So you’ve moved to a new city, full of excitement about all the new things you’re going see, the new experiences you’re going to have, and, of course, the new friends you’re going to make. But it’s been a few months now, and you’ve met… no one. Well, there was that guy at that language class you tried out, but he was a bit of a creep. And yes, joining a gym and being extra nice to the neighbours has got you on nodding terms with a few people. But without real friends, city life can be incredibly lonely — so maybe it’s time to give some of these more unusual ways to meet people a go…
1. Urban games
Making friends in the school playground was always so easy — you’d join in with someone else’s game one morning and have sworn to be best friends forever by the end of the day. So what better way to meet people as an adult than by turning the city into your very own playground?
Urban games, organised by companies like Firehazard, are essentially high-energy, city-wide escape rooms. In Firehazard’s ‘Citydash’ game, for example, up to 100 players are put into teams, given a map, and then let loose to crack clues and solve puzzles against the clock— all while evading roaming guards. Even if you and the rest of your team are total strangers at the start of the day, Citydash creates the kind of high-stress situation that can bond you with someone for life — or, make you vow to never to see them again…
2. Not just sports — fun sports
When you’re asking for advice on how to make friends in the city, everyone and their mother will tell you: do a sport. They’re not wrong; but forget about a silent game of badminton with a stranger you’ll never see again, and recreate those playground vibes with groups like Rabble.
Rabble host matches of team-based games like dodgeball, capture the flag and frisbee in various locations in various cities. As well as sneakily providing you with a high-intensity workout, Rabble games are a great shortcut to becoming part of an already tightknit friend group. And unlike in the schoolyard, there’s no need to be worried about being picked on for being a bit rubbish — as their website says, “there’s no right or wrong in our games. If you’re running around and having a good time, then you’re doing it right!”
3. Sharing is Caring
It’s a well-known phenomenon that if someone does you a favour, they’ll end up liking you more — bend this psychological quirk to your advantage by using rental platforms like Fat Llama to lend and borrow almost anything from people in your local area. This is an especially good way to meet people nearby with similar hobbies and interests to you; if you’ve got a bunch of spare photography equipment lying around, for example, then you can rent it out to people in the neighbourhood who need it, be they professionals or hobbyists, and you can lend from them in turn.
And for those who find themselves longing for some canine companionship in the city, there’s apps like Borrow My Doggy (sadly only currently available in the UK), where you can volunteer to take care of a local dog, for anything from simple walkies to full weekends away.
Socialising doesn’t have to wait until the weekend, or after work; early morning raves, organised by groups like Morning Gloryville, Secret Sunrise and Daybreaker are a weird trend that has been gaining momentum recently. With the dancing generally starting at around 6am, and continuing until 10am, they provide goodies like free massage, smoothie bars and yoga — and strictly no drugs except organic coffee. High on nothing but caffeine and good vibes, you’re bound to make some interesting new friends.
These are just 4 slightly offbeat ideas for getting and meeting new people — but the wonderful thing about urban life is that every city will have its own weird and wonderful social scene for you to explore. And if you try something different, and don’t immediately meet your BFF? Well — you’ve got out there and had an adventure in your amazing new home.