How to meet people in the big city without spending a ton of money?
March 26, 2010 4:18 AM   Subscribe

How to meet people in the big city without spending a ton of money?

A co-worker and I were commiserating the other day on how hard it is to meet people---romantic and otherwise---without spending a ton of money. I am friendly with co-workers, but there are only a dozen or so of us and many of my college friends have moved away. I want to expand my social circle. I want to date more. But it's so hard to meet people!

I have my student loan more than half paid off and I have really been pushing myself to get that taken care of. I am finding that between that, my lower than it should be salary (a raise is forthcoming next year, they tell me, but times are tough and it won't be much) and just the general expenses of Big Expensive City Life, I don't have as much to spend on going out as I might like. I just looked into a course that interested me (martial arts) and it's over $100 a month! It just seems like every fun activity out there costs money.

So...any 'think outside the box' ideas for the single big-city girl to get out of the house, meet people for friendship and/or more than that and just have a life more, without breaking the bank?
posted by JoannaC to Human Relations (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It's been said many times before, but Meetup is a good starting point.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:29 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I often give the same advice, but getting a tandem partner for language learning is free and can help you meet interesting people. Search "tandem learning", the city you live in, and a language that you can or would like to speak, and then find someone who is interested in meeting for coffee once a week. You then take turns speaking in each language.
posted by molecicco at 5:02 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Being in a large or small city can be daunting with or without cash to spend. Depends on what you really want.

Groups and clubs always win and there is also the golden rule - Advertise to others what you want to do for any specific day/activity to as many people around you. Couchsurfing has regular meet-ups and groups for locals and visitors for all different kinds of things. While other public activity forums (each city has at least a couple) give you the ability to meet other like minds in a group setting.

I guess my best advice is to drive forward with your interests and be a mean event planner.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 5:09 AM on March 26, 2010

It may help to know which big city you're referring to, as there may be things that are particular to a specific city....
posted by dfriedman at 5:11 AM on March 26, 2010

Volunteering around your neighborhood has been mentioned before but it is a great way to meet new people. First off it gets you out of the house and active, participating in something worthwhile that you may even come to like. Plus there are bound to be a bunch of people around your age that you can connect with. Before you know it you have expanded your group of friends from one activity. From there you'll have a little more confidence and can branch out. And really just go to Meetup, its the easiest thing in the world!
posted by modoriculous at 5:42 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I will say that as a woman in my mid-20s, I have not found Meetup to be that great for meeting people my own age, at least for the types of activities I'm interested in (outdoors stuff).
I'm in your situation, so I can't really tell you what's worked yet, but I've been signing up for guided hikes and outdoor volunteering events run by my city parks department. This might be something you'd be interested in if you're outdoors-inclined.
posted by ishotjr at 6:57 AM on March 26, 2010

Volunteering is great. I've met real friends (in two different cities) volunteering at Planned Parenthood. Pick a cause you're very interested in/passionate about and you're sure to meet some like-minded ladies. If there is a farmer's market near you, they usually have volunteer opportunities (either organizing the market or helping farmer's sell their goods) which is a great way to get to know your neighbors and chat with strangers.
posted by jrichards at 7:40 AM on March 26, 2010

I also haven't had great luck with meetup. The Green has handled a number of different versions of this question; it's worth looking through the archives. I've had good luck with couchsurfing, and some moderate luck with okcupid. Also, mine friends-of-friends. Have a cocktail party with board games or something, and ask the few friends/co-workers you have in town to all bring 2 friends (if you have the space). It's much more likely you'll connect with a friend of a friend that it is you'll connect with some random person off the street or in a language class. Also, talk to your friends in other cities, and see if they have any friends in your city. See if you can meet 'em for a drink sometime. The same rationale applies.

Finally, let your existing friends know that you want to meet new people. If you told me that, the next time someone I knew had extra tickets to some play or game and didn't know who to share them with, you would be the first person I'd call.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:54 AM on March 26, 2010

This exact question has been asked on Metafilter numerous times, so if you search the archives you will likely find some more very helpful ideas.
posted by salvia at 8:58 AM on March 26, 2010

If you're willing to hang out at home, you can spend time with people much more cheaply. Invite them over to your place, ply them with booze and perhaps food.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:14 AM on March 26, 2010

Oh yeah and have house parties and let people bring friends. Chaos might ensue, but it's a great way to make friends.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:15 AM on March 26, 2010

- Free Lectures

- Sunday Afternoon Pot Luck Parties - bring friends, bring food.
posted by MesoFilter at 2:13 PM on March 26, 2010

I second that it is important to know which city you're referring to, as I've lived in a number, and each has particular venues and routines best suited for meeting people on little $.

Try ... In addition to the couchswapping and meeting for drinks aspect of the site, some major US cities have large communities of members who regularly have events and meetings, many low cost.

Also, I've found that most new acquaintances (considering one has already made acquaintances) are delighted to do something that costs nothing, such as walking around the park, or drinking tea on a rooftop. Many people in major cities fall back on drinking or dining as default activities, and find these kinds of ideas refreshing.
posted by cotesdurhone at 9:52 PM on April 7, 2010

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