How to Make Friends and Meet New People With Common Interests:Attend a Free Meetup
Are you familiar with Eat, Laugh and Be Merry, Stitch N' Bitch, Sole Sisters, Kick-Ass Ladies of Connecticut, Healing Drum Circle at No Place Like OM or Adventures in Healthy Eating? These are just a few of the Connecticut meetups focused on health and well-being, community and environment, hobbies & crafts, fitness, games, and so many other areas of interest. With so many to choose from, I couldn't resist checking out one of the raw foods meetups to keep me motivated to build my bionic immune system.
Have you ever attended a meetup?
What is a Meetup?
A meetup is a gathering of people that share a common interest or similar goals. Most of them are either free or require a nominal fee to cover expenses. I have a strong interest in maintaining and improving my healthy lifestyle, and I have found many meetups that can help me in my goals, on subjects such as meditation, healing, self-empowerment and fitness. Each category has numerous subcategories. For example, 'nutrition' not only has raw foods, vegan and vegetarian groups; but also groups focused on organic fruits and vegetables and grass-fed and pastured meats.
Benefits of Attending a Meetup
There is such a broad range of interests represented by the various meetups that you are guaranteed to find one that will fascinate you. The benefits are endless:
- Meet new friends with common interests.
- Improve your health by learning how to cook healthier meals or juicing
- Provide social support
- Learn stress relief techniques such as laughter, yoga, and meditation
- Meet a potential significant other during one of the many singles meetups
- Find employment through a networking meetup
- Exercise through a hiking or ultimate Frisbee meetup
- Learn a new skill through a scrapbooking or knitting meetup
- Exercise your mind through a philosophy meetup
- Change the world in a political or environmental meetup
- Meet other parents with children if you are new to the area
- Create your own meetup revolving around a topic that interests you
How to Find a Meetup in Your Area
It takes only a few minutes to locate a meetup in your area. Go to the website meetup.com and then type in your zip-code, and select your area of interest. Click on the meetup you are interested in and read more about it. If you are still interested select 'join' and you will receive information regarding the scheduled meeting times and the exact location. You may have to attend several in your area of interest until you find people you like and a venue you enjoy.
My Experience at a Raw Foods Meetup
I decided to be adventurous and attend a raw foods meetup that was organized like a potluck. I convinced my husband to go with the usual promise that if we were bored we could leave after an hour. I purposely picked a meetup that was a little more than an hour away, in a town we had never been to, just so it would be more of an adventure (and also so we wouldn't feel as obligated to go back if we didn't really enjoy it). I don't have a quality food processor or dehydrator, so I decided to bring a fresh fruit platter and a chopped salad with homemade green onion dressing. I worried that my contributions would be too simple, but hoped we would be forgiven since we were new to the group.
Please take a minute to check out this excellent article by L.L. Woodard:
- How to Cultivate Social Support
Social support -- friends, co-workers, family members -- is important not only for happiness in life, but to survive and thrive as an individual. Where do you find social support? The answers are many.
When we arrived I put my two dishes on the tables, along with their corresponding recipe cards. After introducing ourselves to the host, we sat down in some of the folding chairs that had been arranged in a circle. There were approximately 20 people attending, most of whom had obviously been there before and knew each other. Within 10 minutes the host announced it was time to eat, so everybody got up and started getting food.
I then realized the dishes that I brought were fine. Although some people had made elaborate dishes such as raw apple pie and a very interesting frozen desert; others had simply thrown some raw nuts and strawberries on a plate or put some carrots in a pitcher. It seemed that one person had even bought a pre-cut fruit platter and dumped the fruit in a bowl.
When we sat down an older man in his late 60's started talking to us after I used a good introductory line "So, are you 100% raw?" He was very nice and talked to us for much of the evening. He had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of nine and first became vegetarian for ethical reasons after working on a farm on his 20's and realizing that animals had personalities and real emotions. He then began studying health over the years and started a big vegan and vegetarian organization. His philosophy about raw foods was that 80% was good enough and he allowed himself some cooked vegetables and beans. He will always have diabetes but he said he never gets sick including even a minor cold. He said that all of his diabetic friends and family have had to use dialysis machines well before they reached his age, but his lifestyle has kept him healthy.
After about 45 minutes it was time for the gift exchange. We were supposed to have found something around the house that we didn't want, so we could 'recycle' it. The host's son dressed as Santa Claus and passed out the gifts. I brought a mug because I figured at least people could use it. I received some empty glass bottles in a box because we were supposed to 'recycle' things. I guess that was funny. Finally, we went around the room to say what we were thankful for. I heard people mumble that it was the wrong holiday, but I didn't mind since I think that you should remember what you are thankful for every day. Some people started by saying "what am I NOT thankful for", which is a nice philosophy - although I couldn't help thinking that I wasn't too thankful for all the bills that I keep getting in the mail.
Finally it was time to leave. It seems we enjoyed ourselves enough to surpass that obligatory hour. We thanked the host and said goodbye to the people we met, especially the nice gentleman that we talked to for the majority of the evening. He said he owned a Bed and Breakfast in the area and we could stay for free the next time we came since we had a long drive. I thought that was so kind and we told him we would be back again. Based upon the positive experience we had I decided we would try another meetup some time. Although it is hard to find time for the friends we already have, it is fun to do something different every now and then and meet completely new people. Take a minute and check out meetups in your area. Life is an adventure and you never know where it will lead you!
Raw Foods Meetups
Raw Food Central
Vital Longevity Raw Food Group
Chicago Suburbs Raw and Living Food
Lake County Raw Food Potluck
Seattle Superfood & Raw Food Meetup Group