mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor’s in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Image by Maite Pons / Stocksy
June 30, 2022
Between busy schedules and a host of responsibilities, it can be tough to make friends as an adult. Nevertheless, research shows time and time again that having strong friendships is great for our overall well-being—so how can we actually welcome new connections into our lives? Enter: friend-finder apps.
Along with the rise of dating apps in recent years, apps for finding friends have also increased in popularity, offering people a new way to form meaningful friendships—and even try something new together. “All you need is some common interests and a willingness to get outside your comfort zone and be open with someone new,” therapist Alison Stone, LCSW, tells mbg. And as psychologist Nicole Beurkens, Ph.D., notes, “Taking the risk to meet new people is what leads to the reward of developing new relationships.”
So without further ado, here are our top picks for the best apps for finding friends.
How we picked.
Everyone is different, and there are many different approaches to making friends (and not to mention, different interests, personality preferences, and more). So, we chose friend finder apps that each offer something special or unique to help cater to what different people may be looking for, whether it’s a new neighbor friend, a connection around the world, or something else.
Between our own personal experimentation with these apps, plus the reviews of real customers, we narrowed down which friend-finder apps are really worth your time. You’ll never really know if you don’t try for yourself, but rest assured that other people have had success with the apps we’ve chosen.
When it comes to linking up IRL with people you met online, safety should be one of the biggest priorities. Many of these apps have safety features like identity verification and/or well-enforced community guidelines. While you should always exercise caution connecting with people online, these apps are doing their part to ensure the safety of customers.
All of the apps we’ve chosen don’t cost a cent to start using. Some do have premium options that require payment to access all the functions and benefits of the app, but at the very least, you can try these apps out first before committing to paying—because making friends should be accessible to everyone.
mbg’s picks for the best friend-finder apps to try in 2022:
- Tons of options for varied interests
- Online and in-person options
Whether you’re interested in hiking, live music, crafting, or just want to make new friends, Meetup has something for everyone. Somatic psychologist Holly Richmond, Ph.D., even previously told mbg that this website is one of her favorite ways to make friends as an adult—and for good reason. Virtually all you have to do to start connecting with other people on Meetup is sign up and find an event or group that interests you, with both in-person and online options to choose from. And if you still need convincing, take the website’s 20 years of success as a sign that people keep coming back to find things to do, and of course, people to meet.
Price: Free (individual event costs may vary)
- Made for women, especially moms
- Designed to help share advice and information
- Expert-led groups
- May not be popular in less populated locations
Created specifically for women who are in similar stages in their lives—most prominently, those who are mothers or thinking about starting a family—Peanut is essentially an app that allows women to have each others’ backs, plus make new connections. You’ll find a lot of moms and pregnant women on the app, as the idea is to share advice, ask questions, and even get expert insight into anything you’re wondering about—but you certainly don’t have to be a mom to jump in. Peanut features different groups, live audio calls, and chances to meet other women in your area IRL. And with over 6,000 reviews giving it an average of 4.4/5 stars, people clearly love the chance to connect with other women and make new friends. One word to the wise, however, is that if you live in a more rural location, there may not be too many people using the app near you. (But it can’t hurt to check!)
- Ideal for making immediate connections in your building
- All users are verified for safety
- Might witness some neighborhood drama
Perfect for city slickers, Nextdoor was designed with apartment dwellers in mind. With this app, it’s never been easier to link with people right in your building, whether for a hangout, an outing, or a group activity. There are options for one-on-one chats, as well as group chats (such as a Buy/Sell group or a workout group), with the whole idea being to foster a real sense of community in the building among neighbors. As one happy reviewer writes, “This app is exactly what I needed to be able to connect with my neighbors, living in an NYC building. It allows me to find pet sitters for my fur baby, sell/buy things, exchange info—all with people in my building.” You may have to get the ball rolling if your building isn’t on the app yet, but once you do, you can say goodbye to awkward hallway interactions and hello to new friends. (One con? You’ll sometimes see neighbors getting into arguments on your feed about everything from pet noises to politics. You’ve been warned!)
- Accessible in over 100 countries
- Over a million users
- App glitches and bugs
- Fake profiles reported
Whether you’re traveling or looking for new friends in your own city, Skout can help you find them. You don’t actually have to be in a specific location to chat with someone who is, so if you’ve got an upcoming trip to Spain and you want travel tips, it’s super easy to find someone who can give you the information you’re looking for. After all, the app has over a million users, and not to mention, over 150,000 ratings with an average of 4.3/5 stars. Just beware—some users have reported glitches as well as fake profiles, so use your discretion and keep safety in mind.
