Most of my stories about meeting people occur in some seedy bar or club. It's a shame that I think I need to be in a drinking environment to meet people. There is good news though: there is no law that says we have to be in a bar to meet people.
The "non-alcoholic" list I've composed below is actually more effective for meeting people in some ways. While a bit of a "buzz" from a few drinks helps take the edge off, the non-alcoholic spots have are conducive for meeting people for the following reasons:
- They are quieter than bars so you can hear each other
- The surroundings provide subject matter and spark conversation
- They bring people with common interests together
- Meeting someone in a spot other than a bar might feel more "storybook" and spontaneous
Here are some good non-alcoholic meeting spots:
Once, I was standing in front of vegetables, confused, when a woman approached me asking where the something-or-other-mushrooms were. I know nothing about mushrooms or how to cook with them, but we did get into a quite a conversation about them. There are so many questions crossing your mind while food shopping, and engaging others with these questions is a great way to spark up convo. Just stay away from items with "controversial" names like peaches and melons.
Art openings are usually festive affairs that naturally feed conversation around the artist and their art.
My move in museums or zoos that include live specimens is to pretend I can't find the animal in question in the terrarium. Animals are always hiding amongst the display. So nudging the cute girl next to me to ask if she sees the animal that's supposed to be in the cage could start up a conversation. Museums are full of conversation-starters.
People gather before the show starts, and intermissions provide a little window to chat with people about the production. Then, at the end of the production, there's always time too.
It might be a little stalkerish to approach someone sitting by themselves in the park; just don't corner someone, and you're usually OK kicking up a little conversation. If you're both doing a similar phsysical activity such as roller blading or biking, you might have a little in with someone.
OK, I admit that there is plenty of room to drink at these, but let's assume you're having an alcohol-free sports day. Even if you're in a sports bar (not drinking), there is plenty to talk about as people react to their team's performance, or wear sports apparel reflecting their team allegiance. At actual events, you might meet people in the parking lot while tailgating, and later on in the stadium. Warning: do not approach guys like me who get incredibly grumpy when our team is losing. If you do make this risky move, at least try to cheer him up!
Lots of people talk about books they are reading, even when someone approaches them and asks them about the book. Book stores surround us with conversation-starting items. You can even "select" someone based on what section they are browsing.
My friend Margaret is taking cooking classes and tells me about all of the great people she's met in class. Any type of class (boxing, yoga, acting, music, computers) is a great place to meet people. Any class you join will include people with similar interests. It's a low-pressure environment that encourages teamwork. And, even if you don't meet that special someone, you're still improving yourself.
Shopping is full of opportunities. I find myself hitting on women that work in stores, as well as fellow customers. There are niche stores such as music, clothing, or whatever that might bring you in contact with people with similar interests.
Most of the venues above are cool because you're improving yourself and producing even if you don't meet your dream date. It's much better than running into a dead end after a long night of drinking in bars. Sure, bars will always have their special place in the life of the single person, but sometimes we forget there are other places to meet people and we get stuck in the cycle of going out to bars constantly.
Have you ever had any luck at the above venues? What non-bar or non-alcoholic venues would you add to this list and why?
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