There are many apps and websites for making new friends, but which are the best? In this list, we’re going through them and their pros and cons. We only cover apps strictly for making platonic friends.
The best apps for making friends
1. Bumble BFF
Our top pick – Bumble BFF works like Tinder or “ordinary” bumble, but for making friends. I’ve used this app myself in New York City and was surprised at how good it works. However, I can’t speak for its effectiveness in smaller cities. When you sign up, write a comprehensive profile about yourself and what your interests are so that people can paint a picture of you.
Why we think it’s good – Everyone (most) are here for the same reason, so it’s easy to jump into the search for a friend fairly quickly.
Drawbacks – Not as good for getting to know lots of new people. You’ll find many more people on Meetup who you’d never find on the app. This is a great complement to Meetup, however. Another drawback is that you (at the time of this writing) can’t filter for interests. Patook has better functionality here.
The best app for super-local socializing – Nextdoor lets you interact with people in your neighborhood. The app is for staying up to date with the latest super-local news, but also to buy, sell, and connect with others. This is a well-reviewed app with a large user-base.
Why we think it’s good – This is the most well-used app to use to find people nearby.
Drawbacks – You will not have the same reach and selection of people as for example Meetup.com or Bumble BFF.
It’s against terms of service to flirt, so people that try to use the app for hookups get banned automatically. It also has an option for couples to befriend other couples. The app has a large userbase and great reviews. However, the reviews have dwindled the last couple of months. You can try it in combination with BumbleBFF and see which one gives you the best results.
Why we think it’s good – Good for making friends specifically based on mutual interests.
Drawbacks – It doesn’t have the same user base as Bumble BFF. We recommend to use it in combination with Bumble BFF
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4. Hey! VINA
For women – An app for women to make friends with local women. Like Tinder, you swipe left and right. It has personality quizzes and questions you can take that add to your profile and you can also link your Instagram if you want. You can see more about other people than just a couple of photos and a bio. You need to connect it to Facebook as a security measure.
For mothers – Peanut is aimed at moms to befriend other moms. You swipe like on Tinder. The app has decent reviews.
For teenagers – Yubo is aimed at teenagers who want to make new friends and it has an impressive 20 million members. The reviews are overall positive even though some think that the functionality is too basic.
For dog-owners – While the app looks gimmicky, it’s reported to work well. It let’s you browse other people’s and their dogs’ profiles, set up meetings, and attend events.
We decided to add Instagram to this list since it’s a great app to find like-minded people. You can look for tags related to your interests (Say #pottery) and search for people in your area to follow. If you get a good impression out of someone, ask if they want to meet up one day and talk more about your mutual interest.
The best websites for making friends
Here, you’ll find meetups in your area. Meetup.com isn’t explicitly for making friends, but it’s a great way to find like-minded people who can turn into friends down the road. Tips: look specifically for recurring events. Those are the ones where you get a chance to get to know people over time.
Why we think it’s good – Good for meeting many new people with similar interests in a group setting.
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Drawbacks – Not as good for getting to know people in-depth. Most events are one-off, and here it’s rare to meet people there that turn into friends. However, if you go to recurring meetups where you meet the same people regularly, you develop your relationships with them.
Couchsurfing started off as a hospitality service where you can host people or “couch surf” for free when traveling. This has since grown into a community that has different types of meetups. Many people have detailed profiles, so it’s easy to meet many interesting people.
Why we think it’s good – Good for meeting many new people with different backgrounds. Hosting gives you a great opportunity to spend time with people you might not hang out with otherwise.
Drawbacks – It’s not a friendship-making app at its core, so most people don’t use it to build lifelong connections, but rather to have an experience. Hosting and surfing aren’t great for meeting people that you see regularly because of the traveling aspect. Local meetups work a bit better for that.
Reddit is one of the world’s largest online communities and subreddits are subforums around specific topics. Read the rules for each subreddit and introduce yourself, or browse other’s listings.
Many people here are looking for all kinds of meetups, both group, and one-on-one. If you’re making a post, write a little bit about your personality and what kind of person you’re looking to meet.
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Why we think it’s good – These subreddits are great for posting an event where you want several people to show up. To post a similar event on Meetup.com, you’d have to pay. Also, Meetup.com doesn’t have the same explicit focus on making friends as these subreddits have.
If you want to attend a meetup that someone’s posted, you can check people’s posting history before meeting up to help paint a picture of them.
Drawbacks – If you have a niche event, you have better luck using Meetup.com as they have a larger reach. It’s less convenient than Bumble BFF as you have to read many posts to see which ones are in your area.
Meetup.com’s little sister is a great addition to Meetup.com Eventbrite is more event-based while Meetup is more group-based.
Hidden in plain sight, you can use Facebook to find groups related to your interests. Even though we tend to see Facebook as a tool to interact with existing friends, it’s powerful for finding new friends since the user-base is so massive. Search for groups related to your interests in your area. Be active in these groups and interact with people. If you connect with someone, ask if they want to meet up in real life.
6. Girlfriend Social
For women – Girlfriend social has the same target audience as Vina, but is a website rather than an app that looks dated. Try out Vina first.
Interpals connects people who want to make friends and learn a new language at the same time. The app being buggy puts it further down on our list.
For fitness-minded – You can find sports-activities close to you. It’s worthy to try it out – but when I’ve tried it, I’ve found few results and resorted to Meetup.com instead.
Other ways to make friends online
You can also make friends online by joining general online communities such as forums, servers, and messaging channels. These places aren’t designed specifically for making friends, but they can be just as effective for getting to know new people.
Some examples are:
- Discord servers
- Subreddits (That aren’t specifically for making friends but regarding any interest)
- Facebook interest groups
See our main guide on how to make friends online.
Apps and sites we don’t recommend
We cover the apps below for your reference, but we don’t recommend them because they either have too few users, are reported to not work, are focused on business networking or dating, or are reported to be used inappropriately.
- We3 – Is reported to have some bug issues. Varying reviews can still make it worth a try.
- Girl Crew – Few users.
- Badoo.com – Mainly a dating website.
- REAL U – Doesn’t have many users.
- RendezWho – More of a game than an app for making friends.
- Shapr – An app like tinder, but for networking/making friends. Since the last update, you have to pay to specify your location.
- Friender – Few users and reported to have technical issues.
- NotForDating.com – Works as a “dating website”, but for making friends. Few users.
- Meet My Dog – Same concept as BarkHappy, but not as well executed or popular.
- Hater – The concept is that you’ll find people who hate the same things as you do. Mixed reviews on success for actually making friends.
- Tinder – For dating.
- OkCupid.com – Mainly a dating website; many people who claim to only look for friendship are actually looking for partners.
- Pof.com – Mainly for dating.
- Meetme.com – Mainly for dating.
- Skout – Frequent reports of being used inappropriately.
- Craigslist – Frequent reports of being used inappropriately.
- Atleto.com – We mention this app here since it’s often recommended by other guides. But it seems to no longer be in use.
- ZINGR – Has a high ratio of bad reviews
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