Feeling lonely? You’re not alone. How to make a friend in LA


Emmely Avila makes a sign to help members of the Los Angeles Friends TikTok group find each other in person. "Sometimes our friends are our family,” says Avila, who started the group to make friends. “I want that for everybody. Everybody deserves a friend.” Photo by Andrea Bautista.

Let’s face it — making friends as an adult is hard, and LA can be an isolating place. Last week, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy called loneliness an epidemic that could threaten your physical and mental health. 

Social media can help, but it’s not the same as connecting with someone face-to-face. 

“So many of the social structures that were just already baked into society or certain rhythms of gathering … most of those have been liquefied,” says USC Director of Belonging Cat Moore. “And so then we're like, ‘Well, now what?’ Because most of us were not explicitly taught how to make a friend.”

Recently we asked KCRW followers: How do you make friends in LA? We got a lot of feedback, and with your suggestions and ideas from Moore, we bring you this guide. 

Hang out in social environments

One easy step is to put yourself in public spaces. Maybe it’s a coffee shop or a park. And guess what? You don’t have to talk to anyone right away. “Observe what happens, observe who's there, observe how you feel,” says Moore. “You decide what your own next doable step is, but at least give yourself a regular opportunity to be in public.” 

Take stock of your values

Think about what causes are important to you. Moore says joining groups around those values will help you make friends faster because you’ll automatically have something in common. 

Look at your current connections

Do you have some stalled friendships? Maybe you’re not hanging out regularly anymore. Moore suggests exploring whether you can deepen those bonds.  “It doesn't mean you have to walk up to someone and tell them your entire life story,” explains Moore. “But [use] some amount of vulnerability to … see if that's a person who is able to meet you there.” So go ahead, ask that friend you haven’t seen in a while to catch up. 

Be side-by-side

Maybe sitting across from someone and making direct eye contact isn’t your thing. Next time you getting together with someone you don’t know that well, try doing an activity instead where you’re side-by-side, like yoga or a shared project. 

KCRW listener Luisa Caceres tells us that when she moved to LA in the middle of the pandemic, she didn’t know anyone. A friend suggested she join the Venice Run Club. Caceres says she’s not a great runner, but she joined anyway. Now she has a community. 

“I did find people who do other physical activities, from surfing to tennis,” says Caceres. “We’ll go hiking or we’ll camp together, go to Yosemite for the first time. I went to Coachella for the first time … with people who I connected to from that run club.” 

Mar Vista resident Luisa Caceres says she was able to create deep friendships by joining Venice Run Club. Photo courtesy of Luisa Caceres. 

Remember: Deep friendships take time

Communication is key to making friendships last. So in between hanging out, make sure you’re texting, emailing, or calling your friends. “Let people know that out-of-sight is not out-of-mind,” says Moore. “We all need that reassurance.” 

Tell people what you need

KCRW listener Emmely Avila tells us that when she moved back to LA from Atlanta recently, she felt lonely. So she decided to make a TikTok to share how hard she found it to make friends as an adult. Turns out tons of people felt the same way. 

So Avila decided to organize a meet-up under the name Los Angeles Friends. At the first event she hosted, 40 people showed up. At the second event, there were more than 100.

Avila says she’s already made great connections thanks to the group. “People deserve to feel like they belong,” says Avila. “They deserve to have others in their life that appreciate them and love them. … And I want that for everybody. Everybody deserves a friend.” 

Los Angeles Friends hosts monthly meet ups across the city. Photo courtesy of Emmely Avila.