I’ve become something of a nomad in my adult life, living all over the north of England, and I’ve encountered one significant problem every time I’ve moved to a new city. How do I meet people, form a circle of friends and lead a fulfilling social life, when I’ve moved to place where I don’t have connections or roots? The arrival of the Meet Up app into my life gave me the tools I needed to overcome this troublesome burden, allowing me to find lifelong friends in strange new places.
Meet the app
The Meet Up app is a programme which you can download onto your phone, tablet or laptop which helps you meet people. It’s so easy to form friendships when you’re young; when you’re at university for example, you pretty much have a circle of friends for life by the end of fresher’s week. But as you become an adult and go out into the world, especially in an era where we often move between cities for professional purposes, it gets much harder to form these bonds, as it’s simply tougher to find people and get the conversations which spark friendships into life going.
The app’s so easy to use, your parents could do it. You just need to download it onto your device, create a profile using your Facebook page, type your interests and location into a form and off you go. The app’s handy algorithm will then bring new groups to your attention based on your interests, and each of these groups hold meetings where people gather to chat and indulge their love for said shared interest. There are groups for practically everything on Meet Up, from clubbing and walking, to political debate and crafts, so you’re sure to find the right group for you once you sign up. Join a group, click ‘attending’ on your event of choice and now you’re ready to go and meet new people!
The event’s page on Meet Up will tell you everything you need to know, from the location to the start time. The people who organise these events often include the post code for the venue where it’s set to take place, allowing you to look it up on Google Maps, as well as nearby transport links. You may feel apprehensive about attending your first meet up, as it’s common to feel nervous when you’re going to a new place where you don’t know anybody. Don’t worry, this is common for first time attendees. You will notice that your chosen event has a comment section; if you’re nervous, post a comment on this thread and your fellow attendees will rush to put you at ease.
OK, so you’ve made the leap and gone to your first event. How should you act? What should you do? In my experience, it’s crucial that when you arrive, you go and introduce yourself to the organiser. They’ll introduce you to everyone else, giving you the chance to get a conversation started. I often like to joke that there are three questions everyone asks at a Meet Up event. These are ‘is this your first time’, ‘where are you from’ and ‘what do you do for a living’? It may seem annoying to have to answer these questions over and over again, but just go with it. Once you break the ice and get talking to someone, you’ll soon delve into more interesting territory and make new friends!
Now I’m going to share my own Meet Up story with you, to illustrate just how effective this one little app truly is. I was told about Meet Up by a colleague back when I lived in Leeds. I was finding it hard to create friendships in a place where I knew nobody, so I thought I’d give it a go. Within a few weeks I was a regular, fast-establishing a strong circle of friends that I still see often today, even though I no longer live in Leeds. On a more poignant note, it was through Meet Up that I became a member of the West Yorkshire Humanist Society, the group that inspired my passion for politics with its engaging lectures and lively debates, so the app really has changed my life for the better.
Last year, I moved to Manchester for a new job. I had been so successful with Meet Up before that I decided to try my luck with this ingenious little app again, attending various Meet Ups throughout the city during my first few months of living in Manchester. They say that lightning doesn’t strike twice, but I must be the exception to the rule. I soon found out that the Meet Up attendees in Manchester are every bit as friendly as those I’d left behind in Leeds. I quickly struck up some strong friendships, and it’s these people who have turned Manchester into a place I can call home.
The Meet Up app is illustrative of how technology can serve to enrich our lives, when we use it in the right way. Unlike some technological advancements, the Meet Up app doesn’t remove us from the real world, rather it provides us with the tools we need to find our place within it. This app has had an immeasurably positive impact on my life and it’s my sincerest belief that it can do the same for you, offering you everything you need to meet people in new places and form lifelong friendships!