Specific Ideas for Meeting Like-Minded People in Los Angeles?
March 11, 2011 6:10 PM   Subscribe

I am feeling a little lonely, and want to get involved in some local activities, but I don't know where to start. I'm looking for specific suggestions and recommendations.

I am a young-ish professional woman living in the L.A. area. My best qualities are probably my intelligence and my creativity. I do tend to be reserved, and it takes time for people to know me (and for me to warm to people), but I am a good friend to the people I know well.

While I'm not new to the city, and do have some good friends here, I have been finding myself feeling isolated.

I have been taking steps to feel better about myself, nurture my own talents, reach out to my friends, and become more personable and attractive. Still, I do face a stumbling block in the 'meeting people' department. I have taken part in a few classes and activities, and they have been rewarding, but I would like to try some new things and find myself at a loss.

I'd like to get involved in clubs, classes, activities, or other pursuits that would introduce me to potential friends who are my age (late 20's-early 30's) and have similar temperaments. I'd be especially interested in ones which had a creative aspect to them and allowed me to show off my talents.

In particular, I want to focus on activities that are more involved, in which you see people over a period of time, since it does take me a while to get to know people. While I enjoy special events and screenings, and will continue to go to them, I don't tend to meet new people there. Of course, if you do know of special events which do encourage socialization (or which are especially fun), you're welcome to mention them.

I have performed Internet searches and have tried asking around, but haven't gotten many specific ideas. I would like to hear about more particular ways of getting involved and having fun; in particular, I would like to get word-of-mouth suggestions from people who can vouch for a given activity/club/etc. The things I'm gravitating towards would require something of a time commitment, and I'd hate to commit to an activity that I don't find fun, or that doesn't have the right vibe.

Thanks for your help!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Softball team
posted by tiburon at 6:29 PM on March 11, 2011

posted by droolshark at 6:31 PM on March 11, 2011 [4 favorites]

You might really like 826LA. They have training centers in Venice and Echo Park. You can tutor kids, which is their main focur, but they do so many cool and interesting programs there's something for literally just about anyone- I personally volunteered for a screenwriting workshop where we helped the kids write scripts, which were later produced with help from the Echo Park Film Center.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:31 PM on March 11, 2011

"focur" = focus
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:32 PM on March 11, 2011

I just got back from an 826LA volunteer orientation, and can't recommend it enough. Lovely people, creative environment, good cause. There are regular volunteers that come at the same time each week, so it'll be easy to strike up a rapport with others. Apparently they also have some after hours social events for volunteers too.

Yay! 826!
posted by Conductor71 at 6:55 PM on March 11, 2011

socially awkward was the term that came to mind as you described yourself. I think the answer here lies in looking for groups as opposed to events you need time to make the connections.

It would have been helpful had you indicated what your interests are, there are clubs, groups, etc for almost any interest. I suspect that's where your answer lies.

For example, interested in the outdoors? ...the local bird watchers group, hiking group, kayaking group, fishing club, etc, translate that to any interest. The key, however, is going to be sticking with it, it may take time to develop relationships, friendships, connections...

Perhaps ask a mod to include what your interests are, you may get some more useful feedback.
posted by tomswift at 7:13 PM on March 11, 2011

nthing meetup.com! You can start your own based on exactly what you want to do, and I guarantee you people will show up.
posted by zeek321 at 7:41 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sign up for pottery classes at a community arts center. Learn to throw on the wheel, or take hand-building classes. Many of the same people will be back session after session, and working alongside people in the art studio is a great way to make friends. Or take jewelry, metalworking, mosaic, printmaking, or painting classes -- whatever sounds fun.
posted by MelissaSimon at 7:43 PM on March 11, 2011

Jaycees! This page I linked is the Burbank chapter, but there's a list of other chapters in California if you scroll down - looks like there are several chapters around LA.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:34 PM on March 11, 2011

Why is this asked anonymously? I wanna hang out with you. I'm sure other LA mefites do too.

That said, I can vouch for the performance and writing classes at the UCB theatre. They've got quite a strong community going over there.

826 also seems like it could be a pretty good option, but I have no personal experience with them.
posted by dogwalker at 9:07 PM on March 11, 2011

Mod note: From the OP:
Thank you for the suggestions. I'm especially curious about 826LA.

What I would appreciate most is recommendations for specific studios, schools, clubs, meetup groups, and such. I have already tried doing more general Internet searches for various types of clubs, but am overwhelmed, and would like to know which particular places have a good reputation and have good opportunities.

My interests are mostly creative. I enjoy drawing, theater, film, and similar pursuits. I was in a choral group back in college, but I don't play any instruments. I would like to get involved in something that allows my creative side to shine.

That said, I am open to other activities if they are fun and inclusive. I wouldn't naturally gravitate towards an outdoor activity, for example, but it might be fun to get me out of my comfort zone a little.

Just as an aside: I would say I am more "reserved" than "socially awkward," and I'm definitely a lot more confident than I once was. I'm fine making small talk, but it takes me a while to be more vulnerable or discuss more personal matters.

Thanks again!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:51 PM on March 11, 2011

The bike collective community is a pretty strong community. Bike advocacy is a huge deal in L.A. right now - so much that I know about it and I've never spent time there.

You can ask any of the following groups for resources. They'll know about community-related events including all sorts of things, like rides, bike films, etc. They would probably love to have you as a volunteer. I know the Bike Collective here in Davis is always accepting volunteers - no matter their experience level. There's always something that needs to be done. I don't know how organized or disorganized the collectives in L.A. are, but at the bike collectives I have been to, the best approach is to show up regularly and try to make yourself useful, because there aren't often folks with time to offer much direction, and it takes a while before they start to recognize you. But that's how finding friends works.

Does working on bikes count as a creative activity? Definitely. My friends build bikes. They weld bikes together out of old bikes, they take other old bikes and make them beautiful and functional again, they make crazy bikes, bikes for all occasions, colorful bikes, classy bikes, etc.

* Bicycle Kitchen
* Bike Oven
* Bikerowave
* Valley Bikery
posted by aniola at 10:00 PM on March 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

It only takes a few months to get the hang of the lingo and ideas behind bike mechanic small talk. T he folks at my bike collective don't require much small talk beyond bicycles, at least 'til you get to know them well.
posted by aniola at 10:03 PM on March 11, 2011

An improv group came to my work last year for our annual company-wide team building sessions and I got really excited about taking a class with them. I'm kind of an introvert but also intelligent and creative - for me it was easy to ham it up in front of relative strangers and I think it would be a great way to meet people. I'm sure there are many options for improv classes and groups in the LA area, they might be interesting to you.
posted by bendy at 1:54 AM on March 12, 2011

Join a chorus!! So fun :)
posted by By The Grace of God at 5:36 AM on March 12, 2011

Mod note: From the OP:
I actually took a bunch of UCB classes a while back, and had a lot of fun. I still keep in touch with some of the people there.

I asked the question anonymously "out of an abundance of caution," because my handle is traceable to me, and I felt weird about talking about loneliness if random acquaintances could see it. If you want to get in touch, I set up a throwaway at los.angeles.adventures@gmail.com

Thanks, everyone!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:23 AM on March 12, 2011

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