If you know me at all- there’s about a 50% chance you do because roughly half my page views come from my Facebook posts- you will know that I can be a little bit shy when you first meet me. If I’m lost I’d rather get more lost than approach someone for directions, although that could also be me being stubborn admittedly. Such shyness doesn’t last very long, especially in a situation where alcohol is involved but it presents a little bit of a problem when it comes to my current position. I’m in one of the largest cities on the east coast of the US and I have precisely one friend in the city. That’s right, one and that person is my wife! So far we’ve spent literally all of our time together (which is quite understandable when you consider that we had to spend so long apart) but everyone needs more than one friend to spend time with and anyway my wife has other friends to hang out with.
So I figure the time has come to start making an effort to make some friends and as I’m no longer at university and not constantly in social situations it’s a little bit harder than it used to be. When you are 20 it feels like by the time you’ve ordered your first beer at the bar you’ve made a new friend, but alas no more. It’s not like you can go up to people on the train and start a conversation, although it would be a good way to clear myself some space! I see people with the Smiths t-shirts or wearing the Arsenal kit and I think I’ve got something in common with that person! But am I going to go up to them and start talking? Hell no! I’ve decided against being too heavily involved with expat groups as I don’t want to become one of those expats who only associate with people of their own nationality. How do you meet new people when you have just moved 3000 miles?
In my desperation I joined meetup.com and yesterday I attended my first event, a viewing of the Magna Carta at the Museum of Fine Arts. I had no idea how these things work, should I hold a sign above my head saying ‘loner’ so the other loners in the group could find me or ask everyone in the lobby awkwardly if they were there for the meetup event. Luckily Kat had been to Meetup events before so I dragged her along with me; if it got too awkward we’d leg it away from the rest of the group and make our escape. It wasn’t too bad in the end; only six people attended instead of the intended 17 and they were friendly enough, nobody appeared to be a stalker or a murderer. Much.
So as the Meetup event wasn’t an abject failure I shall be attending some more in the near future. There’s bound to be some people I’ll get on well with. Somewhere. The beauty of Meetup is that there are thousands of groups and there are bound to be some that interest everyone even if many of them are pretty specific like ‘Gay Black Professionals’ or ‘Over 40’s authors’. There’s a group for European football followers in Boston to watch football (soccer) and that’s probably all I need for now. So maybe I’ll document my successes and failures in the near future, watch this space!