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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Feeling Lonely? Meetup!

Three years ago I moved to a new city where I knew nobody at all. This was perhaps the most brave thing I had done in my life up until then. At the time, I didn't know how hard it would be to re-establish myself without any connections or how much I had taken for granted back home. 

But my bravery was rewarded and three years later I find myself with wonderful friends and part of excellent, supportive communities. (I am not in contact with one single guy I dated in the past three years, however.)

I now encounter, on a regular basis, other people moving here with few or no contacts. They are giving themselves a fresh start, getting a new job or chasing a dream just like I was (well, except the job part).

One of the easiest ways to get started in a new city (it does help to be in a city and not in the middle of nowhere) it to join meetup.com

Even if you've been in the same place for forever but you still find yourself with empty social time where you sit around feeling sorry for yourself, this is a great thing.

How it works:
You don't have to join to search. You enter your zip code or city and search for meetup groups by topic or actual events by date. 

Each meetup is led by a regular person (I used to lead one in my fair city and you could lead one too) who posts events and then members of that group get an email and can RSVP for the event. If you find a group that interests you and you find an event that works with your schedule and you actually show up, you'll meet other folks who are there to meet other folks and you already know that you have something in common. 

This is not a website for singles (although some groups are for singles or geared towards singles) but many of the events attract singles because they have the time and are looking to do something social and meet new people. 

My experience with meetup has been excellent. The larger groups have excellent turnout to their events so you know that you'll find someone cool to talk to. Also, meetup doesn't seem to attract the freaks so much. 

In todays day and age, unless you are part of a vibrant church or political community, you might find yourself alone on Saturday night. Don't pine away! Meetup!

I meetup-ed some cities for examples:

So if you live in, say, Bozeman, Montana (kinda sorta the middle of nowhere) there are 4 meetup groups you could join (Divorcees, Athiests, Ron Paulers and a Playgroup). Hopefully one of them floats your boat. OK. That was a horrible example. Apparently if you live in Bozeman, meetup is an awful suggestion and the best advice I can give you is to move to a bigger city.

How about Madison, Wisconsin? There are 83 meetups in Madison. So if you live in Bozeman, you might want to get a uhaul and head east. 

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