Finding Friends and Making Connections in London
Although the city has some eight million people, it could be challenging to find just the right match. Friendships and romantic relationships abound, though, especially in the Big Smoke, London’s nickname from Victorian times! Let me introduce you to some strategies to keep afloat interpersonally and how to find ways to share with and learn from others.
Work Colleagues, Your Daily Contact
With office hours taking up most of your time, it is imperative to feel that you have some kind of community at your workplace. Most startups will offer peer activities, such as cultural evenings, sports competitions, and game nights to engage their employees in social interaction, but not all human interaction can be scheduled. A simple way to connect at your workplace is to stick around for trips to the pub together, share lunch, and show interest in your colleagues by asking them how their weekend went. An excellent time to connect is during tea time – you’ll find that Londoners love to have a cup of tea or coffee and a snack at around 11 am. As a newbie you may want to ask for advice about where to go and what to see in the city, maybe opening up and talking about not having yet discovered the city.
Sports Activities in Urban Places
It’s not a rare sight to come across a group of Asian people doing slow movements in your local park. Their regular gatherings are anchored in a culture of exercise and meditation, maybe ask to join! If that’s too much of a slow dance, check online for informal sporting events like CrossFit, popular in this city. Strangers meet in groups to practice various core strength exercises guided by one instructor. They are easy to detect! Just follow the motivating music blasting from a portable speaker hiding somewhere in the bushes. Don’t be shy and check in person if you could join next time! And if you fancy yourself as more of a couch potato that Crossfitter, you can still get fit and meet people. Join a Couch to 5K running group, just Google for one nearby. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you go from complete beginner to fully-fledged runner!
Live in a Built-to-Rent Development
More and more of these developments are cropping up around London and for good reason! Purpose-built with community building in mind, built-to-rent developments are the perfect place to make friends. They are high-quality, well designed, comfortable and convenient. Each development features a range of communal spaces like lounges, cinema rooms, work/study spaces, rooftop terraces with BBQs, games rooms and gyms. You can even have pets at most of these developments! Events like social breakfasts and happy hours are organised by residents’ teams making it easier to meet new people while also making other areas of life simpler. It’s all about convenience in these centrally located apartments. Bills like electricity, water, heating and Wi-Fi are included in a single monthly payment.
Choose Your Subject Matter
Workshops and seminars are offered aplenty in London—follow your interests by booking a course to expand your knowledge and skills. Needless to say, you’ll find yourself among like-minded people you’ll have something in common with for at least that one day. To ensure interaction, a hands-on course will let you have plenty of opportunities to connect. If you choose to attend a lecture though, for example, there’d probably be only the breaks that allow for a little chat. Pottery courses are hugely popular at the moment. Apart from the social aspect, there is something highly rewarding about sculpting clay with your hands, creating something tangible. Check your local pottery class to combine the social with creation, whilst chatting and sculpting away. As an added bonus, you’ll have one less Christmas present to worry about with your handmade vase or bowl ready to be wrapped up and given away.
The Feel Good Factor of Doing a Good Deed or Two
Many charitable organisations rely on volunteers to help them carry out their missions whether they are helping disadvantaged people, animals, the environment or some other special cause. Offering your time by volunteering to help in some way is a great way to get to know other people who are passionate about the same charitable causes you are. There are hundreds of volunteering opportunities in London for people from all walks of life, interests and skill sets. It can be a one-off occasion or an ongoing arrangement, there is something for everyone. Whether you offer your time to support people with disabilities in some way, help out at an animal shelter, or spend time at an old age home where people are often lonely, you’ll meet like-minded people along the way. This is a win-win way of making new friends while also feeling good about yourself for doing something uplifting and positive.
Food For Thought
Not all of us are foodies, but we all have to eat, right? Joining a supper club is a great way of meeting new people and also to explore different kinds of food or new ways to dine. Plus, having a few glasses of wine around a dinner table is the ultimate icebreaker! As with everything else, London is full of options suited to every ‘taste’. Dine on an old tube train, join a Shakespeare-themed dinner party, or learn how to make fresh pasta with other pasta lovers and a pasta expert – of course, you get to eat what you make. Or, if you like cheese, keep it simple and go on an afternoon cheese crawl around London with other cheese fans. Somebody once said, “Good friends, good food, good times!”
Finally, there is something for everyone in a city like London, so the clue is to seek it out. If you feel your ambition of making new friends is not really happening, get the help of a mobile app, such as Happn. The profile section allows you to spell out your interests and consequently find out about people who share them. You might team up online to attend an event together!