According to the world’s longest scientific study of happiness1https://magazine.hms.harvard.edu/articles/good-life by Robert Waldinger, investing in social connections is key to happiness and well-being.
However, making friends can be challenging, especially as we grow older and shift our focus to professional development and other priorities that take us to new places and hog most of our precious hours.
Here are our 20 best friendship apps to meet like-minded people online.
Friendship App Quick Picks
- Best for Finding Community: Meetup
- Best for Young People: Yubo
- Best Tinder for Friends: Bumble BFF
- Best for Women: Hey! VINA
- Best for Online Chatting: Wink
- Best for New Homeowners: Nextdoor
- Best for Athletes: Atleto
- Best for Pen Pals: Slowly
- Best for Extroverts: LMK
- Best for Language Learners: Tandem
- Best for New Moms: Peanut
- Best for Finding Shared Interests: Friender
- Best for Hobbyists and Travelers: Skout
- Best for Gamers: Twitch
- Best for Dog Lovers: PawDates
- Best for Travel Enthusiasts: Couchsurfing
- Best for Worldwide Connections: UNBLND
- Best for Finding Like-Minded People: We3
- Best for Authentic Connections: RealU
- Best for Those Seeking Serious Relationships: Coffee Meets Bagel
Watch our video to learn how to meet new people:
If you want to avoid swiping right and judging people immediately or fear awkward one-on-one interactions, Meetup is the friendship app for you. This is an online app focused on facilitating real-life connections.
Meetup brings together like-minded people in social settings like workshops, gatherings, group activities, etc. You can find something for just about everyone, even if you initially feel socially awkward. Meetup is also among the best apps for couples to make friends.
Pro Tip for Introverts: Surveys show2https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-introverts-corner/201202/survey-says-how-meet-new-people introverts are likelier to meet new friends when others introduce them. While a group setting may seem scary or intimidating, it could be the easiest way to find a new friend group because you automatically have something to discuss (the hobby you’re meeting up to do).
Not everyone, especially teenagers, has the courage or confidence to jump into a new friendship right away. Some are shy, while others are picky. Either way, Yubo is one of the best apps for young individuals to make friends online. It offers an easy-to-use platform to explore, match, chat, and even use its catfish-proof live video streams to elevate your social experience.
The app mainly caters to an under-18 audience, making it super safe. However, users may require parental consent to use it.
Bumble BFF is the friendship counterpart of the popular dating app Bumble Dating. It allows people moving to a new city or area to build friendships and expand their social circle. The platform is incredibly similar to Tinder. It features a swiping and matching mechanism, making it easy to quickly find people and connect with them.
You can enter your bio, location, and interests before scrolling through some potential friends to add to your friend group. Unlike the Bumble dating app, either party can reach out first on Bumble BFF. Chat in the app, meet up for coffee, and hopefully laugh your butts off together!
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If you’re looking for the “Tinder for (Girl) Friends,” download this app ASAP! Founded by women and for women, Hey! VINA is all about women’s empowerment and collaboration.
This female-only social experience brings women together based on lifestyle and passions. They even offer quizzes, advice, and articles about growing into the best version of yourself as an independent woman.
Pro Tip: Finding potential new friends and chatting on an app is only the first step. You have to know how to connect with them IRL! You’re not alone if you need to overcome post-pandemic social awkwardness.
Luckily, rebuilding your social skills is like going to the gym after a prolonged break. It might take some effort initially, but you’ll return to the groove soon enough.
Watch our video below to learn how to get back to socializing post-pandemic:
Another Tinder-inspired friendship app, this one’s for any gender or age range. You are only shown people with at least one thing in common with you, and you can swipe left or right on potential friends. Chatting is accessible inside the app or by switching straight over to Snapchat.
Pro Tip: Regarding social skills, making real connections on a friendship app is like having a face-to-face conversation: you have to express genuine interest in the other person!
People love to talk about themselves and feel like you’re interested in what they say, so be sure to ask lots of questions and skip the small talk.
Easy Questions to Ask When Chatting on Friendship Apps:
- Where did you grow up?
- What are you most excited about lately?
- What’s your favorite spot to hang out around town?
