Loneliness isn’t something that get’s talked about an awful lot. I guess lonely is not something that any of us want to ever admit to being, because it might suggest that there is something wrong with us, or make us seem unpopular, or reinforce our own insecurities.
I’ve been there myself. London can be an incredibly lonely place. For me I felt it hard in the first couple of years of moving here. I had made friends and kept myself busy with work, but often at weekends I’d find myself at a loose end, and would absolutely dread Sundays if I knew I was going to have to spend the day on my own.
I thought I’d share with you some of the ways I’ve made friends in London over the years, (these could work in any city) and give you some tips on how you can too. And offer some ways to cope if you are feeling lonely yourself.
It’s one of the places we spend most of our lives, so it’s no surprise that friendships are going to happen here. I’ve made life long friends throughout my various jobs – and some of my best friends through some of the more challenging work places! There’s nothing like a horrible boss or a mundane activity to get you bonding! Suggest a drink and try to use the time to find out about the person, rather than talking shop.
Friends of friends.
Making friends through friends is a great way to make new pals! But it can be a tricky one. I know some people can get a bit funny about this, so be careful how you go about it – no one likes a social poacher, but equally no one owns their friends! If you genuinely strike up a good relationship with a friend of a friend the best way to nurture that is to suggest an activity for you all to do together. A drink or brunch. If your friend is being possesive it’s probably because they value your friendship, and don’t want you to ditch them for someone else more interesting. Always be mindful of their feelings first.
I’ve made some brilliant friends through social media. Back in the days before twitter I met like minded people on ‘forums’ which is actually how I came about moving to London in the first place! And more recently, though my blogging I’ve met a brilliant bunch of interesting and inspiring people. Instagram is a great way to make friends too, Instagram stories can be the perfect way to break the ice so don’t be afraid to drop someone a DM and say hi. It’s important to remember that whilst online friendships are great, spending time with people face to face is so valuable to your wellbeing. If you are meeting up with someone for the first time, do it in a public place and let someone know, just to be sure of your own safety.
Arrange or join activities.
There’s a new App called Pal where you can make friends by joining in or creating activities with like minded people in your area. It could be anything from finding someone to go for coffee or cinema with, to a group event like a picnic or a game of football. You can scroll through activities like crafts, partying, watching sport, shopping (hello!) and select what you want to get involved with, as well as chatting to new friends on there. There’s something for everyone. The brilliant thing about this App is that you can use it on your own, with your partner or even with a bunch of friends. It’s also available worldwide, so a great way to hit up people in a new destination if you are travelling.
Be part of your community.
London can feel like a big scary place, but I like to imagine it to be made up of lots of villages all nestled together. Get involved with your community. It’s amazing how more involved you can feel just by getting out there and saying hello to local friendly faces. London gets a bad rep for people not speaking to each other, but that is such a cliche! Perhaps on the tube at rush hour it’s not the best time to strike up a chat – but most often I find Londoners a very friendly and welcoming bunch! There are loads of free activities you can try to meet new people. Love sport? Join your local Park Run every Saturday morning. Animal lover? Borrow someone’s dog and getting chatting to fellow pet people. Not one for activities? Even frequenting a local coffee shop or maybe volunteering in your local charity shop will give you some much needed company.
Be open minded.
Great friends can be made anywhere and don’t have to be exactly like you! In fact, there’s the saying opposites attract and it’s good to meet people with a different outlook or life experience. I have friends in their 20’s to 60’s, from all walks of life. Whether we’ve bonded over a creative passion, a love for running, or sharing the same sense of humour – these are the people I want to spend time with because feel like they enrich my life and I’m growing as a person when I do.
Reach out to people, tell you friends and don’t feel like it’s a reflection on you as a person. If you find yourself in a situation where you current friends don’t have time with you – make some new ones. Your time and company is so valuable, so get out there and find the people that deserve it.
*This post was sponsored by Pal App. You can download the app for free from Google Play or the App Store here.