I Went to a TikTok Meet Up to Make New Friends in NYC and Here’s What It Was *Really* Like
Remember when meeting strangers from the Internet was a huge no-no? Oh, how times have changed. We now live in a world where we can meet our partner, dog sitter or our new boss right online (while following appropriate safety precautions, of course). And we can even find a new BFF on the world wide web. Look, making friends as an adult can be hard (especially if you’re looking for a specific hobby group, you just moved into a new city or your friend group just isn’t the same anymore). So, where do you even start?
Enter TikTok. Yes, the very platform that taught you how to wear your bikini bottoms as a top, convinced you watermelon and mustard go together and that you should most definitely get the 'wolf cut' is an awesome way to make new friends. A scroll through my For You page and you’ll see New York natives and newbies alike trying to set up fun meet ups throughout the Big Apple. So, I decided to finally try one out and came upon the biggest one yet—No More Lonely Friends—and spoiler alert, it was worth attending.
OK, what is ‘No More Lonely Friends’?
No More Lonely Friends was born from a viral video. Back in May 2021, a TikToker (@drewbdoobdoo) made a video for Marissa Meizz calling out her ‘friends’ after overhearing them secretly scheming behind her back. Well, the message found its way to Meizz and she decided to meet her new loyal friend in NYC. This viral moment (which garnered eight million views) and newfound friendship resonated with many followers. Inspired by the messages she was receiving about how hard it is to keep and find new friends, Meizz started the group. She vowed to host meetups that everyone and anyone can join and on June 5, she hosted her very first one in NYC. ‘No More Lonely Friends’ has now expanded to include meetups all across the country (like California, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia).
Why did I decide to go to the meetup?
TikTok was where I discovered the group but Instagram was where I learned about the meetups. I’ll admit that I was skeptical. I’ve seen excitement around NYC-based meetups before but nothing actually happening. But the IG account was proof that this existed, and people were having a lot of fun. There was no worrying about stranger danger or no one showing up. This was a safe space to meet others and I wanted to be a part of it.
Now, I was onboard with the idea of attending, but I still had to convince myself that going alone was a good thing. (And judging by the FAQ page, it’s a common question people ask). It can be overwhelming and stressful to attend a large gathering alone but the previous meetups were a great indicator that no one was truly alone when we were all there for the same reason—to make friends.
What happened when I first got there?
When I got to the designated spot in Central Park, I was surprised to see so many people already there. While I’ll admit that part of me wanted to turn around and head home, Meizz, the creator of this growing group, welcomed everyone with open arms (literally). We had never spoken before this day yet she was hugging me and making me feel so comfortable. I knew I had to at least try to make friends here.
But small circles were already gathering and this made things for me a little bit harder. My tip is to find another person that’s also alone. It makes it easier (especially for an introvert like myself) to start a conversation with someone that’s in the same boat.
And I can’t exactly take credit for this tip because clearly someone else had the same idea when they came up to me and started chatting. (I’m guessing she saw me scanning the large group to find someone to talk to and internally freaking out because I couldn’t find a single person who wasn’t in a circle.) So, I went from sitting with her and making small talk to us being added to a larger group. The group only grew and changed throughout the day just because her small action created a ripple effect that I’m so grateful for.
And what was it *really* like?
Before attending, I was set on staying for an hour. The pessimist that I can be, I just didn’t think that I would want to stay for too long. But surprise dear readers, I ended up staying for six hours (!). I can’t even keep track of all the people I came across. From those who had just moved to the city to teachers to people who are also terrified of butterflies, I made a lot of friends that day.
Is going to a TikTok meetup worth it? 100 percent. And if you’re still unsure about attending, here are a few things to keep in mind before heading to your first one...
- Dogs are a great way to meet friends. The number of dogs I saw at the meetup was enough to go again (#sorrynotsorry to the owners). Come on, everyone is going to want to pet and play with your pup. Let your doggo join in on the fun and bring him along. Seriously, they deserve to make friends too.
- Start a fun game. At one point, I found myself in the largest game of UNO that I had ever seen. (Seriously, have you ever tried playing with over 20 people?) Consider bringing a card game, a football or try your hand at old school games to bring people over.
- A good icebreaker never hurt anyone. One way to remember names, titles or where someone is from is a good ol’ icebreaker. Now I suck at names, but if you told me a very specific fact about yourself, I’m more than likely to remember that about you. I’ll probably even bring it up the next time I see you.
- Don’t forget to connect online. Don’t let the meetup be the last time you chat with someone. Yes, add them on social media but consider creating a subgroup online. A good place is Instagram, Facebook or Discord to create a hub with all your new friends. That way you can learn more about each other and set up future events to hang out together.
- Bring snacks and drinks. It’s not mandatory but it’s nice to contribute to a big gathering. It’s also where you can meet new people around a cooler or the snack pile. What better way to start a convo than by raving about your favorite (or least favorite) bag of chips?
- Remember everyone is invited. People of all ages and backgrounds went to the meetup. Don’t feel like you have to be a certain age or look a certain way to attend. As Meizz emphasizes, NMLF is a safe space for everyone.
- Be open to more meetups. So maybe your first meetup was just OK, but don’t give up. Consider attending more meetups in the future. I made a lot of connections but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to attend more meetups. There’s always an opportunity to meet new people all the time. One meetup shouldn’t be the final stamp at finding friends.
My overall impression of 'No More Lonely Friends'...
My biggest takeaway from the meetup was that everyone genuinely wanted to make new connections. Everyone was stepping out of their comfort zone and putting themselves out there. Of course, there are going to be awkward silences, but it was met with funny jokes, new games and the realization that 250+ people actually showed up.
So the next time you’re looking for a way to make friends in NYC, consider looking up No More Lonely Friends and attending the next meetup. As a person who went alone with no expectations, I can tell you that the experience was so much more rewarding than I could have imagined.
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