-70s and friends from completely different walks of life who I just wouldn't have met otherwise. Plus, it's possibly one of the most successful matchmakers in London. I met my other half there, and the number of marriages (and babies!) that have come out of the place is astounding...
I joined an am dram musical theatre group in 2017 and made the best friend ever!
Local sports clubs
I joined a local team that plays the field game rounders. I made friends (or Dragons, the name of our team!) for life! I was petrified when I joined but they've supported me through some tough mental health issues and I couldn't imagine life without them.
Running! There are so many run clubs and crews it’s impossible not to find your tribe, whether you're super speedy and competitive or running party pace at the back of the pack!
I made friends through fitness. I joined an outdoor fitness class, and through seeing a few of the same ladies on a weekly basis, we started working out together and meeting outside of the workout. The same thing happened when I joined a local run club; I met some really lovely people and they were really helpful in getting me to run more and run further... We've actually done runcations (runs abroad) together over the last few years!
I’ve played netball for years and have made so many friends through it. I’ve also found pole dancing classes to be a great place for finding friends too! More than anything, it takes time and effort to make friends as an adult, something I really didn’t expect.
I started playing roller derby when I moved cities – I’m still friends with some women I met there even though we now live all over the place. I wouldn’t especially recommend roller derby though as it took over my life!
Roller derby gave me a 70-strong family in a city where I only knew about three other people.
Joined an all girls local surf club, and a national surf club, a women’s network in work, netball team, went on group holiday tours, climbing club, volunteering work!
Foster existing relationships
I didn’t join any group in particular but I started putting more effort in with people that I met at uni and work.
I found that I was meeting people briefly but often and having small talk with them but it would never really become a real friendship. I was struggling to make new friends and my best friends from school were getting busier and busier (we all had various different schedules) so I decided I needed to widen my friend group and put more effort in with the new people I was meeting.
Without going over the top, I tried to speak to them a bit more about topics outside of work and uni, invite them to grab something to eat or go for a few drinks and also text every now and again to keep in touch when I didn’t see them about. It was almost like trying to date my friends.
Also, when I first started going out with my boyfriend, I became friends with his friends' girlfriends. He still has a large group of close friends from school, so that allowed me to meet about six new girls and thankfully we all get along well.
It really worked, and although I wouldn’t say I have about 20 best friends now, I do have a larger group of normal friends alongside my small group of three best friends, which is nice. It makes it so much easier to make plans and I’m not scraping the barrel trying to find people that are free and up for a night out or grabbing a coffee.
Sometimes the people are already around you but neither of you really want to make the first move to show interest outside of work, uni or other groups etc.
I used Mush (a meet-up app for mums). I've made a great friend through it. But I've found making friends comes with even more challenges when you throw young children into the mix!
I met a good friend using Mush, which helps you meet mums in your area.
Have a look at Girl Gang Manchester! They do 'speed mateing' in a few cities up north and it’s hugely popular!
I arrived in London knowing only one person, went to a swing dancing class at the end of my road four years ago and haven’t looked back. I have a new skill, a love for dancing, events on each week and friends for life. Best decision I ever made.
There are so many to pick from to suit your interests but I love FoodCycle, Crisis at Christmas (although this is only at Christmas) and Help Refugees.
The absolute best way I’ve made new friends is through improv courses. The type of people who do these courses tend to be quite open to meeting new people. Plus, once you’ve played the fool in front of each other that deffo breaks down any walls!
The Women's Institute
Cancel your Netflix subscription so you have to go out then use Bumble BFF, Meetup, local FB groups, volunteering to find people and things to do. Also worth checking if there’s a local WI – some of them have great events and are very friendly.
I've made my friends as an adult either after joining the Women's Institute (so much fun, a really broad, diverse group of women, you can get involved as much or as little as you want – from going to the occasional evening meeting to doing something every week and going camping together! – and I love it so much I'm now president) or from my dance class (learn new skills together, hang out at class every week and go to the pub after, start going to new classes together!).
I started a community for women! Sister Stories helps create a really gentle space for women to come together and share their stories in real life without comparison or competition – some of my best friends came from here.
In London, Gutsy Girls is really fun for evening events like paddleboarding and skateboarding. I've met a few friends that way.
There’s a Scottish group called Brave Burds Adventures just started up, which is similar.
I moved 400 miles to a new city knowing no one apart from my sister and an old uni friend who I'd never been that close to.
I joined an organization called Junior Chamber International (JCI), which is a self-development organization for professional young people (18 to 40). I didn't join with the primary aim of making close friends, but they did public speaking training, which is something I wanted to improve and I thought it would be nice to spend time in the company of other people around my own age/interests/career plans.
100% the best thing I ever did. I've made so many great friendships for life out of it and because it's an international organiation with chapters in cities all around the world, I now know people across a ton of different countries too.