What's the key to getting involved with as many interesting projects and meeting as many interesting people as possible?
April 12, 2009 1:10 PM   Subscribe

What's the key to getting involved with as many interesting projects and meeting as many interesting people as possible?

I'm 23, in New York City, and I feel like I have the potential and enthusiasm to accomplish a lot of great things in my life. I really want to connect with as many people as possible, get involved with creative and fulfilling projects, and have stories to tell and no regrets when I look back.

Right now I'm an average guy with an average social life who works a regular 9-6 job. I would love to make the next couple years a crazy social experiment where I throw myself out there and experience the world. I want to be able to craft and polish my people skills to higher levels, learn about different activities or hobbies so I can find out what I feel passionate about professionally and creatively, and build a good base of inspiring people to be around.

The question is how to go about doing that. One problem is my interests are as broad and vague as the above goals. I love tons of things out there but don't really specialize in any one area..I want to learn more about music, filmmaking, art, cooking, dance, business, fashion, technology, sports, etc etc but because of there being so many choices I don't know where to start. I guess the underlying theme is I want to be learn more about other people and improve myself.

So knowing all of that, what types of events, activities or clubs should be I attending and for the NYC people especially, what specific resources (e.g. meetup.com) should I use to find out where people will be and where I could learn? Since there are so many events and sites out there, how do I filter out the bad from the good besides trial and error? How can I use things like dating sites, blogs and twitter to my advantage? The last thing I want to do is look back years from now and wish I had met more people, taken more risks, and had more experiences. Would appreciate any advice, general or specific.
posted by coffeecold to Human Relations (17 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Dating sites (like okcupid.com, which has a decidedly NYC-centric population) are a great first step if you're young and single. Put simply: date a lot of people. I learned more awesome things to do and see and get involved with in NYC from dating people than by any other means in my first year here. Some took a date or two to figure out we could just be friends, then I met their friends and so forth. For every one like you, looking, there were two who had some fascinating involvement in art, music, film, activism or education I wanted to know more about.

Volunteer. There are places like 826NYC and RFB&D which offer something on the order of "unquestionable good" and attract people of like mind.

Play. Figure out something to learn that you'd never have done. Improv comedy is popular and genuinely great at introducing you to people (even if it's a little cliche - who cares?). Cooking, breakdancing, wine tasting: whatever puts you outside your comfort zone.
posted by abulafa at 1:26 PM on April 12, 2009

most of tumblr's users are early to mid-20something new yorkers involved in "music, filmmaking, art, cooking, dance, business, fashion, technology"—if you start your own interesting tumblr and start interacting with others, you'll meet a lot of well-connected people your age who have a zillion things going on.
posted by lia at 1:38 PM on April 12, 2009

if you start your own interesting tumblr and start interacting with others, you'll meet a lot of well-connected people your age who have a zillion things going on.

Unfortunately, that's hard to do. Tumblr actually seems to be a worse platform for connecting with other people than a plain ol' ordinary blog.

So yeah, start a blog. It can be great for networking. But I recommend starting it at blogger.com instead.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:50 PM on April 12, 2009

Subscribe to Jeff Stark's NonsenseNYC . It would suggest probably the most bacchanal things you've ever done. And not to mention, introduce you to a lot of like minded people.
Remember to pretend being outgoing and it will come.
posted by Lucubrator at 1:51 PM on April 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Well, when I move to NYC I'll be
hanging with NYC Resistor. They also have really excellent Go Clubs there.
posted by phrontist at 2:17 PM on April 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

Dating sites can be used to find platonic friends with similar interests as well. Just make sure to indicate your intentions when contacting them.
posted by HappyEngineer at 2:44 PM on April 12, 2009

Have you read the book "Yes Man" by Danny Wallace (now a Major Motion PictureTM)? Essentially, say yes more.

Google "New York *thing you're interested in* club". Sign up.

The local hostels often have notice boards with cool things on.

Just throw yourself into things I guess - don't be afraid of being outside your comfort zone, and take time to listen to people and chat to them.
posted by djgh at 3:09 PM on April 12, 2009

Oh, and you could volunteer in some cool field - bound to meet a bunch of interesting people from all walks of life.
posted by djgh at 3:10 PM on April 12, 2009

Seconding NYC Resistor as well if that's your flavor of geek thing.

So good it shoulda been mine...
posted by abulafa at 3:20 PM on April 12, 2009

I'd pick up a camera. I go to the types of events you describe in your profile because I really enjoy photography -- but in the process, I've met awesome people as well as communities of photographers in every city I've lived in.

Photographers know about cool events because they want to be there to document them -- so as soon as you show up to a few (pillow fights, parades, whatever) you can ask people to notify you as soon as they find out about other events.

As an added bonus, you can attend all of the types of events you described (and if you offer to let the organization use your photos, you can often attend them for free....) I have met really awesome, artsy people and developed really great friendships by doing this.
posted by melodykramer at 6:54 PM on April 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'll throw my (non-New-York) perspective - dancing! Whether you take swing, salsa, or even belly dancing, you'll be interacting with people that have lives as different as yours. Again, IDKNY (I don't know New York), but I'm sure they have too many classes within a mile or two to offer. Find interesting people. Talk. Exchange business cards. Go get a beer afterwards. Rinse / lather / repeat.
posted by chrisinseoul at 6:42 AM on April 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Do you live in Manhattan? If not, move there.

Because it's New York, you're probably going to have to acclimate yourself to the club/bar scene that pervades the "music, filmmaking, art" crowd.

Other than that? Read Gawker?
posted by trotter at 7:57 AM on April 13, 2009

Join the mailing list for LoVid (http://www.lovid.org/) if something crazy and creative is going on in the City, they are probably there and will email you to tell you about it.
posted by snofoam at 9:42 AM on April 13, 2009

Also, just to add my two cents, living in Manhattan is totally unnecessary, but being able to get to Manhattan easily is recommended. There are a great many things and people in Brooklyn and Queens.
posted by snofoam at 9:47 AM on April 13, 2009

Best answer: Ugh don't move to Manhattan. Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx are going to have the scenes you are looking for.

Just cause this is a fun question to answer, here's what I would do if I had your energy and freedom:

1. Join one sports league. Just one night a week, softball, soccer, whatever. Join a co-ed team so you can meet girls (or guys, whomever you want to flirt and drink with after the game).

2. Join one longer term collaborative project. Maybe this is charity, or something political, or artsy, but something that has a community of people meeting regularly. For example, a community garden, an anti-war group, a writing workshop.

3. Make it practice to go out at least once if not twice a week to something purely social. A house party, a bar, an art opening, etc. NYC is great for free first Saturdays at museums, too.

4. OkCupid is an awesome place to meet people, too. You can have lots of dates/friendly dates and meet pretty cool young folks.
posted by RajahKing at 1:40 PM on April 13, 2009 [4 favorites]

Gala Darling is occasionally based in NYC and her blog is mainly about this sort of thing.
posted by divabat at 3:52 PM on April 13, 2009

I recently moved to Berlin and met a lot of great people as a result of attending events such as Open Everything meetups, following the hash tags local twitterers use and trying to be the best conversationalist possible.

Believe that every new person you meet will have something worthwhile to teach you. When you meet people ask questions, if you like a specific topic ask more about it. Search on Meetup and just randomly attend events. Volunteer. Be open to serendipity.
posted by pipstar at 9:32 AM on April 15, 2009

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