Some of you are naturals when it comes to conversation... anddddd some of you are just not. & that's okay! I don't personally buy into the "introvert" vs "extrovert" mindset. I think we all have our own personalities and bring something different to every relationship. However, if you're wondering how to get more out of this group - here's some tips from an expert. & truly - I'm an expert. I've hosted and attended 300+ Meetup events in the last six years. I've made friends, enemies, and people in-between. It's not easy being social and making friends as an adult. That said, the more you do it, the more natural it will come to you!
You get out of social clubs what you put into them
Just like anything else worth having in life - making friends and getting the most out of a Meetup group takes effort on your end. I so wish I could be your little fairy godmother who could sprinkle some pixie dust around, cheers with you a shot of tequila, and VOILA! You are a socialite with the world at your fingertips.
Unfortunately, I'm just a Meetup host.... and nothing comes easy: working out, eating healthy, money, careers, love - even just one or two good friends post-college.
A lot of you mention to me that you're not making friends - meanwhile you come ONE TIME! (Who are you? My high school boyfriend?)
You have to attend at least a few times. You have to make decent conversation. You have to get numbers and text back. You have to TRY! So if you're serious about wanting friends, a social life, and recurring things to do - come out & put in the effort.
RSVP to events that interest you
Don't come to a bar hopping event if you're going to judge everyone for drinking. Don't RSVP to a book club if you hate reading. Don't plan to attend a ghost tour if you're a ghost. It's pretty simple. You're going to feel more confident & social by attending events that actually spark your interest. Particularly in a social club. If you want to be bored out of your mind, might as well just go to a networking event and at least get a few LinkedIn followers while you're at it.
Think of conversation ideas BEFORE you arrive
Particularly if you're not super social to begin with! If you're only going to ask those you meet, "What do you do for work?" - let me go ahead and print you out a one way ticket on the struggle bus. Having some conversation topics in mind will help ease the awkward silences. Instead of saying, "What part of town do you live in?" Ask, "What's your favorite breakfast taco spot? I've been trying to find a new place to frequent." Asking questions that can lead to open-dialogue and other topics will help keep the conversation flowing.
Embrace the awkward
It's Meetup - there's some weird AF people who attend. Sometimes the conversation dies out. Occasionally you meet someone you don't like. There may come a time when someone is super rude or doesn't like you. Hell, I host these events and plenty of members don't even like me. It's just how it goes. Making friends as an adult is WEIRD! Embrace it. Accept the fact not everyone is going to like you. & then move on to the next person. Learn from the silence. Continue coming out and expanding your social skills + network. At some point, you WILL meet someone that is your exact level of weird and it will be a BFF match in heaven. At the very least, you're taking control of your own social life and finding cool places/events around the city.
REALLY consider my advice on not dating
It adds SO much more pressure to the situation. It's also really hard to tell if someone is mutually attracted to you when they are attending a social event that requires talking to multiple people and getting to know everyone. Just because someone is friendly towards you, doesn't mean they are interested. You'll save yourself a lot of time & embarrassment if you come looking for friendship first. Relationships are messy. You don't want to invest a ton of time/money/energy into building a social life just to have the worst person you've ever dated call dibs over your friend group. Think about it.
Be honest with yourself
You can come up with excuses. Blame me. Judge the members of this group. At the end of the day - you have to be honest with yourself. What do you want out of this? Do you really want friends? Or are you attending because someone told you to. Are you putting in the work? Or did you attend one event last summer and never text anyone back. Are you crossing lines and possibly turning potential friends away? Because if so, there's ways you can work on how you come across to ensure better outcomes in the future.
Let people surprise you & don't write someone off
This is something that took me a few years to learn. We want instant satisfaction, meaning we want to instantly become good friends with someone we find intriguing/exciting/whatever. So, just like on a dating App, we filter everyone we meet based immediately off of: Appearance, work/location, hobbies, shared interests, and the impression they give within a few minutes of talking.
Some of my best friends have actually been people I didn't immediately "like" or consider as a potential friend. & some of the people I've liked the most right away have turned out to be the worst people in my life. Give members in the group a chance to surprise you. Yes - trust your instincts. However, also give people time to grow on you. Attending the same group multiple times will help this happen naturally.
Social Skills & Tips
-Reading books on networking/social skills can develop better conversation
-Drinking alcohol (in moderation!), 420 items, or natural remedies can calm you down and make you temporarily feel more outgoing - which can get you feeling up to attending the events! Of course, please consider your own limits & use with caution
-Having an accountability partner that encourages you/checks in with you regarding events may be helpful
-Scheduling a few days a month ahead of time to attend events or "go out" will keep you on track
-Get numbers/social handles & message a potential friend a few days after meeting for the first time. Try to plan to meet for happy hour or a quick event within the next week or two
-Dress to impress! Looks should never be what determines a friendship. However, you feel more confident when you're presenting your best self to the world. This doesn't mean having to dress fancy or spending money. Clean hair, nice perfume/cologne, mouthwash, and an outfit you love will scream confidence
To sum it all up...
As part of my (or any) Meetup group, you're part of a team. We're all trying to make new friends, grow our social lives, and spend a day/evening out of the house. Kudos to you for even leaving the house - it really is not something the average person is up for. If you put in the effort, get phone numbers/socials, nicely follow up, respect (& set!) boundaries, and attend multiple times - I feel super confident that you will make a few friends and you will feel fulfilled socially.