A sweet way to meet

Because everybody needs somebody, sometimes.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. In the summer of 2011, I bought a condo in Mt. Lebanon. I wanted to live close to my grandmother, and my new place put us within walking distance of each other. I didn’t know many people in my new neighborhood, however, and at some point I stumbled across meetup.com. Ever heard of it? It’s a website geared toward helping connect people with others in the same geographical area who have similar interests.

I decided to use meetup.com to help me explore the area a bit and get to know some new people. I invited a hugely outgoing, adventure-loving, similarly single friend along, which is one way to get over any hesitation you might have about meetups. I mean, if nothing else, I could just talk to her the whole time. I chose a bocce meetup in Mt. Lebanon park. Who knew there were bocce courts right here in Lebo? It ended up being a great way to spend a summer evening. The people were friendly, the bocce hit the right tone of low-key competition, and we grabbed a beer at Primanti Bros. afterward.

I liked it so much that I went to the same meetup again. I also went on a date with a guy that I met in that group. So, if you’re looking to meet someone without the immediate pressure of a one-on-one date, group meetups might give you that opportunity.

Fast forward to the summer of 2016. By then I was married with a new baby and had quit my job. Wow, talk about a transition! Most of my friends either worked or lived a little too far away for convenience. I was left navigating the complicated and exhausting world of infant care by myself. I missed my friends. One of them suggested a Mt. Lebanon moms group that could be found on, you guessed it, meetup.com. I am now a member of a large and well-organized local support network for moms.

Whether you’re new to the area or a Pittsburgh native, whether you’re just starting out in the professional world or nearing retirement, there’s a meetup for you on meetup.com. There are meetups for networking, fitness, meeting other singles, wine tasting, language learning and even ukulele playing. If you can’t find a meetup group in the area of your interest, the website will walk you through the process of starting one and finding members.

So, I challenge you. Make 2017 the year where you step out of your comfort zone just a little bit. Use meetup.com or another meetup facilitator to explore the area while meeting people with similar interests. Me? I will be packing up the bocce set we got as a wedding gift and taking our family to a picnic in the park followed by some bocce. See you out and about!

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