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Friendship & Young People

Friendship & Young People

Friendship & Young People

How to make new friends as an adult

When it comes to making friends as an adult, it’s important to be positive and proactive. If you go into the process thinking that you are never going to make friends, you probably won’t. And if you leave your social life up to chance, you probably won’t see results either.

Don’t overthink the process of making friends. Instead of worrying about being rejected, or dwelling on the fact that you might not be fun enough, channel your inner child. Be open to meeting new people and having new experiences.


We all want friendships, but it’s hard to take the first step and talk to people for many. Maybe you’ve just moved into a new town, where no one knows your name, and you don’t know where to begin. Perhaps you do have friends, but you want to meet individuals outside of your friend’s circle. Maybe you want to meet someone and hope it blossoms into something more.

In theory, this should be quite easy. You can go outside and talk to someone. However, most of us do not want to bug a stranger, and besides, how do we know they have anything in common with us? There may be an icebreaker in some cases, but there is nothing to work within other cases.

Here are some ways you can meet new individuals, offline and online.

Find Pet Lovers- One way to break the ice with a person is if they’re a pet owner. Everyone loves talking about their animals. If you have a dog, you can go walking or go to the dog park and meet other pup owners. If you’re a cat lover, you can go to a pet store or shelter and talk about cats. Even if you don’t own a dog, you can usually approach someone who has a dog, and they’ll be willing to let you pet it and strike up a conversation.

Join A Book Club- If reading is your thing, then look for local book clubs. Not only can you discover new books, but you’ll have a community where you can discuss the books you read. If you meet individuals who have the same opinions as you, these can be some blossoming friendships.

Religion- One obvious one is to find a local place of worship such as a church, synagogue, mosque, or gurdwara, and meet individuals there. These are typically more than just places to practice your religion; they are places of community. Some people may not even be religious, but still, like the sense of community offered. There is no shame in practicing your faith at home, but it can be better to have people who believe in the same beliefs as you do.

Political Events- Speaking of beliefs, if you align with a political event, look for meetups and events of like-minded people there. Even if you have the same general beliefs, everyone has nuanced opinions that can open to discussion. Just make sure to keep the political debates civil!

Your Neighbours- Your neighbours can end up being great friends of yours. Some people feel like they’re bothering their neighbours, but you have nothing to worry about as long as you are polite.

Volunteer- If you’ve ever considered volunteering, now is a good time to do so. Not only can you do good for your community, get some needed job experience, and get your hands busy, but you can meet people who want to be a part of your community as well, and you can strike up some conversations with them.

In Line- If you’re ever waiting in a line, try talking to the other person. If they’re not doing anything, you may be able to have a conversation with them while you are waiting. What’s even better is being in a line at an event that the two of you have an interest in, such as a convention.

Go To A Concert- Even if you live in a small town, there is probably some concert that pops up. Explore your local music scene while meeting new individuals. It can be a fun experience, and you may find other music enthusiasts too.

Take The Fitness Route- If you love working out or are interested in fitness, you are in luck. There are many ways to meet people if you’re into fitness, including:

•       Go to the gym. The gym is usually a community of many of the same people, and by talking to some of the attendees, you can form a bond. Everyone wants to talk about their techniques and tips on how to shed those pounds and get fit.

•       Try to go on a hike. Hiking is not only an awesome way to explore nature, but it’s a way you can find other hikers and find new places to hike. Everyone knows a cool hiking place, and they’re often willing to talk about it.

•       If you’re into running, you can probably find other runners around. Ask about their routes or how they handle themselves during a run.

•       If you travel by bike, you can likely find bikers interested in having partners to bike with them.

Sports- One thing that unites people are sports. You can go to any sports bar and find people interested in the same teams as you, or you can go to a sports game if the bar scene isn’t your thing. Many people are interested in sports, and the competition means that there are diverse groups you can join.  Alternatively, you can participate in sports yourself. Go to a basketball court or a tennis court if that’s your thing and play some games with some people.

The Bar/Pub -A few drinks can open many people up to conversation. You can meet some interesting people at the bar, and they often can have stories to tell. If you are over the age to do so, sit down, have a drink, and chat with some people. You may come out with a new friend.

Gaming- If you love to play video games, you may want to look for other gamers. One way to do so is to find local gaming tournaments in your area or go to a video game shop and chat with some people. Many gamers are indoors, but plenty of them are out and about as you are.  For board games, go to a comic book shop. You may find tabletop games being set up there all the time.

