Being a girl who works out of my home, I'm not exposed to the typical work environment that allows one to make friends and meet people. The life of an artist can be fairly insular, and it can be hard for me to break away from my studio. Although hanging out with the boyfriend is great, every now and then you want a female perspective on life. But making friends can be hard to do! In fact, finding a quality girlfriend can be a bit like dating... after all, you're making an investment with your time and emotions, and it takes awhile to see if you click.
The majority of my close friends are sprinkled in different states, and I rely on phone calls and email to stay in touch. My long-distance relationships are solid, but I don't have a neighborhood girlfriend who can come over for a glass of wine or watch Oprah with me. I've found myself caught between two extremes: the party-crazy sorority girls at the nearby college and the suburban housewives with three kids. Where do I fit in? Well, I'm happy to say I think I finally found an answer... No, I'm not auditioning to be Paris Hilton's BFF on her new reality show, although it is tempting. I just may have hit the friendship jackpot... Meetup.com.
This site encourages participants to "use the Internet to get off the Internet" by finding groups in their zip code with similar interests that meet a few times a month. Whether you enjoy music, films, art, wine, books... there's a meet-up network for you. Joining the group is free but some have small yearly fees to cover costs ($7 or so). You can browse through photos of past events and the members that attended. Email alerts notify when a new meet-up date is approaching, and you RSVP if you can make it.
I was surprised to see the diversity of groups and how specific the areas of interest can get... ranging from serious causes to silly indulgences. Star Wars fan? They've got you covered. Vegetarian? There's a group of carrot-crunchers. Adopting a baby? Meet others who have or plan to. Political? There's a meet-up group for your candidate (and probably one against him/her too).
As my social calendar fills up with spa dates, wine tasting, movie viewings, and yoga lessons, I'm looking forward to meeting new people and sharing interesting experiences. I'll keep you posted!
Have you recently moved to a new town and want to make friends? Work from home and occasionally feel isolated? Do you have a Meetup.com experience you'd like to share? Please post your comments!
*A post script note: I've been so busy with getting 52 Prints launched, I haven't had a chance to "Meet Up" yet. Social life on hold to bring you affordable art! To be continued...