Where do I find other 30-somethings?
November 3, 2009 11:30 AM   Subscribe

I love my new friends, but I want to meet some people younger than my parents.

I'm in my 30s, female, single, introverted but friendly. After living in in various parts of the country, I landed a great job in a small mid-American city (population under 100,000). Professionally, life couldn't be better. People at work don't really socialize with one another, though; we do our jobs and go home, and that's just the culture of the place. OK. So I go about meeting people the way I always have, doing outdoorsy things (hiking, XCskiing, kayaking) and musical things (social dancing, amateur chamber music, music-related volunteer stuff at my church). I admit it, I'm a nerdy girl, but in other places I've lived, these activities gave me the chance to meet lots of people of all ages, a handful of close friends, and a few guys who became more than friends. My social circle always included a number of people who were more or less the same age as me. In this new town, though, my usual interests skew old. I find myself doing things on weekends with a bunch of lively, fun, sophisticated people, who are all in their 50s and 60s and older. They're great, but I miss spending time with people my own age.

Compared to a magnet city like NYC or Seattle, I'm sure the demographic I'm looking for is smaller where I live now. Many of my new friends have kids my age who have moved away for work, so it appears I've landed in a place that has lost a significant percentage of its younger adult population. Also, I know that a lot of my contemporaries must be busy with their own children, so that limits the numbers even further. But I can't be the only unencumbered 30-something person in the entire city, can I?

I've checked out some of the usual web resources, but I haven't found much. Meetup is not widely used around here, and the few local groups (for moms of toddlers, libertarians, D&D, polyamory) are definitely not for me. I also tried the online dating thing (match, okcupid) over the course of the year, but it hasn't been successful except as a source for retrospectively amusing stories. There was the guy who casually told me he was married -- the third time we went out; the divorcé desperate for someone to take care of his house and his kids; the truly creepy one who made no eye contact when we met for coffee but couldn't wait to show me his nude self-portrait...and so on. Yeah, I'm done with that.

So I'm trying to come up with other, preferably non-internet-based ways to add some 30-somethings to my social mix. What might interesting, non-creepy, not-quite-middle-aged people be doing in their spare time here in flyover country? Where should I look?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Book club? You might check at the local library to see if they offer one, and if not, start one yourself. I'm sure they would let you put up a flyer at the library.
posted by something something at 11:36 AM on November 3, 2009

In Toronto I've met totally random people by going to Yelp meet ups, Flickr meet ups, and MetaFilter meet ups. Those groups would need to be reasonably active where you are though.

My friend made friends her age joining the rotary club — or some version of the club geared to people under 30.

You could become a local at a good bar?
posted by chunking express at 11:36 AM on November 3, 2009

Is there a Young (Whatever political party you are) group near you?
Do museums or charities have singles dinners and events?

If you emailed a mod with your location, we could probably help you out better with more specifics.
posted by rmless at 11:51 AM on November 3, 2009

Is there a college or university in your town? I am taking a pottery class through the university-sponsored arts and crafts center. Between my class and the other painting/knitting/sewing/woodworking/etc classes that are going on concurrently, it seems like a decent mix of ages (skewed towards the college set, obviously) and a good mix of guys & gals.

Other thoughts that come to mind - other community sponsored arts events (although probably skews older), and the natural foods co-op in my town has quite a nice following/community and sponsors several events for members throughout the year if cooking/organic food is something you find interesting.
posted by sararah at 11:54 AM on November 3, 2009

There are probably others like you in your town. Someone needs to seek them out, to bind them together, to lead them. Someone like you!

OK, that sounded way more dramatic than I intended, but here's an idea: Come up with an idea for an under-35 singles club, make some very cool flyers, put them up, and see what happens.
posted by amtho at 12:06 PM on November 3, 2009

Have you tried going to a bar?
posted by Oktober at 12:07 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Propose a metafilter meetup in your city.
posted by dersins at 12:16 PM on November 3, 2009

Jaycees? Junior League?
posted by ocherdraco at 12:32 PM on November 3, 2009

I really admire you!

