How young people are finding mates in unexpected places


Since starting the club, McIntyre has watched friendships begin over dinner, only to blossom in the weeks, months and years following. Friends who met at her events have become housemates and planned holidays together. The thrill of watching new friends connect, McIntyre says, never gets old. It’s no wonder many Club Sup events have a waitlist.

McIntyre has given a lot of thought as to why her club feels so magic. At the start of each event, she hands every guest a drink and tells them all they have to do this evening is say hi to one person, then eat dinner.

“The best way to get everyone being friendly is to have a big bowl of pasta in the centre of the table,” says McIntyre. “It helps people care for one another. It reminds me of childhood dinners where you’d be asking, ‘Who has the potatoes?’”

Meet you in the comments

For many young people, finding new like-minded friends means connecting with those who hang out in the same online spaces as they do.

When Haley Nahman, the New York-based writer behind the Maybe Baby Substack newsletter, invited her subscribers to jump into the comment section and see who else was reading from their local area, nobody could have anticipated the response.


One of the 1700 comments on the newsletter thread was from Olivia Kilponen, who was looking to find Maybe Baby readers located in Sydney – specifically the city’s Inner West.

“I’d already spoken to some of my friends about the newsletter, to varying degrees of enthusiasm,” says Kilponen. But it was the niche nature of Nahman’s writing that made her confident in meeting up with strangers. Kilponen figured, if they all enjoyed the same content, there would be plenty to talk about.

After connecting in the comment section, Kilponen suggested a picnic in her local park. “It was like a blind date, but in a group,” says the 29-year-old lawyer. “Everyone was lovely.”

Not long after the picnic, the group of five caught up for drinks, then met for coffee and whale-watching in Clovelly. Now, they’ve formed a book club. The first book on the agenda? How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, which Nahman has referred to in her newsletter in the past.

There’s an app for that

Our pursuit of friendship too often falls into second place behind our search for love. One way to rectify this is to approach the search for new friends the same way we would look for a date and, for many people, this means turning to apps.

In July, Bumble announced the launch of a new standalone app, Bumble For Friends. Following on from Bumble’s BFF mode, which has been available in the company’s original dating app since 2016, the new launch aims to completely separate platonic love from romantic.

Renee Relampagos, 26, started using Bumble to find new friends almost a year ago and was surprised by the wide range of people she’s connected with. As a reggaeton fan, Relampagos was happy to meet people who shared her love of live music.

Setting up a profile in Bumble For Friends is easy, with options to add labels about your current life stage (living abroad, gap year, wedding planning, fresh start) and include other details which may help you attract like-minded mates, like being a new parent, going through gender transition or living sober.

“A common misconception is that the apps are only for people who are new to the city or country,” says Relampagos, who is a planner at Victoria’s Department of Transport and Planning.

The app, she says, isn’t just for people who “need” more friends, but rather for people who are looking to expand their social circle. Because who wouldn’t benefit from that?

Just Friends (Ultimo Press) by Gyan Yankovich is available to pre-order now.

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