Lonely and depressed
June 22, 2011 5:05 PM   Subscribe

Recently single, depressed, and lonely. Need things to fill my nights and weekends where I can meet people and potentially find a community.

I'm recently single and now need advice on how to meet people, fill my free time, and find something I'm actually excited about.

I am a lonely individual in the big city, who wants to do something with her life but always finds excuses to curl up in bed. Yes, I do struggle with depression and am on medications and seeing a therapist. I don't have many friends and am shy so I have trouble meeting people. Due to my depression, I feel exhausted and indifferent about everything. I work 9-6 and find myself with nothing to do on weeknights and weekends. The few things I enjoy and do intermittently are quite isolating--taking walks, shopping for groceries, cooking, making crafts, reading, yoga, and thinking about life and existence (I know that sounds silly, but it goes to show how removed I sometimes am). I did some volunteer events but people aren't regular at it and it's difficult for me to build relationships that way. I also lose motivation because there's nothing that commits me to it either. I also have difficulty making small talk. I feel I come out of my shell most when there's a common, meaningful project or goal that requires creativity and is challenging and involves a group of energetic and dedicated people. Ideally, I would like to find a community and a place where I belong, but that could be asking for too much (I'm not religious).

Additionally, any insight into other ways to meet people would be great. I've tried online dating and had successes in the past, but right now I feel so dull and dread the first time meeting and small talk about our lives. The big project might take time to find, but what's something I can do NOW to get myself out of this rut? My upcoming weeknights and weekend looks like I will be spending alone (especially since the few friends I have are out of town), and I am currently feeling especially sad about my breakup. I've already spent too much time taking walks by myself, cooking for myself, and exercising by myself. Also, I feel like many of my activities are dominated by women (making crafts, especially), and I would like to potentially start dating. Should I pursue something new and marginally interesting to me for the sake of it being more co-ed?

My only limitations are money and transportation. I don't have lots of extra cash, and don't have a car. My past excuse for not going out on weeknights is that I get scared walking around and taking the bus by myself (I am female, petite, and don't look particularly strong nor confident). Is that even a valid excuse?

Right now I'm losing hope of ever feeling better or having people in my life. I watch energetic people DOING things, and other 20-somethings having drinks with friends, and I just feel so alone and distant from the world.

Thanks for reading my meandering post. Any advice would be great.
posted by lacedcoffee to Human Relations (40 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Try looking for a local group at Meetup.
posted by Homo economicus at 5:14 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can you tell us a bit more about your interests? What type/s of creativity?

You say you're sick of cooking and exercising alone - have you checked meetup.com? I know that runkeeper just started local meetup groups to run together, so that might be fun - or something similar if running isn't your thing. If there isn't something that sounds fun, why don't you start one?
posted by cestmoi15 at 5:15 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've had a couple friends successfully make friends and explore new venues via OkCupid. Also, check IRL to see if any metafilter meetups are happening in the area (if not, put one together! Mefites are nice folks).

Are there any team sports that you might be interested in?
posted by millions of peaches at 5:16 PM on June 22, 2011

If you're into crafting, can you check and see if there are stitch n' bitches, quilting circles or other crafting guilds near you?
posted by jacquilynne at 5:22 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I guess I should have mentioned that I've read other posts on meeting people, and have looked at meetup.com. Is that a place where people go to regularly or will I meet someone and never see them again? And yes, I've tried OKC and I just feel like my life is so empty that I can't be a fun person to be around. Not very athletic either. My life before the relationship was being depressed and alone and going to school, and my life during the relationship was being depressed and alone or hanging out with my partner.

You can tell me if I'm just whining and my situation isn't at all unique and I'm just making excuses. I sometimes feel that way, too.
posted by lacedcoffee at 5:25 PM on June 22, 2011

Do you knit or crochet? Knitting groups can be a kind of low-stress way to meet new people. The way to find one would be to join Ravelry. Go to "groups," and then click on "browse groups by location." There should be something in your area.
posted by craichead at 5:25 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

thinking about life and existence (I know that sounds silly, but it goes to show how removed I sometimes am)

Thinking about life and existence isn't silly, nor does it necessarily make you "removed" -- it just means you enjoy considering rather fundamental philosophical questions. So on that note, what about taking a class (philosophy, history, literature, etc.) that might allow you to explore and discuss those questions with others?
posted by scody at 5:29 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hmm - I can't recommend daily hot yoga enough, especially early morning classes. You'll feel better, look better and probably meet some interesting kind folks. You might also consider getting involved in some way, shape or form with the startup community ( http://mashable.com/2011/05/13/build-startup-community/ ) there is a dearth of women in community. Starting something can be super empowering and a great way to meet interesting energetic people.
posted by specialk420 at 5:32 PM on June 22, 2011

It really, really depends on the meetup, when it comes to meetup.com.

