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30 Places to Meet People in the Real World

Eric Standridge offers relationship tips and tricks based on personal experience from the perspective of a former shy guy.

Forget Facebook, try social networking in the real world. That’s right, log out of those over-hyped dating sites, shut down the computer, and get up close and personal with real people.

It has become all too easy to simply log on and hope for the best, but wishing and doing are two separate things. Sure, you'll find some matches, maybe set up a few dates, but most of the time that's just not enough. Online dating has gained in popularity since its early days, but it's only one way of meeting people. It's meant to be used as a tool, nothing more.

In order for you to have the best chances at finding a long-term relationship, you must do more than rely solely on the internet. It's time to get out into the real world and live life before it passes you by. If you want to find places to meet people in the real world, you've come to the right place.

Want to meet more people?  Get off the computer, put down the phone, and get out and enjoy life!

Want to meet more people? Get off the computer, put down the phone, and get out and enjoy life!

Still, maybe you're not interested in dating right now, but you're more interested in making friends. After high school and college, many people find themselves having difficulty in meeting new people. If you're one of those people who find it difficult to meet others, then this list is for you.

If you're looking for how to meet people in clubs or bars, then you're reading the wrong article. Meeting people in those places is like herding cats into a full bathtub; sure, you can do it, but is it really worth it?

The goal of this article isn't about meeting people for brief encounters, but rather, it's about meeting people with whom you can form a more long-term, lasting relationship.


