My biggest complaint when I arrived in London is that if I wasn’t into sports or drinking, how was I supposed to make friends? I had no interest in spending £100 getting wrecked as I crawled from dirty pub to identical dirty pub, and after my one attempt at a netball game it was clear to red, sweaty, out of breath me that I was going to make no friends that way. It seemed like all the things I wanted to do, all the things I enjoyed doing, you already needed friends for.
I wanted dinner buddies, but you can’t just go and creeper yourself onto someone else’s table at a restaurant. I wanted someone to go to shows with but apparently when you stand on the street shouting about tickets people think you are a scalper and you get moved along by the met police. I wanted someone to go to Escape Rooms with but when you tell strangers you are going to lock them in a room and they have to fight to get out…people either pretend to get a phone call and back away slowly or write the script for the Hunger Games. I felt like my inability to make friends meant there was something wrong with me. I didn’t even consider that I just hadn’t found my ideal friend making set up yet.
A company called Thinking Bob got in touch with me and asked if I wanted to come along and try one of their events, they claimed their socials were a great way to meet people in London. To say I was skeptical was an understatement. I have been to friendship ‘networking’ things before and what inevitably happens is that within five minutes cliques form and you walk out feeling lonely having left your self-esteem on the sticky bar floor. I just couldn’t see how Thinking Bob could be any different, it is just human nature to cling onto the people you know and because of that any friendship events are doomed to fail.
And that was the brilliantly cheery state of mind that I walked into the Thinking Bob event with. Oh and I should mention this event was a Cards against Humanity tournament, how better to make friends than to offend 35 strangers at once?
Ok first shock was someone coming up to me and saying hello – which I guess just shows I’ve been living in London too long. A human person? Being outwardly friendly? WHAT DO I DO? Remembering what Barney the Dinosaur used to sing about, I smiled back and said hello. This appeared to be the correct action because he kept smiling and talking to me. Get it together Rebecca, you can do this.
This weirdness kept happening, as my potential future best friends arrived everyone was just going up to strangers and chatting…WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE. I was so damned shocked that this event was actually functioning as a way to meet people. I mean, 20 minutes in and I hadn’t looked at Twitter once. I think the way Thinking Bob manages to work this magic is to host specific events for new members, so everyone is on the same page. Seriously people who knew each other were not hanging in a corner sneering, they were deliberately going up and meeting other people. This may be the holy grail of friendly Londoners.
After all my hard work making new friends it was all potentially to be for naught, we were about to play Cards Against Humanity – nothing ruins a blossoming friendship like Daniel Radcliffe’s delicious arsehole. To say things started with a bang was an understatement, I had the black card first up and the question that I asked six strangers was “how did I lose my virginity”. Turns out six strangers can read you quite well and of course the wining answer was “the entire cast of Downton Abby” – don’t judge, it’s a London thing.
Over the course of the evening, to make sure to offend everyone possible, we changed tables every half hour. It was just like a games night with your oldest buds, nothing was off limits and we happily moved from perfunctory foreplay to Stephen Hawking talking dirty. Of course being me I had one too many red wines, but even without the drunken love for the world I would have left smiling (both from the meeting new people thing, but also because I now know the correct way to use the phrase pixelated bukkake).
I wish that I had discovered Thinking Bob when I first moved to London – these are my people. How it works is that you become a member (membership costs between £9 and £19 a month) and that gives you access to events pretty much every night of the week. I mean most of the events are not quite as offensive as the Cards Against Humanity playoffs, there are dinners, escape rooms, pub crawls, museums tours, book clubs, treasure hunts and one rather concerning called ‘the magic of maths’? The events are mostly under £5 to book and are hosted by a Thinking Bob person so you know you won’t end up standing in the corner like a dork.
All these years I have been lamenting that there were no ways to make friends in London if you weren’t into sports or drinking. It has meant that stalking people online was my only real option, and my police record just can’t take any more charges. If you are new to London, want to make more friends or are just bored and want fun stuff to do during the week I can’t recommend Thinking Bob highly enough.
Thanks to Thinking Bob for sponsoring this post, all opinions are my own.