The 14 Best Apps For When You Want To Make New Friends

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women using apps to make new friends
Self

Let’s cut to the chase: you’re here because the world is absolutely brimming with people, chock-full of bakers, painters, architects, and poets, and yet trying to make new friends as an adult can feel as perilous as the moon landing.

Hyperbole? Sure. But the wrong interaction with the wrong person can leave you dejected and anxious — a real bad time.

Our social circles are drawn from various connections we've made throughout life. That includes the third-grade BFF with whom you guerrilla-filmed Amanda Show skits and the office mate who proofreads your emails. It could even mean the jolly barista who nails your fancy chai order but can’t, for the life of them, spell your name.

You may not recognize your own loneliness until you’ve lost something that provided your life with a sense of normalcy, like a divorce or career change.

When major life transitions happen, you may realize those random Instagram or TikTok friends can’t quite make up for the real deal.

Matt Cartwright is a NYC-based therapist who agrees that it's more challenging than ever to make friends. "I believe with the advances in technology," he says, "it has become harder for people to make friends. When people go out to bars and clubs there as often as distraction with technology."

But that’s not to say you can’t form sturdy, lasting friendships online. The 14 apps listed below — all of which can be used for free — seek to ease the emotional burden of putting yourself out there to find new friendships.

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Best of all, many specifically cater to platonic pals, so you can send those smiley-face emojis, or schedule that video chat, without fear it’ll be read as a declaration of love.

14 Best Apps To Help You Make New Friends

1. Frim

Frim is for the budding socialite who’d rather stay local. You can strike up conversations with folks in your area, send virtual gifts, and filter networks based on age, location, or interests.

With a powerful chat feature that allows for text, video calls, and group messages (with up to 20 users!), you can nurture relationships with like-minded people at your pace, your comfort level. Rather fly under the radar? No problem — Frim lets you to choose a nickname for each conversation, ensuring you stay anonymous until you and your new friends are ready for the next step.

This is important for people who are skeptical of apps for creating friendships, instead of something more. "I think it’s hard to trust what people’s intentions are," says Cartwright. "With apps that are specifically designed for friends only, this will help give a platform to those who are only truly looking to make friends and not hook up."

Download now: iPhone users or Android users

2. Hey! VINA

You know an app's great when it comes with a manifesto.

This platform, created “for women, by women,” operates under the belief that friendship is revolutionary, that quality friends can change your life, provide endless inspiration, and offer support in dark times.

Pro tip: when making a profile, be specific. The more detailed your self-portrait, the more likely you are to match with women who share similar interests, political views, and expectations regarding friendship. Connect the app to Facebook, and you'll increase the likelihood of quickly pinpointing your new BFF.

Once you've successfully matched, Hey! VINA helps take your budding friendship to the next level with a "Plans" feature. Here you can suggest meet-ups or choose from a list of events in your area.

There’s even a newsletter so you and your new friends can always have something to chat about.

Download now: Apple users or Android users

3. SoloTraveller

This app is for the voyagers, the women and men who crave (and wish to share) new spaces.

With SoloTraveller, you’re instantly connected with fellow explorers. You can find folks with whom share a meal on your way through town, buddies down for a hike.

The app is a trove of backpacking knowledge. Use it to log your travels, find out which trails are best (i.e. safest), and uncover a wellspring of support as you prep for the next journey.

It’s especially ideal for women who seek adventure (say, twenty miles a day on the Pacific Crest Trail), but don’t want to go it alone.

Download now: Apple users or Android users

4. MeetMe

MeetMe claims to be “the mobile version of the bar or coffeehouse where everyone belongs,” and they mean it.

This network, founded before smartphones even existed, helps people of all ages and backgrounds meet, link up, and spring down the path toward meaningful connection.

Stream live video, compete with friends and strangers in light-hearted games, and buy virtual gifts with those "coins" you racked up through interaction to show new friends just how much you care.

Download now: Apple users or Android users

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5. Tagged

With over 300 million users, Tagged is a social-network powerhouse. Like other entries, you can chat, stream video, send gifts, and form communities based on shared interests.

What differentiates Tagged is the “Pets” feature — a game that allows you to own a virtual pet, vying against in-app friends and strangers to see who can earn the highest value for their cyber pup or kitty.

Download now: Apple users or Android users

6. Nextdoor

Nextdoor is a hub for folks who’d like to know their community (and the people who live in it) better.

Enter your address, then sit back and revel in area-specific news and content. Use the "Local Pulse" feature to promote causes and organizations that matter most. Discover groups of locals that jive with your passions.

You can also send and receive neighborhood updates, connect with local businesses, or even sell that creaky old chair your mom insisted you take after college.

Easy and fun to use, Nextdoor is a must-have app for anyone looking to deepend their communal roots.

Download now: Apple users or Android users

7. Friended

An app based on facilitating real, personal connections, Friended encourages you to establish your network through mini leaps of faith.