- Are you into [reference a book, musician, sports team, etc., related to your shared interest]?
- What do you do for a living? Do you like your job?
- Where is your favorite place you’ve visited?
Don’t forget to ask follow-up questions to demonstrate that you’re paying attention (whether in chat or IRL). For example, “You mentioned you went to a festival; what kind of festival was it? Was it fun?”
Did you or your family recently move to a new neighborhood or town and want to connect with the locals and make new friends? Some of these people could be living in the same apartment building or down the street. Find out with Nextdoor, one of the best apps to make local friends. This powerful private social networking app allows you to find people based on location through a secure, verified user base.
When you find people nearby, you can chat with them, learn about the community, host dinners and events, or exchange valuables. Overall, Nextdoor is ideal for families looking to build social connections without knocking on doors.
Research shows3https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14753 that exercising with a friend promotes motivation and healthier lifestyle habits. Atleto is an app that builds on this “exercise contagion” phenomenon by bringing together athletic people to #sporttogether and coordinate group fitness activities. The app is like a blend between Meetup and Tinder. You can choose from over 40 sports and find your community of people who like to get their sweat on.
So, whether you’re looking to shoot some hoops or need a gym buddy to motivate you to push your limits, look further than Atleto.
If you love to write as much as we do, pen paling can be a great way to make new friends! Skip the tedious paper, pen, and mailing and jump straight into Slowly, which introduces you to potential new friends all around the globe.
And it’s not just completely random strangers, either. The app pairs you up with potential friends by matching your potential interests—so if you’re into dancing, cooking, and traveling, you’re bound to find someone across the globe with similar interests!
This app (for extroverts) is about talking with people via text or voice chat (but you don’t have to give them your phone number!). You can get a feel for a potential friend in the app before any awkward face-to-face interactions. Chatting with new people has always been challenging (or intriguing)!
Suppose you’ve been struggling to learn that new language alone. Help is on the way! With Tandem, you can connect with like-minded language learners from all around the world. For example, share your English with Japanese learners and teach each other native lingo for free.
Tandem is a great way to make friends—and you may also have someone to visit across the world!
The creators of Peanut wanted to create a networking app for moms to make friends online and support each other. Studies have shown4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518627/ that social support is one of the most important ways to prevent and overcome postpartum depression.
The app has chat rooms, group conversations, knowledge sharing, and community meetups. No woman should go through motherhood alone!
Studies show5https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26828831/ that we’re hard-wired to seek out people with similar habits, hobbies, and perspectives. If you’re sick of boring surface-level conversations, Friender solves that problem quickly with an algorithm that only matches you based on your favorite activities and interests. This swipe-based friend-finding app makes it easy to start conversations you care about.
Pro Tip: If you have few hobbies or interests to even type into an app, one of the easiest ways to start is by trying new hobbies.
Skout is among the oldest players in the online dating industry. It started in 2007 to help people meet friends and potential dates. The matches are based on geographic proximity and preferences. It’s perfect for meeting people while traveling, moving, or entering a new chapter of life.
One of the best features is the ability to discover people directly in your vicinity by checking into a location and seeing who else on the app is there.
Think streaming oasis for fan groups and hobbyist communities. Though it started as a gamers’ paradise, Twitch has broadened to everything from makeup artists to wellness consultants to sex columnists. If you love live streams, you can find friends and fans in almost any category with mutual interests.
Dogs are great companions, but sometimes, talking to humans is nice, too. This app connects pet owners to meet at dog parks or walk with their pups. You get to set up doggie play dates and find new friends simultaneously! It’s a win-win.
Pro Tip for Dog Owners: When approaching other dog owners in parks or social settings, study both canines’ body language to learn whether they’re scared, happy, or aggressive. The last thing you want is to trigger a fight or attack when meeting someone for the first time.
Are you planning to travel to a new city or country for business or pleasure? What if we told you you could meet new people and stay with them? That’s right. CouchSurfing, a popular hospitality exchange service, allows you to connect with people in over 200,000 cities who are willing to share their homes. You must sign up, select a city, and explore hundreds of host profiles.
