New girl in town
January 25, 2008 1:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm moving to Venice/Santa Monica and want to meet good, intelligent, normal people in my age group. How?

What is my definition of "normal?" You aren't and don't live with a junkie or pornographer. You have a job or an ambition that you pursue. You are generally a good person with good intentions. You are in touch with what is going on in the world around you.

I want to fit in, but I don't want to change who I am. (I think I like Venice. People here seem very friendly and have a cool local vibe.) I like partying, shopping, drugs, drinking, fashion, and celeb-spotting as much as the next guy. Well, so I thought... until I moved to LA, where I feel like Martha Stewart.

I'm 28. I guess my husband and I are looking to meet couples who are dating, married or starting to have families. I own and run a small business. I want to meet like-minded, fun, smart people. I studied film directing, so maybe I can get involved in something film-related? Neither I nor my husband can meet people at work because we both have our own companies.

As for clubs, I fear Junior League will be too hoity toity. I joined Ladies Who Launch, a networking site for women who own their own businesses, and it is pretty underpopulated. I feel kind of lame doing something like meetup. But quite honestly, it might come to that.

Any ideas??
posted by JJ Jenkins to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Edit the location in your profile. Provide the Lat / Lon of your new home and I think you'll find that there are 230 MetaFilter peeps within a 30 mile radius. Why not propose a a MeFi meetup? I would guess that the vast majority of users fit your definition of normal, and are good and intelligent. The age range is going to vary, but I'm sure you're not opposed to at least meeting cool people who are younger or older than your ideal chums, and some of them will probably be just right.
posted by mumkin at 1:39 AM on January 25, 2008

Best answer: If you are of the 'geek' mind set, there are BarCampLA & Geek Dinners that go on regularly.

If you don't read &, you might consider to see new things to do, read comments of locals, gatherings like Felt Club, etc.

If you are into cycling, a bunch of friends love Midnight Ridazz and Wolfpack.

I haven't lived in Venice since '94 (Speedway & Westminster ftw!) so things have probably changed a bit. But the area has a high ratio of 'eclectic' people. My wife and I used to have people over regularly to hang out, starting with old friends and co-workers, that started to expand our circle a bit.

Sorry I don't have any great advice. If you do eventually have children, the Mommy & Me programs are GREAT for meeting other couples/families. Two couples we met 10+ years ago remain close, all starting from Mommy & Me.
posted by Argyle at 7:34 AM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

I went to a few meetups and I've been surprised how much I enjoyed them and I made a few friends and also some business contacts.
posted by Melsky at 8:31 AM on January 25, 2008

"What is my definition of "normal?" You aren't and don't live with a junkie or pornographer."

I was going to say a meetup, but maybe not.
posted by klangklangston at 8:31 AM on January 25, 2008

I can vouch for klangklangston, a meetup with him is worth it. He may not be "normal", but he's a fun to hang with...
posted by Argyle at 8:37 AM on January 25, 2008

I'm sure this comment will either be deleted or shouted down (or maybe both! one can dream) but there's an attitude here that seems remarkably... bratty. "I want to meet people who aren't *weird.*" There are plenty of entirely normal people in Venice, Santa Monica, and the rest of Los Angeles, and if you feel like everyone you've encountered thus far is a druggie or a pornographer, then I suggest you readjust your druggie/pornographer radar. You say you want to fit in but don't want to change who you are. Just how do you feel that anyone you encounter in Venice or Santa Monica would ask you to change who you are? Do you think that if you go to an art opening on Abbot Kinney you'll end up doing blow and filming a lesbo scene for some reality porn website? If you feel like you're way too uptight for Los Angeles, I'm going to suggest, considering the way your post was worded, that perhaps you need to loosen up and not be so judgmental about the city you just moved to and the people here.

