6 Best Ways to Make New Friends Online

Whatever your interest, there's a group for that

Two women swinging in park

Meeting people online isn't reserved just for dating apps. In fact, it's one of the easiest ways to start your search for new friends.

There are lots of ways to form relationships online. Even if you're not interested in holding onto a long-term relationship with online friends, you can always use the web to make friends in the real world by learning about local events and other activities in your area that can help you meet people.

Below are some of the best ways to find friends online. Just remember to be safe and avoid giving out too much information before you know more about someone.

Make Friends Through Event Sites

Meetup groups around Branson MO

Perhaps the quickest way to meet new people is to get out of the house. Sites like Meetup offer a ton of activities targeted to your community and surrounding areas.

Likewise, Craigslist has a whole section of the site called events for every community. You can find a local calendar of events for everything from dance and music to events centered around tech, singles, careers, health, and kid-friendly events.

Most local newspapers and city/town websites include a list of upcoming public events. This is a great way to meet new people in your area, try new things, and learn more about your location.

Join Facebook Groups to Meet People

Facebook Groups near me

Facebook and other sites like Twitter, Instagram, etc., aren't necessarily the greatest friend finders because they're just not structured in that way. However, a Facebook group can be a helpful way to meet friends.

Visit Facebook Groups to create your own group, browse groups made by friends, and find popular groups near you. Browse the groups and events for something that matches your interests, and even see which of your Facebook friends are also going or are interested in attending.

Find Friends With Special-Interest Apps

Speaky Android language exchange app

Like to run? Climb rocks? Belly dance? Odds are good that there's an app for that. Search the App Store on your iPhone or iPad, or the Google Play Store on Android, for apps related to your favorite hobbies.

Another that you might not consider at first is a language exchange service. These apps let you connect with someone who speaks the language you're wanting to learn, with the idea being that they also want to learn the language that you already know. It's a great way to learn while also meeting new people from different cultures.

Also look to fitness apps. Most of the major vendors include social competitions as part of the app's features. For example, Nike Run Club includes networking with local run clubs, so you'll be able to join an existing community of runners who are already connected thanks to their technology.

Meet People Online With Dating Apps

OkCupid dating website

Some dating apps are really good at helping people find genuine local friends. Bumble is a great example because it not only offers a dating section but also a "bff" area for meeting strictly friends.

You'll want to perform your due diligence about different dating platforms, though, because some like Tinder and Grindr often overwhelm with hormones.

Our list of the best dating apps and the best dating websites can help you get your bearings.

Find Friends in Your Area With a Community Group Site

Group of people touching hands

Many organizations, especially smaller volunteer-led groups, lack the resources or the expertise to be truly savvy online marketers. Some reserve the best information for people who've purchased a membership or signed up for a mailing list, so they don't push information to public Facebook groups or sites like Meetup.

Search for local groups' websites to check events calendars and officially sign up to participate in those that interest you. Many times, these groups keep events and membership lists hidden until after you've joined.

For example, some major groups dedicated to hiking and backpacking in national parks require a token membership fee to access a complete roster of activities or members-only discussion groups—featuring substantially more content than a slimmed-down set of public-facing information.

Use a Chat Room to Meet Friends Online

321Chat website

Chat rooms aren't as helpful for finding friends nearby but they're great for making friends around the world. Most even have rooms separated by topics so that you can meet people who are also into the same things you are.

321Chat is one example of a place you can meet friends online. You can select a room that matches your age or pick one like religion if that's what you want to talk about. Some other examples include E-Chat, Chatib, and TalkWithStranger.

If you're a mom looking for friends online, consider a chat site meant for moms.

Webcam chat sites are another option where you can video chat with people online.