"Life is a mystery. Everyone must stand alone," sang Madonna on her oft-quoted "Like a Prayer" track. But scientists and psychologists have been singing a different tune, one that imparts that we have a biological imperative to connect.
Unfortunately, as we grow more and more "connected" over the Internet, social media, and a slew of chat apps and swiping-based dating apps, many of us feel lonelier than ever. Things have gotten so bad that loneliness has become an epidemic.
"It is in our DNA to be connected, and without that kind of attachment our health can suffer," said clinical psychologist Tara Kline. "When people feel more isolated and lonely, it can impact their emotional and physical well-being, which can include depression, anxiety, and feelings of low self-worth."
Why is it so hard to meet people and create a friendship with all these tools at our disposal? Meeting quality, like-minded people doesn't have to be a mystery anymore with the best social apps to make new friends with a swipe.
One of the most popular apps to make friends or a BFF on the App Store or Play Store, MeetMe is a friends-first app with 100 million-plus diverse users looking to build friendships. Just go live, start chatting with people, and discover like-minded people you enjoy chatting with. Just be sure to take the connection offline with some fun get-togethers.
People often make friends based on common interests. The Meetup mobile app for Android and iOS shows you which groups to join in your area around your favorite pastimes. If fitness is your thing, join a hiking or marathon training meetup. If you're a new parent, a moms or dads meetup could work. Or join a book club, photography, or dog meetup group. There are also meetups to welcome new faces in town and support meetups for those in need.
Which meetup will meet your needs? There are thousands to choose from. Or you can start your own by becoming a meetup organizer for $14.99 per month.
Matching app Bumble may be best known as the women-first dating app, but it's also a great platform for forming friendships. Just switch from the dating section to BFF mode to meet a new friend. But make sure you contact each other within 24 hours of matching or your match will expire.
With a recent update, Bumble now allows users to turn off dating mode, altogether, so you don't have to fend off suitors while pursuing friendships with like-minded individuals.
What's more, for all of you concerned with Facebook's privacy practices, Bumble now offers Facebook-free registration. Just sign up with your phone number.
Revel-Social enables users to arrange exciting group events with existing friends and new ones on a new members-only "on-demand social networking app and event platform."
Nextdoor, the free and secure social network for your neighborhood, where you already learn what's happening in your area, find trustworthy house sitters, dog walkers, and painters, and report local crimes, is also a great place to get to know your neighbors and make new friends.
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Historically, Facebook's been a social network to keep in touch with existing friends and family and keep most others away with privacy walls. But you could still come across fresh faces with similar interests or connections in Facebook Groups to make friends with.
Facebook is also encouraging you to talk to strangers with its "Things in Common" feature that it's currently beta testing. If you're in the testing group or if this feature goes live, you'll see things you have in common with those who comment on a post publicly in the form of tags next to their names. Some of these commonalities may include same place of origin, alma mater, company, or Facebook groups.
LinkedIn helps you search for, connect, and network with existing colleagues at your company or in your professional network and meet new ones that can help you progress in your career or into a new position at another company.
But did you know you can also maintain connections with past colleagues, find mentors for your career, and even spark friendships in the app? And if you're shy, here's a great conversation starter. You're both in the same industry, so you can talk shop -- in person and over a couple of beers, of course.
- Facebook testing 'things in common' tag to help you find new friends to make
- Chummy app is a friendship 'Bat Signal' for developing better relationships than social media
- Bumble app users can finally turn off 'dating mode' and just network
- Group at Facebook reportedly challenging its 'intolerant' liberal culture (CNET)
- Why Facebook is powerless to stop its own descent (ZDNet)
- Facebook data privacy scandal: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)