London is both exciting and terrifying for many of the young newcomers that flock to the UK’s capital in their twenties, hopeful for a new world of opportunities. After securing a job and a place to live, most young professionals that are new to the city will be in the market for some like-minded friends.
Unfortunately, forging new friendships in London is a lot easier said than done. In fact, 55% of Londoners said the city can feel lonely, compared to just 10% of those living in Lisbon. Let’s take a look into some of the reasons that explain why making new pals in this metropolitan giant can be challenging at the best of times.
Londoners keep to themselves
It’s no secret that strangers in London have somewhat of a reputation for being less chatty than their counterparts in the rest of the UK, or Europe for that matter. Try striking up a conversation with someone on the tube during rush hour, and it’s possible that you’ll be met with a one word response followed by their newfound fascination with the Evening Standard’s sudoku puzzle.
And who could blame them? Life in London is busy and fast-paced, and most people are just interested in getting to where they need to be. But that’s not to say you should give up altogether – a friendly smile or genuine compliment can go a long way, even if it doesn’t result in a life-long friendship.
It’s just so big!
So, let’s say you do meet someone you get along with, and want to set up a friend – date. However, you live in Clapham and they live in Dalston. Making the effort to travel over an hour each way to grab a drink or coffee with someone you just met is a big risk to take with the small amount of free time you get outside of working full-time hours and that notorious London commute. Combat this by finding somewhere you both want to go that allows you to meet in the middle. It could also be an opportunity to get to know a different part of the city that you might not have otherwise experienced.
Everyone is pushed for time
It’s virtually impossible to find a young professional in London that isn’t banging the “I’m just so busy right now” drum. This makes it hard to form deep friendships with people from 0, as how are you going to really get to know someone if you only have the chance to see them once a month, at best? Full schedules also seriously inhibit the opportunity for impromptu plans, as many Londoners will need weeks notice just to squeeze you into their diaries.
It can also feel like many people already have established friendship groups, reducing the likelihood that they’re going to devote time to getting to know new people from scratch. As a London newbie, you can get around this by joining a team or club where people are likely to spend a big chunk of their time. That way, you can hang out with the same people frequently. For example, a running club, a CrossFit gym, or you could even explore volunteering opportunities.
And for when you don’t necessarily fancy striking up a conversation with a stranger, or starting up a new, expensive hobby for the sake of meeting new people, check out GoFrendly, the female friendship app that makes it simple for you to connect with people who are your cup of tea.