How are you feeling about things going back to ‘normal’? If life before lockdown wasn’t all that exciting, then you may be feeling a bit anxious about what it will be like, especially if you were already feeling a bit disconnected or had experienced some upheavals in your social circle.
I’ve wanted to write a post for ages in homage to something that literally changed my life a few years ago, and that’s an organisation called Meet Up. It seems appropriate now as we are heading back into a life of socialising and meeting friends…or not.
For those of you who don’t know or have never heard of Meetup, it’s a range of social groups which organise and advertise events online (by town or activity usually) which you can join, and start attending events in your area.
I joined a couple of different Meetup groups after becoming single a few years back, as I wanted to get out and socialise with likeminded people, but at the time the thought of dating again terrified me!
As happens with a lot of newly-singletons, your social life can have a seismic change as your circle of friends is often upended, and you end up with a lot more time on your hands than you would like. As most of my friends and work colleagues were either already hooked up or had young families, the opportunities to go out to gigs, theatre trips or meals out, were limited.
I was pretty amazed at the variety of Meetup groups that are around – some are locality based, which is also a great way to meet people if you are new in town, or are just looking for things to do in your local area, and there are also more specific activity groups, to indulge every hobbyist.
Going to a first Meetup event can be pretty daunting – it’s like being set up on a blind date, except you can be meeting a whole load of new people, not just one. The nervousness factor is about the same – What will I say? Will they like me? Will I like them? And of course, it can be difficult to walk into a venue, when you don’t know the people you are meeting, apart from seeing their photo online!! Most groups will have an event organiser who will make a point of looking out for you, if you are attending for the first time and lots of groups arrange events specifically for new members, so that you don’t feel so intimidated by the whole thing – at least that way everyone is in the same boat!
Every group I attended was friendly and welcoming, and you can dip in and out of the events which interest you. You might decide that a group isn’t for you, and that’s fine too. Some of the groups I didn’t keep up with, either because there weren’t many people from my age group, or some of the events were a little too far away. But the great thing about Meet Up is that there are lots of events and groups happening, plus it’s a good way of getting introduced to new friends. You could even set up your own meetup group, if there’s not many active groups in your area.
I’ve been to a whole range of events through the groups I’ve joined, and have been to see some great local bands that I never would have heard of, and visited some lovely places that I would never have ventured to on my own. I’ve also now got a new circle of friends that I have kept in touch with outside of the group.
If you’ve been thinking you need to get out more, or are fed up missing out on things you would love to go to because you are on your own, I would definitely recommend giving something like this a go. Yes, it can be daunting to begin with – the first meetup is a bit like the first day at school – but it could be just what you need to kick-start your social life!
* I just wanted to say I have not in any way received payment for promoting Meetup or any other similar social groups – this is something that has genuinely benefitted me, and hopefully might be of interest to others too.
Photo credit: Jeyhun Sung @jaysung via Unsplash.com