Being new to the capital, youre probably itching to get out there and start meeting new friends in London. Theres nothing wrong in spending time alone but too much time alone can leave you feeling lonely, especially in a new city. Broaden your horizons; if you think about it, London has a population of over 7million – thats 7 million potential new friends! Heres how to quickly make friends in London.
1) Go to where potential new friends will be!
You wont make any new friends in London sitting at home watching the TV. The most effective way to maximise the amount of new people you meet is to join a group of people with a common interest, such as an arts group, a book group, a religious group or a particular society or club.
If youre of a more sporty nature, a great way to instantly meet a lot of people with similar interests is to join a sports team/group, dont worry if youre a little rusty or cant play that well – not all teams are that competitive, all you need to do is genuinely have fun and support your team/group members.
Another opportunity to meet new friends in London is by volunteering, which can be an extremely rewarding pastime. A quick search on the web shows there are many opportunities to volunteer in London.
Once involved in a team, group or indeed any social activity, you should find this one common interest is all thats needed to spark a friendship – if you put the work in. Who knows, your team/group mates may soon be inviting you out. Ultimately, if you have more things going on in your life, youll have more to talk about and potentially, more things in common with any potential new friend you may meet.
2) Use the web as a tool to find new friends
Being new to London, the internet is a great place to start looking for new friends. You need to be cautious though, as Im sure youre aware, not everyones motives are innocent. Otherwise, the internet can be a great tool to vet potential new friends in London. Make sure you assess the person, dont waste time chatting to people outside of London and ensure any meetings are made in public. new2london.net is a great place to meet and vet new friends, make sure you participate in the many fun events to maximise your friend making potential.
3) Use positive body language
You can tell a lot about a person from their body language. Its important to be aware of the image you portray, it often speaks louder than words. Keep your body language open and relaxed; folded arms act as a barrier and clenched fists can make you look angry, keep arms loose and by your side. Remember to maintain eye contact – looking away or down can send negative signals to the person you are speaking to. And remember to smile, it doesnt need to be a huge cheesy grin but a laidback, casual smile says you are a friendly person before you speak a single word. And finally, relax – tension and nervousness is apparent and is unattractive.
4) Talk to people
Meeting new people and making friends in London requires a little effort; you could be surrounded by people at work, university, at a club or group and in your neighbourhood but youll never make friends if you dont talk to anybody.
Talk to everybody, everywhere; speak to the person next in the queue, the shop assistant, the barman, the person sat next to you, anyone you come into contact with, talk to people at work, university, in a bar, pub – speak to people everywhere.
If at work, university or anywhere you go, dont sit with the people you usually do – find extra people to hang out with, you need to keep all options open and you never know, you could hit it off.
Dont seek to select certain people over others; talk to everyone. Realistically, in most cases, this will probably go no further but is a) good practise for starting conversations, the ability to speak to anyone is a fantastic trait to have and b) by just speaking to someone you have a chance of making a new acquaintance or maybe a lasting friendship. Repeat this over and over again, until you have made a positive connection, then, you may see where Im going with this, repeat – you can never have too many friends.
5) Make compliments
This is a really easy way to start a conversation if you cannot see any common ground to start from. Remember to be genuine and confident with your compliments, follow all compliments with questions, e.g. I really like your trainers let them respond, then ask questions. This is a good way to find common ground and to initiate a conversation. Nice gestures will be remembered – if youve spent a long time talking to someone and youre heading to the bar, for instance, why not offer them a drink? But be careful, dont try to buy friendship – you could end up being walked over.
6) Start a conversation
The best way to start a conversation is to simply introduce yourself and ask them their names. Follow this up with a question, eg who are you here with? and, how do you know them? The trick is to get them to start the conversation without realising it, people will be happy talking about themselves – your job is to listen and find common ground eg, you play guitar? Me too. Something to remember is that your experience and knowledge will make your conversation more interesting, talk about current affairs, any activities you participate in, or anything youve seen or read that youve enjoyed.
7) Get together
So youve just met someone you really get on with, make sure you organise a meet up in London if you dont you might lose the opportunity to take the friendship any further – especially if you feel you may not meet the person again. Firstly, offer your contact details, ask them if they want to get together sometime for coffee/lunch/drinks – if you are interested in taking it any further they have your details. Dont worry if they dont offer their own details; if you keep repeating this, someone will get back to you.
