Yes, you can meet people beyond the bars

Written by: Harrison Forman

For those who don’t know me, I love meeting new people. For those who do know me, funny to think there was a specific time, place, & moment where we first met!

When you meet someone new, you and your entire array of life experiences are completely absent from the mind of that person you meet and vice versa. Captivating at every point, meeting someone clips away at the massive unknown out there in the world. Perrrrty cool, right?

On that end, I’ve found countless folks around our age, including myself, finding difficulty meeting people in sober envireonments post-college. Key word: sober. We go to bars, parks, clubs, happy hours, Bumble dates — most of which involve the consumption of alcohol. Besides work, it can be rare for “reactive” Millennials to end up at a fascinating experience sans the tequila. Fundamentally, the passive Yuppie lifestyle tends to hinge (pun) on awkward pregames asking the same three icebreaker questions twenty times, grimy bars without too many possibilities to meet her/him, and late-night pizza. Unfortunately, it’s a pain in the ass to proactively find other opportunities to meet your kind of people or our favorite adjective/noun/verb: “SQUAD.”

Our drinking social life falls into our laps (mostly via iMessage); how can you say no?

It didn’t used to be like this. Funny enough, college, ironically the heightened “I’m Schmacked” life experience, provided endless opportunities sans said Tequila. Across most college campuses, there are literally unlimited organizations to cater to one’s intellectual, professional, civic, social curiosities. From the Squirrel watching club to the Students Against Hippies in Trees, you can find anything to satisfy your niche interest on a college campus…

So what do I want to do here? I want to vent…mostly at myself. I miss the diversification of my college social life. I actually miss those ridiculously annoying volunteers parading me with flyers at every corner on campus. Heck, I sometimes miss (gasp) group projects.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy in San Francisco, but like many of you, it becomes effortless to fall into that relaxed state of grinding at work, working on your side hustle (plug), and most importantly, deciding whether to Snapchat your latest crush once or twice a day.

Unfortunately, there is no equivalent of “Student Organization festivals” for all incoming young professionals in a city.

(Digression: Wait, how amazing would that be? Every city with a bottomless mimosa brunch special should organize a massive event bringing all of the extra-curricular groups for young professionals…hold it once a year…grab a couple sponsors…happy hour after — ergh more drinking ergh…. how could this fail?)

Impossible idea aside, HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THIS? Two cups of coffee, a 1.5 hour commute, and ten Twitter feed checks later, I landed on the following ideas:

1. Join an organization.

That’s the plan. One event a month. Let’s start with that and see what happens. It may be Shabbat — to appease the heritage. It may be the sailing team — to appease the Shiksahs in my life. Heck, it may even be stopping by the Soup Kitchen, not to reminisce about grandpa’s Matzah Ball soup (even though it’s FIRE), but to give back to the community. One of these mysterious events a month, catering to any of your hobbies/interests should NOT be too hard in our YoPro cities. Seriously though, there are endless crowdsourced calendars out there online (…still a mainstream app idea desperately waiting for proper execution — someone please create this), so get out there and make it happen.

2. Say hi to a stranger at a coffee shop.

I go to coffee shops on weekends, typically on Sundays. With my Uniqlo sweater, double espresso, “The New Yorker” magazine, Smooth Jazz Spotify playlist, Bose Headphones, and Self-Control to block Twitter/Facebook (this usually stays blacklisted for about two hours — a personal record), I am in my zone — the nouveau zone. BUT, growth tends to occur outside of this comfortable place (Can I at least drink the espresso?). Next time, I’m ditching the Bose headphones to downgrade to Apple earphones (indubitably important for Smooth Jazz — quite the sacrifice). I’m asking the barista if he/she is having an unreal day (+ “why/why not?”). I’m sitting at the community table with eight seats typically claimed by one person with 10 spread out books. Now, the old Harrison would have used the aforementioned “whaddup” at a coffee shop for…well…I’m sure you can guess why. This is the new me, meeting strangers for the sake of meeting strangers (note to self: avoid the creep with the fedora, shades, and Android phone).

3. Diversify said Nightlife

This is a tricky one indeed. It’s soooooooo easy to just meet friends at a bar after work or on a Saturday night. I’m even setting one up while I type this sentence — that’s how easy it is! BUT, I’m here to tell you, no one needs liquid courage. It’s chess, not checkers — start playing. Look up cool things to do at night. Museums, shows (acceptable to have a drink if this is your play), even a Salsa class. DO it! It’s not easy, and again (vent at yourself so reader feels better), I go through this time and time again. Selfie stick in hand, Facebook Live ready to go, and blog post idea queued up — my next nightlife experience will be outside the box of a bar….Rabbi, pass the whiskey.

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