At the beginning of the year my little brother told me to join Meetup. An app that helps you to connect with people in your area with similar interests. He suggested that I join so that I could go to events with folks that I already have at least one thing in common with in hopes that I can make more friends while I am here in Chicago. I know… it seems almost innocuous enough to seem sane but also just weird enough to be wild.
And trust me, I’ve been to a few events, it’s a yes to both of those things.
So, now that I have graduated from my program and am living in Chicago for the foreseeable future I figured that I should really make an effort into attending more things and making some good friends. Being the ambivert (mostly intro-) that I am, I was worried about the possibility of having to show up to places and not know people OR showing up and having to make friends. MeetUp has changed all of that. It was founded in 2002 by five buds that lived in New York City but has since grown to be an international success. Once you join the site they offer members both groups and events to go attend. The only thing that they require is that you register for at least one group.
Some groups are very strict on attendance and interaction. Some are closed and have surveys and quizzes you have to complete before they allow you to join – but all have a theme that connect the members together in hopes of creating friendships or at least engendering some sort of camaraderie.
When I joined just after the top of the year I joined a group the loves Harry Potter, because duh, a Black girl book club, a brunch club, an art history and museum tour club, a singles 20’s and 30’s club, and a club for Black professionals my age in Chicago.
I have been to a few events so far and honestly, as a person unsure about other people in social settings sometimes, I absolutely love it. It has been a nice way to venture out and do things I love while also showing up to places with my guard down, some, because I know there are a number of other people showing up that are also looking alone and to make friends or were looking to do so in the recent past.
I’ve been to a bar crawl and a movie premiere. I am signed up for an invite only rooftop movie club, a food truck event, a night of live music and picnic in the park, and a huge hike in the next few weeks. It is an exciting opportunity to be able to meet more people, explore the city I love, and settle into being the person I have always wanted to be but never had a chance to while studying.
The other pro, of course, if that I have meet potential friends at the events that I have already attended. I will be getting coffee with one at the time that this post is published and I will be brunching and going to a Floyd Mayweather fight party with two more this weekend. What an exciting opportunity for me and for you too if you are interested.
Meetup is celebrating 20 years of connections today. I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest it to you wherever you are – even if you are not new to your city. It might be the way that you find your new besties or a group that enjoys your niche hobby in the same way you do. CLICK HERE to check them out. You will be glad you did.
I must say here, after reading this post back, that this is not a sponsored ad or post. I am truly writing this from the heart because this has been a good and easy start to making friends for an introverted person like me. I just hope that some of you can have the same experience.