a blogumn by Debra Goykhman
When my husband and I moved to San Diego four weeks ago we didn’t know one person. Planting our roots has become a hard task. We have tried many conventional approaches—taking our dogs to the park, going out to lunch with coworkers, introducing ourselves to neighbors, and joining the local gym. We had a number of friendly conversations in each scenario, but the exchange of numbers is too awkward for either of us to have the guts to do. My husband, the computer guy, suggested we try a website meetup.com. Reluctantly I agreed and within days I was an active member and my husband still hadn’t bothered to make a profile.
Meetup.com is not a new concept. The site has been around for several years and began to catch the spotlight before Facebook. Meetup’s self-proclaimed mission is to give people a forum to self-organize within their local communities. I joined our local social club and RSVPed for a happy hour, which included a free dinner buffet at our local sports bar/restaurant. I was expecting between 40-50 people. When we pulled into the parking lot I knew that my estimate had been off. All the parking spots were taken and there were crowds of people making their way inside the door. We had to park our car in the strip mall next door. When we entered there were hundreds of people inside with yellow wrists bands—the sign that they were part of the meetup group.
We made our way to the food and saw crowds of 30-40-somethings huddled in friendly conversation and younger guys on the outside scanning the room for ladies. The scene was a little too intense for our personalities, but as soon as my husband stepped away to go to the bathroom a guy, Mr. X, approached me.
Mr. X was super friendly and was one of the organizers of the event. He explained to me that there were four meetup groups there that night—scuba, singles, social, and energy. Mr. X was proud that he was one of the founders of one of the largest groups in the area and on top of having a full-time job he planned 30-40 events a month! When my husband came back he invited us to four other events that weekend.
We haven’t gone back to a meetup event yet, but I have already found three other groups and have plans to attend a hike, book club meeting, board game night, UFC fight, and a photography excursion. In short, meetup.com has something for everyone in every age group. Even if you aren’t new to town you can still tap into a group of people that have a fun new activity to get you out of your normal schedule of events.