Many people find that once they graduate from college, meeting people becomes a challenge. Yet it’s important to maintain and expand your network for the health of so many areas of your life, even beyond dating. The standard answer to this problem is “pursue a hobby that interests you.” However, when it comes to meeting people, some activities are more effective than others. We’ve chosen five hobbies that you can find in many cities that will enable you to interact with a group.
Cooking, Food, and Wine
Events for foodies are becoming more and more plentiful. You can take a cooking class if you’re a hands-on kind of person, or try a wine tasting. You can also check out a culinary tour – either in your own city or while on vacation.
Who goes: intellectuals, culture-lovers, successful professionals, romantics
Where to find a group: gourmet-minded grocery stores, wine shops, wineries, restaurants, community colleges, cooking schools
Approximate cost: $15 to $125 per event, up to $10,000 for a culinary tour abroad
Tips: Don’t be shy about chatting up those around you – it’s a good bet that they’re there to meet others too. Also, ask questions if you don’t know something. Food lovers are often eager to help others share their passion.
Online poker has recently helped make the traditional game more popular. Since participants tend to be male, women who are looking for a date will find these events to be potential gold mines in more ways than one!
Who goes: the laid-back, the clever, risk-takers, thrill-seekers
Where to find a group: Meetup.com, bars, casinos
Approximate cost: free to play for fun at a private home to however much you’re willing to bet in a high-stakes game
Tips: Pay attention not only to the rules, but poker etiquette as well. Be willing to banter at the table, but remember that your opponents will be watching you carefully for clues about your hand.
Softball and volleyball are the best sports to play if you want a good mix of men and women. More athletic ladies may find games with a lot of men to be fun.
Who goes: the competitive, fitness lovers, extroverts, those who aren’t afraid to get dirty
Where to find a group: local parks and recreation departments, www.Sportsvite.com
Approximate cost: free to $250 or more for league fees for one season and equipment
Tips: Don’t let your lack of athletic abilities keep you from joining in – there are teams that welcome players of all skill levels. Be a good sport during the game and invite everyone – including your competitors – out for drinks or dinner afterward.
If you haven’t tried it, hiking can sound more intimidating than it actually is. People at most fitness levels will find a short easy hike to be no problem. Longer hikes offer a great opportunity to chat up others in your group.
Who goes: outdoorsy types, the environmentally-minded, the adventurous
Where to find a group: outdoor adventure companies, hiking clubs, state and national parks, environmental organizations
Approximate cost: free to take a short stroll in your local park to $85 for a pair of hiking boots and a national park entrance fee to $7,000 for an adventure vacation in an exotic location
Tips: Make sure you have the proper equipment and that you know what to do if you get separated from the group. At the very least, sunscreen, water, and a good pair of shoes are a must.
If you miss those childhood days of Monopoly, Scrabble, and Risk, rejoice – many other twenty-somethings feel the same way.
Who goes: the quirky, independent thinkers, word lovers
Where to find a group: Meetup.com, Craigslist
Approximate cost: free to $100 or more to play in a tournament
Tips: Find a group where socializing is the priority, rather than keeping the game moving efficiently. Also consider a group that plays a different game each time for the sake of variety.
If there’s not a group looking for members in your area, try starting your own by posting in the community section of your local Craigslist. You can also try hunting for flyers advertising events in any place where people gather, such as universities, grocery stores, or health clubs. Signing up for the mailing lists or newsletters of businesses and organizations you like can be helpful too, especially if they put out event calendars.