I went to Speed Friending to find my new BFF

Hey Siri, how do I make friends in my 20’s without doing coke?

Your early twenties are pretty tricky to navigate. You reach a point when you’ve lost touch with childhood friends, uni pals have moved back to their hometowns and maybe you’ve found yourself bouncing around grad jobs desperate for stability. Whatever your predicament, it can be hard to bounce back from the inevitable loneliness.

Full disclaimer, I’m not totally alone. I hang out with my boyfriend on weekends and I have 2 other friends in the city that I see every few weeks. So three is a good total, but I long for the days when I’d hang around with a gaggle of girls; all four of us sharing a house with an open door policy. Those girls? We’re lucky if we see each other a handful of times a year.

But apparently speed friending is the cure to loneliness in your 20s.

‘It’s like Tinder, but in person, for friends instead of hook ups’ – So nothing like Tinder at all, but I guess the idea of meeting total strangers is appealing when everyone seems to be mutals these days. The evenings are organised by Girl Gang Manchester and I always feel serious FOMO when miss their events, so I signed up hoping to find a like-minded girl who loves pugs, internet humor and slagging off boys.

Naturally I went straight for the bar upon arrival. Did I really need dutch courage to talk to a group of people all there for the same reason? Yes, yes I did.

To start off we had been given prompt cards and a checklist, with the aim being to find people in the room who matched what was on your list. ‘Someone who likes green curry’ or ‘someone who knows sign language’ were some of the various prompts. Whilst you wouldn’t really naturally ask such specific things when introducing yourself, it did break the ice every time someone came over to ask ‘Hey, can you recite the Fresh Prince rap?’ – In case you’re wondering my answer is yes!

At first the whole thing felt like an office induction day, when you join a new team and have to get to know one another. It definitely worked to get the conversation going. In fact, the conversation was a little too loud at times, which was my only slight criticism. I’m 5ft 9inch, not the tallest but not the shortest. My height combined with competing over everyone else’s voices made me feel as if I was shouting down at my potential new pals.

Once we’d all got comfortable, the tone went from office induction to slumber-party-secret-sharing. Between group sessions of would you rather and two truths and a lie, we made our way around the crowd partnering up at random. It was much more informal than I had imagined. I thought that maybe we’d all be seat swapping like traditional speed-dating sessions, but the Girl Gang set up worked much better. At the end of every short conversation you could swiftly move on or write down someone’s social media details for later.

Towards the end of the night I had a contact sheet covered in username scribbles. I found myself swerving the final two group activities in favour of talking to another woman about our shared love for writing. It was the most productive conversation of the evening and we swapped tips on how to get published. She pointed me to ommwriter and I suggested r/writingprompts.

Final verdict:
I would definitely attend another Speed Friending event especially since I know what I’m getting myself into now. As someone who usually prefers an evening watching Youtube with only a bag of Doritos for company, I must mention that I was mentally drained the day after. However, it’s still worth considering for fellow hermits who want a change.

I came away with plenty of new Facebook friends and even a few extra blog readers (well, I had to take the opportunity to plug, didn’t I?). I would definitely recommend Girl Gang Speed Friending to anyone; whether you’re new to the city, escaping co-dependency or just in the mood to mix up your mid-week evenings.

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  1. September 13, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    I LOVE this idea. I’ve really struggled to find friends since moving. I may have to find my nearest speed friending!

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      September 13, 2017 / 4:25 pm

      Oh Emma this would be great for you and I’m so so sure they have a group for Sheffield too!

  2. September 13, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    This actually sounds like such a fun night out! I wonder if there is anything like this in Belfast – haha!

  3. September 13, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    This is THE BEST idea! After uni me and my friends all spread out across the country and other than work where do you make new friends in your city?? Will have to see if they do these events in Chester

    Bex xx

  4. September 13, 2017 / 5:56 pm

    I really like to express myself on this but instead will say I hope you found some friends.