Here’s the gist: you post an ice breaker, and before you can think, “Oh my god, this is dumb. Why even try...” you’ll have received a response from a like-minded pal.

Friended takes advantage of a clean, simple interface to break down emotional barriers and fast-track open communication. It's an app for old souls, in addition to those hungry for long, heartfelt talks.

Not sure which potential friends are right for you? Try the "Guess Me" game.

Download now: Apple users

8. Peanut

Peanut is an app for mothers of all ages and life stages, including hopeful mothers, expecting mothers, working mothers and even empty-nesters.

The goal is to empower women of all ages to freely ask the tough questions surrounding motherhood. Worried about sharing too much, too soon? There's an incognito feature, so you can find answers anonymously.

Share snippets throughout the day. Post pictures of your child or pet. Along the way, you'll uncover a die-hard network in which to solicit or offer advice, as well as learn from women who truly sympathize with your situation — whatever it may be.

Download now: Apple users or Android users

9. Yubo

Wishing for a people-based platform in which to share ideas, grow as a member of society, and form iron-clad friendships? Try Yubo — the French-founded app centered on freedom of expression.

Yubo prides itself on being a "real social network." You don't gain followers but community; no clout, only connection. You can watch or stream live video, swipe right on folks you’d like to know better, and chat with friends across the world. Gamers, cooks, burgeoning knitters — Yubo has something for everybody.

Download now: Apple users or Android users

10. We3

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We3 is about finding your tribe. They insist the cringe-factor for pairs is too high — you could be forced to endure awkward silences or suffer bros who just can’t grasp the idea of platonic friendship.

After signing up, you'll be quizzed on a variety of factors to ensure those you're linked with are totally compatible. They offer detailed explanations for every match so you and your new pals can strengthen your bond. Keep the trio virtual, or move your friendship into the real world. Either way, We3 provides you with the tools needed to make life-long friends fast.

Download now: Apple users or Android users

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11. Patook

You open Instagram, and there’s a notification. It’s a message from someone you knew in high school. Or not ... Maybe it’s a totally random request from a totally random guy. He thinks you’re great. He thinks you’re beautiful. He wants to meet up.

With Patook, wave good bye to unwanted flirts. The app rigorously filters, bans, and blocks all users who don’t abide by the Patook prime directive: friendship only.

You’re paired based on all-around sensibility. And this one isn’t only for single folk, either. Those with partners can register to find other couples with whom to meet up or chat online. It may take a few minutes to get going with the app, but rest assured — those details, interests, and aspirations you so painstakingly added help guarantee reliable matches.

Download now: Apple users or Android users

12. UNBLND

Craving a social network unburdened by shallow, toxic values concerning beauty? Look no further than UNBLND — a global community which aims to nurture genuine connections.

Like the other apps on this list, you’re grouped with users who share interests, hobbies, and world views. The difference? Unlike dating apps, there are no snap judgments based on appearance. No profile pics. No photo galleries.

Use UNBLND to make friends in faraway cities, schedule outings in your neighborhood, and chat for free with fellow nerds, bookworms, and witches.

Only once you’re truly comfortable with a friend is there an option to “unblind” yourself.

Download now: Apple users or Android users

13. Bumble BFF

You're moving to a new city and you need a roommate. Or perhaps social networking is a flower you neglected for years that needs replanting. Either way, Bumble BFF is the app for you.

After registering, you’re encouraged to pick six photos that really get to the crux of who you are: athlete, photographer. The goal is to capture a holistic glimpse of yourself, so feel free to connect your Instagram and Spotify accounts.

Once your account is up and running, the app becomes a game of “Who Next?”— you swipe right, you swipe left. From there, keep friendships virtual, or opt to meet in-person. With millions of users across the world (and in your city), the sky's the limit.

Download now: Apple users or Android users

14. Meet My Dog

Sure, not everyone loves Fido the Chihuahua, the neighborhood menace who pees as he pleases and excitedly nibbles every finger in his path.

But you do, and that’s what matters to the crew at Meet My Dog — an app to find play dates, ask canine-related questions, and share in the grand, tumultuous journey of animal kinship.

Set up a profile that speaks to you and your dog as a pair. Love a good game of fetch in the park? Snap a photo. Hoping to socialize your new pup? There are tons of users (and dogs!) itching for new friends. You can send messages, log your daily walks, and read reviews of doggy products across the board.

There you have it. And no one should underestimate the value of making friends.

"Friendships are vital for creating a strong sense of oneself and self value," says Cartwright. "It has been said that you are the average of your peers. Who we hang around influences our opinions, attitudes and adventures. Having friends is key to living a life where you feels supported, loved and cared for."

Download now: Apple users or Android users

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Joseph Heiland is a writer whose fiction has appeared in Lumina Journal and Eastern Iowa Review. He holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.