What Is Speed Friending? The New Social Trend Helping People Find Friends Fast

By Charlie Colville

8 months ago

Ditch the dates for for friend-finding

They say the older you get, the more difficult it is to make friends – and usually we’d agree. However, a new people-meeting movement is throwing this notion out the window with a wave of social events designed to help people make friends wherever they are. Welcome to speed friending.

What Is Speed Friending?

A platonic version of speed dating, speed friending is an event where people can meet and – hopefully – make friendships. Most of the time, these events are set up like quick-fire meetings, but speed friending events differ from place to place.

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How Does It Work?

As we said, speed friending differs from event to event – but in the classic scenario, it’s set up like speed dating. The event is usually comprised set up with tables or rows of chairs, with people sitting down and switching seats every few minutes so they can interact with as many new people as possible. You can use your allotted time to get to know a person, and if you (platonically) click you can then take it from there and see where the friendship takes you.

That’s the gist, but what about the next level? While the idea itself – meeting new people and making friends – stays the same, some speed friending events take a slower approach and make more of a day (or night) of the event. Think relaxed drinks, group walks through local parks and even the occasional pottery painting workshop.

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One of the most common genres of speed friending is for girls-only groups, such as The Lonely Girls Club, which sets up events in London, Manchester and Nottingham. These kinds of groups are perhaps the most popular, especially since a report by The Office of National Statistics found that 56% of women feel lonely ‘at least some of the time’ and those aged between 16 and 29 reported the highest rates of chronic loneliness. It makes sense then that The Lonely Girls Club currently has over 60k members, making it one of the UK’s largest communities for women.

In London, there are hundreds of speed dating events, clubs and apps (both unisex and women-only), from Bumble BFF and Gofrendly to GURL PWR and the aforementioned Lonely Girls Club.

What Are The Benefits Of Speed Friending?

Speed friending has become an increasingly popular social event amongst younger Brits – and we can see why. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, those aged between 16 and 29 are over two times as likely to report feeling lonely often or always than those over 70, closely followed by those aged 30 to 49. As social beings, we tend to crave some form of human interaction to varying degrees – and if we don’t have enough of it, it can impact our health.

It’s indicated that loneliness can negatively impact us via three main pathways: behavioural, psychological and physiological. Those who experience loneliness, for example, are more likely to develop heath-risk behaviours like smoking, have low self-esteem and even struggle with their blood pressure. Some mental health risks, such as anxiety and depression, are also largely linked to feelings of loneliness.

This makes speed friending all the more crucial. No one wants to be lonely at any age, and events that helps us find like-minded people we can do fun activities with helps alleviate these feelings. We can find communities we feel connected to and, in theory, develop relationships that give us a greater sense of fulfilment – or at least enjoy a good night out in a safe space.

Featured image: Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash