If youre coming from school, university or somewhere where friendship groups were already established, meeting people might feel like it takes a lot of work. At school, we tend to get thrown together with the people who become our friends. Spending six to seven hours a day with the same people for five days a week means youre likely to know them pretty well after a while; work is no different. Having to leave that kind of social safety behind might leave you feeling quite isolated. Perhaps you dont have a job at the moment or maybe English isnt your first language. Whatever the case, hopefully the tips below will help you take the first steps towards making new friends in London.
Setting the scene
The first question to ask is: where do you want to meet people? The answers to this question might coincide with your hobbies. If you enjoy sports and decide to join a team, youll already be meeting people who have something in common with you. However, this might also be a great opportunity to try something new. There are groups and meetings throughout the city that cater for all sorts of activities so youre likely to find something that is of interest.
Choosing someone to talk to
Once youve chosen the setting, you need to start approaching people. This is easier for some than it is for others but, even if the idea of starting a conversation with a complete stranger is your worst nightmare, it has to happen at some point if you want to make new friends. Once youve taken that step, you can usually tell within the first few minutes whether youre going to get on with that person or not.
Beginning the conversation
If youve chosen the right person to talk to, youll probably have a genuine interest in their background and hobbies. Start with simple questions and see where the conversation goes. Topics like career, family and country of origin will tell you a lot about what kind of person they are. Keeping the conversation balanced is important; while you dont want to be doing all the talking yourself, you also dont want to feel like theyre not interested in you. See our tips on good conversation for a more hints around how to take that first step and break the ice.
So youve found the place, found the person and now youre chatting away like old friends. What happens next? Well, its completely up to you. Meeting new friends is a bit like dating. If you end the evening feeling like you want to see the person again, then go for it. If not, then there will be other opportunities to meet someone youre better matched to in the future. If you do want to meet up again, talk to the other person and see what they want to do. While some people will enjoy meeting up for a coffee and a chat, you might also want to find an activity or event youll both enjoy; the possibilities are endless.