Since the beginning of my post-grad life, I’ve been looking for new people to hang out with. I wanted to find people with common interests, and at the same time expand my interests. For the most part, Meetup.com has been my best resource for finding people. I’ve been telling a lot of my friends to check it out and see what’s out there for them, so I thought I might as well write a post about it. I know people often say that technology is disconnecting people from each other, but in this case it facilitates in-person meetings that otherwise wouldn’t happen. Otherwise, most people just end up hanging out with people they know by circumstance (going to the same school, working with the same company, etc.).
In the past I’ve tried groups for Improv, dancing, writing, meditation, entrepreneurship and several other interests. I’ve met some great people through some of them. I’ve met some not so great people in others. One thing about Meetup that I’d definitely like to see change is that groups tend to be lacking in young people. Not all groups, but definitely a good amount. In my opinion, that’s mostly because older folks understand life and the importance of being in new environments. With that being said, here are some things I wanted to point out about using Meetup.
1. It’s okay to show up alone.
It does take a little bit of courage to get out of your house and immerse yourself into a new environment, especially when you’re going alone. However, this makes it a lot more fun for various reasons. For one, it’s logistically easier to go out to any group whenever you want to go. Secondly, you get to be yourself without being held back by your old friends’ ideas of who you are. This is a big one for me, and it might be for you too if you feel like you’ve had labels put on you that don’t help you anymore.
2. You never know what it’s going to be like until you get there.
Sometimes I tend to skip out on meetups for the wrong reasons. There have been a lot of meetups that I avoided because I thought the page descriptions were really corny. I even thought that about this one:
Why is there Blue Whale as the logo? What does Self-coaching even mean?
But as you can see, I now host this Meetup group. I’ve met the most supportive people I have in my life – through this group. You never know who you’re going to meet when you go to these places. You never know where those connections will take you, but if you stay at home you can be sure that none of that will happen.
3. You have to fight for each of the friends you make afterwards.
In my experience, just because you show up to a place with people doesn’t mean you’ll stay friends on the outside. I’m realizing more and more that you really have to fight for the friends you want to keep in your life. You have to initiate the conversations and meetings outside of the events to develop a relationship with them, and not expect that they’ll do it for you in return.
Those would be my main points about attending meetups. Like everything else, it’s a matter of trying things out and seeing how they are and seeing what sticks.