The Coffee Shop- If you’re a creative type of person, the coffee shop is a good place to meet new individuals and have discussions. You can sit around with a cup of coffee and watch the people come in. Talk to someone who you find interesting or who you have a bond with.

Bring The People To You- Why not try to bring the people to you by hosting an event? You can host a party, a meetup of people who have similar interests, or anything else. Find a place where you can host the event, as most strangers may not want to go to someone else’s house. For example, if you’re into tabletop, host a Dungeons and Dragons event at a comic book shop if they so allow you to.

Online- It’s often easier to meet individuals online, but it may be harder in some situations, especially if you’re looking for local people. There are so many choices to pick from that it’s a bit of a needle-in-a-haystack situation. You could try going to a social media site such as Facebook or Instagram and looking for friends there.  Alternatively, you can use apps and dating sites to find local people. Some dating sites are more than just for romance; you can meet new, exciting friends on them as well. You can also look for forums and websites devoted to your town and discuss with people there. Use hashtags related to your area and find new individuals.  Another great site to use is meetup.com, where people post events related to a hobby, they may be interested in. It’s not only a good way to find out about your town’s culture but meet individuals who have the same interests as you do. Again, similar interests are the best way to break the ice.


Maintain Your Friendships

After you have established a few connections, it’s important to stay in contact. Friendships are like plants. If you don’t water them regularly, they will die.

So make sure you are regularly reaching out to your new friends. Call or text consistently just to see how they are doing. Ask about their lives. Show an interest in the things that are important to them. A good friend doesn’t make the friendship all about their needs; but also takes an active interest in the other person.

Friendships can enrich your life in many ways. Good friends teach you about yourself and challenge you to be better. They encourage you to keep going when times get tough and celebrate your successes with you.

But friends do a lot more than give you a shoulder to cry on; they also have a positive impact on your health. Some research even says friendships are just as important to your well-being as eating right and exercising.


Romantic relationships

Communicating in a Romantic Relationship

Leaving an unhealthy relationship

It’s OK to leave a relationship that does not feel right or is having a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing.

There are organisations that offer advice and support on dealing with the practical and financial issues of a break-up or separation, such as Citizen’s Advice Bureau, if you need it.

If you are experiencing any kind of abuse in a relationship, there is support if you need help.

Making friends online

Social media and games are the most common places to meet friends.

There are many other reasons why young people make friends online, including:

  • Feeling socially isolated in ‘real life’
  • Living far away from others in their peer group
  • Being or living with people vulnerable to Covid-19
  • Finding it easier to express themselves online

Making friends online is not always born out of responding to a negative situation, of course! In fact, most young people will make friends online as a positive addition to their lives, alongside friends they make through school and hobbies. In today’s culture, becoming friends with people online isn’t necessarily a conscious decision – it’s as natural as becoming friends with people in the same class at school.

How Do Young People Meet Online Friends?

Friend-finding apps, like Wink, Hoop and Yubo. Many will be familiar with the function of ‘swiping right’ and ‘swiping left’ – found in popular dating apps, including Tinder. The premise is simple: swiping right expresses interest in chatting further and swiping left moves to the next user. In any case, this function is based on finding others to chat with.

Online gaming, such as on multiplayer games like Rocket League and FIFA. Also, with the continued expansion of the Metaverse, we are likely to see a rise in the number of people making online friendships through virtual reality. Young people who like gaming may also meet on associated sites and platforms, such as the online chat platform Discord or watching streamers on Twitch.


Fake Profiles and Catfishing

Unless apps and platforms implement the use of age verification and facial recognition tools and software, there will always be a risk that users aren’t who they portray themselves to be.

There’s an almost endless list of why someone might create a fake profile – from seeking financial gain through fraud, with the intention of grooming, through to boredom or being unhappy with their appearance and/or real-life circumstances. We go into further details about some of these reasons below.

Bots are also prevalent, although these are more likely to be used to boost someone’s number of followers to self-promote or falsely endorse a brand or product, rather than with the intention of targeting individuals to foster friendships .


Building a friendship with someone online can be a tactic used as a part of grooming, most often done by using stolen photos and a made-up persona of someone within the same age bracket. The person grooming could be creating a relationship between them and the young person that is on a friendship level or romantic in nature.