I grew up in a "magnet city" and have lived all over the country and all over the world. Sometimes, I found myself places where dating was very difficult for the exact reasons you detail. In my experience, some folks have wings on their feet and a hunger for new places/adventure. As you've implied, the folks you are meeting now in your peer group are not like you. The peer group from your current locale who are like you, well, they've chosen to do what you've done and branch out into the world. This is OK.

All the advice above is excellent. Give it a try. You never know what might happen;)

And if within a year or two you find this is not the route you want to follow into the future ... Move Again!

FWIW - I ended up moving. I cultivated a very interesting opportunity for myself in a non-magnet city. If I had stayed, I would have been at the top of my field, and utterly miserable emotionally and intellectually. I opted to roll the dice. I opted to be a small fish in a large pond somewhere else.

The result? I met another world traveler who became my husband. In the interim, I had learned so much about people and their foibles, I essentially had stopped dating altogether.

Married guys were easy to spot, as were scammers of all varieties. Fetish/pervy folks with a heart of gold? Not for me! The odd unmarried, good looking, and well-educated fellow in his 30's or 40's - I could instantly deduce he would never totally commit, or was likely to be unfaithful if he did commit. My life experience was hard won, and served me well just as I thought all opportunity for partnership happiness had passed me by.

Happy ending: HERE!

My final word is... Make your own happy ending. You'll know if/when you've exhausted the local possibilities and it becomes time to jump!

Good luck:)
posted by jbenben at 1:05 PM on November 3, 2009 [4 favorites]

Seconding sararah's suggestion for food or farming-related groups. Also, have you looked around for adult sports leagues? Teams can be a great social network. Co-ed sports are almost always looking for girls, and some of them could care less if you can hit a ball or throw a frisbee. Plus, there's almost always a nice (for you) male/female ratio...
posted by ropeladder at 1:13 PM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I relate to this problem. Live in any midwestern university town, and you end up surrounded by older hippies and twenty-somethings who leave town. Some ideas I and friends have at tried that at least resulted in meeting some folks in their 30s:

- The SCA, if you're interested in such things and there's a local group, probably has folks in your age group, and there's some crossover with activities you enjoy (many SCA groups have singing/dancing groups). This might skew toward your "okcupid stories" type more than not, though, as "unique" personalities are pretty prevalent in the mid-old SCA member ranks.

- One local outdoorsy friend got into the local triathlon group, and met cool folks of the proper age who are motivated to go places and run/bike/hike/swim (if I could run a lick, I'd probably try this one myself).

- Volunteering for organizations that require younger and more fit helpers would probably expose you to people your age. Think things like Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross, stuff along those lines.
posted by Pufferish at 1:20 PM on November 3, 2009

You say that professionally your life couldn't be any better. That's quite a treasure in life and it makes me happy to hear a person who has found such satisfaction.

You also seem very outgoing and very committed to getting the best out of your life. That's an admirable trait, perhaps THE most admirable trait that a person can have. And since you sound both thoughtful and creative in your continuing efforts to socialize with like-minded peers, I'm going suggest that you will have to grapple with a question that might be beyond what you are willing to consider at the moment (after all, you never say how long you have been in this predicament and it literally could be a matter of time until things look up...)

So, presuming that you've been in your new job for a couple of years now, you may want to periodically, soberly weigh the pros of having that job that you love against the cons of facing a perennially frustrating social/love life.

Part of me wants to reassure you that good people are more common than good jobs...but when it comes to finding those few, "special" friends, I'm not so sure...especially in the context of a smaller, mid-American city that might actually (ieculturally) push those "special" types away.

Anyway, I feel for you and wish you only the best.
posted by DavidandConquer at 4:44 PM on November 3, 2009

Food, bars, wine tasting events, live music shows. Anything that involves being out after 9 PM will probably weed out most of the over-50 set.
posted by Miko at 8:54 PM on November 3, 2009

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