Sometimes you have to mine a lot of coal before you find a diamond. So if you are bent on expanding your community, or if you find yourself building from scratch, the fastest way to meet the widest range of people is probably what you’re looking for. The final frontier, so to speak.
Speed dating and Social Mixers.
Seriously. I’m not joking. You don’t have to be looking to date anyone, or maybe you are and that’s OK, too. But Speed Dating and Mixers are going to get you in touch with the most number of new people the most quickly.
We’ve talked about doing things you enjoy, and we’ve talked about getting over fear – and frankly, both will help you if you go this route, the former by providing you with subjects on which to converse, and the latter, because, well, you got to have some chutzpah to put yourself out there like that.
I’ve never done it but I’ve definitely thought about it, and actually it seems like such an awesome idea. A public forum to meet new people and hopefully create platonic, romantic, or even business relationships from there. It’s like networking on steroids.
Guaranteed if you live near a major city there are several companies devoted to this kind of event – but your local church, college, or community centre might host them, too. Double check whether you need to be a member to attend.
I know some people laugh at this kind of thing, or think it’s weird, or only for desperate people – but really, what’s so wrong with it? And if you try it, what have you got to lose?
Here’s what I would do to prepare for an event like this:
1. Get dolled up. Not because you’re looking to lure a man or woman, but because when you look good, you feel good. When you are putting your best image out there, it’s so much easier to feel confident. But be wise about it. Don’t wear 3 inch heels if you’re a flats girl, don’t buy a blazer you found on the pages of GQ if you’re a sweater vest type of guy (sweater vest are hot, by the way). Be comfortable, be you, but be the type of you that feels beautiful.
2. Pack appropriately – mints, anyone? Chapstick, some cash, business cards if you have ’em. Makeup if you’re into touching up. A lucky charm. If you’re really nervous you might jot down some topics to bring up, or a quotation or mantra that you find soothing or inspirational. Bring a pen and some paper for info exchanges – just in case nobody else brought business cards…
3. Bring a Friend – yes, yes, I know you’re here to meet new people. But it’s always nice to have some back up, someone to laugh with on the way home if the night went horribly awry, and especially for women, there is safety in numbers. Generally these events are held in brightly lit (streetwise) public areas, but it may be a section of town with which you’re not familiar. Or parking could be a few blocks away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and having a friend along when you’re lost, or not sure if that guy is following you, or just headed to the same lot as you will be a huge asset.
4. Be open to the experience. Try not to have preconceived ideas – just go and enjoy. That’s the only way you get anything out of anything – just see what happens. Be present in the moment.
You may not meet your soulmate, or your BFF, but you might have fun. You might have fantastic conversations with people you might never have looked twice at if you’d passed them on the street. You might find someone who can help you with that furniture restoration, or squealing belt in your car’s engine, or who can set you up with an interview for a better job. Or, you might be able to help someone else out. How cool would that be?
Whatever happens, it would be an experience.
What do you think? Is speed dating still too weird? Or is it passé now? What about mixers? Are they just conventions in miniature? Or a house party gone corporate? Would you ever try one of these?