30 Places to Meet People

  1. Volunteer: This is absolutely one of best ways to meet people. When you volunteer, you're not only taking part in your community, but you're also making great friends in the process. If you're the shy type, volunteering will quickly help you step out of your shell and really get to know people on a personal basis. There are many great websites that list local places to volunteer. Visit your local Chamber of Commerce. They usually have a good list of places to volunteer.
  2. Take a class: Most colleges and community centers offer classes on just about anything you can imagine, from computer animation to creative writing. When you sign up for a class that you're interested in, you're almost guaranteed to meet people that will interest you as well. This is another activity that works for everyone, whether you're the shy type or the more outgoing type.
  3. Join a club or community group: There are clubs for everything: Photography, Gardening, Community Improvement, Acting, Politics, Books, Art, Dance, etc. Typically, most clubs or groups have events that are geared towards helping members build lasting friendships. At first, joining certain groups may seem daunting, but once that initial discomfort wears off, you'll quickly make new friends. Call your local Chamber of Commerce; they'll be able to direct you in finding more information.
  4. Find a social hobby: Join a bowling league, go ballroom dancing, or learn to fly. Maybe you're starting to notice a theme here, these are all things that you do with a group of people, and things that you personally enjoy.
  5. Join a health club or gym: These places may cost a little more, but if you want to improve your health and meet people at the same time, then this is the place for you. With Gym's and Health Clubs, there are always like-minded people around, ready and willing to help you out. Most of these places offer classes such as Yoga and Tai Chi where you involved in a group setting. When joining one of these clubs, don't feel intimidated. Remember, everyone there has had the same feelings you do.
  6. Play a sport: Most communities offer adult sports. You can find anything from disk golf to softball. Most leagues are geared towards amateurs who play simply for fun, and most are co-ed. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce or call the information line for your local newspaper.
  7. Run a marathon, ride a bike, go hiking: You get two things out of this, first, you stay healthy, second, you meet great people. Even though this is a more solo activity, there are still great prospects for meeting people. Look for the local hot-spots. They are usually fairly large parks or close to downtown. Call the local Parks and Recreation department to get more information.
  8. Through friends: You know someone who knows someone who knows someone... make friends with that someone. It's the same concept that popular sites like Facebook and Myspace were built on.
  9. Museums/Aquariums: If you haven't been to a museum lately, then you're missing out. Most museums have fascinating exhibits, and there's always something to see. Find an exhibit that interests you and strike up a conversation about it. It's always easier to meet new friends when you have something in common with them. Most museums/aquariums have volunteer groups that you can join as well. As mentioned above, volunteering is an excellent way to meet people.
  10. Coffee Shops/Art Houses: Grab a cup of java, sit down, and strike up a conversation with the person next to you. In these environments, it's almost expected.
  11. Farmer's Markets: Outdoor markets are always a hive of activity, especially for people who love healthy living and lifestyles.
  12. Cafe's, restaurants, etc: Some cafes are simply made for meeting people. Find a small, locally owned cafe or restaurant and get a table. Again, it's almost expected that you'll start up a conversation with someone nearby.
  13. Libraries/Book stores: If you're a reader, then there's no better place to meet someone who shares your interests than a library or a book store. Most libraries have book review groups that you can join, as well as opportunities for volunteering. Don't forget to visit the local used book stores. Usually, you can pick up a good book for mere pennies, while at the same time meeting interesting people. Most used book stores provide a warm atmosphere that encourages people to stay for awhile.
  14. Art Galleries: Same as museums. If you're an art lover, this is for you.
  15. Block parties, city events, local events, fairs, etc.: In larger cities, it can be difficult to meet people at these types of events, but in small towns, these events are perfect for romance. Better still, volunteer to help out with these events. If you love acting, help the town with their weekly Shakespeare in the Park. If you're more hands on, help them build the props for Founders Day. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to get more information.
  16. Local concerts, chamber music, etc.: Sit down next to someone you don't know. When the musicians take a break, start up a conversation. Even better, if you're a musician yourself, try to get involved with one of these groups.
  17. Community Centers: There's always something going on at these places, from classes to sports, just ask the attendant for a schedule of events.
  18. Local parks: Parks are designed to be social gathering places. Find a popular park and go for a walk. Say "hi" to everyone you pass. Better yet, read the following...
  19. Buy a dog: Maybe it's been overplayed, but think about it - how many times have you seen others stop to ruffle a dogs neck? It happens all the time. Pet lovers always love talking about their pets. Take yours to a local park and show it off.
  20. Go horseback riding: There are more places to do this than you might imagine. Most places will offer group rides, especially for people who have little or no experience in horseback riding. If this is something you want to try, call around and find out which places offer group rides.
  21. Go to wine tastings: ...but don't drink too much! This is another one of those places where it's easy to start a conversation. Just ask for an opinion, it's that easy.
  22. Go skydiving, hang-gliding, para-sailing, etc.: For the adrenaline junkies.. There's nothing like getting that high burst of adrenaline rushing through your veins, and then getting to share that with someone.
  23. Join a business association or networking group: Business associations are for professionals who want to learn more about their craft, and at the same time, meet like-minded people who are also serious about what they do.
  24. High school/college reunions: Get in touch with an old high school sweetheart, or build a new relationship with someone you didn't know as well.
  25. Get a new job, or a part-time job: Typically, dating within the workplace isn't such a good idea, but there's always that chance that you'll meet the love of your life there.
  26. Travel: Go on a cruise, meet beautiful women, put suntan lotion on them. Ok, maybe it's not quite that easy, but it is easy to meet people while you're abroad. Just remember though, these relationships are usually (very) short term.. but at least you get to see the world!
  27. Cultural events: This is another one of those great places - especially if you have a strong cultural background.
  28. Parent organizations, playgrounds, children's museums, etc.: There's a lot of single parents out there, and most are good, responsible people. If you're a single parent, there's no better way to meet other single parents than this. It's always easy to talk about children, especially your own.
  29. Go to church: ...but only if you believe. Church is a great way to meet people who share the same beliefs as you, but don't be "that" guy who goes just to pick up chicks.
  30. Online: Online dating has become so mainstream that it's normal to meet people from the internet. Some people have great luck with this, others don't.. either way, it's worth a try. Just remember, there's more to life than sitting in front of a computer screen waiting for the world to come to you.
Ditch the phone, tablet, or laptop and get out and enjoy life!

Ditch the phone, tablet, or laptop and get out and enjoy life!

Two Quick Tips

  1. Talk to everyone: You can meet someone anywhere you go. This list is just a start, but it's up to you to make things happen. Just be yourself, and do the things that you enjoy doing. Make it a rule that if someone is within five steps of you that you acknowledge them with a smile and a quick "hello."
  2. Get out and do something that you love: You don't meet people by staying home and wishing someone would talk to you. If you want to meet someone, you have to do something. Go out and enjoy life. In the process, find someone that enjoys doing the same things you do. Couples that share common interests and values are more likely to stay together for the long term. Just remember to be honest, and to be yourself.

John Donne once wrote, "No man is an island, entire of itself." Making friends and finding dates isn't hard, it's just knowing where to look. Everyone needs the love and companionship of another; we are not lonely islands in the great sea, but rather, we are great continents, full of life and ever expanding. It's time to get out and explore your world.

As always, I wish you all the best.

© 2010 Eric Standridge