Some meetup groups have small bands of loyal followers, some meetup groups have large numbers of one-off attendees. Some are a mix.

Fortunately, once you've joined a group, if not before (depends on group privacy settings), you can go back through all of their previous meetups and see who attended. So take a look at the groups you're interested in and click back through previous meetups to see if the same faces pop up over and over again or if it's a new group every time.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:37 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

When you say "not very athletic," do you mean not interested in exercise, or just not confident in your athletic abilities? If it's the latter, consider trying out a running club (or some other athletic but not team sport)... many are very welcoming of total beginners. They would offer social interaction with men and women, plus give you a shot of endorphins.

The sense of community can be great... simply having people notice when you're not there is wonderful.
posted by letitrain at 5:39 PM on June 22, 2011

>Is that a place where people go to regularly or will I meet someone and never see them again? And yes, I've tried OKC and I just feel like my life is so empty that I can't be a fun person to be around.

>Right now I'm losing hope of ever feeling better or having people in my life. I watch energetic people DOING things, and other 20-somethings having drinks with friends, and I just feel so alone and distant from the world.

Meetup.com is the standard suggestion for good reason.

That said-- since you asked for "any advice"-- you might want to ask your therapist to work a little harder on helping to change your specific belief patterns. If your post is indicative of what's running through your head, it would be difficult to enjoy things that are in and of themselves enjoyable, or at least not-saddening and not-boring.
posted by darth_tedious at 5:44 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Forget cramming more "interests" and activities into your head, or taking up kickboxing.

Pick one, or two, places that you feel comfortable relaxing in - a bar or coffee shop. Pick a day of the week and make them a regular haunt for doing what you already enjoy at home, whether that's reading the paper, browsing the net on your laptop, drinking a coffee or staring into space and thinking. You will feel a benefit immediately from the routine of being somewhere other than home at those times during the week. Additionally, you will meet people. If you visit with regularity after a couple of weeks you wil have met others - you will recognise the staff and regulars, you will be aware of any live music, quiz or other activity nights that are on, and you will have the building blocks of a life outwith the solitary activities you currently indulge in. The pace is completely within your control, you're not throwing yourself into a group of strangers.

Shop around until you find somewhere you feel good, and stick with them - show your face regularly and when you feel ready reach out. Patience and routine is key, get out and about and enjoy your solitary pursuits in public first, and allow people in at your own pace.
posted by fire&wings at 5:47 PM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]

First of all, depression is hard, but asking for help is never whining. You are doing the right thing. You may not be unique in the type of things you are dealing with, but that doesn't mean that it's not difficult for you, or that your situation is not important.

A more definite location might be helpful in making specific suggestions.

So you need inexpensive activites which don't require a car. I'm not sure what city you are in, but have you considered Live Action Roleplaying? Geeky fun with a bunch of people, a genuine community, generally inexpensive, available in most major cities. I know it's helped plenty of people, myself included, meet people. And the game is pretty easy to pick up.

I can point you to games I know about, at least in California.

Also, consider a MeFi Meetup. You might also consider some sort of organization based around your job or education. Finally, most major cities have groups dedicated to political or social activites you can join.
posted by gryftir at 5:49 PM on June 22, 2011

Best answer: You could try a volunteer program that requires training. Then you would be with the same group of people through the training part and get to know the staff better as well.

Also there might be a meditation group in your area. Some of them are quite active with classes and more.
posted by dawkins_7 at 5:51 PM on June 22, 2011

Groups where you feel comfortable and have something obvious in common are a crutch.

Deliberately put yourself in situations where you have to make small talk. Ask directions when you already know where something is.

Deliberately make yourself slightly uncomfortable.

Make mistakes. Look silly.