Price: Free, with optional premium services billed on a monthly ($20), quarterly ($25), or yearly ($70) basis, which will remove ads, boost your visibility on the app, and more.
- Designed for women to initiate the conversation
- Can be used for friendship, dating, and networking
You’ve probably heard of the dating app Bumble, but how about Bumble BFF? This friend-finding app takes all the best parts of Bumble and makes it about finding new friends rather than a romantic interest. Though, we will add, if you’re interested in both, one benefit of Bumble BFF is that you can use the dating settings, friendship settings, and even business settings all under one account. Simply sign up, create a profile, and start swiping on the potential new friends near you!
Price: Free with many options for in-app purchases and subscription plans, ranging from one day of Bumble Premium for $3.49, to a lifetime membership for $150
- Exclusive to women
- Quizzes to help match you with like-minded people
- Weak verification process
- Not updated regularly
With a similar setup as Bumble BFF and other familiar “swiping” apps, Hey! VINA lets you connect with other women near you—and only other women. Unlike Bumble BFF, which includes gender settings for finding people of all genders, Hey! VINA is only for women. And to help you find other ladies with mutual interests, you can take personality quizzes so the app will point you in the right direction. As you match with new friends, you can then use the planning function to set a date and time for a hangout, whether it’s one-on-one or a group invite. It is worth noting that like a lot of these friendship apps, location matters. One reviewer writes, “In my area there just are not a lot of people using it, but I have gotten a few matches and have met up with one new friend in real life.” The app also hasn’t been updated in a while, so complaints of glitches aren’t uncommon.
Price: Free with in-app premium purchases ranging from $4 for a one-day boost, to $100 for a 100-year-long premium membership.
- Strict safety protocols
If you’re less into outings and more into connecting with new people from the comfort of your own home, Yubo is a great option to try. Streaming is the name of the game for this app, allowing you to host or join a livestream about whatever it is you’re interested in—gaming, travel, simply talking about your day—you name it. Up to 10 people can join these lives as well, so conversations are sure to be interesting. Plus, you’re not limited to your local area, and can actually connect with people all around the world. The app even features multiplayer games, live chats, and a swiping function to match with new friends. Yubo also takes safety very seriously, which is ultimately a good thing—though some reviews suggest they might even be too strict, so you’ll definitely want to be on your best behavior and read their community guidelines first.
Price: Free with in-app purchases ranging from $1 to $70
- Wide variety of groups
- You probably already have Facebook
- Huge, active user base
You may not have expected to find Facebook on this list, but if you’ve yet to lean into the world’s largest social media platform in order to find friends, it’s actually a great place to start. For one thing, you probably already have a Facebook profile, even if you don’t check it very often. Get familiar with the Facebook events page, which allows you to find activities and events you’re interested in, right in your area. On top of that, you can find groups for mutual interests, from groups for local women who like to hike to groups for folks to discuss environmental issues. These groups can be limited to people in your neighborhood or can include people from all around the world—so not only can you make new friends near you, but you can connect with people abroad, too. And while Facebook may not have the “swiping” features some of the other friendship apps have, it’s easy enough to find an event that grabs your attention, show up, and strike up a conversation.
Tips for using friend-finder apps:
Showcase what you’re looking for.
If you want to attract the kinds of like-minded people that share your interests, show those interests off! Want yoga buddies? Include a picture of yourself doing yoga on your profile. Want to get a group hike going? Pick your favorite picture of you on the trails. Be real about what you’re looking for in a friendship, prioritizing your genuine interests and values—which is, after all, what quality friendship is all about.
Don’t be afraid to make the first move.
You’d be amazed how intimidating it can feel to simply put yourself out there and say “Hi” to a potential new friend, but it’s worth it. Chances are, the person on the other end of the chat may be just as apprehensive as you are to say hello first, and worse comes to worst, the friendship wasn’t meant to be! Stick with easy and friendly conversation starters that play on a mutual interest, such as, “Hey! I see you like to cook—what’s the best recipe you’ve made lately?” or “Hi! I love [insert musical artist] too! Did you see they’re coming to town soon?”
Try not to get discouraged.
And lastly, while many have found success with these apps, the same can be said about dating apps, too—but obviously, not all Tinder swipes are a match made in heaven. It can be easy to get discouraged—and quickly—if you’re not getting “enough” matches, or people aren’t answering. But it is the internet, so people can and will be flaky. Trust that with time and a little persistence, you are still likely to make at least one friend. And if that friend turns out to be your new bestie, all the effort will have been worth it.
It’s not always easy to make friends as we get older, but with so many great friend-finder apps right at our fingertips, connecting with new people has actually never been easier. So whether you’re looking to expand your social circle, connect with people around the world, or find a group to join, put your best profile forward and give these apps a go.