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How to meet people: 5 practical tips to make new friends

Feel like expanding your network of friends? Check out the best tips on how to meet people.

Bárbara Nicoli

Nov 08, 2023


how to meet people

Making new friends can be a challenge for many people, whether due to shyness, lack of time or any other reason. But the idea of connecting with new people can also be very exciting! That's why I prepared a guide with simple tips for you to learn how to meet people and make friends as an adult.

The importance of meeting new people

We are a gregarious species, so most of us won’t be happy being socially isolated. Besides being a way to combat loneliness, meeting new people contributes significantly to our evolution as human beings. Each individual is unique and has their own experiences and perspectives on life. When we interact with different types of people, we absorb a variety of information and expand our worldview.

Meeting people is also extremely valuable for our professional life, as the connections we establish over time can open many doors. It might be helpful for finding jobs, carrying out projects and even establishing business partnerships.

On top of all that, interacting with people of different backgrounds and cultures helps us develop empathy and learn how to deal with diversity. These experiences lead us to question our beliefs and step out of our comfort zone, which is great for our personal growth.

You might also like to read: 11 tips for making friends while traveling alone

how to meet people

How to meet people and make friends

There are several ways to make new friends and expand our social circle, as you'll see below. It is important to remember, though, that meeting new people is a gradual process, which might require changing habits, and one interaction will not always result in a lasting friendship. However, each encounter is an opportunity. Be patient and persistent and you’ll find your people out there.

1. Join groups: find people who share your interests

Joining groups is a great way to make friends who share the same interests as you. This may include participating in clubs, associations, sports and cultural events, among others. By doing this, you will have the opportunity to meet people and start conversations about the interests you share.

For example, if you like hiking, you can look for hiking groups in your city on Facebook. That's a great way to meet people who share the same hobby as you, and even if you don’t make friends right away, you’ll still be able to do the activity you like.

If you like dancing, start taking dance classes. Generally, dance school students get together to dance outside the school environment, on weekends and in a more informal way. This way, you will have the opportunity to practice what you learned in class and also meet a group of really cool people.

If you are learning a new language, in addition to Facebook study groups, you can use apps like MeetUp or Couchsurfing. These platforms share events that are happening near your location, gathering foreigners and other polyglots.

Of course, these are just a few examples. It's possible to find groups of people who gather around most hobbies or interests, whether that is online or in person. 

Also, take a look at: Social activities: boost wellness and friendships

tips to make new friends

2. Travel alone: meet people while exploring the world

One of the best ways to meet people is to travel solo. Yes, that might seem contradictory, since some people think that they'll be lonely while traveling alone, but traveling solo can be a social experience

When traveling without company, you have the freedom to explore and connect with other travelers and locals. But, of course, you must be open to new experiences and be friendly.

The most important tip on how to meet people traveling is to choose a type of accommodation that facilitates new encounters. Instead of staying in a hotel, choose to stay in a hostel, inn, or guesthouse. 

These accommodations generally have shared environments that promote interaction between guests. To be sure, take a look at the reviews from previous guests, noticing if they mention social spaces and events. Many hostels organise activities such as shared dinners, movie nights, happy hours and tours, with the aim of helping people socialize. 

And you don't need to go to the other side of the world to do this. Start in a city close to yours and take the opportunity to experience something different, even if it's just for the weekend. It gets easier with time.

On your travels, you can also explore local cafes, bars, and restaurants. Take your time, sit at the counter or in communal areas, talk to the attendant and the people around you. Remember not to be on your cell phone all the time and be open to suggestions for places to visit. A simple conversation can result in good company for a walk and even a friendship for life.

Research the cultural and local events happening at the destination during your stay. A simple arts and crafts market, for example, can be an opportunity to meet people and interact with the community. Be open to trying new traditions, such as typical food and dances.

And if you haven't made any friends by doing all that, you can always use apps like Couchsurfing, look for fellow travelers and locals in Facebook groups and join group activities like Free Walking Tours or other types of guided tours, that happen in most tourist destinations around the world.

Keep reading: 

volunteering is a great way to meet new people

3. Volunteer: make a difference and meet people

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and get involved in a community, whether that is in the city where you live or somewhere else. By dedicating your time and skills to a cause you care about, you'll end up connecting with other volunteers who can become great friends.

It's important to find volunteer work that aligns with your passions. If you are a lover of art and culture, volunteering in these areas is a great idea to meet people with the same interests. You can look for that in museums, art galleries, cultural festivals, and community art projects, for instance.

The most common volunteering opportunities involve community development, which aims to empower the community, and humanitarian actions, which generally provide assistance in emergency situations, such as natural disasters and humanitarian crisis.

If you are passionate about environmental causes, you can volunteer cleaning beaches, helping at sustainable farms, collaborating with conservation projects and much more. Besides learning about the environment and meeting like-minded people, you’ll likely have a lot of fun.

travel, make a difference and meet people

It's super easy to do all that with Worldpackers, a collaborative travel platform that connects travelers with hosts from more than 170 countries. They offer diverse volunteering experiences in hostels, ecological projects, holistic centers, farms, schools, animal shelters, NGOs and much more. 

In exchange for your help, you get free accommodation and sometimes other perks like meals and tours. I say this from experience: being a Worldpacker volunteer is one of the best tips on how to make friends while traveling.

You don't need to take a gap year to volunteer for Worldpackers. During your vacation from work, you can travel and engage in volunteering, or even on a weekend or holiday, depending on the host.

Check out some examples of volunteering opportunities in the United States and abroad:

Got interested? Read our articles explaining how Worldpackers works.

how to meet people

4. Friendship apps and websites

Social networks and dating apps are also great tools for making new friends. Apps like Patook, MeetMe, Slowly, Bumble and Yubo are distinct platforms, each with their own characteristics. Some focus on facilitating in-person friendships, others focus exclusively on virtual connections, while some combine the best of both worlds, virtual and real.

Try out these platforms and choose the ones that best suit your preferences and needs. Regardless of your choice, these tools provide a convenient and affordable way to meet people and expand your social circle. 

You might also like to read11 essential apps and websites for digital nomads

5. Embrace new experiences!

To meet new people, it is essential to embrace new experiences. When we venture into unknown territory, we create opportunities to meet interesting people and expand our social circle. Remember that everyone has something to offer, and being open to new connections is the first step to meeting them.

This could mean participating in events and activities we don't normally do, exploring different hobbies, going to places we've never visited before, or even traveling to different destinations.

By being willing to try new things, we are opening the doors to meeting people with similar or different interests to ours, and thus expanding our social connections.

Furthermore, by embracing new experiences we also become more interesting and captivating people. When we demonstrate enthusiasm and curiosity about the world around us, it sparks people's interest and creates fertile ground for new friendships.

friends around a campfire

Did you like these tips on how to meet people? How about putting some of them into practice today? Create a free profile in the Worldpackers Community and get ready to expand your network of friends while volunteering!

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