Do this day after day, for years. This is how skills are acquired.
posted by trevyn at 5:51 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I asked about team sports because joining a friendly, casual co-ed league is a great way to:
-Meet people (you always have something to talk about: the game, other players, your performance, their performance, current rankings, playoff predictions, new gear etc, etc)
-Meet young, single men (who will think you are awesome because you are into their sport and confident enough in yourself to give it a try)
-Become part of a larger, regular community (your team and your league)
-Build confidence through setting and achieving small goals (learning the rules and finer points of the game, learning each of the small skillsets that make you a better player, getting better at keeping your head and communicating with teammates in high-stress situations)

Basically, if you're even a little interested in playing a sport--a sports league hits nearly all of your criteria. My hockey league has taught me a lot. I started out as someone who hated team sports and wasn't confident at all in my abilities; now I volunteer to do web development for my league and am considering captaining a team. It isn't everything, of course; it doesn't give Meaning to my life--but through it, I've made friends, challenged myself and found a community that supports me.
posted by millions of peaches at 5:52 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

if you are in Seattle message me, I just moved here; I'll be your friend :)
posted by ibakecake at 6:00 PM on June 22, 2011

Response by poster: if it helps, I'm in SF.
posted by lacedcoffee at 6:06 PM on June 22, 2011

I sympathize with what you said in your follow-up post about feeling like you're so unhappy that you're just not going to be any fun to be around. I feel like that rather often myself. One thing that people tell me when I mention that is just to go out and try to meet people anyway. I hate it when people give me that advice, but sometimes it's true that if you get out there and try to meet people, you'll start feeling less crappy and depressed.

Another thing about meeting people in the big city that I've observed - a lot of the time if you want to see someone outside of a meetup group or whatever you really have to take the initiative to get their number and then follow up. Making new friends can be hard and a lot of the time you have to be the aggressor (but in a good way).
posted by Rinoia at 6:07 PM on June 22, 2011

It sounds like you're already doing a lot of the right things, taking care of yourself, working out, pursuing your interests. The loneliness is what really kills. I know. Meetup can be hit and miss. After an awful breakup years ago, I tried it to meet new people but never clicked. I gave up on it. A few months before my recent relationship ended, I gave it another go and found a great group of people. I now spend about half my evenings out doing something (outside of meetup events) with them. They are absolute lifesavers.

Now I'm also going to recommend a slightly more unconventional route of craigslist. Try either the strictly platonic or m4w sections or both. Browse through the ads or make one yourself. You say you feel exhausted and indifferent. First contact through craigslist goes by email so you can weed out the ones that aren't interesting and take your time to find common ground with the ones that are. Sometimes you don't even have to meet. I can't say this is the best avenue for meeting people. In my experience, I've never made any lasting connections from craigslist. However it's easy to make contact with people and find company quickly.

I'm currently going through post-breakup sadness myself. Memail me if you want to commiserate and swap coping techniques.
posted by vilandra at 6:09 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have some character traits similar to yours, moved to a city by myself and had trouble finding a core group of friends. Those one-off volunteer events are brutal: I would go in with high hopes of meeting people, and leave at the end of the day knowing I'd never see those people again, which just reinforces that feeling of isolation.

The best thing I've done since moving to my city is: I figured out exactly what type of volunteering I wanted to do, shopped around for the right organization to do it in, and now dedicate a bunch of my time to that specific place (I'm a docent at a local museum). I can't tell you the difference it's made in my life here. It's introduced me to a great group of people who I see on a regular basis, who have similar interests in local history. I meet new people every single week who come visit the museum. It's given me confidence: even though I'm still totally nervous every week before my tours, I feel awesome when I know I've given a good tour. It yanks me out of bed on Saturday morning. I've started volunteering my professional skills (marketing) toward the museum, too. Having one cause to devote a bunch of time and energy to is life-giving in itself.

A couple other notes: a friend is totally addicted to heat yoga and has a bunch of friends from his studio. I haven't tried it, but specialk420 may have a good suggestion there. Also, you mention that you have some friends in the city: are they aware of how you're feeling? It's not whiny or needy to occasionally say (in a neutral way), "hey, I'm in a bit of a rut and really want to get out and meet some more people - do you know of anything fun going on this weekend?"
posted by katopotato at 6:35 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Start running. I am *so* not athletic, hate team/competitive sports and don't have a runner's body. I started running when I was 38 and had never done any sports before (aside from a bit of yoga). I am S-L-O-W and joined a group with people slower than me. It was great. Gave me all sorts of motivation that I didn't have before. SF has a great climate for running too! You could run trails! Once you get started, you'll find all sorts of community in the running world.
posted by kirst27 at 6:37 PM on June 22, 2011

