Whether you’re single, looking to expand your social circle or take up a new hobby, there are lots of ways to make new friends in Derby and Derbyshire. Here’s a round up of some of the friendliest, most welcoming social groups in the local area so you can meet people near you.
How did we get so lonely?
I spent most of my twenties and thirties single and living alone. I had a demanding, good job I enjoyed, a good social life, lots of friends, I travelled… I wasn’t unhappy. I enjoyed my own company and was very independent. But I was alone – and, much as I don’t think I let myself truly acknowledge it at the time – I was lonely.
Loneliness hits hardest at times when everyone else is seemingly coupled up or playing happy families. Just before New Year I received a DM asking me whether I’d ever consider writing something about how to meet other people. It reminded me so much of this time in my life.
Family breakdown and increasing geographical mobility mean that more and more people face this reality. I can’t tell you how many times I googled groups like this back when I was alone. I never did pluck up the courage to actually go to anything… so I honestly know how hard it can be to put yourself out there…
Since talking about the subject on Instagram I have received so many messages from people who would like to meet new friends. It’s not just single people either. Sometimes people are new to an area, maybe they’ve started a new job and all the working from home has hindered the normal process of making friends… whatever your situation, whatever your reason…. Here’s some ideas about how to meet new people in your local area.
I don’t have any personal experience of these groups. Please consider this research rather than recommendations or endorsements from me. If it was me, I’d start by following groups I was interested in on social media and try to get a feel for whether or not they suited me (but then I can be an utter social wimp who needs to tip my toe in the water/over think everything for weeks on end before doing anything so maybe just ignore me and go for it!).
Please don’t think you need a friend or plus one to go to any of these. You don’t. Rock up solo and before you know it you’ll hopefully have a whole new social circle.
I would thoroughly recommend all the usual advice on personal safety. If you’re unfamiliar with how to make new friends safely, I’d advise reading this.
The key to making friends as an adult is often a shared interest. So as far as possible I’ve tried to organise the groups by activity and interest.
Social Sports Groups in Derbyshire
Outdoor Adventure Girls is for women (and anyone who identifies as a woman) interested in hiking and outdoor pursuits e.g. paddle boarding, wild swimming and surfing. There are eight different regional groups including one for the Midlands. They arrange meets and weekends. Find them on Instagram or Facebook.
Similarly Lost Explorers on Instagram is a great place to meet people into hiking, camping, caving, climbing and biking. They have a great initiative called the ‘green light movement’ which aims to increase social interaction. Wearing a green knot when out walking symbolises to others that you are happy for them to join you – whether it be for a walk, chat, some lunch or a post walk beer etc.. 40p from every sale is going towards mountain rescue. You can buy the tags here or directly from their Instagram account.
If running is your thing, check out Jog Derbyshire for lots of local groups all over Derbyshire.
North Derbyshire Running Club based in Chesterfield runs a variety of different sessions for both beginners and more experienced runners. They also organise local races. Described as a friendly, supportive group, there are various social events throughout the year including quizzes, meals out and a Christmas social. Taster nights are available. Find out more here.
Back to Netball is a fun and friendly re-introduction to the sport. Open to all ages and levels of experience, sessions cater to people who haven’t played for a while (maybe since school?!). There are groups all across Derbyshire, you can find out more and search for a local group here. No special kit is required, just comfy clothes and suitable footwear.
This is just outside Derbyshire, but lots of the walks are in the Peak District. If you’re lucky enough to be in your twenties and thirties, one of my friends recommends the Sheffield 20s and 30s walking group on Facebook.
Doing a regular exercise class can be a great way to meet people. It might take a few weeks but gradually you’ll be chatting to familiar faces. If you’re looking to make local friends check out the classes on offer at your local gym or leisure centre. Or these groups were recommended as being particularly friendly. Energee Derby for running brilliant classes and they even had a Christmas party this year. Or the military bootcamp group at Chatsworth – more details here.
In my experience, yoga groups tend to be really friendly and welcoming. For example, Holy Cow Yoga in Chesterfield town centre was recommended as being really friendly. Similarly, check out Gemma Lou Yoga’s soon to be launched baby yoga courses will have a focus on bringing new mums together including arranging socials & coffee mornings.
Creative Social Groups in Derby and Derbyshire
The Shed Space & Storage run a range of creative workshops that I imagine are all really nice social events. See their website for upcoming workshops. You might also be interested in their regular yoga brunch, book club or bambino coffee mornings.
Quad in Derby runs a wide range of creative events and workshops. There’s everything from book clubs and workshops on how to write your first novel to creative wellbeing sessions. Some of them are even free! Full details here.
Straight Curves in Chesterfield run a full range of Art and Craft Classes delivered by experienced tutors. See the full range of classes here. They also run ‘Come and Craft sessions’ on Wednesday. There are morning and evening slots to book online for just £4 per session. Bring along your own craft project to get on with social environment.
The Tinder Box Performing Arts Centre in Darley Dale runs a range of high quality workshops and sessions. The choir is always welcoming new members and the first session is always a free taster. They are also running a special free taster session on Tuesday 11th January – email or message on social media to book your place.
If food is your thing, consider cooking classes, either at your local adult education centre, or at somewhere like The Loaf or at The School of Artisan Food on the Welbeck Estate. Or, if you’d just like to chat food/eating out, and possibly find new dining companions, join my Facebook group, Derbyshire Food Lovers & Eating Out Enthusiasts.
Beat WFH Loneliness by Co-Working
If working from home has added to feeling lonely and isolated, one solution might be coworking. No longer the preserve of big cities, there are an increasing number of coworking options across Derbyshire. For instance, Coworking Corner in Matlock offers a fun, creative workspace with high speed internet access and freshly baked cookies. Renting a desk for a day starts at just £15 per day.
Make New Friends Doing Something a Little Bit Different
For something completely different, how does clay shooting, camaraderie and cake sound? The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club organises clay pigeon shooting followed by cake meet ups all over the country. No experience (or gun!) needed and I’m assured they’re an amazing group of ladies. The next local event looks to be in Doveridge on the 5th February.
If you’re lucky enough to be younger than 28, and interested in rural life, the Young Farmers Club might be for you. There are all sorts of activities and competitions. You don’t need to be a farmer, just appreciative of the countryside and rural life.
General Tips on How to Make New Friends
Check out your local adult education centre for lots of good craft, pottery and languages classes at all of the adult education centres around Derbyshire
Check noticeboards in local libraries, village halls etc or local newspapers and magazines where local groups are likely to advertise.
Facebook groups can also be a good way to meet like-minded people. Search by your local area as well as interests, eg ‘Matlock walking group’.
The Meet Up app/website lists local meet ups.
I hope this has helped provide some ideas and inspiration about how to make new friends or try something new.
Please join the Derbyshire Food Lovers & Eating Out Enthusiasts Facebook Group.