Last week I told you how I revamped my closet. This week, I wanted to tell you about the amazing idea my sister had a few months ago to revamp my social life.
I have been going through a phase where I really want to build my friendships and get more close girlfriends – I am so used to having a big group of awesome girlfriends from being in college and grad school. Once I moved to Santa Barbara and started working, I had just a couple here and there – some are super busy and hard to hang out with regularly, some moved away – but I am lucky to have a handful that I see regularly. I wrote about this on a post a while back – I was feeling a little insecure and stunted in that category and wanted to meet more people.
Then I talked to my sister, who had a great idea. We were talking about how hard it is to get something going with a new friend you like. So you meet a new neighbor – what do you do, invite them over for dinner? Sounds nice – but a little intense and pressure-y, from my introverted perspective. We were talking about it and I said “I wish there was just a casual way to just see people and get to know them better without having to make a big deal about it.”
Then she was like – wait, duh. I used to do this in college. You just make a day where you all meet at the same place every week for beers – then you can invite whoever you want, and it’s no big deal. They had Woodstocks Wednesdays in downtown San Luis Obispo, and it was an awesome social hub to fall back on every week. Then I remembered – I had one in college, too! It was Family Dinner Night – every Thursday (I think…) at my friends’ house. We would have a potluck and catch up and everyone would bring new people all the time.
So we thought – this does not need to just be a college thing. And Yellow Belly Tuesday was born.
As it turns out, Anthony and I and our two friends were meeting at Yellow Belly about once a week anyway, just to catch up during the week. It’s perfect, because it’s walking distance from our house and we are regulars already. Yellow Belly opened sometime last winter I think, and everyone loves the great food and beer. We started calling it our dining room, since our place doesn’t really have one, and we eat there so much.
It was the perfect place for our weekly gathering. Our first Yellow Belly Tuesday was on July 7th, and it has been a hit ever since. I feel like I see people regularly that I wouldn’t otherwise, and I have gotten to know some acquaintances a lot better – and now I can call them my friends. I think it was the perfect solution to my new friend slump – if you are having one too, I highly recommend giving your social life a face lift and starting your own.
Set up your own weekly gathering:
Choose a place.
For us, it was a no-brainer. And honestly, we were pretty selfish about it… since we were starting it, we got to choose our favorite place. But if your favorite place is a super romantic Italian tiny restaurant with candles and white tablecloths, it’s not the best choice. Ask yourself a couple of questions when choosing a place:
- Is it big enough to accommodate the number of people you want to come?
- Is it casual?
- Does it have food?
- Does it have a menu that most people could choose from?
- Is it out of the way or in the middle of town?
Choose a day and time.
We wanted it to be during the week, to break things up and to have something to look forward to. You probably won’t want to have it on the weekend, since a lot of people go out of town or will have other stuff planned. This way you can catch up with a mix of people during the week, and have the weekend to hang out with your typical group and relax. We wanted to choose something mid-week and landed on Tuesday to avoid Anthony’s ensemble’s rehearsals that typically happen Wednesdays and Thursdays. Think about who will probably be the regulars and take a poll with your core group to see what day is most convenient for most people.
Even if Tuesdays aren’t great for some people, we end up staying so long that most people can at least swing by on their way to or from something else if they wanted to. Ours goes from 6:15-9ish usually. It might sound like a big investment and way too long to be at a restaurant – but it actually happens naturally that way. Even before we started YBT, we ended up staying until around nine just with friends. Consider if you could hang out at this place for that long, or if there would be a changing set of people that would be there for an extended period of time – it’s nice to have a big window to see the most people around their schedule.
We use Facebook to spread the word, every week. It’s nice to remind people (even those that come all the time) and make posts about that week – for example, if it’s someone’s birthday and we’re celebrating, or if we need to let anyone know that we (the core members who started this whole thing) can’t make it.
Facebook doesn’t let you set up recurring events (if I’m wrong let me know!) so we update the date every week until it doesn’t let us anymore, then we create a new one and start over. Facebook works for us because we can make it public and people can invite their friends on their own. If you choose to use Facebook, make sure to add a few people as the admin so they can update the event if you can’t.
Engage with your new place.
Tell the waitstaff about your weekly meet up and tag their social media pages when you take photos or check in. It’s always nice to have connections with a local place that you love.
I know you are already super pumped about this – but just to seal the deal… Here are a few benefits of this kind of set up:
- Friend dating someone new? This is a super casual way for you to meet and get to know them.
- Do you have a friend-crush on someone in the office, but don’t know how to be friends with them in real life? Invite them as you’re leaving work so you can integrate them into your friend group.
- Want to meet more people? Encourage everyone to bring their office friend crush, their boyfriend/girlfriend and their friends, etc – your friend network can potentially grow exponentially.
Please tell me if you already have something like this that you do (weekly bookclubs maybe? Too bad I only read in random phases – beer is more of a constant in my life) and what you like or dislike about it. If you end up launching one of your own weekly hangouts, let me know how it goes!
Amazing photos taken by my talented sister, Mary, at Two Happy Lambs Photography