Here is my guide on how to meet people and make friends in London. I’ve lived in London for about eight years now, and when I arrived I did not know anyone. Now I have built up a good group of friends, and this is how I did it.
How to meet people and make friends in London
Moving to a new city is hard. You have to find a place to live, a job, and friends.
Different people are different. Some people will be just fine in their own company. Only socialising at work and spending their free time on themselves. That’s totally fine. I used to think I was like that. Admittedly I absolutely love having a free afternoon where I can just relax in a coffee shop engrossed in a book. Is there anything better than that?
After weeks of doing that though, I started to feel a little lonely and unhappy. I completely understand that not everyone feels this way, and perhaps they still have friends from their hometown that they catch up with every now and then. I wasn’t so lucky in that I could see my old friends that often. I thought it would sometimes be nice to know that on a Saturday morning I was catching coffee with a friend in Hoxton, or having a roast on a Sunday with a good group of girls.
Unless you are fortunate enough to know a few people moving to London at the same time as you, or you studied in London, chances are you will be / have been in the same boat as me. There are so many people living in London but everyone seems so wrapped up in their own lives they barely seem to notice you, let alone extend the hand of friendship.
Here are a few things I have found that help when it comes to meeting people and making friends in London. Note, although they are helpful, I’m not going to suggest meeting people at cooking classes or anything where you have to pay £££ for. We already spend enough money on rent to be able to afford that, am I right?
I had colleagues who always seemed to be doing something every evening of the week and their phone would be constantly buzzing. I kept thinking to myself ‘how do they manage it?’ Getting to know people in London is hard. But now I have got to know more people too.
How to meet people and make friends in London – my advice
1. Utilise your existing network
Do you have friends who know people who live in London? Ask them for an introduction. Likelihood is, if they are friends of your friend, you will probably have something in common too. Also, once you have made a few friends in London, ask who they know and whether they’d like to organise something as a group some time. You can then expand your social circle whilst introducing them to some other people you know, too.
2. Chat to your colleagues
This one is tricky. I have worked in small companies where people were London natives who already had their own friendship groups and lived far away anyway so we never managed early morning coffee meets. But if you work in a large company, chances are there will be someone in the same boat as you, who is new to London and wanting to make some pals to explore the capital with. You just have to reach out. But it is better to start this way as you can chat to them over coffee in the workplace first and decide what you want to do in London.
3. Get on social media
I’m not talking about sending out multiple tweets with the hashtag #meetmeLondon or something every day. I’m not sure what kind of results that would garner. I’ve not tried it haha. But there are various groups on social media you can join to connect with like-minded souls. A few that I am a member of include Meet People in London and Social London. You can chat a bit to members on Facebook to see if you click and arrange to do something. I’ve met a few people this way actually. Some of my best friends in London come from these groups. You can choose to meet one person at a time, or get a group together to spend a sunny afternoon in the park or in a pub garden.
Similarly there is Citysocializer. This works a bit differently to the Facebook meet up groups in that events are advertised and you can subscribe to them and attend them. There will often be a group of people in attendance, so it is great if you want to meet lots of people off all different ages and backgrounds. Sometimes it will be an activity such as a walk or sightseeing, so you can try something you’ve always wanted to do in great company.
5. Get in the mindset
I’m not ashamed to say, when I first moved to London I wanted to find my feet before making friends. I know to some making friends is laying down roots, but to me I wanted to get comfortable in myself and in the city before I explored it with anyone else.
I guess what I am saying is, be social when you are ready to be social and put your best foot forward. Sometimes you just want to spend the day under the duvet watching Netflix. That’s fine. But if being alone is getting you down and you want to make more friends, you have to prepare yourself to get out there and start chatting. Hopefully the sites I have suggested will help with that.
For a bonus tip, I used to go to my local pub by myself. I took a book and had a few drinks. I started talking to the people that worked there as I was a regular, and they started sitting with me on their breaks. I got talking to them and they started inviting me to have drinks with them after work. Now we spend time with each other away from the local too! I know not everyone would want to go to a pub to meet new people – but it’s worth considering if you’re comfortable with the idea!
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to meet people and make friends in London?