Cabin Fever + Nightowl - Social Anxiety = Frustration
September 27, 2011 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Ways to get out and relieve cabin fever late at night, and maybe even be somewhat social?

This is embarrassing for me to even ask, but I am failing to adapt to my new city, and am looking for ways to get out of the house in an alien environment. I've tried a few meetups, and have gone to a few shows, but I still know pretty much nobody in this city. My natural sleep schedule seems to have me most active late at night, after most coffee shops close. I have some kind of social anxiety around groups (about 6 or less and I am totally fine, more than that and I am not very talkative, and in a full room I am a wallflower). I am probably an introvert. For this reason, I am more of a coffee shop person than a bar person. I mean, a laid back bar is fine if I know a few people already. I have been known to read books at bars or play video games, since I am not one to initiate conversations with strangers.

Aside from bars, I can't think of anything else to do at night. Most of the local music here is the far outside what I like, from what I can tell. I don't have a lot of income, so I can't go see movies and go to restaurants constantly, even though that does get me outside and relives some of my cabin fever. I planned on just jumping in once I got here and meeting a bunch of people, but I severely underestimated how difficult it is to do this in a new city with no social network to build on. Ooops.

I don't necessarily expect to talk to people random people, but I just can't stand to sit at home all the time.

I even looked for a D&D group (even though I only played a few times), but I haven't had much luck yet. Also, living in the suburbs is not helping because I am rarely up for a "spur of the moment" 30+ minute drive. I like plans.

So, ideas on how to get out and enjoy an amazing new city that has thus far been totally overwhelming and isolating (ok, that's my fault...)? Thanks!
posted by polywomp to Human Relations (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Your profile says you're in Atlanta - which suburb? Are you comfortable posting what part of town (NE, NW, Marietta, Gwinnett, Douglasville,etc)?

I have missed the last few meetups; perhaps we need to do another. :) Being in a new city as hard, especially one as sprawly as the ATL.
posted by pointystick at 5:36 PM on September 27, 2011

Response by poster: I'm in Lawrenceville, which is kind of far out. Moving here was definitely kind of a shock, since in my previous city, everything was 10 minutes away. Eventually, I would love to move closer to the city, but for now I'm out in the 'burbs. I'd come to a meetup, for sure.
posted by polywomp at 5:42 PM on September 27, 2011

There are a few local late night bars and coffee shops I know about, and even a few late night bookstores. Is there a really busy strip/street near you? Sometimes you can just go for a walk and see who's around, chat to the buskers and see if anything looks busy or fun.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:44 PM on September 27, 2011

Best answer: You have nothing about which to apologize or feel badly. Loads of people are the exact same as you and loathe the thought of a night of clubbing or doing large "meet ups". The fact is that this may not be about adapting to your city at all. You have preferences for the time you go out and do things and you just haven't quite "got your groove" yet. It's not a big deal - give yourself a bit of a break. Being and introvert is attractive to many people and it sounds as though given the right setting you are quite social - so pat yourself on the back and then give yourself a little kick in the ass to figure out what you want to do next.

Would you consider taking on an interest class that was more intimate such as photography or pottery? Typically even small communities offer this type of time limited recreational class or activity which allows you to pitch up as a single to an activity and not have to socialize right out of the gates. There is the comfort of having someone else to some talking and teaching and you having something to either hide behind (a lens or a lump of clay) or to find a way to chat with someone else. The other fringe benefit is that you end up picking up another skill that you may find helps fill your time and discover your city in a different way.

I also think it is perfectly fine and even commendable to allow yourself to sit in a cafe, enjoy your surroundings and read a book, play a game or do a crossword. If you go to the same place enough times you'll find yourself becoming a local and develop some relationships along the way. The main thing is to get out of your house when you want to but don't feel as though you have to.

Now, I could wax lyrical for a while longer but sadly, my quiet little home time to myself is abruptly coming to an end and I am about to venture out into the big, bad world and put on my nice face where I talk to people I don't know all that well and forge "dance mum" relationships - count yourself as lucky that this is not your social activity.

Good luck.
posted by YukonQuirm at 5:53 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

KARAOKE! This was my solution to the very same problem.
posted by markjamesmurphy at 6:03 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hey thanks Yukon, I just don't want to come of as...whiny. Those are good suggestions. I'll have to start looking for something that piques my interest, and is economical.

