Making new friends in your 20s can be tough. Work or school is a huge time sink, and we’re all working harder than ever on side projects, gym time, meal prep, trying to read enough, sleep enough… yeah, it’s a lot.
So allow us to lighten your mental load. We’ve put together this list of empowering, actionable ways to find new friends, explore your city solo, and make lasting connections.
As you look through this list and think about how you want to make new friends, please remember: putting yourself out there does not mean being uncomfortable or unsafe. Instead, think about pushing yourself to be brave and do what you’d love to do—never things that cause stress. Always be authentic, and you’ll find the people you’re supposed to find. Now let’s talk strategy.
Connect with new people via your hobbies
Join a club
Making friends through clubs or groups centered on your hobbies is an amazing way to make new connections. Many people attend solo, and they’re also likely looking to meet new people. Plus, everyone is guaranteed a similar interest, which gives you easy conversation starters.
Consider what you love to do (or what you want to get into) and explore opportunities in your area. Love the gym? Check out running clubs, yoga groups, or outdoor fitness. Team sports like basketball and soccer are great options for making friends, as you’ll naturally interact with your team and get to know them faster.
Always wanted to learn salsa? Plenty of solo learners go to dance classes. If it’s craft and creativity you love, look for knitting or drawing clubs. Or if you want to up your reading time, try a book club.
Take a course
If you’re keen to learn new things as well as make new friends, maybe a course is the way to go. Again, if creativity is your thing, how about learning something new like pottery-making, glass-blowing, or calligraphy? Or cooking courses are major right now, with several big-name bakeries or restaurants offering classes. You could meet other chefs and learn anything from donut-making to dim sum. We’ve found these kinds of classes to be relaxed, useful, and a great way to meet new people on your wavelength.
Josie, 22, tried a pottery class. “I’ve always wanted to learn, so I signed up to an eight-week course for beginners. We were a small group of 6, so there was plenty of chatting as we tried out hand-building, wheel-throwing, and glazing. The course has ended now, but I’m still in touch with my classmates and we’ve planned to go for dinner.”
Work-related courses can also be a way to make new friends, and your company might even pay for you to do it. Ask about professional development or learning budgets, and think about what you need to level up in your role. Whatever your industry, there are courses to strengthen your resume—from coding bootcamps to marketing workshops, and trade skills to safety courses. You’ll likely meet people in similar industries or with similar interests, so you’ll have loads to talk about. It’s always useful to have friends with similar jobs so you can compare notes on salaries and working conditions.
Find friends at school or college
If you go to school or college, we have a few specific tips to help you make connections on campus. Societies and organizations are great ways to meet new people. College is the time to discover more about yourself, so take the opportunity to explore a new activity or hobby. The best part is that you’ll likely meet lots of other newbies looking to do the same thing, and it can be a sure way to make new friends.
If you've already graduated, check out our tips for making friends after college.
Make friends in new places
If you have the time and the mental space to volunteer away from home, you’ll likely easily make new friends in your 20s. Many volunteers go it alone, so you could meet plenty of new people and get to know them fast as you work and live alongside each other.
The volunteer industry has developed in mindset over the last decade, so ethical projects are now easier to find. With various schemes across conservation and community, you can impact global issues and causes you care about. Look for opportunities online or through local charities, and we recommend checking if a program is based on sustainable, evidence-based impact and cultural sensitivity. You should be able to find their moral codes and safety information prominently displayed on their websites.
Philip, 23, assisted with humanitarian relief after an earthquake in Nepal. “I met so many like-minded people and truly did make friends for life. You’re working together, eating together, working through challenges together, and supporting each other through it all.”
If you’re looking for new and exciting ways to spend your vacation time, solo traveling can be an incredible way to meet new friends in your 20s. If you’re keen on adventure, you could go it alone and choose destinations with great hostels and solo travel culture. Of course, please always stay safe. Familiarize yourself with your locations before you get there, be aware of local laws and customs, and check in with someone at home regularly.
If you want to keep costs down, the working holiday model is a budget-conscious way to see the world and make new friends. This is when farms, hostels, and other small communities needing extra hands exchange food and board for a few hours of work on their projects.
Working holidays can be great for solo travelers looking to meet new people and make new friends. It’s also a great way to visit places you might never have considered! You could be helping other volunteers on a homestead in Montana, looking after horses in Romania, or helping with reforestation in Colombia.
If organized fun is more your vibe (we love that), solo traveler holidays are hugely popular. Tour operators put together groups of travelers for incredible trips hosted by topic experts. We’ve seen sailing trips around Greek islands, hiking in the Rockies, tours of astrological sites in Italy, and more amazing, hobby-focused holidays. Usually, you’re responsible for booking your flights, but tours include accommodation, some or all meals, and activities. On trips like these, you’re very likely to meet other people in their 20s who also love to travel.
Claire, 22, went on a sailing holiday around Croatia. “The tour operator was amazing—they put real thought into creating groups with similar interests. I always felt safe, and by the end of day one I felt like I’d known the other people on the boat for weeks instead of hours! I’m going back next year with a couple of new friends from the trip.”
Apps aren’t just for dating
Online forums, groups and communities can be great for making friends in your 20s because they're a low-pressure way of meeting new people with similar interests. You could try anything from industry networking clubs, to hobby-based advice groups, to local neighborhood groups. And don’t forget, Bumble For Friends is designed to be a kind, welcoming space to find friendships in your 20s and beyond. We’d love to see you there!
As always, keep safety in the front of your mind—if you’re meeting with someone IRL, make sure you choose public spaces and keep someone you trust updated.
We think your 20s will be amazing and worthwhile—the tough parts and the incredible moments. The friends you make in your 20s are likely to be your friends for life as you support each other through the challenges of starting a career, leaving school or college, and finding out more about yourselves. With these tips and strategies, we hope you’ll grow your inner circle and make beautiful memories. Good luck!