Let's get this out of the way... I hate moving! And I have moved a lot and started over in terms of social life and discovering a new city a few times. I moved from Heraklion to Thessaloniki, then to Norwich, then back to Thessaloniki, then to London.
Moving to Thessaloniki and Norwich were fairly easy; I was going there to study so I met and made friends with other students like me. We were all there in the same classes, sports clubs, societies and a very organised social life. Moving to London was a bit different. As a student in London you have the whole city at your disposal so you no longer depend on your student union to go out and the student life is decentralised. While I met a couple of friends as soon as our masters were finished we split up, some moved away, some got jobs and were too busy to go out and even when they were free our schedules hardly coincided.
|Brixton Pub Crawl|
Trying to build a career, apply for jobs and figure out what I wanted to do was already stressful enough and I spent a lot of hours seeing other people on facebook having friends, going out and having fun, when I could barely manage to get some people together once a month. It was early spring, just when people started having barbecues, when I reached the limit and typed on my phone 'app to make friends' you know, because whatever you need nowadays there is an app for that. To my surprise, there was an app for that: citysocializer.
I immediately joined, paid for my membership and booked on an event that was a couple of hours later, on the other side of the city, in London Fields park. It was a barbecue, a photo of which you can see below. I got ready, took the tube and overground and was there in time, only to see that everyone else was running late. It being the first time I tried something like this, I sat on a bench in the park, panicking, wondering how I could just go up to a bunch of strangers and ask if anyone would want to be my friend. Honestly, I almost left to go home, but at that moment I got a message from the host of the social, Andrea, who said he was there with a few more people, posted a photo of the group and their location and I decided to at least give it a chance and go say hi. If I did not like it I could always come up with an excuse and go home.
|Barbecue in London Fields|
As soon as I met the group everyone treated me like we had known each other forever, we chatted about everything from how our weekend was to what music festivals we were thinking of going to and even made some plans to go to a few more things happening in the next few weeks. We got the barbecues ready and cooked sausages and burgers, shared cold beers in the sun and even started talking with a group of black dancers, who had brought massive speakers and proceeded to teach everyone in the park to dance to African music. When it got dark our group moved to a pub. When the pub closed we went to Piccadilly Institute. When Piccadilly Institute closed at 3 in the morning we went got get chips. I ended up going back home at 6 in the morning, just as the sun was coming up, after 18 hours! Of course I was totally in love with the app.
In the next couple of weeks I had attended 8 more socials and had applied for a job at the company, which I got and I have been their marketing manager for the past 2.5 years. Over this time, I have been to 114 socials and have hosted another 70 myself. I took a group to Brighton for a weekend and went up to Leeds to meet our community there. When there is something I want to do but I do not want to go alone, all I have to do is post it on the website and other members will see it and join me. Through citysocializer I ended up meeting my closest friends here in London and even my boyfriend, Chris. Social and personal life sorted. I could never imagine all of this when I was at that park bench panicking and wanting to go home.
|The Goblin King's Masquerade Ball|
For me the most important lesson out of all this is that you have to take chances, say yes to new things no matter how crazy and unusual they seem and just go for it. I never thought I would use an app to completely transform my social life but that is exactly what happened. And 3 years down the line there are so many more options to meet people.
|Star Wars Secret Cinema|
Of course there is citysocializer, with a variety of social events, drinks, parties, cinema, dinners, art gallery visit, even day trips and small breaks abroad. The there is facebook and meetup with a selection of interest based groups. Last year I joined a fairy kei group and have met lots of new people who also like japanese fashion as well as some social networking groups for bloggers and youtubers.
Basically, when you need to find other people like you as an adult the internet is your best friend. Join as many groups as you can, go out as much as possible and meet as many people as you can find. Out of all those, you are bound to make some great friends, who share the same interests and want to go out and do the same things as you.
Bonus gift for my readers: If you do want to try citysocializer out you can use my special discount code 'getsocial' for 50% off your first membership period.