Despite the cold, the lonliness is starting to melt

by Alice

The wind is a little shriller these days. I even saw my breath this morning. OK so maybe it was helped along by the hot tea I was drinking, but still. Visable breath means cold. I’m hoping for snow. And lots of it.

A local friend told me that a couple years ago, the city got enough snow to shut down.

Imagine New York City, dense with snow upon snow, dense with silence. No cars, no buses or sirens, no herds of business people, actors, street vendors all moving together in a huge sidewalk blob… Well, you should try to imagine it, because I can’t.

Without the people running around like wired-up machines, this city would be a ghost town. But when you get added to the mix, how do you meet friends? It’s like trying to find your house key in Little Mermaid’s treasure collection. You know what kind of people you’re looking for, but it’s hard to single them out.

After a few months of running around with only people I know from work and then those people’s friends, I decided I needed an additional social network. Though I’m a little wary of Internet dating sites (OK, extremely wary, if you’re on one of these sites, I probably won’t date you), I found an Internet meeting site that wasn’t so scary, Meetup.com.

The concept is that you find people on the site, but don’t get to know them until you “meetup” as a large group in a public, non-scary place. Staying far away from meetup groups that might use this as a dating site against its friendly intentions, I joined a few social groups for women in their 20s — Book clubs and dinner groups.

An organizer picks a location, a Mexican restaurant, a snazzy New York diner, a coffee shop, and the time, usually corresponding to the venue’s happy hour or lady’s night specials. We “meetup,” talk about our jobs, our backgrounds and what we love/hate about New York City. We finish our food, and we leave.

If you feel uncomfortable giving out your number, no worries, because all of the planning is done through the meetup site, and you can add and remove groups at any time.

I haven’t met a new best friend, but I have found people I have fun with (more on that in the next post). And in this cold and alarmingly lonely city, there’s something warm about chit chatting with a group of young women instead of eating dinner alone by the TV in my drafty apartment.

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