Meet Up With New Friends

Contributing Writer - Angela Grossmann-RoeweSeptember 6, 2012 

Meeting new people often becomes more difficult as people get older for many reasons - maybe you’ve moved to a new town, maybe your friends are all married with children, or maybe none of your existing friends’ calendars coincide with yours. The reason really doesn’t matter; all that matters is that you find yourself sitting idle on a Saturday night wondering if there’s life out there.

Stop the madness and explore a popular, and quickly growing, social opportunity - Meet Up Groups. Meet Up Groups allow a chance for people of every lifestyle, interest, and hobby to connect with those of similar reasons. Whether you have an interest in photography, bicycling, fishing, homeschooling, motherhood, crocheting, or even walking barefoot, there is a group for you.

The groups are incredible resources for new friendships, business networking, and expanded social opportunities, such as traveling to new places. There are also many support groups on Meetup.com for people who are facing difficult life issues and changes.

Kim Peltes is just one of thousands in the area who have discovered the power of Meet Up Groups. About a year ago she found herself wanting to expand her social circle. Single with two children who didn’t require the time they did when they were younger, she realized her longtime friends and coworkers were too busy to get out and about as they previously did.

Peltes had heard about Meetup.com and Meet Up Groups, so she began searching the site for something that sparked her interests and fit her desires. Meetup.com is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 9,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.

Unfortunately, the only group Peltes found intriguing at that time was based out of St. Charles, Mo. - a far drive for someone who would be traveling alone, so she decided to form her own, naming it “Metro East Friends.” Now at 240-plus members from the area, the group meets monthly at local establishments, and does other activities, such as dinner nights at new places, day trips, St. Louis Cardinals games, movie nights and more. “There are people from all different stages in their lives in our group - singles, couples, divorcees and various age brackets,” she said. “It opened a whole new aspect of doing and getting out and about, and meeting new people. Many wonderful friendships have been formed through this group. The great thing about Metro East Friends is you don’t have to attend every gathering, but if you go, you’ll never be alone. It beats sitting at home wondering what everyone else is doing.”

If you would like to start a group, go to Meetup.com, put in some basic information about the group, who might want to join, what types of activities you envision the group doing, and then get other people to sign up. As an organizer of the group, you’ll pay about $140 per year. You can create a group on virtually any topic.

Best yet, it doesn’t cost you anything to join a group on the website, so get out there and live again.

“You’ll never know until you try it,” Peltes said. “It may change your life.”

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