Best Apps for Making Friends Near and Far

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As little children we can just walk up to each other and become friends, even if there is no common language. The older we get, the harder it is to meet and connect with others. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, found out that 3 out of 4 Americans feel lonely. Today, there are more modern ways to meet new people other than walking into a bar. These apps can help us find compatible people with similar interests and hobbies.

man communicating with a girl
Young man communicating with a girl over the smartphone

Bumble BFF

Bumble is famous for being a dating app, but it is also a great tool for career-building as well as making friends. This free social networking platform can be an easy way to make platonic connections in the area where you are searching. You can use it to find local friends or search your future travel destination for a local guide or travel buddy.

Bumble can be used to find a best friend, a work out buddy, or even a roommate. New users simply need to download the app and respond to, ‘So who do you want to find first?’  Existing users just need to click on the logo to find the different modes and click “Switch to BFF.”

Skout

When it started out in 2007 it was a social media app similar to Facebook. Today, Skout is mainly used as a networking app that helps you to meet people and build relationships. These relationships can be romantic, friendly, or work-related. It is location-based and has expanded to over 100 countries, so you can meet people while traveling or living abroad. There is also a special feature called Skout Travel that lets you meet people from different cities around the world.

You can sign up for Skout quickly and easily using Facebook, Gmail or from scratch. Once you have an account you can message anyone on the app easily. While you don’t need a profile picture to set up an account, any photos that you upload need to be approved and are checked for the guidelines. There is a premium version of Skout that unlocks extra features, but the free version is definitely sufficient for meeting friends.

We3

This app used to be called Me3 but was renamed in 2017. We3 is all about meeting your tribe. It alleviates the pressure and awkwardness of talking one-on-one by allowing users to meet and chat in small groups of three. The app uses quizzes to match groups of same-gendered people with similar interests. Their slogan is “Two is a date. Three is a party.”

We3 claims to use social science and machine learning to create the best matches possible, exclusively to make new friends. You cannot use this app for dating. It was designed in a way that removes the awkwardness of making new friends as an adult, and it is great at protecting everyone’s privacy. It is a free app and keeps growing in popularity, which makes it easier to match you up with new friends!

ALETO

This unique app is great for connecting athletes to do sports together. ALETO offers more than 40 sports and workouts for users to select from. Users can enter their favorite sports, location and skill level to be matched with the perfect workout buddy or friendly competitor. Physical activity can be a great bonding experience as well as a healthy way to channel your energy.

While ALETO can be used to connect you with just one other person for a certain activity, it can also connect you with larger groups for sports such as football. Since it matches people based on skill level, you can join as a beginner and learn a new activity with others who are just starting out.

MeetMe

While MeetMe can be used for dating, it was originally created as an app for platonic friendships. It uses an algorithm to suggest people near you who could be compatible. The free version of the app lets you chat, email and video chat with other users. However, there are paid features of the app such as stealth mode that allow users to follow others without their knowing it. One perk of this app is that there are over 100 million users, so there are many people for users to potentially befriend!

Tinder Social

Similar to Bumble BFF, Tinder Social takes the dating app to a less romantic and more platonic level. Tinder Social lets you chat with your friends, virtually meet in groups, plan activities and meet new people for the sole purpose of friendship. Since dating apps already have so many users, there is a great selection of people to meet.

MeetUp

This is one of the best-rated apps out there for meeting new people. Anyone can join and browse the different interest groups in their area and abroad. There is a great variety of groups meant to connect people with similar interests, hobbies, or even ages. Some groups require you to answer questions to get approved while others are completely public. Events available on MeetUp include but are not limited to hikes, book clubs, quiz nights, movie screenings, and more.

Meet My Dog

Walking a dog outside is an easy way to be social. Many people will come up to you and chat or ask to pet your dog. That was the concept for Meet My Dog, except it brings together people who have dogs. The app focuses on your furry friend and can be used to connect your dog with others for doggy dates. Of course, the owners tag along and can form a bond over their common love for animals.

Nextdoor

Sometimes you don’t have to go too far to meet friends. Nextdoor is an app that specifically connects you to people in your neighborhood. It is a great place to connect neighbors to form new friendships and share useful information. Nextdoor allows you to chat with your neighbors about babysitting recommendations, plans for local events and tips on local places.

Hey! VINA

Hey! VINA is an app for women to meet other like-minded women. Just like a dating app, you can browse through profiles and swipe right if you are interested in connecting. VINA also offers communities so that people can share their interests with others. Whether it’s travel, a hobby or a physical activity, you can find female friends on VINA. It also empowers women and offers fun quizzes and articles to help every user live her best life.

Peanut

Peanut is another app exclusively for women; but the twist is, it’s specifically for mothers or mothers-to-be. Users can wave at other users whom they want to chat with more or meet. It is also a great platform to join groups and discuss a variety of topics useful to mothers. It was made by the creator of Bumble so it draws on the Bumble experience to make it a fantastic app.

Couchsurfing

This app was originally created to help travelers find a place to stay. It connects people who are offering their homes and specifically, couches, for travelers to come crash for a couple of days. Those who use Couchsurfing tend to be incredibly sociable and so, inevitably, it became more than just a free Airbnb app. Today, you can also use it to find nearby events and chat with others using the “Hangout Now” feature.

Bonus Podcast

Accept the Awkwardness: How to Make Friends (and Keep Them) is a great NPR podcast that embraces the fact that befriending people can be a little strange. It is a 23-minute listen that will reassure you that you are not alone and will give you tips on forming new connections. If you’re not much of a listener, it comes with a short article that acts as a pep-talk and will prepare you to go out and bravely mingle.

Photos: Shutterstock

Check out another Youth Time article on the useful apps for meeting friends abroad.

Five Mobile Apps For Meeting New Friends Abroad

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