If youve already discovered you have a common interest, ask them more about it; ask them if theres a group they belong to, if so, when and where; the chances are theyll invite you to come along – giving you the chance to meet even more people with similar interests. If, on the other hand, you are a member of a group, why ask them if theyd like to come along and check it out.
8) Be a good friend
Once you have a few friends, remember to join in with everything. Remember birthdays, be there for them when they need you. Remember just because you have friends it doesnt mean you can stop putting in the effort. Being a good friend means you are there for the good times and the bad times, certain sacrifices will have to be made to make sure you are there for your friends. If a friendship is one sided, this can cause unnecessary strain. Be reliable, let them know if youre not going to make an arranged meet up and try not to leave them waiting for you.
Learn when to shut up and listen; dont get carried away with yourself and just keep on talking and dont just nod along when they speak, genuinely listen to what your friend has to say and try to help them – if you understand, let your friend know you are there. The little things are priceless.
9) Choose wisely
You dont have to be everyones friend, be selective -to a point; this will make sure the friends you make are quality. Its not about how many friends you have, its how good they are.
Once you have a few friends you may find that some are easier to get on with than others. You must always give people the benefits of doubt but sometimes you may notice a friendship becoming unhealthy; they could become too needy, controlling, over critical or unnecessarily exposing you to new dangers. If this happens, you may need to get out of that friendship – do it carefully and wisely; take up new activities or join a new group, you can then say, genuinely, you have no spare time for them. You need to think, does this person make me feel good? If the answer is no, trust your intuition and move on.
10) Learn to entertain
If youve met some people you trust, why not invite them to your house to hang out? Give them a reason to come to your home and try your best to make your new friends at home. You could show off your culinary skills in a dinner party, or more informally, you could just have a few drinks and a chat. If you have a games console you could challenge your friends. Being a good host means making sure your guests are comfortable. Alternatively, you could organise events or nights out – your friend will love the fact youve taken the initiative and theres always the chance to grow your friendship circle.
11) Using your hobbies to meet new people
When youve just moved to a new city, meeting people can be a challenge. Although millions of people living in London, it can be quite difficult to actually get to know fellow urbanites. Finding a group of people that shares a common interest or concern is a great place to start. The chances are that if you meet people that have one thing in common with you, more shared interests will follow.
12) Groups, clubs and societies
Whether youre into sport, drama or French movies from the 1950s, there are plenty of groups out there where you can meet like-minded people while doing something you love. Information about local groups and clubs in London can be found online, in local newspapers and in the windows of local haunts. If youre looking for new clubs to join, keep a look-out wherever you go as many shops and cafes will advertise local happenings.
If you cant find a group in your area that matches your interests, why not start your own? Youre probably not going to be the only person in your borough with a particular hobby so you could be doing the community a great service by taking the initiative and creating something new.
13) Sign up for evening classes
Part-time classes and courses are a great way of learning new skills and meeting people with similar interests. If youve always had the desire to learn a new language, improve your drawing skills or get fit but never had the chance to, now could be a great time. It is possible to find classes that are inexpensive and wont interfere too much with work or your social life.
One of the great things about classes is that they recreate an environment everyone is familiar with: school. Remember how easy it seemed to meet people at school? Adult classes dont have to be any different. Youll be seeing the same people every week and can get to know them over time. This kind of situation is perfect for more introverted people. Theres no pressure to be friends with anyone but at the same time youll have the chance to meet people with similar goals and interests.
14) The rewards of volunteer work
Volunteering isnt something that a lot of people consider. We are taught to equate work with financial gain so, for some, it doesnt make sense to give up your time for free. However, even though youre not making money from the experience, volunteering is a great way to enjoy giving something back to the community and meet people who share that feel-good factor.
15) Museum and theatre membership
Are you fascinated by Ancient Egypt? Entranced by art? Just cant get enough Chekhov? Whatever your cultural preferences are, London is full of museums and theatres that host special events for members. Whether it is access to talks, special evening viewings or discounted tickets, memberships are usually reasonably priced and will provide a great way to meet fellow theatre-lovers, history enthusiasts or art appreciators.