5 free apps for making friends

Platonic friends, that is. No funny business.

Making new friends as you get older is tricky. Without being thrown together in a classroom, student flat or workplace the opportunities for meeting new like-minded folk are few and far between. Sure, you could join an art class or sports team, but that’s no help if you’re creatively limited or, you know, lazy. You could strike up a conversation with someone in a bar – after all, everyone’s best mates in a nightclub toilet at 1am – but making the leap from drunkenly cooing over someone’s outfit to planning a sober coffee date is no small feat. Of course, you could put ‘friends only’ on your Tinder profile, but let’s not even start picking that one apart.

It’s a dilly of a pickle, but, like most things, technology has the answer. Apps exist for almost everything nowadays, so why should finding friendship be any different? Check out these top picks for spicing up your social life.

1. Excuses to Meet

Images: Excuses to Meet

(Caveat: London only at the moment, but the developers have plans to roll it out nationwide soon.)

Brand new to the friendship-finding app scene, Excuses to Meet aims to make London smaller and a little less scary for newcomers and hardened Londoners alike. Download the free app (available on Android and iOS) and choose from a list of excuses to meet new folk, such as practising a language, going to the cinema or even finding a wingwoman. The app will hook you up with others in your area looking for similar excuses to meet, allowing you to start a conversation – and you take it from there.

2. Meetup

Images: Meetup

If the thought of meeting a new person one-on-one is a bit overwhelming, why not go along to one of MeetUp.com’s group events – or even start one of your own? This site lets you search hundreds of group events in your area, catering to all tastes and interests. Whether you’re into macramé or military fitness there’s probably a group of like-minded folk near you, and if not, it’s easy to start your own. The app (available on Android, iOS and web) lets you see other event attendees and chat on the group message board prior to the meet up. It’s free to use, but some groups will ask for a nominal contribution to help cover their running costs.

3. Wiith

Images: Wiith

Another relatively new app, Wiith bills itself as a ‘platonic Tinder’, offering the opportunity to make new connections easily without the fear of Netflix and chill and/or unsolicited dick pics. Sign up via Facebook, create a basic profile and set your search radius and criteria, then join nearby events or approach others with a friendly hello and see where things go. Wiith is a great way to make new friends, but it’s likely to be especially popular with travellers and those visiting cities for shorter periods. Currently available on iOS only – Android coming soon.

4. City Socializer

Images: City Socializer

This one’s a bit like Facebook for strangers, with the option to add friends and write on their walls, as well as join and create your own events. Start by building your own profile and searching for others using set criteria and hobby/interest keywords, or browse through the events – known as ‘socials’ – going on in your area. And despite the American spelling of ‘socializer,’ those areas include London, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and more. Many socials are created by members, but some are officially run by the City Socializer team, aimed specifically at those new to the app or new in town. It’s free to sign up, but upgrade for between £7.99 and £9.99 per month to enjoy extra features and added perks. Currently available on iOS only, but the mobile-optimised site works well on Android.

5. Borrow my Doggy

Images: Borrow My Doggy

Now, we never said anything about human friends, did we? Canine companions make for excellent BFFs, and if you can’t have your own, Borrow my Doggy hooks you up with nearby dog owners whose furry friends need walking or just some daytime company. The app even lets you chat to other BMD members nearby, so you can bond over your mutual love of mutts. And imagine how many new friends you’ll make in the park when you’re out for walkies. Available on iOS or web.

Main image: iStock/sturti