As for karaoke...oh my. Do they make a drug for people that are terrified to sing in public. Oh wait...alcohol!
posted by polywomp at 6:09 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I hate Atlanta.

It's the unfriendliest friendly city in America. It's a series of little neighborhoods that all have their backs to one another and a big fake smile and a knife in one hand.

Every road is named Peachtree and they're all one-way going in the opposite direction from your destination.

In Atlanta, the subway isn't connected to the train station. How fucked-up is that?

Here is how fucked-up Atlanta is -- there is a road, and I swear I'm not making this up, a busy road, where the DIRECTION OF TRAFFIC CHANGES DEPENDING ON TIME OF DAY. Seriously. That's completely fucked-up.

Fuck Atlanta.*

That said, I have friends in Atlanta. Well, not really IN Atlanta, because no one lives IN Atlanta, they all live in the little bedroom communities scattered around the city center like the wadded Kleenexes piled around the sickbed of the late Howard Hughes, but friends NEAR Atlanta.

And I've been there many times. Usually to see rock shows. The Tabernacle is a great place to see a band, the Earl has good food and eclectic music, the Clermont has the saddest strippers in the south, blah blah blah...

Look. Go to Waffle House. It's always open. It's brightly lit. The people are friendly. You can sit at the counter and sketch or read or whatever and it won't seem out of place at all. You don't have to spend a bunch of money. You can sit there all night for the price of a cup of coffee. It's not much but it'll get you out of the house. And scour the local weeklies for fun stuff to do. There's always something going on. Usually along a road named Peachtree, for fuck's sake.

And there's a bunch of MetaFilter people there, too, who would probably love to meet you and purchase alcoholic beverages for your delectation. Set up a meet-up!

*My hatred from Atlanta is largely due to being from Birmingham, the city that time forgot, the city that stayed in the 1970s when Atlanta moved on, the city that could have been Atlanta if it hadn't been run by backwards racist fuckwits. So there's some native resentment there. Atlanta's actually quite nice if someone else is driving me around.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:28 PM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Waffle House is a good idea. I haven't been to one yet, but I am sure there's one down the road. I haven't seen enough of the city to be jaded yet. It's big. It's not in Michigan. These are bonuses.
posted by polywomp at 6:46 PM on September 27, 2011

Best answer: Cafe Mozart has a few locations in Gwinnett (yelp has some info) and at least one is open until midnight.

For nights when $25 is affordable you can head to JeJu near Gwinnett Place Mall. JeJu is a Korean spa that is awesome and open very nearly 24/7. If you are comfortable being naked in a women-only space (they give you tee & shorts for the coed "dry" rooms), $25 gets you 24 hours in the spa with access to sauna, steam, hot tub, and all the coed areas. I think it is Gwinnett's best kept secret.

For times you want to come down to the city, we have more late night stuff (Apres Diem! Highlander!) & I am recruiting people to go with me to Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern to see Macbeth in October. MeMail me if you want.

Also in the city: Oakland Cemetery which does twilight tours for a few more weeks and does evening Halloween tours for a few nights each October.

Also inOctober, Atlanta Botanical Garden has late hours til 10pm on Thursdays.

BoP makes a good point about Waffle House. Find one you like and hang out. My personal opinion is some WHs are dreadful and some are great so you may want to try a few.

Hope this helps. I'll try to think of more. Hope to see you at a meetup!
posted by pointystick at 7:08 PM on September 27, 2011

You're definitely not coming across as whiny - just hard on yourself.
posted by YukonQuirm at 7:53 PM on September 27, 2011

This might be a little early, but a lot of towns have local pottery classes in the evenings, sometimes around 6-8pm or later. Really nice social environment because of the small groups and low-key creative atmosphere. You don't have to be that artistically inclined to create some neat stuff and enjoy yourself.
posted by belau at 6:01 AM on September 28, 2011

Response by poster: These are good ideas! It's good to know I have some options. Thank you so much!
posted by polywomp at 9:14 AM on September 28, 2011

Volunteer at a film society.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:52 PM on September 28, 2011

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