Best answer: I'll try to say something a little different. Life isn't fair, sometimes it's shit and you just have to deal with it. The type of advice in these kinds of questions always sounds good in the abstract, but once you get down to the details it can get really hard. So, learn to survive being alone and lonely, because even if you try all the stuff in this thread it could still be years until you can cobble together a group of friends.
posted by cupcake1337 at 6:52 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

I'll n-th Meetup. When I've gone to these things, there have always been recurring people. Also, joining on the website is an easy first step. It doesn't matter if it takes months for you to actually go to an event. But you'll never go if you don't sign up.

Do you speak a language other than English? You could find a conversation group. (Yes, it's small talk. I find small talk in other languages easier, for whatever reason, as long as the other person keeps talking, which people at such things tend to do.)

Try signing up for a class of some kind. People will talk to you hanging around waiting for things to start. Martial arts? Someone's already suggested yoga.

Find some sort of weekly volunteering thing? It's not the exact same people week after week if you're doing something like stuffing envelopes, but there are regulars.

I don't think any of us can comment about whether your worries about taking the bus and walking alone are excuses--we're not you. Loads of people ride Muni. Things are bound to happen to some of them, but the odds are in your favour. Plus, it's summer--you've got a couple of hours after work to do stuff before you'd be walking home from the bus in the dark. Come fall, if you find yourself with places to be in the evening, any safety concerns will be something to solve, rather than something stopping you from going out.
posted by hoyland at 7:08 PM on June 22, 2011

Best answer: How about Toastmasters? I've found that it has helped me get better at forcing myself out of my shell, plus I get to stand up and talk and be creative. They are also big on community as well.
posted by mogget at 7:42 PM on June 22, 2011


Without knowing your interests/hobbies, we can't really help you.

If it were me, I'd go to the local climbing gym and go climbing. I know there are a couple of really nice ones in san francisco, including one with glass windows looking out onto the bay. It's not just exercise, it's a community as well, plus you can get into pretty good shape doing it.
posted by TheBones at 7:44 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Get a dog, if you can devote the time to it. It's the best conversation starter, you can take it to the dog park and chitchat with all the other dog owners, and you'll never feel lonely. Also, walking a dog (even a little one!) at night will make you feel safer and more familiar with being out at night, so maybe if you do go out at night alone sometime, you won't be as nervous. Take it to obedience classes at first and you'll meet other people that way, too (and it's better for both dog and owner to train immediately). Maybe not friends, exactly, but you'll get back in the habit of socializing.

Or you could take a language class. The beauty of learning a foreign language is that you HAVE TO TALK TO PEOPLE.

Good luck. Big cities can be terribly lonely, I know. You'll find your way.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:44 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Some of this might have been mentioned above, but I wanted to chime in.

I also have difficulty making small talk. I feel I come out of my shell most when there's a common, meaningful project or goal that requires creativity and is challenging and involves a group of energetic and dedicated people.

I'm exactly the same way, and I won't lie - breaking through the loneliness can be hard at times. I guess all the advice I can give is that sometimes you just have to push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit. If it helps, take it a little bit at a time. Start with something low-pressure, like telling yourself you'll say "hi" to at least three people on the street (or bus, or wherever) today, or perhaps will initiate small talk with at least one co-worker - whatever suits you.

Should I pursue something new and marginally interesting to me for the sake of it being more co-ed?

Pursue it because it's something you find interesting - you might be surprised at how many hobbies are popular with both genders. I got into outdoorsy Meetup groups (skiing, hiking, climbing etc) purely because I wanted to see nature but figuring it would be all guys - turns out most of the groups actually have a pretty healthy male/female ratio. Maybe you could consider a similar outdoorsy meetup group? Things like hikes give you plenty of opportunities to socialize, but don't leave you feeling pressured to chit-chat with everyone else.
posted by photo guy at 8:11 PM on June 22, 2011

Best answer: The type of advice in these kinds of questions always sounds good in the abstract, but once you get down to the details it can get really hard. So, learn to survive being alone and lonely, because even if you try all the stuff in this thread it could still be years until you can cobble together a group of friends.

