10 Tips to make friends in a new city FAST

Moving to a new city can seem really exciting on the face of it, but in reality, it’s often quite lonely. 

You’re uprooting and leaving behind all your friends. And you’re also leaving behind all your favourite places - your favourite burger place; the local cinema where you know the owners; the salsa bar where meeting people was super easy; the coffee shop where all the staff know you by name. So you’re not just leaving behind friends, but also the familiar structures you had in place that made making new friends so easy. 

But I’ve moved 7 times and can finally say I’ve figured out how to turn the process of making friends in a new city something enjoyable, easy and fast. So here are my 5 rock solid tips that’ll get you more friends than you know what to do with.

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1. Bumble Friends

Screenshots Of Bumble App  

Most people know Bumble as a dating site. And it is. But at the click of a button, you can switch into ‘friend mode’ and start swiping left or right on potential friends. 

I know, I know, it sounds really lame. But so did online dating back in the day. It’s all just perception. The world is moving online. In some ways that’s great (you wouldn’t be able to read this piece of art without it) and in others it’s not so good. One of the ways in which it’s bad - alongside growing populations and expanding cities - is it’s lead to the destruction of community. Hence people moving online to date. And now to make friends. If you can embrace the change, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to meet awesome people you otherwise wouldn’t meet. I’ve met lifelong friends off that app and can’t recommend it enough.

Make sure to fill out your profile completely. I’ve seen some dudes just take pictures of themselves half naked in the mirror with no bio or answered prompts. I promise you you’re gonna be slow to make friends if you do this. Instead, make a real effort to craft your profile. The more detailed you are with profile, the more you’ll call out to the ‘right’ kind of people - people that have similar interests to you and value what you value. 

Note: you can only meet friends of the same gender.

2. Facebook Groups

For big cities: instead of joining a city page, join a group of whatever borough you’re going to be in. If the group is too big, it starts to lose that community feel. Try and find an active group with under 10,000 members.  

Once you’ve joined, post in the group and say something like “hey! I’m new to the city and hoping to meet some new people - anyone up for a coffee?” I know, I know, this seems kinda lame, but I tried this when I moved to London and it worked wonders. I had over 100 comments from people up for meeting up! We created a Whatsapp group and about 20 of us met up for drinks. From that group, I made 4 solid friends.  

Just remember, you’re definitely not the only person in a big city that’d love more friends. It just takes someone brave enough to step up and say “I wanna make some friends!” for all the folk holding their tongues to get the confidence to say “me too!”



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3. Park Run

People Running In A Park

In pretty much every town and city in the UK, you’ll find a Park Run - a free, weekly 5K hosted in your local park. You’ll find a wide range of people attend these events but they’re all bound together by a sense of community.  

4. The gym

Man Lifting Weights With Encouragement

Gyms are a great place to meet people for 2 reasons:

  • You go there again and again so you’ll see the same faces

  • It facilitates chatting to people: you’ll ask people how many sets they have left; and they’ll ask you. Over time “how many sets left?” Will turn into, “Hey dude, what you working on today? Oh nice, nice...can I jump in?” 

5. Local coffee shop

  Barista Behind A Counter

If you’re a coffee addict like me, you’ll go for coffee often. Find a coffee shop you like that’s nearby and go there often. You’ll start to get familiar with the staff and might be able to make some friends there. And just like with the gym, you’ll start to notice who the regulars are and over time a nod will turn into a hello which’ll turn into a “can I join you?”



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6. Find a group that does something you love
Person Holding Phone With App Visible

You COULD make friends with the night-owl alcholic party animal, but if you don’t drink, have kids and prefer hikes to huge adrenaline spikes, a friendship is unlikely to make sense long term. Sounds plain as day, but it’s nuts how often we look for friends in the wrong places.

So think about what you value and go where there are others that value the same things. If you’re vegan, find a vegan group to join; if you LOVE basketball, join a basketball team; if you’re a boardgame fiend, find a boardgame group to nerd out with. Meetup.com is a great way to find these kinds of groups.

7. Church

Large Stained Glass Window With Benches In Foreground

I’m not religious, but my friends that are very quickly make steadfast friends wherever they go. The Church is great at building community and taking new people under their wing. So if it’s up your street, this path pretty much trumps all the others. Why? Because fair weather friends are easy to find, but not of much use. The Church encourages people to love thy neighbor and sacrifice for those they love. They’re the kind of friends you want on your side! 

8. Ask your network who they know in your new city

Pretty obvious but something people often miss: you already have a network of friends, tap into it! Surely of all your friends, family and acquaintances, there is someone who can get the ball rolling for you in your new city. All you have to do is be that squeaky wheel. Everytime you meet someone say: hey, who do you know in INSERT NEW CITY I want to make some new friends. 



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9. Once you make a couple of friends, ask to meet their friends

Also, obvious but people feel embarrassed doing it. If you make friends with someone who has been in your new city for a while, they’ll have other friends - friends that you’re likely to get along with. All you need is an intro, so just push for it! Often times people don’t think about how you’re new in town and are probably feeling a bit lonely, so you’ve got to be vocal. I’ve never asked this of a friend and had them turn me down. They just need to be reminded of it and then they’re happy to help.  

Plus, it actually benefits them too - no one wants a load of individual friends, we want to build a community. There’s plenty of studies showing that a complex interlacing of friendships make people happy and they last significantly longer; meanwhile 1:1 friendships don’t increase happiness and don’t last anywhere near as long. These friends are also much less likely to help you out when it hits the fan - i.e. they’re fair-weather friends.  

10. 100-Day Interaction Challenge

This is something I tried with a bunch of friends and it worked wonders. Here’s how it works:

Reach out to a bunch of friends and tell them you’re looking to get out your comfort zone and try meeting new people. You’re going to challenge yourself to chatting to one stranger every day. Ask them if they want to join.  

Everyone that says yes, you add to a whatsapp group and you all encourage each other and push each other to reach out to new people. You’ll also be able to share ideas about the best ways to strike up conversations with strangers. This is great for deepening conversations with friends you already have - you’re going through something tough together - and making new, spontaneous connections wherever you are. Once you develop this skill, you’ll be able to make new friends wherever you go.


So there you have it – 10 tips to make friends in a new city FAST. If you apply even a few of these, you’ll make a solid group of friends in no time!

If you still need to find garage, storage or parking for your move, Stashbee can help. We’re often the cheapest option for both storage and parking – especially for short-term needs.

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Updated 17th Apr 2023

Written 11th Oct 2022