By creating this foundational relationship, a young person may feel they can trust this person and therefore might tell them personal information. That information could put them at risk, such as details that gives away their location, what school they go to or also private information that could be used to bribe and control them in the future.

If a young person believes they are talking to a real friend or an online romantic partner, there is the potential to be convinced, tricked or bribed into sending self-generated child sexual abuse materials.

Cyberbullying and Trolling

It is not unusual to hear young people talking about how their school friendship group has fallen out or the mean words said behind their back by their best friend. However, these types of disagreements and fights can take on a different form when they play out online and can sometimes escalate to worrying levels. This is especially true if there is a core group or community (such as a fandom) that all become involved, and one person becomes a target.

Unlike in a school, a victim who is targeted online can be harassed 24/7 by their bullies, who are often without the limitations of worrying that a parent, carer or teacher might be a witness to their actions.

If a victim is targeted by a group of people online, the bullies might feel that there is a sense of ‘safety in numbers’. In other words, there’s less personal responsibility because everyone else in the friendship group or community is doing it, too. This could take the form of trolling – a subset of cyberbullying that involves sending upsetting, menacing, or irritating comments and messages, often mistakenly labelled as ‘funny’.

Screen time and isolation

If a young person is feeling lonely and isolated in ‘real life’, they may turn to the digital world to find friendships and a community. Although this may bring a lot of positives, for some young people there could be risks associated with this, such as:

Too much screen time. There is no definitive answer to ‘how much screen time is too much?’, although studies have shown effects include shrinkage in parts of the brain needed for executive function (the part of the brain responsible for tasks like planning, organising, and impulse control), and some psychologists have expressed concern.

Exposure to extremism and radicalisation. People who are isolated may be more likely to be indoctrinated to extremist beliefs and communities found online. A longing for a sense of belonging, unhappiness, feeling angry and ‘different’ are some of the factors that might make a young person vulnerable to being targeted by extremist groups.


Sexting is when you send a sexual message, photo or video to someone else. It could be a picture of you, but sometimes people send pictures and videos of other people.

Messages could be to a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or someone online.

Sexting includes:

  • being partly or completely naked, or in your underwear
  • posing in a sexual position
  • sending ‘nudes’ or ‘dick pics’
  • talking about sexual things you’re doing or want to do
  • doing sexual things on a live stream

If you’ve sent a nude and you’re worried about what might happen, there are things you can do:

  • Ask for the message to be deleted- Explain that you’re not comfortable with them keeping the picture and ask them to delete it.
  • Don’t reply to threats- Don’t reply to someone trying to threaten or blackmail you, and don’t send more photos. It can be scary, but it can help you to keep in control
  • Talk to someone you trust- Talking can be scary, especially if you’re being threatened. But it can also help you get support and stay in control. Find out more about asking an adult for help.
  • Use Report Remove to get it removed from the internet- If you’re under 18 and a nude image or video has been shared online, we can help you get it removed from the internet. Find out how to remove a nude image shared online. 
  • Report what’s happened- If you’re under 18 and you’re worried or being threatened you can make a report to CEOP. Making a report isn’t confidential but it does mean that they can help to stop what’s happening.
  • Get help with how you’re feeling- Having a nude shared by other people or being threatened isn’t your fault. If you’re struggling to cope or you don’t know what to do, talk to us.
  • Talk to someone you trust- Talking can be scary, especially if you’re being threatened. But it can also help you get support and stay in control. Find out more about asking an adult for help.
  • Use Report Remove to get it removed from the internet- If you’re under 18 and a nude image or video has been shared online, we can help you get it removed from the internet. Find out how to remove a nude image shared online. 
  • Report what’s happened- If you’re under 18 and you’re worried or being threatened you can make a report to CEOP. Making a report isn’t confidential but it does mean that they can help to stop what’s happening.
  • Get help with how you’re feeling- Having a nude shared by other people or being threatened isn’t your fault. If you’re struggling to cope or you don’t know what to do, talk to us.

Getting support when you are over 18

If you’re over 18 and someone’s shared a naked or sexual picture of you without your consent, they’re breaking the law.

Lots of social media sites can take images of you down if you report it, but this may not always happen. If someone is threatening you, or has posted a picture of you online, there’s a special Revenge Pornography Helpline to help people who are over 18.

You can also get support from The Mix.

How to set boundaries with friends—and why it’s necessary

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