There’s an old children’s song that goes, "make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold." When we were kids, it was a lot easier to deliver on the former, from simply offering to share your Lunchables with the new kid or meeting a classmate while playing Four Square during recess. As adults, making new friends can be a lot trickier, especially in a frenetic place like New York City.
But don't worry. There are three new ways to make friends in NYC, and we've got the scoop. So read on and go find your new bestie.
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'Meet new people and do fun things' with Wowza Hangout
Meng Liu knows firsthand how tough it can be to move to a new place and make friends. With the memory of moving from city to city after college and realizing "making new friends as an adult is strangely difficult," Liu created Wowza Hangout. The Brooklyn-based group started about two years ago and has since expanded to host members from Manhattan and Queens, too.
"New members are joining all the time, largely through word of mouth," Liu tells Time Out. "Some people are nervous before joining their first hangout, but they come anyway and have a great time and become repeat attendees."
Personally, I have met so many interesting, smart, funny, kind, good people through the community — they are all around us!
The premise is simple: Meet new people and do fun things. Liu hosts events like movie screenings, small group hangouts, game nights and visits to local bars and cafes. Coming up next, the group will host a Cherry Blossom Walk on Saturday, April 22 including grabbing coffee together, then strolling through Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
“I’m passionate about bringing people together and helping people, so Wowza Hangout seemed like the natural thing to start,” Liu says. “Personally, I have met so many interesting, smart, funny, kind, good people through the community—they are all around us! And I’m grateful for how supportive the members are in helping Wowza Hangout grow.”
Foster female friendships with The Meet Up Crew
With the motto "she can leave all expectations at the door and just be herself," The Meet Up Crew hosts events six days per week all over the city to encourage women to make friends in their local neighborhood and discover local businesses along the way.
The organization started in 2020 as a simple Facebook group where founder Jacqueline Denise sought to meet other women to become friends with amid a pandemic in a city she'd just moved to. Now, more than 3,000 people are a part of that Facebook group, and Denise leads a social club featuring events like kayaking classes, Broadway shows, sports games, museums, brunch, coffee meet-ups and after-work drinks.
Women empower each other, lift each other up, and studies have shown that women are healthier and live longer if they have strong female friends in their lives.
The social club started in Hoboken and has expanded to Jersey City and Manhattan. So far, The Meet Up Crew has hosted more than 500 events. The group takes the stress out of planning events, like those back-and-forth text chains trying to pick a date to get together. Every month, Denise updates the calendar with new activities.
"To me, this group is so important because it's an opportunity for women to make genuine friends and discover new places right where they live. So often as we get older, we become focused on careers and/or relationships and then we discover that outside of work/our partner it is not easy to make female friendships," Denise tells Time Out. "Women empower each other, lift each other up, and studies have shown that women are healthier and live longer if they have strong female friends in their lives."
Get involved: All women regardless of background, ethnicity, socioeconomic level, age, sexual orientation, or disability are welcome to attend events. You can sign up for events a la carte or as a member. Memberships cost $49 monthly, $294 semi-annually, or $588 annually; memberships come with special perks like a private group chat, discounts on tickets to events and access to overnight trips. Here's this month's calendar of events and here's the group's Instagram.
Check out Junie, the new friendship concierge app
This new NYC-based app takes the lunchroom or recess virtual. Designed for women and non-binary people in NYC, this friend-finding app matches people with compatible friends and shares activity recommendations.
Actual BFFs Hailey Rizzo and Emily Engle founded Junie as a passion project as they were tired of how hard it is to make friends in the city.
"We wanted to create a safe space for women and non-binary people to find friends. There are no digital friend-finding options on the market that cater exclusively to women and non-binary people. We want our users to feel safe, comfortable, and confident with their matches," Rizzo told Time Out. There's even an option for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people to match solely with other BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people if they choose.
Junie is important because women and non-binary people deserve an easier way to find friends in NYC so they can spend more time with friends than trying to find them.
The app just launched in January 2023, but the co-founders are already seeing people make plans and exchange numbers on the app daily. Different than other friend-finding apps, Junie doesn't force endless scrolling, instead opting to provide compatible matches. If you want to hang out with a match, the app also suggests local businesses to check out.
"Junie is important because women and non-binary people deserve an easier way to find friends in NYC so they can spend more time with friends than trying to find them," Rizzo says.
Get involved: You can download the app on iOS or Android operating systems.