Pro Tip for Travelers: Learning to make friends while traveling isn’t easy. However, one of the easiest ways is to look for other travelers or expats in your destination. With this approach, you already have one thing in common. You can use it as a starting point in finding shared interests and learning new perspectives.
People with similar interests think alike, enjoy the same adventures, and support each other’s viewpoints and perspectives. UNBLND is a social network driven by interests. It allows you to build authentic connections anonymously in the beginning, making it an ideal app for introverts to make friends. You don’t see what the other person looks like. Hence, the connections are solely based on shared interests and hobbies.
So, whether you’re looking to meet travel enthusiasts or join group classes with someone who loves cooking, UNBLND can help.
We3 is a one-of-a-kind platform for making new friends. Unlike most friendship apps, it uses an intelligent algorithm to match individuals into three groups based on their psychographic quiz responses. You can download the app, make real friends as adults, and meet them in person to build stronger bonds.
Studies show that a friendship trio is a more stable and supportive social structure. More importantly, trios offer higher accountability, as each member is committed to maintaining the group dynamic and relationships.
Exploring different chat apps to make friends? Try RealU, one of the best friendship apps with live chat and one-on-one video calls. You can quickly find people from all over the world with similar interests. The platform also doubles as a double tool, making it perfect for people looking to start as friends but open to romantic relationships in the future.
Coffee Meets Bagel is an excellent friendship/dating app for people seeking severe relationships—especially those tired of using dating apps like Tinder. The app sets you up with people who share your values and interests. After a few chats, you can decide to meet in person and build a stronger connection.
Other Ways to Make Friends Online
Not everyone would be keen on downloading a friendship app to make friends, and that’s okay. After all, there are so many places where you can connect with people online spontaneously, including:
Social media apps like Facebook, X, and Instagram are excellent for staying connected with peers and building new connections:
Facebook has transformed beyond recognition since its inception nearly two decades ago. Today, you can make new friends with a simple request and build online communities in no time in your neighborhood, city, or anywhere worldwide.
Instagram acquaintances can quickly transition into core members of your social circle. All you have to do is interact with people in posts, respond to their stories, and have an open conversation. However, make sure you check the person out first. With millions of fake accounts online, the last thing you want is to get catfished.
Snapchat may not be the most popular social media platform out there. However, you can build connections over time by sending friend requests to people who are open to interactions. To pique interest in your profile, you can share stories and activities, create quizzes and polls, or even run contests based on your interests, including movies, sports, etc.
Forums and groups are excellent for meeting people who share your interests or viewpoints, engage in similar topics, or live in the same town or city. Here are the most popular forums for meeting new people and making friends:
Reddit is a social forum that allows you to create content or discuss different topics. From sports fans to technology enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists, you can find thousands of individuals and engage in endless, authentic human connection.
Discord is a VoIP social platform that allows users to communicate using text, voice, or video calls or private chats by joining communities called servers. You can find hundreds of individuals sharing your interests or passions.
With Quora, you can do more than ask and answer questions. If you find an interesting response and want to engage with the individual who answered your question, you can send them a private message by visiting their profile.
Quick Tips for Success on Friendship Apps
Friendship apps can be a fantastic way to expand your social circle and make meaningful connections. To make the most out of these apps and ensure a successful journey in the world of friendship, here are some valuable tips:
Creating Lasting Friendships:
- Be Genuine in Your Profile: When setting up your profile, be authentic. Use a recent photo and write a bio that reflects your interests, hobbies, and personality. Authenticity attracts like-minded friends.
- Clear Communication: Effective communication is key. When chatting with potential friends, be clear about your intentions and interests—do you want friends? More than friends? Open and honest conversations can lead to more meaningful connections.
Navigating Friendship Apps:
- Explore Multiple Apps: Friendship apps come in various forms, each catering to different interests and age groups. Don’t limit yourself to just one app (that ONE app for everything sadly doesn’t exist); explore a few to find the one that suits you best.
- Stay Safe: Prioritize your safety when meeting new people. Arrange to meet in public places for the first few interactions and let someone you trust know your plans.
- Initiate Conversations: Don’t wait for others to make the first move. Take the initiative to send messages or friend requests to people who share your interests. Remember, making friends can be a numbers game at first—the more people you outreach, the better your success!
