Some Suggestions for Places to Meet People
Meeting new people is one of the most common frustrations among millennials. We’ve created a techno-centric environment that allows us to connect with billions of people around the world, but it’s more challenging to form connections and date. I want discuss the pros and cons of some of the more popular social environments.
The Library and Coffee Shop
Pros: The library and your local coffee shop are generally great places to meet work-oriented individuals. The types of people who you find at a library or coffee shop generally present themselves as “learners” or “conscientious”; and studies have shown that there’s high correlation between people who frequent libraries/coffee shops and IQ (I just made that up). Therefore, if you’re looking for a place to meet erudite individuals, maybe the library is a great place to start, but you need to be mindful of people who are plugged in and working hard, I wouldn’t recommend bothering someone who’s mid-sentence in their book or essay.
Cons: Libraries and coffee shops are generally less communal than your typical bar or club. Most people go to the library because they have work or reading that necessitates a quiet environment, so they couldn’t give two shits about you and your new Nikes. If you decide to approach someone in this environment, inquire about their work or book, exchange pleasantries, and offer some means of connecting. It’s best to be brief in these settings—unless they’re enjoying the distraction—then, follow-up in a couple days.
Meetups and Social Media
Pros: I joined a meetup for soccer, and had a great time playing and socializing with others. However, I wasn’t interested in the social aspect of the meetup, so I declined the post-game bar invitations. Joining Facebook groups presents similar opportunities, and you’ll find that the more you engage with people on these mediums, the more you’ll get out of them. Liking people’s pictures might seem innocuous, but they notice. If you’ve been interacting with someone in a meetup or through social media, don’t hesitate to invite them out for an evening.
Cons: Someone who shows up for a soccer meetup might only be interested in playing soccer. Women in particular, are inundated with unwanted attention in both of these mediums, and Instagram models aren’t interested in befriending a majority of their followers. These mediums are great for connecting with people and developing surface level connections, but bridging the gap between social media friend and real life friend can be daunting.
Bumble and Tinder
Pros: If you find yourself using these mediums, you’re either single, looking for a third person to spice things up, or looking for friends to kick it with in a new area. Most people who find themselves on these apps are looking for romantic relationships, and I would say that a minority are interested in committed relationships (possibly age dependent), so don’t get your hopes up for a wife/husband. That being said, I encourage excessive flirtation, flattery, and wittiness.
Cons: Women are drowned in male approval. While guys are looking for any hole to fill, women are playing the gatekeeper role. There’s an infinite amount of male competition, so standing out will require some great pictures or a clever conversation (literally all you have to offer through these mediums). A lot of people complain that women/men are disinterested, and they probably are, because they’re spammed with winky face emojis/gifs. If you can’t differentiate yourself from the crowd, you will be white noise on these platforms.
Parks and Beaches/Lakes
Pros: If you find yourself in San Francisco, college-aged, and it’s sunny outside, you must visit Dolores Park (a smoker-friendly environment, non-smokers beware). Parks and beaches are some of the greatest places to meet new people and run around. Most people who find themselves in these environments are sociable and happy to share the environment. Ask to join in on a volleyball game, or toss a frisbee around; make sure to smile when asking.
Cons: You’ll meet a wide range of people at parks and beaches. Sometimes the vibe is, “locals only brah, so take your sponge and go somewhere else”. San Francisco has a hyper “progressive” culture, so most of park dwellers are 420 friendly and “deep-thinkers”. Pay attention to their clothes before you start a conversation, clothes give a general understanding of why they’re there, but don’t get married to your assumptions.
Bars and Clubs
Pros: People retreat to bars and clubs for the social atmosphere. You can put on a sports jersey, and instantly find yourself accepted; and camaraderie can result in lasting friendships. Also, dancing is a great way to burn some calories while peacocking for the girl across the club. Regardless of how good of a dancer or conversationalist you are, these environments present minimal social barriers; unless you’re wearing an opposing team’s jersey or tattered jeans. The more sociable an environment, the more you will be judged by the way you present yourself, both in terms of clothing and conversation. If you come to a bar with shorts and a hoodie, you better be a tech bro/girl, otherwise you’ll have some difficulty pulling off the leisure look.
Cons: Bars and clubs are generally loud, and the quiet ones are rarely worth visiting, so be prepared to talk loudly if you want to be heard (literally and figuratively). Although bars are great places for socializing, a lot of people have ulterior motives (e.g. gold-digging or social climbing). Some people won’t give you the time of day if you don’t have something to offer (a decent conversation can take you a long way, but living in the East Bay with your parents is a definite minus 1). A large complaint about these settings is the superficiality of the people you’ll find there, and this claim holds weight, but don’t forget why you’re there (to meet new people). Don’t be a wallflower, and find someone who you want to share the evening with.
There are plenty of other places that you can meet people (e.g. religious institutions), but I chose settings that I’m most familiar with. Remember to be open-minded when looking for new people; don’t judge them purely based on their appearance, and listen attentively. I believe that everyone has an interesting story to tell, but it requires curiosity and finesse to tease it out; both of which take time to develop.
Do you have a setting that you want me to add? Send me an email at [email protected] or comment below. Thanks for reading 🙂