It’s no secret that making friends after college is no easy feat, and it’s even harder when you’ve just moved to a new city. When you’re working a lot, you may eventually find that you only know your co-workers and that weird guy who lives next door. I’m definitely in the market for some more friends, and I’d heard a lot about Meetup.com but hadn’t tried it. That changed two days ago, when I hosted a meetup for Charlotte newbies like me. I had no idea what to expect. I got 30 people to join the group, which I felt proud of, and had 12 people RSVP to the event. For a first time thing, I felt like that was pretty good. We actually only ended up having seven people come out, but in a way I think that was better. The group was manageable, it was easy to talk to each other and get to know everyone’s name, but it wasn’t awkward like it might have been if it was just me and two other people (which was what I was terrified would happen). We met at this all-night French bakery in Charlotte where you can spread out, relax, play games, and eat a lot of good food. We actually ended up staying two hours and are already planning another event for the group soon.
I had a lot of anxiety going into this event though, I won’t lie. What if we got some real weirdos? What if no one came? What if we had nothing to say to each other? Though it was a little awkward during the first few minutes, once we introduced ourselves and got to chatting about what brought us to Charlotte, it was completely comfortable. I also brought Apples to Apples for us to play, which helped to keep the conversation going. I think without some sort of activity to do, we would have left much sooner.
In a way, meetups are kind of like first dates. You want to pick an event that makes conversation easy, and don’t want to feel too much pressure to keep talking for hours on end with people you’ve just met. You also need to pick a low-key activity that everyone can enjoy without feeling stupid.
If you’ve been kicking around the idea of going to a meetup, do it. You’re probably going to be nervous and feel super awkward at first, but once you’re there you’ll love it. Also, keep in mind that everyone else probably feels awkward too, so you’re not alone. The people who go to meetups are social and looking to have fun, so it’s a great way to get to know people in your area who are also looking to expand their social circles like you.