Meeting people in adult life can be somewhat challenging and we often get to a point where we just don’t even try to meet new people. Yet, meeting new people is one of the things that adds variety to our lives. As many of my close friends have left LA, I’ve had to figure out how to make new friends and even last summer when I lived in San Diego and I didn’t know a single person, I had to figure out how to build a social circle from scratch. Fortunately the Internet has made it easier than ever to meet new people.
1. Yelp: If you don’t know about Yelp, it is probably one of the greatest resources in existence for finding information about whatever city you are in. For almost any bar, night club, or restaurant you are likely to find at least 50 different reviews. But, the real genius inYelp is the fact it managed to bring relationships that only existed online into the real world and result in many new friendships. When my friends all moved away from San Francisco, I was still around for another 2 years. Thanks to Yelp I ended up meeting a ton of new people and making lots of new friends. Once a month they throw a great party for their members and drinks are free at their events. However, make sure you are an active member and write one or two reviews a week.
2. Meetup.com: Meetup has been an interesting site for me. After I’ve started surfing I’ve been invited to a number of meetup groups related to surfing and I realized that there are meetup groups related to almost everything. Whatever your hobby is, there is probably a meetup group for it and you can find other like minded people. Some groups are not active, but many are and can be a great way to grow your social network. The best way to find out which groups are actually active is to look at the frequency of events and check the attendance at each of the events.
3. Sports Team/Activity: This one seems pretty common. Many people often join sports teams to meet new people. One of my classmates joined a beach volleyball league for 80 dollars for the entire summer and as a result has made a ton of new friends. I would recommend you find a team with people who don’t take their sports too seriously, but are just out to have a good time.
4. Networking Events/Alumni: Communities: Believe it or not these events can be a great way to meet new friends. I have been going to a ton of networking events over the last few months. As a result I have met a ton of new people and have ended up becoming friends with many. It’s just one more avenue through which you can grow your social network. It amazes me how many alumni networks I’ve seen suffer from alumni apathy. If you have attended undergrad and graduate school at two different colleges, then you’ve got a huge amount of possible events at your disposable. Just do a little research and you’ll be amazed what you find.
5. Volunteer work: Volunteer work can be another way to meet a ton of new people. One of my friends volunteers as a mentor in his Armenian community, and as a result he has met alot of other mentors and made some new friends. I volunteered at many of the networking events I’ve attended and as a result have met new people.
6. Take a class: Community colleges and other places have many classes that are inexpensive and offer a great way to interact with other people. Just because you are done with school it doesn’t mean you can’t take classes. It’s also a great way to explore interests that you haven’t explored before. When I lived in San Francisco, I took a standup comedy class and I took an improv acting class. Both turned out to be a great deal of fun.
7. Talk to Strangers: While this might seem obvious, if you go to a bar/club on a weekend you’ll see just how afraid people are of talking to new people. Most people only ever talk to the people they came with. Talking to strangers is a good thing. I have occasionally made a good friend or two by talking to strangers. While you might not form the greatest bonds in the world talking to strangers, it gets you really comfortable with being social. The old rule that you were taught as a child “don’t talk to strangers” is something you should forget. With the right energy, you’ll be amazed how much people will enjoy talking to you.
8. Start an Organization/Club: One thing you could do is even start an organization. One of the organizations that I do some volunteer work is called Digital LA. The guy who started Digital LA had a day job but, by starting this organization has probably met several hundred, if not several thousand new people in Los Angeles.
9. Throw a Party: This is one that probably you want to do last after you’ve done all of the above things. To throw a party you need to have a network of contacts. As of today I have about a thousand friends on Facebook. I probably know about 500 of them in real life. Others are people I have formed relationships with over time. But, one of the things I have been thinking about doing is inviting all the people I’ve met over the summer to the same bar on the same night. The byproduct would be an opportunity to introduce all these people to each other and it’s likely they would bring new people as well.
10. Online Dating Sites: If you are looking to meet someone in a romantic capacity, online dating sites can be a great way to open up your options. My honest opinion is that the 9 options above are better because they take the pressures of “dating” off of the interactions, and seem much more natural. But, if you are dead set on dating, then Match.com,Plentyoffish, and Eharmony are great sites.