A month ago, I went to dinner with some college friends for my birthday. While we were having a pre-dinner drink at the bar, one of them suggest I check out an app called Meet Up. This friend never married or had children. As most of us were getting married and having babies, we weren’t as available to go out like she was. She found that it gave her a way to check out different groups of people who shared common interests.
On one hand, it felt silly. My friends are all supportive and wonderful people. I don’t really ‘need’ more friends. I am invited to girls’ nights out and some of the couple events too. They don’t ever make me feel like a burdensome third wheel. At the same time, I am the only widow and single person.
What the heck – why not – I downloaded the app.
The first group I found was a local widow’s group. I went to their November meeting and introduced myself. Attending Camp Widow made me less nervous to walk into the room not knowing anyone. I knew we all had a common thread and there would be kindness. Although, it did feel like I was cheating on Soaring Spirits by attending a different brand of widow support. I keep telling myself, it’s okay to seek support from everyone. Soaring Spirits doesn’t have a local chapter where I live, and while I’ve considered starting one, I also don’t need to add more to my plate right now. Maybe someday, maybe not.
I have my second event with them tonight and we’re dressing up and doing a small white elephant exchange. I ADORE my Camp tribe but I’m hopeful I’ll meet some more people and make some local connections too.
The other group I’ve been attending is one for singles. This one is more intimidating. We aren’t married. Single life is our only common thread. The first event I went to had around 100 attendees and it was close to home. In case I hated it, I figured it was a low commitment. Turns out, two of the women I met at the widows meeting were also first-time attendees. Thank the stars! Insta-friends! We stuck together while still meeting new people. Last week, I attended a smaller event with this group that was for ladies only. I was able to reconnect with some of the women I’d met the first time and get know others too. The woman I happened to sit next to was also a widow. We are EVERYWHERE and no one even realizes it!
All this to say, I’ve been working on finding different ways to put myself out there to meet new people. Peopling is hard and overwhelming at times, but everyone in these groups has walked in as a first timer before me. They have all been sincere and welcoming.
No one will replace my ride at dawn friends but branching out is good too. I’m thankful my friend suggested the app and I took a leap to attend some meetings.