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Where to make friends and how to be less lonely in New York City 2024

Moving to a big city like New York City seems like it would be easier to make friends than ever, there are people everywhere! Sadly for many people, this isn't the case and making friends can be especially difficult. So how can you overcome the lonely? Here are some ways!

Taken directly from an awesome thread on Facebook started by Liora!

I want to say something right off the bat: You're not alone! Making friends as an adult is HARD. You no longer get forced into classroom-style places where the person sitting next to you is now your best friend for life. You've got history, and preferences, and plans, and work, so don't get yourself down about the fact that you're having a tough time doing it.

The best bit about living in a big city is that even if you love something that is VERY niche, there's probably 6,500 people who love that particular niche too. Don't be dissuaded if your first attempt doesn't work, get back on the horse and try again! If you bring home ONE friend, that's a win, and the two of you can go to something next time together making it easier on both of you.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and if you have other ideas, please do let me know! I just want to make sure that you're taken care of and if you're ever lonely, you can always…

Reach out to ME!

I'm here, I'm in New York, and I get it.

I'm always happy to have a coffee or a beer if you're feeling down or just want someone to hang out with! Shoot me an email!

Join a Social Community

This one especially rings home to me because as soon as I found some community in the city, I felt much more at home and immediately felt the weight of my move lifting off my shoulders!

So here are the ones I recommend:

  • MeetUp – Filled with great groups for particular niches! If you like board games, there's something for that, or maybe you like Tuesdays, you could probably find a group for that too!
  • Dinner with New Friends – This is one that I run (America Josh) and it's for people like you who want to come out to dinner with no strings attached. 10 people who don't yet know each other, sharing some food and drink!
  • The JoyList NYC – Our mission is to reduce loneliness in the United States, starting with New York City. We do this by compiling events that have a facilitated moment of connection. My friend Jillian started this and she's a legend, you'll love it!
  • InterNations – The leading network & guide for expats in 420 cities worldwide. Connect with fellow expatriates at top events and receive tips & advice on expat life.

Join Your Office's Social Group

Some businesses do a pretty good job of getting people out and about. I know this isn't the best solution because you have probably already tried it, but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find the groups in the company that catch up and talk about things that aren't work-related.

If you can't find anything, then you could try creating the group yourself! It takes confidence but you'll find that lots of others are just like you and would LOVE for someone to reach out and offer a night out or an after-work drink! I'd happily help you set it up, just let me know!

Use an App to network

There are some handy apps made just for this that aren't all about dating:

  • Bumble BFF – If you're a woman and you want to meet some new people, then try the Bumble BFF app. It's the non-dating element about meeting friends!

Join a Sports Club

I haven't done this one very well myself, but I've been meaning to! Every time I see people playing slow-pitch softball in the park, or touch football, I think to myself “I could do that”… and so could you!

  • NYC Social – New York City’s Most Social Leagues!
  • ZogSports – We believe life is better with real personal connections, caring communities and a sense of play
  • PlayNYCSports – New York City's largest collection of sports leagues and bar events

Foster Kittens (or other pets)

Now this one is a bit serious because you're taking a life into your hands, but the community that comes from it can be fantastic!

  • Best Friends – Foster families provide short- or long-term, in-home care for pets until they find forever homes.
  • ASPCA – With the help of amazing foster caregivers, the ASPCA Foster Program gives animals who are not yet ready for adoption a chance to live and be loved in foster homes.
  • Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals – Foster volunteers provide temporary care for dogs, cats, or rabbits in their homes, offering these pets much-appreciated time in a real home setting instead of a shelter or boarding facility while they await adoption.

Volunteer Your Time with a not for profit

A friend of mine recently wrote an article for me which detailed the ins and outs of volunteering (and whether you should do it at all or not), start with this because it's super handy!

If you've now decided that you want to, then you could check out:

Networking in NYC For Australians

Being an Australian myself, I've found myself in a few Australian-centric groups

  • Australian Women in New York – AWNY hosts a diverse range of social events and educational and professional networking opportunities that provide a sense of community and connection for thousands of women in the Big Apple. They even have a book club! They also have their own article on how to meet people and make friends in NYC!
  • Aussie MeetUp Group – A lovely group of people who meet semi-regularly for casual Sunday catch-ups and on some holiday weekends!
Josh Pugh

Josh Pugh

Josh is a business founding, digital marketing focused, charity driving, community builder from South Australia, living in New York City. After moving in 2017, Josh realized that there was an opportunity to curate and help the community of expats who moved to the United States – and launched America Josh. Josh is also the President of Variety – the Children's Charity of New York, Secretary at The Mateship Foundation, and Founder & CEO at Fortnight Digital.View Author posts

12 thoughts on “Where to make friends and how to be less lonely in New York City 2024”

  1. I signed upfor joylist. I feel if people dont make an active effort, they can end up lonely in their apartments even in a bustlinng city.

  2. I love this article! When I moved to NY I had no clue where to start to make friends and this advice definitely helped. I definitely think that without BumbleBFF I would have had a way harder time meeting girlfriends. Also an app I love that is not on here is OneRoof; its an app to meet your neighbours and it also really helped me.

    1. Hey Savannah, I’m really so glad to hear that! Yeah moving here can be daunting and it’s difficult to know where to start when you think there should be so much going on. I’ll have to check out OneRoof, which sounds fantastic, thanks so much for the addition.

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