I used to work in the restaurant industry, it’s a naturally social environment. Making friends in an industry that is surrounded by a social activity - eating and drinking, is probably the easiest way to make friends (and enemies if you don’t do your sidework). I left that industry about 5 years ago, traded in for a desk job that was less painful on my feet and back. But what I came to realize was, making new work friends can be challenging when you’re not in a social environment! I made it even harder on myself, when I moved to Austin and started working for tech companies (you know offices full of developers and software engineers). When I moved here, I knew only one other person and had a friend back home introduce me to another girl she knew, but it was still hard. How the heck was I going to make friends when I didn’t know anyone!? I did the same ole search that I’m sure many of you who are reading this blog post have done- “How do I make friends when I don’t know anyone?” Or “How do I make friends in a new city?” Or even just the general “How Do I Make Friends?”
Guess what. There are 494,000,000 results in Google.
We see it all the time in some of the groups that we’re a part of here in Austin. Women reaching out with questions - “How do I make friends?!” “I just moved here! I don’t have any friends! Help me!?” Most people suggest using Meetup - and in no way do we discard Meetup as a way to meet people. But if you ask most people who’ve used meetup to make social, authentic friendships, you’ll find that it hasn’t worked. The dating apps have joined in on the friend making business by creating dual options for “friending” with your dating profile. There are speed friending groups and others suggest volunteering. I found all of those same results when I made those searches too. I know the pain, and the struggle it is to make real friends. You know, the ones you can call crying when you get that promotion you’ve been working so hard for or when you’re going through a nasty breakup.
While we know that it IS possible to make great friends in these way - we want to tell you there is a better way. It doesn’t need to be so hard, and take so long to find amazing friends.
But before we tell you a better way - lets look at why we think Meetups fail at finding you new friends…
- Meetups are like flashes in a pan. Even the biggest, most popular meetup groups trail off in popularity, planning and events. You can join at one point and it's really active but 6 months later there have been no events, no organized meetups or even any activity in the group! Smaller meetup groups, are often started with fantastic intentions, but once the reality of planning all of the events hits the organizer, things end pretty quickly. There are thousands of Meetups - but so many are inactive.
- They’re either too big or to specific - so you join a ton. There are meetups for every single hobby you could have. Then there are the general meetups - the New to Town, the 20s-30s meetup
s that have thousands of members in them. When there are so many meetups, with so many varied interests you tend to just join a bunch and pick and choose what events to go to. You’re either -all eyes on you for a specific topic or a drop in the ocean in a group of 5,000.
- Meeting random people at a bar is HARD (for some of us). Props to the people who can go to a random bar and make friends with random strangers. A good portion of us can’t. You know that feeling of going to a meetup or networking event - you walk in, don’t know who’s in the group and who’s not, clutch your purse and kind of stand around awkwardly until someone says hi. Or you insert yourself into a random group to join their conversation. It’s not easy, it’s not fun, it's awkward and uncomfortable for so many people.
- It’s never the same people. So you finally went to a meetup you enjoyed and are excited to attend - you go and none of the people are the same. Your hopes of grabbing the number of the person you totally forgot to grab last time isn’t there. In fact it’s an entirely different group with an entirely different vibe. You’re back to square one and the people you met last time become mere acquaintances.
- They aren’t always super welcoming. This absolutely doesn’t apply to every group, but from my experience - and the experiences of others I’ve spoken to, this happens a lot. You’ve finally put a meetup on your calendar and you arrive and no one is friendly - or they make you feel like a total outsider. This happens a lot with smaller meetups, that are more specifically targeted to hobbies. Maybe they’ve all known each other, or they’ve met before but you feel like you’re on the outside and don’t feel as though you’re welcome to the group.
- No one follows through. This is probably the biggest culprit of meetups - no one ever follows through! You can meet a few people you click with, exchange numbers and then never hear from them. You’ve been friend ghosted. It’s a sucky feeling, especially when you’re already feeling lonely. I’ve exchanged numbers with so many people I hoped to be friends with, reached out and never heard a word.
Despite the reasons we think Meetups overall, fail for helping people make friends - it’s wildly successful. We recognize that there is this overwhelming desire for people to establish community, to create authentic relationships with people over shared interests. Props to you if you are a part of an amazing Meetup group that has been successful in helping you make friends! Or even more so if you run a group (we know how much hard work it is!). When we started The B Hive Apiary - we thought to ourselves, how can we truly expand our social circle and develop real, authentic female friendships - that aren’t just a flash in the pan, that are those friends you lean on in hard times, that are always your partner in crime and that share the same interests as you. We think we found a pretty great platform for success.
- Consistency is key. We host regular events, every month, without fail. We hold them if we have 5 people show or 125 people show.
- Small & Intimate is better than big and boisterous. When you have 15 girls hanging out at someone's apartment just girl talking and drinking wine - it's WAY easier to get to know each other than at a crowded bar on Rainey. Not to say we don’t enjoy hosting those too (because we do).
- We take the time to get to know you and truly welcome you! It totally sucks when you go to a meetup and you don’t know anyone - we know this. When you attend one of our events, we always make sure to welcome you into the fold! Not only do we, as co-founders, make it our mission to make you feel like a part of the group, but our established members do too. You won’t ever feel excluded!
- We have a little bit of something for everyone. Into crafts? We’ve got that. Want to learn something new? We teach seminars! Like books? We’ve got a book club! Wine connoisseur? Don’t worry we’ve got plenty of wino’s. Fitness buff? We host a fitness event each month! Like to give back - we do too, we organize volunteer events and fundraisers!
- We do all the planning for you - you just show up! We want to make it easy for our members to attend our events, we take care of filling up the calendar - all you do is RSVP and show up! You can attend as much, or as little as you’d like each month. If you feel like you never have anyone to do anything with, you will automatically have a full calendar.
- Our members are truly some of the kindest, most supportive women around. We have always held the position that women should support each other, not compete. We all lift each other up, celebrate wins, cry over losses and cheer on each other whenever we need support. Whether you’re the newest member or one of our originals - we always have your back!
We know making friends can be hard. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re interested in learning more about The B Hive and how we can help fill your social calendar and expand your circle of best friends - send us a message or join us today!