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How to find your queer friend group

by Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

February 27, 2024

Stanislava Ivanova, a 30-year-old painter based in Queens, New York, started meeting many of the queer people in their life in 2012 when they were 20 and joined “a Harry Potter-centric pseudo-sorority Facebook group.” This hyper-specific interest led Ivanova to finding even more people they connected with; they eventually formed a smaller set of friends that they say feels like a core friendship group, which has also since expanded through mutual connections. Group chats help maintain this group friendship, especially now that many live in different cities.  

“I’m not sure if, specifically, I was aiming to have a queer friend group; it just kind of happened that way,” Ivanova says. “Most of my friends [outside of this group] are LGBT.… Like-minded people have a way of flocking together — humans are a herd animal, after all!“  

But if finding other LGBTQ+ people is your goal, Ivanova advises finding activities or spaces you enjoy, where you’ll be likely to meet others who share similar interests and passions. They do, however, admit that finding friends isn’t always as simple as it sounds. “[It’s] harder than it used to be, especially now that I’m older. I just try to be positive and friendly and do my thing.”  

For queer people, who may not be fully accepted or feel understood by their family of origin, having a chosen family (a group of people who love you unconditionally) is an incredible thing. Finding a chosen family can feel challenging, however, especially if you’ve just moved, started a new school, are exploring your queer identity or struggle to meet like-minded people in your daily life. But worry not: There are so many people out there eager to meet you.  

“All humans need and deserve a sense of safety, love and belonging,” says Alexa Connors, LMSW, who is a senior therapist at The Dorm, a mental health treatment community for young adults. “It’s important for us to find people who can offer that love and support to us while accepting us for who we are.” Though it may feel scary at first, she recommends getting involved in your LGBTQ+ community in a way that feels natural to you; by doing so, you’ll likely meet people with similar interests and become friendly with them.  

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“It may feel uncomfortable to put yourself out there, but more often than not, there are people in the same boat looking for connection, too,” says Connors. And once you’ve made these connections, it’s important to nurture them. “Accept invitations to do things as well as extend invitations. Don’t be afraid to text first. Checking in with friends by sending them a quick text is a great way to let someone know you’re thinking about them. When you’re comfortable, practice vulnerability by sharing part of yourself, like a hobby or a struggle.” Practicing empathy and being a good listener can also help establish and build strong friendship connections.  

If you’re living on campus, joining LGBTQ+ groups — whether for advocacy, partying, crafting, sports or otherwise — can easily help you click with potential chosen family members. But even in a small town, there are plenty of ways (many are thanks to the internet!) to find your core queer friend group. Try visiting a local LGBTQ+ center or volunteering at an event or shelter centered on the rights of the local queer community. Additionally, many Pride celebrations rely on in-person volunteers, which can offer a launching point for connecting with people. 

Still stuck? We have a few excellent resources to help you get started on building  queer friend pod:  

 

Lex is a text-based app for “queer lovers and friends” (everyone but cis men and straight couples) that can help you organize group outings with new friends or join an already existing crew. Filter by age, location and more to find your queer friend soulmates. People are also known to post about meeting up after queer cultural events like concerts, so you can find folks with common ground. 

Bumble BFF is made by the same company as the dating app Bumble, and it allows users to swipe through potential friends and meet digitally or IRL.  

 

Meetup and Eventbrite offer listings of open-to-the-public events  that are often free or donation-based, and many cater to specific LGBTQ+ populations — lesbian equestrians, nonbinary gamers, early bird queer folks and more — so you can find your people! Of course, you can also use these platforms to organize your own free gathering, like a book club or park day.  

The United States Gay Sports Network curates LGBTQ+ sports leagues across the nation, so you can find a team of athletes and/or hobbyists to join. Activities include bowling, basketball, hockey, cycling, roller derby, outdoor adventure and more, and many people join for their love of community as much as their love of the game.   

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