Please get me out of my dorm.
February 23, 2010 3:47 PM   Subscribe

How to make new friends and explore my interests (in ATL/the Southeas) given some limitations?

I'm looking for basically any helpful information on finding internships, volunteering opportunities, free studio spaces or writing workshops, ANYTHING to do in Atlanta that may help me make new friends and get over my depression.

For some background on myself, I'm a 19 year old queer girl, and I'm a sophomore at a small liberal arts college in metro Atlanta... I am just now sort of getting past a major bout of depression that "peaked" (as it were) with a half-assed suicide attempt in December. I no longer want to die, and I'm doing well in therapy, but as it happens, all of my friends are kind of ditching me and excluding me from all their plans, so I've been very lonely. I've given up on talking to them about it or asking why - they always deny it's happening but it is, and I can't change their actions, which I'm making peace with. But still, I'm lonely, and it sucks.

Anyway, I'm finding some kind of outlet in writing poetry (my concentration in school), but I really would like to make new friends. My two major hurdles to overcome with this are: if I want to go somewhere during the school year, it has to be near a Marta stop, as I won't have my car until the summer, and (the fun one) I have crippling anxiety.

I have looked in WWOOFing (volunteering on an organic farm) and am considering it for the summer, but I really want to find resources or websites that give information about internships, art studios, clubs, or other volunteering events in Atlanta.

I would really love websites with LOTS OF DETAIL about exactly how *insert event here* actually works. My main source of anxiety when trying something new is that I will do something wrong - it doesn't matter if it is as small as going the wrong way to the bathroom, I do much better when I know what to expect. So, of course, if anyone has done any of the things they want to recommend, I would love details of your experience, as well.

I hate vague questions so I hope this isn't too bad - I just need to meet people. Being alone with myself is making me crazy again.
posted by SputnikSweetheart to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, my suggestion: get involved. There are a HUGE number of alt cooperatives, art coops, hackerspaces, etc in ATL. It is great for unusual people like us. You can be quiet, you can be reserved, people will understand if you say, "sorry, I'm shy." SERIOUSLY. There is no "how the program works" because all you need to do is show up and be. You can get involved in accordance with you comfort level.

Okay, so here's a braindump:
Freeside Atlanta (nerdy/artsy hackerspace)
The Collective
Dodecapus (very new, no website)
Makers Atlanta (no website afaik)
Ignition Alley

If you come out to Freeside, you won't even be the only attendee of that "sophomore at a small liberal arts college in metro Atlanta". ;)
posted by TheNewWazoo at 4:13 PM on February 23, 2010

Oh, and the best way to find out about other collective ventures is to ask. Show up and say, "Hey this place is rad!" (even it's a lie) and then, "Are there any other groups like this one?" Then take notes. :)
posted by TheNewWazoo at 4:15 PM on February 23, 2010

I also ran like hell from Atlanta, and am now in Austin TX...

Don't be so afraid to try new things... just make sure to leave yourself a buffer... so if things do turn out not quite like how you expected, you still have enough to re-start and try again....

volunteer 25 hours a week for room & board...
they also have internships as well...

While I do not personally have work experience with this place... I went to school right down the road and had many friends volunteer.

best of luck...
posted by anthroprose at 4:17 PM on February 23, 2010

Seconding TheNewWazoo. Freeside Atlanta is a really cool place.
posted by gregr at 4:31 PM on February 23, 2010

Hey there; I've sent you a MefiMail about a volunteer opportunity in Decatur. Let me know if you're interested.
posted by cirripede at 4:32 PM on February 23, 2010

"(the fun one) I have crippling anxiety."

When I was in college, it helped me to realize EVERYONE ELSE WAS WORRIED ABOUT LOOKING LIKE AN IDIOT TOO. And ABSOLUTELY NOBODY was paying any attention to whether I went the wrong way to the bathroom, showed up 20 minutes early or late, said something boneheaded, had a zit on my nose, etc., because they were worried about doing those things themselves; and if I did something super-spectacularly awkward like falling flat on my face, people were generally sympathetic, not derisive.

Everyone else is busy starring in their own anxiety movie too. To me, it was very freeing to know this. It didn't exactly STOP the anxiety, but it made me able to go and try new things anyway.

I also play the "What the worst that could happen?" game, the answer to which is usually, "I'd look like an idiot." Which makes me say to myself, "Which would be different from usual HOW?" I may look like an idiot, but I'm an idiot having a good time! Most people notice the good time, not so much the idiocy. :)

I am very sympathetic to your need to have detail. If it's lacking, shooting the organizer an e-mail or even calling often gets the info you need, and isn't as scary as showing up unprepared.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:15 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ditto what TheNewWazoo said.

I'd also add that you might find that your anxiety could be helped by getting involved in an improv or performance group. Something like Dad's Garage in Inman Park or The Basement Theatre could help, and the people I know there are terribly nice.

I assume you've seen Creative Loafing.

Lastly, since you made a point of mentioning it, my queer friends seem to like Outwrite Bookstore down by Peidmont Park. Lot's of events.
posted by kjs3 at 2:19 PM on February 24, 2010

« Older Momofuku Milk Bar Cookie Recipe   |   Resources about how the details of image storage? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.