Structured activities where a shy guy can meet women?
December 28, 2012 6:26 PM   Subscribe

What are some structured activities where I (early 30s, male) can meet women in their 20s/30s? I'm specifically looking for activities that involve an ongoing group with structured interaction between participants, because I'm not good at starting up conversations on my own.

I'm looking for the kind of activity where people necessarily get to know each other -- so e.g. a yoga or drawing class won't do the trick, since it's easy to show up, do your thing and leave without talking to anyone. The ideal would be some kind of class or group that was ongoing (I'm pretty shy so it takes me a while to come out of my shell around new people), non-stressful (I wouldn't be likely to go to e.g. an improv class), small enough that you get to know everyone else but large enough that you'd be likely to meet one or more people you might find interesting, not involving sports or dance, but preferably not purely talk-based either (like a book club). Oh, and fun, too. I know that all sounds very restrictive, but there must be lots of activities of this sort, I'm just not thinking of them. Suggestions welcomed.
posted by zeri to Human Relations (23 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Where are you located? In my area (NoVa) I found out that one of my local coffee shops hosts a boardgame day once a month. So maybe something similar to that, like bar trivia?

Also, might help you with some ideas.
posted by littlesq at 6:30 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Cooking classes
posted by brujita at 6:31 PM on December 28, 2012

Language class - might come under the category of purely talk-based,(it isn't just a straight conversation) but still a good way to meet people and learn something as well.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:31 PM on December 28, 2012

MeetUp hiking/outdoors groups (is that "sports"?) would meet your requirements. Long walks are good for getting to know people.
posted by charmedimsure at 6:32 PM on December 28, 2012

(and- where are you located? Someone might have a suggestion specific to your area if you let us know.)
posted by charmedimsure at 6:33 PM on December 28, 2012

I found this a hilarious and true list of places occupied entirely by single ladies. Would definitely say language or cooking classes- sort of a win for you, even if you don't meet anyone special. Volunteering with animals.
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:36 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

Community theatre. Somebody will be happy put you to work painting sets or whatever if you don't want to act; there are lots of behind-the-scenes jobs.
posted by kmennie at 6:36 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

How about taking a class in something you're interested in? Photography? Rock climbing? Painting?
posted by mermily at 6:37 PM on December 28, 2012

Response by poster: Wow, you people are quick... Great ideas so far, please keep them coming!
I'm in east SF bay area. (I know about, btw, I've just been drawing a blank on what to search for.)
posted by zeri at 6:38 PM on December 28, 2012

Photography class! In NYC, they are mostly women. People have to comment on each other's photos, which is automatic conversation. People help each other with assignments, photograph each other, compare technical information, and even go out photographing together. I've taken tens of classes and taught as well; the dynamic is always interactive. (On the other hand, I've also taken language classes and not made any friends.)
posted by xo at 6:38 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Bay area has a contra group: BACDS

I know a lot of people (my room-mate and myself among them) who say they hate dancing who turn out to enjoy contra. I think the difference is that they're thinking of partner dances where the man has to lead the woman, improvising a new choreography for each song while simultaneously navigating a safe path among all the other dancers. Contra, on the other hand, has a pre-choreographed path that the dancers walk, with flexible timing and completely optional footwork and a guy with a microphone reminding you of the turns as you go. It's so easy that most beginners' lessons last only fifteen minutes.

As far as meeting interesting people, contra skews heavily toward quirky people and science/tech/engineering/math people, so if you find that sort interesting you'll be in good company. If you would be scandalized to see a man in a skirt, contra might be a bit outside your comfort zone.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:00 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Language class or language practice group (:
posted by ramenopres at 8:55 PM on December 28, 2012

I have no idea what it's like, but you might look into the world of dog agility training. Other dog-related activities might also apply here; almost all the single women I know have dogs.
posted by hishtafel at 8:57 PM on December 28, 2012

I wonder if taking a massage course would be good? There isn't constant talking but your quiet nature would be respected. If massage is too touchy-feely then a class like reiki, aromatherapy or other new agey things would be interesting and have interesting, mostly female attendees. My small town local new age shop offers lots of neat little classes, I can't imagine SF would have less.

Besides that, maybe a class on buying a home/arranging finances? Yes, there will be a lot of coupes (who know single people) but there will also be women that are fortunate enough to have it together to plan for a future and set goals - good things to have in a partner.
posted by saucysault at 10:14 PM on December 28, 2012

kickball, volleyball, dodgeball and the like. find a league, have fun, show off ur skills if you have them, chat intermittently go to bar after to talk about games.
posted by PeaPod at 10:50 PM on December 28, 2012

The other nice thing about Contra Dance is that there are many opportunities to do it in the bay area and if you start going you will see many of the same people at the dances, so you will build a sense of community pretty quickly. If you really like it, you might even start to travel to attend dances in other communities and become known as a dance gypsy and sleep on couches and in guest rooms all over the country.
posted by jvilter at 3:30 AM on December 29, 2012

I have 2 friends who've had success with groups. One is in a geekgirls group and they get together to do whatever geeky things someone suggests. The other is in a beer / wine dinner club, and they get together once a week and eat at a new restaurant and have beers there / bring a bottle of wine. Both have continuing presense, and are pretty low barrier's to entry.
posted by garlic at 6:14 AM on December 29, 2012

Find a gaming group. Tabletop games like D&D or Settlers of Catan, or even more traditional board games.
posted by Lieber Frau at 7:19 AM on December 29, 2012

I took up ballroom dancing classes when I was in about the same "boat" you find yourself in. It was a lot of fun and turned into a lifelong hobby; I turned into a dance gypsy for a long time and met up with a lot of people in other communities that I still know after many years. And, I met my wife dancing; it's the cornerstone of our social life with many other couples and singles.
posted by coldhotel at 8:42 AM on December 29, 2012

Do you mean no team sports or no physical component at all? I met Mr. 26.2 when we were both participants in Team In Training. I know a bunch of couples that got together through Team In Training - we jokingly call it Team in Dating.
posted by 26.2 at 8:56 AM on December 29, 2012

Volunteer with a group! is one opportunity I found, but I'm sure there are other team-based volunteer groups. I did something similar in Seattle and met a lot of great people.
posted by coolsara at 11:03 AM on December 29, 2012 it's social volunteering. Lots of repeated opportunity to mix and mingle.
posted by bananafish at 1:20 PM on December 29, 2012

Adding +1s to contra and language courses.

I totally agree with what the others have said about contra, and just want to add that aside from each dance being taught / walked through before it is danced, you get a million chances to dance it. Even if something is new for you at the beginning of that dance, you're an expert by the 15th repetition.

Language courses are great because of the slightly ridiculous (but very informative) answers you get asked as part of class, e.g. "When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?" Sometimes this is even done in groups; I often found myself more candid in language classes because, well, the last thing you want to do is to practice hesitating in your new language!
posted by batter_my_heart at 6:33 PM on December 30, 2012

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