Ever since I had my breakdown epiphany about needing to get a life space between myself and my boyfriend I’ve realized I need to meet new people, and make some friends. My observations so far: making friends is expensive!!!

Ok, maybe it doesn’t have to be but a lot of the ideas I’m coming up with ARE! Besides, once you start meeting new people you’ll need to start hanging out with these said new people…and a lot of times that can be expensive. Anyway, I can worry about that when the time comes. For now I’ll just focus on meeting people!

Take a class – Well, all the classes I’ve found out about have fees! They all vary, and the bellydancing class I’m taking is one of the better ones at $17.50 per class.  Some other classes I have a bit of interest in: cooking classes (around $200 for the multi-session ones, or $40-$70 for the one-session classes depending on the topic), crafting (can cost anywhere from $40-$60 for one-session classes). The local community college also has random courses they offer, but all the summer ones have started so I’ll have to wait until fall…I think this is in my favor! I haven’t run across free classes, but if I do I’ll take advantage of it! Granted, I realize the primary purpose of these class is NOT meeting people, its to learn a specific skill and that is what you’re paying for.

Networking Events – I’ve seen a lot of “Young Professionals” networking events hosted by various organizations. One of the particular ones I’m thinking about attending is $15…it is open bar though, with free appetizers and a different type of entertainment each time, so I guess the price isn’t bad. (Drinks at a bar would be much more than that!) Its held at our local science museum, so thats kind of interesting. However, I’m nervous about attending these kind of events because I don’t want to go with my BF (availability and the whole space-needing thing I’m trying), and I’m intimidated by going to these kinds of things by myself. We’ll see how I feel as the day gets closer, but chances are I’ll chicken out. =[

Co-worker Network – I haven’t tried this simply because I don’t know a lot of people my age that work for my company. Most of them are older (40’s and 50’s), and the few young people I know live closer to HQ, which is almost two hours away. I’ll keep an ear out for new hires though. (Most of them are also guys, so I don’t think the BF would be too fond of this idea…)

Volunteering – Ok, here’s one thats not expensive at all…unless you take into account that you have to commit time, which is sometimes more scarce than money with me. I’m going to start my bellydancing classes and see how that time commitment goes before I delve into volunteering. Right now I’m thinking of doing so at the botanical garden…that’ll get me outdoors AND I’ll meet new people and do new things (although most of the regular volunteers are old ladies…not that there’s anything wrong with old ladies! I find most to be lovely people.) That same volunteer organization has a special group for “young professionals” (that term is getting on my nerves) that looks interesting, however you have to be a member (which I am) and then pay an extra $15 on top of that. (So much for the free part.) I’d obviously try out being a regular volunteer before I join the “Young Professionals.” They have a volunteer info session in September, so again, I have time to test out my time commitment with the bellydancing first.

Meetup – I actually checked this website out a few years ago, but I don’t remember finding any groups I liked. A lot of them were primarily for partying and I’m not big on clubbing or going out drinking (for some reason I only like drinking with my close friends). Maybe I’ll check back and see what might be new around there. Perhaps a foreign language meetup group? Or one that likes to see movies? Maybe i can even start one if there isn’t one already? Anyone have experience using this?

Alumni Association – this is a resource I haven’t used AT ALL. However we’re having a send-off for new freshmen next month and I should probably go (even if just to practice having conversations with strangers, lol). I don’t think a lot of Alumni go to these things, but at least I’ll get to talk to the president and see whats going on. I’m technically the “Young Alumni Representative” for my area, but since our alumni group is pretty inactive its more or less just a title. Perhaps its time for me to kick things into action?

Those are my ideas for now. Even if I didn’t need to meet people, these are things that would at the very least pique my interest, so I believe I owe it to myself to try some of them out.

What other kinds of social networking type things do you know about? Feel free to share….especially if you have any inexpensive ideas!

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