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A good longer play to bust out of that is to start working out of an independent cafe. Find one with a lower rate of laptop jockeys but that still has a couple.

Bounce around until you find one that feels right: a good amount of regulars, people doodling, and bullshitting with baristas.

Show up a couple times a week, drop into the odd conversation. And be ready to say “anyone want to grab a beer” come quitting time.

This is just about the fastest (week to a month) way to find yourself a new in person social circle.

This is great advice! (I also agree with OP's sad lack of connection in America. It is there but it is work to find it sometimes)

Also great:

Volunteering. You're guaranteed to meet some good people because these are other people that are interested in (1) working together (2) helping people (3) donating their time. The very worst-case scenario is that you don't make friends, but have helped somebody in need. =)

Sports. Grown-up recreational sports are nothing like the (often hostile) world of sports you might remember as a kid. Generally very supportive places. Co-ed leagues tend to be more easygoing. If you're a beginner, pay for some lessons. For example... lots of tennis coaches out there. If you are healthy enough to move around you can learn to play a pretty decent game of tennis in not much time and with less $$$ than you'd spend on a new Xbox. Obvious direct and indirect benefits as well.

I am allergic to cigarette smoke. Whatever gathering/party it is, some always light up cigarettes and that party literally ends right there for me. So, I have given up on conventional social gatherings. Even people I play sports with (I am a regular at badminton and football/soccer) smoke when we hangout.

I have always loved travelling so that's what I do every weekend - to some town or hills or a beach or trekking somewhere. Treks are where I meet quite some people and they don't smoke, at least not there.

Anecdotal, but I barely know any smokers these days. Most of my smoker friends have quit.

Hiking is great though

Yeah, wow. Can't remember the last time I had to deal with unwanted cigarette smoke.

Plus all the smokers I know (not many left!) smoke outside like considerate, normal human beings so there's no way anybody would be forced to really encounter their smoke.

Being outdoors doesn't help when they're within 50 feet of you; the smoke will still inevitably drift directly to the person who hates it the most.

Smoking seems to be on the upswing among young people too.

When I wasn't working in the office, I did my work in coffee shops during grad school. I still try not to work at home now, and walk to a local coffee shop if I need to work on a weekend. Working in a public place made grad school more tolerable. Even though I was doing my work, I felt like part of my community and I was able to interact with other people. I even did make some friends doing it.

It sounded to me like WhompingWindows is a grad student, so I heartily endorse they try this approach. Just be in public spaces more. It helps.

It's a good idea, but I don't don't know about the fastest. I'd recommend your idea and a series of neutral/specific hobbies/sports that give you a wider breadth

No doubt that you’ll have people to chum around with at a meetup. None whatsoever. And it’s a great thing to do both socially and professionally.

I’d say though that the people you meet while shooting the shit at a cafe are more likely to be “general friends” that are based more on shared personalities and humor than a shared interest. As such, these types of friendships feel/are less utilitarian

I don't know if I understand your first sentence very clearly, but yes I agree. I made a comment on reddit yesterday regarding a very similar topic.


Do you mean like going to lots of cafes literally full-time (~8 hours a day) or something? Otherwise how do you possibly bounce around lots of cafes and figure out who the regulars are within just a week?

A cafe or a bar is nothing but a "third space". Something outside of home and work. So don't take it literally. It can be the gym/dance/music/sports clubs/gardening/church/volunteering/fishing/libraries etc etc. Look for that "third space" which aligns with your interests, needs and values and keep visiting.

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