On meeting new people

I am sitting on a train as we speak. Yeah, it is only a little past 7am, and I’m pretty early. I remember reading about a monthly event where people have a party before work — with breakfast, dancing and working out — before 9am, which is obviously a little out of the ordinary, given that people usually party after work. The idea was a little appealing because I love mornings, and I can see myself getting hyped up and invigorated for a new week.

The event, which I have a bit of trouble recalling at the moment, obviously involves meeting people. About a year ago I decided that it was time to break out of my rather thin shell and get out and meet people. I was also a bit bored. I am by no means shy (well, I used to be shy before, but I have certainly become less shy over the years), and am a bit of an extrovert (you don’t have to be social or super outgoing to be one). I thought that meeting more like-minded people would be a nice experience.

I am not saying it was not a nice experience, but I realised I didn’t even get very far, and I didn’t meet new people or get very social. In fact, I didn’t try hard enough, and I didn’t bother making an effort. Also, like-minded people? What like-minded people? I have such unusual interests.

I used Meetup.com to join groups and find people who were into the same things as me. I narrowed it down to good vegetarian food, music, and technology. I went to a coder club once, and it was pretty neat. I didn’t go after that one time. It was a combination of not being bothered to do something else apart from the mundane home/work routine, not wanting to spend time travelling on a Sunday I would prefer to be at home, and just preferring to be alone.

I don’t have problems socialising. I claim that I suck at being social, but that’s because I prefer quiet gatherings with fewer people. The occasional party is super fun, don’t get me wrong, but I think ultimately I realised that this forced friend-making thing isn’t my jam.

Granted, since I started my new job at the beginning of the year, I have felt very lucky. I have met a lot of lovely people who all have different interests, and I get along with all of them almost equally. Some a lot better than others, but who can complain, right? Going to an event and trying to find like-minded people or deliberately hanging with “similar” people reminds me of the first day of each class in university, where you took two minutes to introduce yourself to people around you, then took a further two minutes to talk to the class and introduce the person next to you.

I kept deleting those emails from Meetup.com, not being interested in attending a meetup, or not wanting to spend the time. I ignored notifications about new groups I “might be interested in”, realising that I did not want to force myself into bonding with a group of people. I don’t think I feared anything, but I disliked the idea that it might be all you ever have in common with that person.

Now I could be talking bullshit right now, but for me, the best kinds of friends come from the day-to-day situations that life throws at you — not ones where you pick and choose when to meet and make them.

Thumbnail photo by Laura Zalenga.

Comments on this post

I’ve looked at meetup too but I think I’m too scared of going to a group thing when I assume many of the members already know each other. And being Canberra the choice we have is pretty limited in comparison to Sydney.

I also think of making more friends online but I tend to fail at that too. Like you said, maybe it’s easier to let the world happen and have friends come to you from different situations in life.

My only issue with this currently is that I don’t particularly like many of the people I work with or they’re based in another state. I mean, I get along with them at work but I wouldn’t consider seeing them outside of work.

I started using Meetup recently because I wanted to meet some new people who weren’t necessarily college students. I joined the Ann Arbor Runners Meetup group and went to a few of their events. Tomorrow, I am going to a ropes course with a group of people I have never met, except for the one person I know from the A2 Runners Meetup who invited me. (And of course I’m bringing Matt.) I also tried going to a WordPress Meetup. The lecture topic was interesting, but the atmosphere wasn’t very social and most people were much older than me, so I don’t know if I’ll be going back to that one.

I think on the whole, I agree with you that it is easier not to go out of my way to be social and I am perfectly happy that way. It is a challenge to maintain more than a few friendships and it is especially hard to cultivate new ones. It just takes so much effort that I am happier putting into other things.

I might be checking out the uni cycling club soon, but I’m honestly a little scared to go.

I tend to hang out only with my tiny group of friends and honestly, I’m not interested in making new friendships unless they just happen, spontaneously.

However, I put up an ad on Kijiji (a classifieds website for sales and personal announcements) to find Transformers fans in my town or nearby towns and meet informally, perhaps at a cafeteria, for a talk about our favorite characters. Sort of a non-official club. :) So far, only one person responded, but it’s a start.

Could it be a ‘launching pod’ for new friendships? Maybe, but honestly I’m not expecting any. Just hanging out as human beings who share a similar interest is enough to me.

I’ve heard of people using meetup, but I’ve honestly never even looked at the site. Even though it seems like I’m not, I’m incredibly shy. So to me the thought of meeting people you may only have one thing in common with sounds…bad. And you are right, friends who are in your day to day life are the best way to make friends. It seems those people you end up having more in common with compared to those who you just have one main thing in common with.

I’ve never heard of people partying before work. that’s…interesting. elsewhere, I have a love hate relationship with mornings. I was never a morning person and I tend to scold and get really grumpy in the morning, especially if I didn’t get enough sleep (not even sure how many hours of sleep is ‘enough’ for me – i can still get grumpy after sleeping for 12 hours. wth) but yeah, mornings can be breathtaking when you get to watch the sky and stuff.

thank you, thank you for saying that an extrovert doesn’t mean being super outgoing and social. honestly, I’m tired of people complaining that I’m too introvert – a shut in hermit, so they say – to even greet someone. my parents – well, my mother especially – often yell at me because I can go on days without talking to anyone. I remember she always, ALWAYS put the saying “are you mute!?” somewhere in between. @_@ ah, I wonder whose fault – I wonder if it’s my fault. but eh, I’m anxious and always freaking out about meeting people /ho

whenever I meet new people, I’m very selective about them. it’s kind of horrible of me to act like that…but yeah, I can’t really get along with everyone. it’s not like I’ll instantly give them the bitter treatment like, “ugh get away from me. I don’t like you.” but if that person doesn’t click with me, I tend to avoid him/her and stop reaching out (talking). /hmph geez, I’m so…odd and uh..complex?

then again, if I like the said person, I can be quite social, though not to the point of being outgoing and such. my closest friend is sort of a closet hermit too and we don’t go out often because we think it’s useless? like, watch movie and have lunch and then go home? nah.. we prefer watching anime together at home and order some pizza. /hmph

I can say that I have problems with socializing; the idea kind of scares me… I’m not sure what I’m scared of, maybe the thought that people won’t accept me because I’m not as quiet or as kind or as considerate as they see me be. it’s just the outside impression? hm.. complicated. having a relationship, be it friendship or love, is complicated for me, i guess… I just don’t have the courage to move forward sometimes :(

I’ve never heard of meetup but I know “social lines” like that. personally, I see communication lines like meetup as uh…useless? maybe that’s not the word but I know I wouldn’t use that to boost up my social skills or meet new people. i just don’t like the idea of it, i suppose. maybe i just want to meet new people when i meet them and see if i click with them or not, instead of using something like meetup.

sometimes i wanna meet people who have the same interest with me, with the kind of mindset that can be on par with me (hard to elaborate, uh) but another part of me is scared of even greeting someone or look at them in the eyes. i’m not sure anymore. :P

yikes, i end up blabbering emotions on your post i’m sorry /ho

I always thought having a party before work is a myth because waking up is a lot harder than falling asleep *_*. I wouldn’t mind having a morning party if it’s after 7am, haha.

I usually like making friends but don’t like going out of my way for it *__*. You preferring to be at home on a Sunday is like me on weekends. I came to the point where I’m ‘okay’ telling people I don’t hang out on weekends.

I’m glad to hear that you met a lot of great people at work! That’s the same for me; I came to work eating lunch alone for the first week to having group lunches. Let friendship flow naturally~ :D