Not to get all “lol #adulting” on you, but making friends as an adult is legitimately hard! It just is, okay? (And if it’s not hard for you, that’s amazing, congrats, we’re literally so happy for you, but please feel free to see yourself out. This article isn’t for you; go have fun with your thriving circle of adult friends.) Not only are you busy trying to keep yourself alive and financially stable, which can seriously cut into your socializing time, but you’re also more aware of other people’s (aka your potential new friends’) boundaries and time constraints. In short, if you can even find the time to forge a new friendship (which, good luck) it can be all too easy to get in your head and psych yourself out.
So yeah, making friends may have been easier in high school or college when all it took was an inside joke, a few classes together, and/or a sports team to link you up with a ride-or-die bestie who knows your deepest secrets and will binge watch seasons upon seasons of Sex and the City reruns with you. But fear not! Modern technology is here to help you bridge the adult friendship gap. Yes, we’re talking about friendship apps.
You know how dating apps can help you find your next hookup, relationship, and/or ambiguously romantic affair? (Just us? Okay.) Well, there are some really solid apps to make friends out there that can help you find and vet new besties too. Whether you just moved, left a toxic friendship, or just want someone to brunch with, here are some apps to download that’ll help you find the Monica to your Rachel, the Jane to your Daria, the Miranda to your Carrie, (insert iconic TV friendship of your choice) all without having to leave the couch. You’re welcome, babe.
Many friendship apps have similar features to dating apps (making a profile, swiping on others, private messaging, etc.) but what makes Yubo unique is its catfish-free video chat feature. When you connect with someone, you can chat via live video from the app (like Facetime, but without having to give out your phone number). This a) ensures the person you’re talking to is *actually* who they say they are, and b) might help alleviate some of those first-time meetup jitters if you’ve already seen their face.
Right this way, extroverts, because this talk-based app is about to become your new obsession. Instead of just the standard DM-style messaging seen in most apps, LMK has a variety of ways to connect with people, like voice chats for example. You can instantly call or chat with folks (whether 1-on-1 or in a group) who have the same interests as you, so if you’re in the mood to just gab, there’s no sitting around and waiting for a match. Plus, once you’re in a voice chat, there’s a timer that’ll end the call unless you choose to extend it, so no awkward goodbyes if you’re just not clicking.
3. Bumble BFF
If you’ve ever used Bumble for dating, Bumble BFF is literally the same concept, just for platonic friends. You still make a profile with a few photos, add a quick bio, and then swipe right on your faves. The main difference is that the timer to start a conversation isn’t gendered, so it’s on either of you to make the first move before the match expires.
WINK is another app that lets users swipe left or right on profiles they feel match best with their interests. You can select the gender and age range of people you want to connect with and add your interests so matches have at least one favorite activity in common with you. You can chat directly on the app or move the conversation to Snapchat for something a little more private. It’s like Tinder for friends. (You knew we were going to say it, didn’t you?)
5. Hey! VINA
VINA was designed specifically for women to meet female friends at any time. You can match based on shared activities and interests and your “life stage,” since different moments in your life might lead you to look for more friends (or ones who specifically get what you’re going through).
Meeting new people in your area is great and all, but meeting people around the world will truly change your perspective. Ablo’s got a lot of the traditional friendship app features like text and voice chat, but it also gives you the option to live stream yourself if you feel like casting a wider net for connections. The best part is the app automatically translates conversations so you can talk to anyone without a language barrier. If that means you make a BFF in France and spend next summer strolling the Louvre together, all the better.
Making friends who share your interests is tricky for everyone, but oftentimes it’s even harder for people in the kink, queer, sex-positive, and BDSM communities. Enter: Bloom. The community-based lifestyle app was created to help people meet and connect with others in a safe and monitored space. Not only can you chat and connect like with other apps, but Bloom actually hosts tons of events, festivals, and meetups so you can connect IRL at an activity that feels more on brand than just coffee and small talk.
Peanut is an app for moms to meet other moms, founded by Michelle Kennedy, who worked at the dating app Badoo before giving birth in 2013. She described feeling very isolated as a new mother and wanted to find people who understood what she was going through. Since postpartum depression can make women feel especially alone, it’s great to have an app where you can connect with someone navigating the same, sometimes-messy, emotional terrain as you are.
If you’re particularly in need of marathon buddies or tennis opponents, look no further. ATLETO is all about helping you find people based on your favorite sports, and encouraging you to host events and meet up IRL. And honestly, jogging or cycling together is pretty low-key when it comes to first conversations with someone.
If you have more specific interests, like knitting at a bar or being a part of a writing group, Meetup probably has something you’re looking for. You simply enter your location and browse events by category. Voila! You’ll find your crew in no time.
Similar to the Whisper app, Friended lets you share your random thoughts in a controlled environment, allowing other users to reply or send encouragements to you privately. The point is to exchange niceties that should hopefully tumble into something more, or at the very least help you feel less alone. Who doesn’t love getting their feelings validated by strangers? Yes, you’ll still be clinging to your phone when you’re out in public, but at least there’ll be someone sweet on the other side of it.
Twitch is a great way to make friends, especially if you’re a streamer already. Twitch communities often transcend the boundaries of the internet, with users hosting IRL Twitch meetups all the time. Another great option is to join or create a Discord. Many fan groups of the bigger streamers have their own Discord chats (sometimes with the streamers themselves) where they discuss all things streamer and the games they play and are always eager to welcome new fans into the cut. And it’s not just for video games— in recent years, Twitch has been taken over by beauty gurus, makeup artists, sex columnists, wellness consultants, and more. What’s better than bonding over a mutual love of livestreams?
Skout has been around since 2007, so they’ve been in the friendship (and dating!) app game for a long time. It’s pretty simple: You use it to connect with people wherever you go, which seems particularly handy if you’re traveling alone and want to grab a pint with someone… or even hook up (Skout has no rules!).
If you’ve moved to a new neighborhood and find it hard to connect with new people (a definite suburb problem), Nextdoor lets you know everything that’s happening nearby—from yard sales to babysitting gigs. It’s not as straightforward as “Hey, I’m looking for friends!” but in a way, it can feel like a more natural integration into your community.