Moving to Australia

Where to Make Friends in Melbourne

Starting out life in a new city can often be challenging. You want to get out there and have a vibrant social life but you don’t know anyone. Do you have to do everything alone or can you find people to do things with?

Melbourne is a beautiful city with a great deal to offer, but it’s not always easy to meet people and make connections. Here, we’ll give you some ideas on where to make friends in Melbourne.

No. 1 Melbourne’s social scene

Obviously, different people find different things to love about any city. It depends on your age bracket, your favourite activities, where you live, whether you can speak the local language and even what your tastes are in food. Melbourne is a big ‘coffee city’. With hole-in-the-wall coffee shops, laneway cafes and big coffee emporiums, it’s definitely a caffeine-powered metropolis.

Many coffee shops have communal tables where you can sit with your laptop or tablet or even just a book and start a conversation with total strangers. “Pass the sugar please?” Or “wow, you have the latest MacBook Air!”

Pubs and bars are also convivial places to be. Again, Melbourne’s famous laneways come into play but there are also rooftop bars, hidden bars, riverside bars and suburban pubs. Head in and buy a drink and you may find someone else who would enjoy having a drink bought for them in exchange for a hello and some conversation. The cocktails are superb, the craft beers will have your mouth watering and the atmosphere in Melbourne pubs and bars is very lively.

If you’re a fan of nightclubs, then Melbourne has plenty to offer you. Cut loose on the dance floor to any genre you like. There are hardcore techno venues, R ‘n’ B nightspots and even funk clubs. Or break it down and enjoy a smooth whisky over some hot jazz.

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No. 2 Make new friends at school or uni

It seems obvious but when you’re feeling isolated, it can be hard to remember that where you go to school or uni is a bottomless pit of people. If you’re lonely, chances are, other people are too and it’s just a matter of connecting with the right guys or girls who are also looking for friends. Join a social club, hang out in the library or participate in other activities.

No. 3 Put your walking shoes on

Melbourne’s climate lends itself to outdoor exercise pretty much all year long. Rug up in winter and go for a brisk walk along the Yarra River or put your swimsuit on and go for a dip in the water at St. Kilda. Cycling around the city, joining walking groups and signing up for boot camp, outdoor yoga or tai chi are all good ways to make friends.

No. 4 Get some culture in your life

Museums, art galleries and exhibitions are fantastic places to meet people and make friends. Melbourne is full of those venues, from the small and quirky to the large and mainstream. Many of them are free to visit and some offer free talks or tours. You can often strike up a conversation with others who have similar interests and before you know it, you’re exchanging phone numbers and arranging to meet at another exhibition.

No. 5 Practise something new

Have you ever wanted to sing in public? Join a choir! Whatever your age, whatever language you speak, you can find a choir group in Melbourne that will fill your heart with song.

Do you love gardening? Find a local gardening co-op. You can help tend the gardens (and enjoy the fruits of your labour) at Pop Up Patch in Federation Square or Rushall Garden in North Fitzroy.

No. 6 Volunteer and be rewarded with friendships

When you get together with other people for a common cause, you can’t help but find likeminded friends. Melbourne has lots of volunteering opportunities across countless categories. You could find yourself helping out at the Red Cross, caring for disabled children on special outings, cooking for an organisation that supplies meals to the homeless or being a ‘leisure buddy’ for adults with intellectual challenges.

No. 7 Using apps to make friends in Melbourne

Your smartphone can be your biggest friend-seeking match-maker device! Apps exist that can help connect you with potential new friends. Sure, there are lots of dating apps but friendship apps have their very own appeal.

  • We3 – This app automatically matches you in groups of three same-gender users whose interests are compatible with yours. The groups are called Tribes and you could have your very own Tribe to hang out with.
  • Bumble – Ok, Bumble is also a dating app but there is a tab in the app specifically for finding new friends. It’s the ‘BFF’ tab. You could find your new workout partner or someone else who loves binge-watching the same TV show you love.
  • Meetup – There is literally no end to the different Meetup groups you could join. Use the app or join online and you’ll soon find a huge variety of events you could go along to. There groups for walking enthusiasts, wine lovers, hikers, gourmet foodies, avid travellers, sailing fans, people who play card games or board games, lovers of the beach, football, beer or meditation. It will honestly boggle your mind. And because they are social groups, everyone there is just waiting to meet someone new and fun … like you!

No. 8 Put the word out

Unless you show people you want to make new friends, they may not think to introduce you around. Tell your neighbours, roommates, colleagues, fellow students and even the cashier at your supermarket that you want to meet new people.

No. 9 Share a house with other people

Living with others is a good way to get to know them and find new friends. Share houses require everyone to work towards a comfortable home environment, which requires mutual respect and a bit of effort. You can look for share houses on Gumtree, Flatmates.com.au, Flatmate Finders and Roomster.

No. 10 Go to church

Whatever ‘church’ means to you, there are warm and welcoming people there who would love to meet you. Maybe it’s a synagogue, temple or mosque for you, or a place where people come together to meditate. Religious or spiritual, there are loads of groups and places of worship across Melbourne.

You needn’t ever be alone or lonely in Melbourne. It’s simply a matter of considering what you love to do and the kinds of people you want to meet, then applying some of the above suggestions.

References

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