Seriously, we don't give a shit. Smile, be nice, and don't assume that we're all nut jobs. I'd suggest that in order to meet nice 'normal' people, first you start by being more open yourself.
posted by incessant at 8:56 AM on January 25, 2008

What you are looking for in "good, normal" people depends on what your values are. So, where did you grow up? Big town, small town? Coastal, midwest, south? What kind of people did you like to hang with in the old hometown?
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:35 AM on January 25, 2008

Best answer: I fit all your criteria cept I live with a pornographer (damn you for taking a job that paid well, klang!) so I guess instead of a meetup, some thoughts:

I felt like this when I moved from the midwest. There's a different timeframe here for friendship. You might see somebody one day and not see them again for 2 months, but you'll find that you can just pick up your conversation where it was, and they're still just as friendly and kind as they were when you met (which is not like the midwest, in that people there needed you to call/email/talk every few days or they'd cut you out). LA is so big and rather difficult to get around in, transit-wise, so frequent, brief interactions with a large set of people-- the "let's all go to the bar and then walk down the street to another bar" thing that all my mid-20s friends in Chicago do-- can be hard to set up.

I don't think I made any acquaintances for 6 months after moving; it took about 8 months to get a friend. How did I do it? Persistence-- they're not used to it! Ask that cool neighbor out for coffee once a week until it becomes a common occurrence. Go to the same place at the same time every week (whether a bar, coffeeshop, bookstore, library, park, etc.) and talk to the other regulars; take cards or other games and get people to play. Go to museums on the free days/times and chat with the other art lovers there. Join the four-square/beer-square society, or start your own outdoor sports tradition in your neighborhood.
posted by holyrood at 9:36 AM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Venice is cool, but it does have a slacker vibe which I can understand you don't relate to. Sounds like you need to meet people who are getting on with their lives, so look for them in places where people are organized and getting things accomplished.

Take some cooking classes. Take some night classes at Santa Monica college in something like sociology (lots of older students with jobs in night classes). Get involved with some form of political activism that requires meetings and other social functions (e.g., Venice Neighborhood Council). Join the Sierra club and go on their friday night hikes. Join or start a book club. Volunteer to answer the phones at a public radio or public television fund drive (kcrw's drive starts soon). Go to the farmer's market and talk to people. Start a blog about life in your neighborhood and interview neighbors for the blog.
posted by conrad53 at 10:13 AM on January 25, 2008

There's no magic formula or set of places. I made most of my friends here by meeting people who loved the same cult TV show I did.

Machine Project is a good place for meeting interesting people.

Taking a class at Santa Monica College is also a good method. I'm not outgoing really, so I need repeated contact with people. I find it can be really hard in LA to get connected to your specific location. For that, nothing beats being a "regular" at a local establishment or volunteering, being a block captain, etc.

Temping is an awesome way to meet people. I found it more socially useful than professionally useful.

Also, I fit your criteria and work on the west side. Happy to meet you for coffee. Bonus points because me and the mr. moved here from Chicago :) Email in profile.
posted by Mozzie at 10:44 AM on January 25, 2008

A meetup with Klang is the cat's meow.

I have/had a similar problem since I hate my roommates and everyone at my work is older then me and very into the hollywood/entertainment scene. But I started working a part time job and met a few fun people, plus there's always the next mefi four-square meetup...

I guess what I am saying is that friends take time to find, and that most of the people you meet are going to be weird to you (especially when you call them pornographers). Talk to everybody, you never know who could be your new best friend. Also remember that work doesn't define who a person is.
posted by Derek at 2:53 PM on January 25, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for not getting defensive, guys. Well except the art gallery comment which made no sense. I'm more than happy to oblige if someone's offering! There is a big difference between someone who enjoys a recreational drug and someone who is a total loser.

I really do want to make LA work and I'm getting excited about the possibilities. Everyone in Venice and Santa Monica has been cool to me. Except the hostess at Library Ale House. I think I will exploit the "I'm new and don't know anyone, want to be my friend?" angle before it's too late. I can probably milk that for at least 7 months.

(As for the misogynistic pornographers I have had the pleasure of spending time with. My Internet paranoia prevents me from divulging details, but ugh. Sorry to judge all you exotic filmmakers. For your sake, I hope you at least have game.)
posted by JJ Jenkins at 7:02 PM on January 25, 2008

Response by poster: Also, I have actually been toying with the idea of a book/movie club where we watch the movie based on the book (after reading the book of course). I think it would be awesome.
posted by JJ Jenkins at 7:05 PM on January 25, 2008

I would join a book/movie club. But be aware I am critical about literature...and know nothing about film. : )
posted by holyrood at 11:55 AM on January 28, 2008

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