- Attend Events and Meetups: Many friendship apps offer events and meetups. Participate in these gatherings to meet like-minded individuals in person and build stronger bonds.
- Quality Over Quantity: It’s not about the number of friends you have but the quality of the connections you build. Focus on nurturing a few meaningful friendships rather than trying to connect with everyone.
- Consistency Matters: To maintain friendships, be consistent in your interactions. Regularly check in with your friends, ask about their day, and show that you care.
- Handling Rejection: Not every interaction will result in a lasting friendship, and that’s okay. If someone doesn’t respond positively, don’t take it personally. Keep exploring and building connections.
- Patience is Key: Building strong friendships takes time. Be patient and allow relationships to develop naturally.
Enhancing Your Social Skills:
- Practice Active Listening: Show genuine interest in what others have to say. Ask follow-up questions and actively engage in conversations.
- Expand Your Interests: To connect with a diverse range of people, consider broadening your own interests. Exploring new hobbies can also provide excellent conversation starters.
FAQs on Friendship Apps
Do you ever wish making friends as an adult was as easy as we were kids? You could ask someone your age, “Do you want to be friends?” You can skip the awkward question and initiate a conversation or hang out online.
It can be hard to figure out where to make quality new friends with all the false personas presented on social media and the endless stream of parties and nightlife scenes. Sure, there are dating apps, but what about down-to-earth platonic connections with people who share your interests? Like a friendly Tinder? Thankfully, that exists, too!
Meetup, Yubo, and Bumble BFF are the top 3 apps for making friends online. These interest and hobby-based apps connect you with like-minded people in your area.
If you want to skip the awkward small talk with random strangers on the street and make new friends that you’re interested in, you can start right from your couch with a friendship app. Thousands of people are forging new connections and communities online and translating them into face-to-face friendships every day.
To make your friends list appear on the Facebook app, open the app, tap the three horizontal lines in the lower-right corner to open the menu, and then select “Friends” from the list to view your friends.
Apps to make new friends can fail for several reasons, including a lack of active users, a poor user experience, and the challenge of fostering genuine connections in a digital environment. Moreover, most people looking to meet people online want more than friendships.
There are a million ways to make friends without dating apps. You can opt for friendship apps or meet people on social media. If you’re old-fashioned, you can attend local events, visit social outlets like bars or pubs, or take your dog to a pet park. Friendships usually start with conversations, which can happen anywhere, anytime.
To make an app like Nextdoor, you must build a location-based platform with user profiles, a matching algorithm, and secure messaging features. Once you have a solution ready, you’ll need to launch it on app stores and promote it using various marketing channels.
Yes, people can use dating apps to make friends. However, it often depends on the platform and the individual’s intentions. Some dating apps have features for finding platonic friends, while others primarily focus on romantic connections. Be clear about your intentions in your profile to make friends on a dating app.
Start Making New Friends Now!
Making new friends is challenging for everyone. However, friendship apps can help. These digital platforms offer a convenient way to bridge the gap between strangers, fostering connections based on shared interests, hobbies, or life experiences. Whether you’re an introvert looking to meet like-minded individuals or a traveler exploring a new city, apps to make new friends provide opportunities to forge long-lasting connections.
Here are a few things to remember when using these apps:
- Be Clear About Your Intentions: When using friendship apps, be as transparent and honest as possible, especially when using platforms that rely on psychographic quizzes to match people based on similar interests and hobbies.
- Use Safety Precautions: Exercise caution and prioritize your safety when meeting new people online. Arrange to meet in public places for the first time, and let someone you trust know your plans.
- Explore Multiple Apps: Different friendship apps cater to various interests and demographics. Explore different platforms to find the one that aligns best with your goals and interests.
- Engage Actively: Building friendships requires active participation. Initiate conversations, attend events or meetups, and make an effort to connect with potential friends.
- Be Yourself: Authenticity is key to forming meaningful friendships. Be yourself, share your interests, and look for people who resonate with your personality and values.
Making new friends is half the battle. It would be best to learn how to nurture and maintain those friendships. Check out these 10 Action Steps to Become a Better Friend.
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