Meeting new people isn't as easy as it seems, especially when not in a work or school setting where you're required to communicate with others on a regular basis. If you're not the kind of person to hit up the bar and start talking to the first person you see, but have no problem jumping online and chatting with people you've never met, then maybe it's time to find some middle ground between the two approaches. We've collected eight apps that connect you with locals near you who you can talk to. Find some common ground in conversation and maybe you'll meet on common ground for real.
When talking to new people, you'll likely run through a list of common ice breakers covering hobbies or favorite music. Sometimes it's easier to show people your answers rather than to trying to explain them. ProxToMe (Free, iPhone) lets you to do just that by allowing you to share content from your Dropbox account with your chat partner.
If you have intentions that extend past just chatting, it's best to pick a platform that accounts for that. There's nothing worse than thinking you're hitting it off with someone until you ask to meet up and he/she suddenly stops responding. If you're hoping to spark romance more than random entertainment, Tinder (Free, iPhone) is your best bet.
Being out and about, you're bound to run into plenty of people who you know nothing about. You never know when one of them might be a friend in waiting. Highlight (Free, iPhone) acts as your "interesting person" detector; it runs in the background and delivers a notification when a compelling stranger approaches, letting you chat with him/her.
We've all had that experience: You're talking to someone and he/she has a mutual acquaintance with you, so one of you says, "What a small world!" If you like the feeling of those moments, Sonar (Free, iPhone) can make them happen more often. It finds people in your vicinity with common connections or interests and sets you up to chat.
We live in such a connected world that it's easy to overlook new people who aren't within our networks. If a person is outside of our online social circles, they might as well not exist. Aiming to widen that circle, Ban.jo (Free, Universal) places people from every major social network on a map for you. Make a business connection with LinkedIn or get a new Twitter follower!
You never know who's around, even when you're sitting at home. There might be someone in your neighborhood doing the exact same thing as you. If you were both using MeetMe (Free, iPhone), you would probably be talking right now! It uses Kik as its chat service and connects you quickly to users of the popular messenger service who are in your area.
Perhaps you're not fully satisfied with the idea of a text-based chat. After all, text doesn't always allow tone or meaning to translate properly, and voice and video chat can make for a more honest conversation. WhosHere (Free, Universal) can make that happen, giving you the option to talk via voice or video with someone new and equally as brave as you.
Have a question about a local hotspot that you haven't been able to check out yet? Looking for someone who wants to carpool with you to save on gas? Rather than trying to connect with a random stranger who can answer a specific question, shout it out with Bullhorn (Free, iPhone) and get responses from anyone who sees it.