Last updated: October 12, 2023
Hey! My name is Nick Gray and I will teach you how to make friends, meet new people, and even build big relationships.
Making new friends can be hard. But it can also change your life.
It did for me. My friends encourage and inspire me, provide support, and have even helped me launch my last company.
Whether you have moved to a new city, started a new job, or are just looking to spice up your friend group, there’s a bunch of advice online about how to make new friends. But I’m going to give you a few different ideas that you might not have considered, including:
- Join a sports league. You’ll learn what the best sport is for making new friends.
- Research local clubs. See where to find listings of these.
- Guided tours. This is a non-obvious idea! See why it works.
Plus a bunch more. I’ve tested this advice with dozens of people who have met hundreds of new friends and acquaintances.
If you want to skip ahead and learn the secret to meeting new people, I can tell you that my advice can be summed up like this:
“If you want to meet interesting people, you have to do interesting things.”
In addition to common tropes like joining a sports club or attending a church event, I’ll also give you some non-traditional ideas for where and how you can meet new people. I’ll show you how to make it easy, how to make it fun, and then how to make the types of friends who inspire and encourage you.
Why you should trust me: I moved to New York City hardly knowing anyone. I wasn’t outgoing, socially confident, and I definitely didn’t know how to host a party. Over the last 15 years I’ve met thousands of people and hosted hundreds of parties to build big relationships. I wrote this article and interviewed several others who have used these techniques to meet new friends, best friends, and even boosted their careers. Keep reading to see our best tips.
Why Making New Friends is Important
Making new friends can help you in a variety of different ways. You can learn how to meet new people and make friends. When you do, you’ll get invited to more events, have a greater sense of community, and generally be happier.
Science backs this up: studies show that as we get older, we need more friends to stay connected in our community. Making friends is a crucial skill that is not taught in school. It can be scary and uncomfortable, but once you know what to do it is exciting and worthwhile!
Ways to Make New Friends
I’ll outline and describe each of these techniques below:
- Join a Club or Organization
- Find an Online Group (and Where)
- Special Interests and Hobbies
- Guided Tours, Especially When Traveling
- Talk to Your Co-workers or Neighbors
- More Places to Meet New Friends
- Host a 2-Hour Cocktail Party or happy hour
Join a Club or Organization
Get involved in any activity that matters to you. It is where you’re most likely to meet people with similar values and interests as you.
Clubs are excuses for people to hang out with each other consistently. Some examples of clubs are:
- Book club
- Gym or exercise class
- Country clubs and Golf resorts
- Rec sports like kickball
- Yoga studios
- Foodie clubs
- Ski clubs
Pro tip: Kickball is the best sport to play for making friends because the teams are large, and you’ll spend half the time hanging out in the dugout altogether.
Organizations are more purpose-driven. They are a great way to make a difference and create new friends who have similar interests as you. Some examples of organizations are local committees, local non-profits, and language classes.
Find an Online Group (and Where)
You can find online communities around your passions. List some of your favorite hobbies and activities. Then search online to find groups about those things.
I find that the best place to look for these online groups is discord channels, slack communities, Facebook, and forums.
Where To Find Local Communities
- Meetup.com has a surplus of small local events that you can go to.
- Toastmasters is another one that literally forces you to speak to new people.
- Facebook groups that have consistent events.
- Event boards and newsletters.
Special Interests and Hobbies
Ask yourself these two questions:
- What do you do with your free time already?
- How can you go to areas filled with other people doing this same activity?
For example, if you love yoga and you always practice at home with YouTube videos by yourself, you should sign up for a yoga studio. Many have complimentary sample or trial memberships. Or find a nearby park where locals host their own yoga classes.
Barb in Florida suggests visiting some galleries. Their daughter, Rachel, shared her strategy and “cheat code” for meeting new people in any new area.
Attending art gallery shows often host receptions with refreshments and hors d’oeuvres. A perfect life hack to meet new people in the area and get free food and drinks while you’re at it.
Guided Tours, Especially When Traveling
The point of traveling is to experience a new part of the world. And the best way to get a more immersive experience in an area is to take a tour.
You get to surround yourself with people who are traveling just like you. This is a perfect opportunity to connect with people and make new friends.
Here are a few tours that you might find on Airbnb Experiences, TripAdvisor, Yelp, or elsewhere:
- Art tours
- National parks
- Food tours
- Boat tours
- Bus tours
Talk to Your Co-workers or Neighbors
Make sure to talk to them about their interests, their hobbies, and whatever else seems important to them. Since every human being’s favorite subject is themselves, it makes it really easy to connect with someone by talking about their passions.
My friend, Sujan, did something genius! He printed out friendly family flyers and put them in everyone’s mailbox in his suburban neighborhood. It’s not a core group in the traditional sense, but it still got him enough RSVPs to have the confidence to invite more people to his first gathering.
More Places to Meet New Friends
Here are some more suggestions from people who read early drafts of my book:
“Look at organizations for ex-pats like InterNations. They have groups in over four hundred cities. I find ex-pats can be more open to connecting. Unlike locals, they don’t have established networks and might have just moved to a city.” —Judhajit De
“I have invited a few very distant relatives that live in town to parties. For example, my mother-in-law’s cousin’s daughter. She’s someone I met once at a big family event, seemed cool, and it turned out we could be friends in addition to extremely distant in-laws.” —Alex Gates
“For women looking to meet new friends, try the Bumble app and use the Bumble BFF setting. It’s a great way to connect. I met a number of new people using it and invited them to my parties.” —Gena Stanley
“Join a recreational sports league in your area. I play on soccer teams and have made many friends over the years. My own Party Pro Tip: To maximize the opportunity of meeting people, play kickball because that sport has the largest teams.” —Seth Hanes
“Reach out to people from your yoga, boxing, or gym classes. Invite the coaches and instructors too.” —Rui Zhang
Host a 2-Hour Cocktail Party
Now that you’ve made a bunch of new friends or met several new people, it is time to connect them all. Hosting a party can be a great way to deepen your relationships and make new friends.
Ask your five closest friends if they are available to meet up on a specific day. They will form the “Core Group” of your party attendees. The best time frame is three weeks away. I suggest hosting your party on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday night since it will be easier for people to attend.
I remember the first time that I made a new friend in New York City. I was so excited that I could barely sleep. I never knew that I could simply talk to someone, get their contact information, and start to build a relationship.
Now you can start to do the same. Once you start using these tips and techniques, it’ll become much easier to make new friends. I hope that I’ve convinced you of the benefits of hosting a small party, too.
Remember: “If you want to meet interesting people, do interesting things.”
The first three things you should look to do are:
- Join a sports league
- Research local clubs
- Find guided tours
- Talk to your co-workers or neighbors
- Host a cocktail party or happy hour
I’ve tested this advice with dozens of people who have met hundreds of new friends. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
Want to bring interesting people together for a cocktail party? Want them to beg you to host more? You can do this with a simple 2-hour cocktail party. Check out the book that I wrote and download the first few chapters for free to see exactly how it works.
Do you have other tips or tricks for making friends? Send me an email and I’ll add your notes to this page.