How to Make Friends with Meetup
These days, technology makes meeting people easier than ever. No longer are we restricted to more local ways to make new friends - such as school, work, and family. With the internet, we can connect with others in ways we wouldn’t have been able to imagine even ten years ago. Now there are many different community websites out there where we can meet friends and make connections that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
One of the first of these sites, and perhaps the biggest and most well known, is Meetup.com. Launched in 2001, the site has since expanded to somewhere around 100,000 Meetup groups worldwide. People organize groups usually based on common backgrounds or interests. You can find language exchange meetups, ethnic identity meetups, and even regular professional networking meetups. Meetup can be a fantastic way to meet new people and I have personally made many good friends from some of the groups I attend, like language exchange groups in my hometown.
However, like with anything else on the internet, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to find a quality Meetup that suits your needs. The following are a few tips and things to consider that will help you get the most out of your meetup experience.
How Often Does it Meet?
It goes without saying that meetups that have a good, regular schedule tend to be healthier and with many more active members than those without. Don’t just check to see if they meet frequently - check to see if they have a few good regular meetups (for example - a well organized language exchange group would probably have weekly conversation practice). Also see if the activities and events are actually relevant to what the group’s aims are. If you see a “political” meetup that tends to have more movie nights and sports events than actual political discussions, then you probably won’t find what you’re looking for.
Comments on Meetups
After individual meetup events are done, users can leave feedback on the page. This comes in the form of star ratings as well as user comments. This is a very clear way to get an understanding of the meetup’s quality. If a Meetup or event has low star ratings, or if anything about the user comments seems negative or questionable, give it a pass.
When you get there, what is the leadership like?
This is one of the bigger things that people tend to overlook when choosing a good social group. A good leadership team is vital for having an enjoyable meetup. Pay attention to what the organizers are like when you attend. Do they show up on time? Do they have clear objectives and plans for what the event is about? Are they friendly and introduce themselves to everyone, and make new members feel welcome? Or do they ignore newcomers and stick with their little group of friends? Even if you’re not particularly interested in making friends with the organizers, these little things have a big impact on the feel and atmosphere of a Meetup. Friendly organizers tend to make others feel at ease, so the social atmosphere all around feels relaxed and you can make plenty of new friends. Leadership style is a very important thing to consider when trying new Meetups.
Even with some hiccups, events on Meetup.com can be an excellent experience. I usually find that even with “bad” meetups I can make one or two new good friends each time. Still, some of the tips above will help you choose the best ones on the site.