I'm glad that someone mentioned this before I did. Part of the struggle around being depressed, introverted, exhausted, and not having an otherwise full life is that it's difficult to appear inviting. By all means start doing things that feel less isolating, but as long as that cloud over your head is visible to others, you may find it difficult to attract interesting, energetic people. So, I'll warn you, putting yourself out there might not work as well as you'd hope at first.

But, that's only at first. Find a way to get to a place where you feel better about yourself, alone. That's something that will take doing more of what you're already doing (therapy, medication, indulging your interests even when solitary), as well as making an effort to be around more people. When you start feeling better it'll be easier to reach out to people* and they'll react more favourably to you as well. But in the meanwhile, just keep pushing yourself to break out of your shell, and it'll become easier and more rewarding in time.

*Although — you probably know this but it's worth reiterating — if an introvert is what you naturally are, you're not going to magically stop being one once your depression goes into remission. One of your responses upthread suggests that you've spent your entire adult life depressed, so you may no longer remember (or know) what it's like to be comfortably, proactively social. Even if that's the case, it's something you can learn to do once you feel better about your place in the world.
posted by thisjax at 8:18 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Part of the struggle around being depressed, introverted, exhausted, and not having an otherwise full life is that it's difficult to appear inviting.

Yeah, that hit pretty close to home. In the end, I think this is why I hate small talk and why I don't want to do online dating. Inevitably, people will ask about my job, my interests, my free time, and I will have nothing enthusiastic to say. It's the perpetual cycle of avoiding talking to people for fear I have nothing to say because my life is so empty, and my life is so empty because I don't have people to share it with (nor motivation). Thanks for the advice and compassion everyone.
posted by lacedcoffee at 8:31 PM on June 22, 2011

Best answer: Check out Adult Ed, and take a couple of cooking or exercise classes; it helps organize your time, and you meet people in a low-expectations way. Become a regular at a coffee shop or cafe. Get the local paper, and any free papers, and check out the listings for participatory events, like a softball team that needs a player or a choral singing group accepting new members. Is there a community radio station you could get involved in? Attend some meetups, introduce yourself and say you're new in the area.

And give yourself a lot of credit, and cut yourself a lot of slack. You're doing pretty well, trying to resolve your problems, and it's not easy.
posted by theora55 at 8:40 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A big hug to you, lacedcoffee. I remember years ago, being in a crappy funk, and wondering how long I could go without talking to someone, because really, I didn't want to talk at all. I was in such a funk that talking just seemed like a big pain in the ass.

But I went to a meetup group - there's a neat spanish language meetup in SF, and the commonwealth club has language groups. And I decided, I wasn't so much going to talk about myself, but I would ask other people about their lives, and just see how much I had in common with people. So, if in broken Spanish, they said they liked ice cream, I replied I did too, and asked about their favorite flavor, and if they said cookies and cream (because what other flavor matters?), I said I did as well, and then asked them why they liked that flavor, to see if that was a same or different reason.

Part of this was protectionist - I didn't want to talk about myself. But the other part was about reminding myself that I was connected to the world - that there were other people just like me out there, who liked what I liked, perhaps for similar reasons. In short, it really helped to just inquire about others, and then talk about myself in relation to them, because it got me out of myself.

Perhaps you can go to a meet up, with that spirit in mind?
posted by anitanita at 8:45 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I used to be really introverted, but I also realized I was addicted to live music. I started going to gigs and nightclubs playing the stuff I liked, and that lead to me meeting people. If you're in SF I assume there's a scene for whatever your flavor of music is. You can go alone, and after going to a few shows you'll start to meet people.

Are you into 'geeky' activities? My first social group in Sydney was my university's roleplaying club. There should also be things like cult movie nights or Rocky Horror casts.

When the depression takes me I make a rule to go out at least one night a week, even if it's just to see a singer-songwriter at a club.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:47 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by JesseBikman at 10:16 PM on June 22, 2011

All of the suggestions in this thread are great, I'll try a few of them since I'm in a similar spot.

I just want to add that you don't sound boring at all. Your question was well written and you sound like you'd be an interesting person to talk with. I wish you were in my area! Honestly, I think that a little bit of introspection and shyness make people more compelling. And come on, an interest in pondering philosophy while you're by yourself is a pretty sweet streak of thoughtfulness.

I'd suggest that sometimes those funks and periods of loneliness can give you a little bit of empathy for others and some patience in the future.