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      September 13, 2017 / 6:12 pm

      Say what you mean, mean what you say.

  5. September 13, 2017 / 10:22 pm

    Yes Yes Yes Yes YES! I really love this and I want to do it myself. I doubt they would have anything like this in my area but I am willing to even hold the event myself. SO GOOD! x

  6. September 14, 2017 / 12:54 am

    This is such an awesome idea! I have a few close friends but would love to broaden my friendship circle! Speed Friending… what a great idea.

  7. September 14, 2017 / 1:24 am

    It is funny you mention this, I was just saying yesterday that good Bffs can be hard to find – some friendships just seem so soulless. Speed Friending was something that come up in our conversation, but did not know they actually had started doing these events. I know what you mean about it being mentally draining though 🙂 x

  8. September 14, 2017 / 8:07 am

    I have never heard of speed FRIENDING before… Dating yes, and I’ve never tried that… But friending? That’s a new one, haha

  9. September 14, 2017 / 8:46 am

    Oooh! This is a great idea – even though I’d be SO terrified to actually do it! I’m glad you managed to meet some awesome people! 😀 xx

  10. September 14, 2017 / 10:43 am

    I absolutely love the idea of this, since having children my circle has gotten very small but i adore meeting new people so this sounds perfect x

  11. September 14, 2017 / 10:43 am

    I have said this so often, what you’re out of education how do you really make friends? This sounds like a great idea and something I think more girls should do x

  12. September 14, 2017 / 4:00 pm

    I loved this post, speed freinding sounds like a great idea! It’s so hard to make friends are in your 20’s. The closest you get to meeting new people I find is at work.

  13. September 14, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    Though I’ve never heard or tried speed friending before, it’s an awesome idea. Mingling with fellow people in hopes to establish new found friendships, you never know how many people you have in common interest with.

  14. Danielle
    September 15, 2017 / 6:39 pm

    This is such a great idea. it’s easy to make friends when you are a kid, but so much harder as an adult.

  15. September 15, 2017 / 7:22 pm

    When I read your title I expected it to be at tables like traditional speed dating, as you mentioned, but I love the sound of doing more group games and mingling time! Sound like it really works and like it would be a lot of fun!

  16. September 15, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    Never heard of Speed Friending before and sounds like a lot of fun, not so sure my mummy would have done it in her 20’s, she met friends through hobbies.

  17. September 16, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    I have honestly never heard of this but it sounds like a great idea! Friendships are transient and can disappear when you move into different phases of your life so this seems like a great way to find someone with common interests!

  18. Sarah Ann
    September 16, 2017 / 5:16 pm

    This is a fantastic idea! I moved to a new city and working for myself, didn’t know anyone and it was difficult to meet new people. I’d definitely attend a speed friending event, great idea.

  19. September 16, 2017 / 10:48 pm

    Love this idea – I think we should all be completely honest about how hard it is to find and make new friends. Its also difficult when children are on the scene as social outings are few and far between but adult company is so important. Good on you for promoting your blog too!

  20. September 17, 2017 / 9:45 am

    I have to admit this sounds a bit sad. What happened to meeting friends at work / college / nights out? Glad it worked for you though

  21. September 18, 2017 / 1:14 am

    I would be so scared to go to an event like this so well done for going! Sounds like you had an amazing time and I hope your new found friendships will stick 🙂

  22. Francesca
    September 18, 2017 / 10:25 am

    This is music to my ears!!! I didn’t know they did speed freinding and it’s such a brilliant idea!! Glad it got you mingling and talking to another likeminded lady!! I’d defo give this a go!!

  23. September 18, 2017 / 7:48 pm

    This looks like so much fun! I would love to go to something like this! I need to find one in LA!

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      September 19, 2017 / 10:57 am

      I’d be so surprised if they didn’t have something similar in LA! Networking evenings are ten-a-plenty over there I’m sure :). Let me know if you find one.