Anyway, good luck and don't be so hard on your introverted self, you sound great.
posted by ajarbaday at 2:49 AM on June 23, 2011

Someone already mentioned team sports. Nothing like roller derby for getting you into a community and taking over your life. Not very co-ed, but generally full of awesome women and quite frequently life-changing. Even for people like you and me who are super-introverted, socially awkward and hate small talk.

Looks like the Bay Area Derby Girls have a recreational league starting up on weekends.
posted by corvine at 6:10 AM on June 23, 2011

Best answer: You said you like crafting. Check out San Francisco's wing of The Church of Craft -- it's not a church, it's more like a big huge room with different craft supplies where anyone pursuing any kind of craft can just...show up and do it there, rather than sitting at home and crafting in front of the TV.

Other people have suggested knitting groups or quilting groups, but you haven't mentioned whether that's the kind of craft you do -- that's why Church of Craft may work, because it's an "everything" kind of thing. And it is very low-key; I dropped by the New York one once when I needed access to a sewing machine, and it was totally free and someone even showed me how to use the machine. Someone was knitting while I was there, someone else was crocheting, a couple people were doing some papercraft, someone else was sewing, any craft was welcome.

And they weren't all aggressively-friendly, either (that kind of thing creeps me out a little bit), but people also weren't all hunched over their work ignoring each other either -- people asked each other "oh, what are you making?" and chatted a little, but then everyone also sensed when someone wanted to concentrate on what they were doing and left it alone. It sounds like this would be a good fit for you -- any craft is welcome, they have stuff there if you forgot your scissors or whatever, you can swap tips with people, and they won't pressure you to be "on" if you don't feel like it and you just want to take your time opening up to them. And the fact that everyone's crafting means that hey, you've got a topic of conversation right in front of you, so you don't have to worry about trying to think what you're going to talk about.

The Church of Craft clubs offer more focused classes as well, but I'm thinking that just the once a week open-house "Come down and chill with us" things may be more your speed to start.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on June 23, 2011

Contra dance. Its a great workout, makes you smile, and you meet lots of people.
Book clubs or study groups at local libraries. Volunteer. Join a church or religous group. Sierra Club. Just get out there.
posted by PJMoore at 7:36 AM on June 23, 2011

Meetup has absolutely worked for me at times when I had too many terrible hours to fill. Here are the approaches that have worked for me:

1. Join every group that you might even slightly give a shit about. Usually this is as simple as clicking "join;" occasionally the group will require you to fill out a brief questionnaire or submit an official request, etc.

This gets you email updates on the group's upcoming activities, and access to data on the group's past meets. Both give insight into whether you actually want to hang out with the group.

2. You'll also get a weekly digest email listing all the groups meeting in your area this week. Although the bulk of this probably won't interest you, it's worth skimming just to see what's happening in the area. Meetups frequently happen at arts festivals, gallery openings, author readings, etc. - stuff that happens independently of meetup.com. So this digest can be a handy window into local events you might not have heard of otherwise. It may lead you to groups worth joining, or just occasional nights out by yourself without formally joining a group - either way, you're out of the house with the potential of meeting new people.

3. Do what you want (duh!) but when I was using meetup to combat desperate loneliness, my own rule was to ONLY attend events/meetups that I thought I could have a good time at by myself. When I made people-meeting my secondary focus, I was able to relax and not fret so much about whether I was having a good time or being social enough. With that pressure removed, I always had a pretty good time, and frequently did meet a bunch of people.

Good luck - and feel free to drop me a line if you want. I've had some dark times and your post sounds all too familiar. Things can and will get better.
posted by jessicapierce at 7:54 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are TONS of Meetups in the City, and that's a good thing. MANY of the other people in Meetup are in the same situation you're in. They really are.

Try a book club. There will be regulars, the whole idea is to talk to other people, and it's about the book, so you don't have to make a lot of small talk. You may not meet your future spouse that way, but it is something to look forward to. Try a board/card game meetup as well. Again, you'll spend time talking to people around an activity.

See if there is a free yoga meetup near you, or go to yoga studios on free night. You'll probably see the same people over time and be able to strike up conversations.

I think the key thing is to give yourself a social activity or two (or three) every week. Not all of them will result in meeting people, but enjoy the activity and it will give you something to look forward to instead of thinking about always being alone. Eventually, you WILL meet people this way.
posted by cnc at 6:03 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

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