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How to MeetUp - A Guide for Inexperienced and Introverted Ladies

Updated: 6 days ago

Post-pandemic isolation is FINALLY starting to lose its grip on people. For those of you who ran out in the world as soon as you could, arms widespread in glee, it's been done gone. But there is no shame in being one of the many people who has just now reached the point of feeling okay going out. Especially going out to new places and meeting new people.

I used to tell my nerdy clients that I loved MeetUp because the teeny tiny font and teeny tiny profile photos kept most of the hot-mess party element away. Having to scroll through text and read details was a natural barier to entry for those who aren't intellectually or academically minded. In other words: MeetUp was a nerdy friends paradise! 

Last year, MeetUp went through an upgrade and added profiles with larger photos, which opened up the doors to more members of the jock and glam squad. Don’t panic, it's still an overwhelmingly introvert-dominated scene. To the point that if I closed my eyes and composed a festival song that captures the spirit of MeetUp, the refrain would be: "I'm an introvert...but I'm an introvert, though..." (Set to a driving beat, of course). 

 Like anything else involving anxiety, knowledge and practice goes a long way towards building confidence. So here is my gift to you: this is my basic manual on 

How to MeetUp – the Ladies Edition!

1.     Choose Your Teams

I’m assuming you all know how to get the app and create an account. From here, you’re going to start looking up groups around you. Try to stay within a 15-20 minute radius of your home, or in a safe neighborhood that's along your regular commute. Close to your parents' home is also a great option. Before you join, peruse the profiles of the organizers and frequent attendees. I found a widows/widower’s group once on behalf of my widowed client, and then did a deep dive and found out that 4/5 of the men who RSVP'd had "Open to Work" banners on their LinkedIn profiles. No offense to the men, but I wasn’t about to send her out to a meetup of unemployed men.

You don't have to go as far as to Google each person, but you can get a good sense of the group from their photos and profiles. If all the guys look kind of creepy, it means they're going to show up, leer at you, stand too close, and ask you for your number in a way that makes you totally uncomfortable. So scrap that. Also, I once changed my RSVP to a dining event I really wanted to go to because I checked the event the day before, and the organizer was the only female and the other 14 attendees were all men. I felt sorry for her, but no thank you.

Don’t join any groups that aren’t your vibe, unless maybe it’s the wrong age group but they consistently post amazing looking events, and you want to gather ideas of places to visit with your friends. Keep your calendar clear for joining groups that you’ll actually be interested in attending.

You usually can't go wrong with rock climbing, pickle ball, or a morning hiking meetup. Just don't be too critical of height, because a lot of the amazing guys in those arenas will be around 5'4'-5'6. That's OKAY, they're a lot more useful and used to working hard than tall guys (who, no offense, often stand around looking cute but slow).

2) I’m Here, Now What?


When it’s your first time joining a group, aim to arrive within the first 20 minutes of the event start time. That gives you time to greet the organizer/s before they get busy. It might take a few times for them to remember your name, depending on how large/loud the group is, and it’s good to have a little time to introduce yourself before everyone arrives.


Stay close to the organizers until you spot a nice looking pair/trio of ladies, and then go introduce yourself to them. Rule of safety is stick close to the organizers or the women. If I bring out ladies who aren't very good at discerning danger or being pro-active, I'll even volunteer to walk them to the restroom. It’s not uncommon for creepers to notice a girl is going to the bathroom by herself, and wait in the hallway to corner her on her way out. It's not an appropriate place to approach a woman, and you don't want to give an opening to anyone who tries that trick.

3) Generate Your Posse

If you had a good time talking to the ladies you met, don’t hesitate to ask them for their numbers at the end of the event, especially if they live close to you. That way, you can text them next time there's an event you're interested in and ask if they're going too. Or suggest a carpool. I love to BYOF (Bring Your Own Friend) as often as possible, bc then you're never feeling super awkward or lonely. I'll do a group text with a bunch of girls, which will almost always end up with at least two of us going, at the minimum. MeetUp makes it easy to share the link, and I'll add a screenshot for those who are too lazy/busy to click. I'll also scout out nearby back-up spots to jump over to if the event is a bust.

BYOF also makes it easier to make friends with other women, as long as your group is welcoming and kind. It helps the group to expand organically, without being flooded with newbies every event. I started a group like this two years ago as an anti-Bumble BFF experiment, and it's really useful. Some ladies do one-on-ones randomly, others decide to go coffee or a meal before an event we’re all meeting at, some regularly carpool. It's super flexible. And all any of us has to do is share a link to an event and ask who wants to go, or create our own events. There's no pressure. And with a group event, if you need to flake last minute, it doesn't necessarily ruin anyone's day like a cancelled one-on-one would. I call this building in the Flake Factor, though I've found that when I assure ladies that they can flake if they need to, it actually results in less flaking.

4) Spot the Creepers.

You can identify creepers by their super shiny eyes, smarmy smiles, too-close physical contact, and persistence despite your trying to avoid questions or disengage. Your instincts will usually go off, but your politeness may not let you protect yourself. Spotting the creepers early on gives you time to prepare for executing your exit strategy if necessary. If they talk to you, pull out your “Mean Girl Mode.” Be polite, but dismissive. Keep direct eye contact brief and impersonal, cut conversations short, move away physically, and/or turn your back on them. They'll pursue easier prey if they can tell that you're not going to entertain them out of niceness.

There's almost always at least 2, sometimes 3 creepers at an event. I joke that you could go to a party for the Pope and you’d still find creepers. Men who will ask you for your number or IG handle even though they barely talked to you…and you will notice that they are going around asking all the girls the same thing. Men who'll try to separate you from the group, men who'll follow you to your car (yes, it's happened!) That's why it's also good to stick near the organizers and the ladies. Most meetup organizers take their hosting jobs seriously and will not hesitate to help you. But you have to be pro-active about your surroundings and about knowing where/to whom you can go for help. Never hesitate to ask a safe person to walk you to your car or ask other ladies to go with you to the restroom.

If you’re not actively sending dissuading signals to a creeper, he’s going to keep trying, so practice emoting: “Not Interested,” “No Way,” and “Hell No.”  


(Instead of “Oh, Okay, I Guess,” “Do I Have A Choice?” and “I’m Uncomfortable But Also Super Stuck.” Far better to send a clear cry for “Help! Get Me Out of Here!” than any of those options).

*I will say here that I have been given this treatment by people who think of me as their social inferiors. Mostly really rich jock/bro types. There's this pair of young dudes from my college who give me total "Why are you even talking to me, you're nothing" shunning vibes every time they see me at alumni events (where I'm trying to pick up singles and they're trying to pick up on rich investors >.<). If you've been treated like invisible dirt before, it may make you hesitant to turn the same treatment on others. But this isn't just a matter of keeping riffraff away, this is also directly tied to your physical safety. You've got to know how to identify and keep away men who are aggressively approaching you with little more but the desire to get physical with a woman. Also, allowing men to talk to you at length when you're not interested is the first step in granting them permission to court you. Eye contact, listening to them, engaging, and then giving them your number...those things are all you saying YES to them. Which can make for an uncomfortable situation at best, but also a dangerous situation when you finally say NO.

5) Get to Know the Keepers.

The other half of discernment is identifying the guys who have decent character. The "keeper" guys will keep an appropriate distance when talking to you. They’ll stand mostly upright, instead of leaning their bodies entirely over/towards yours. You'll see them think a lot before they talk, so they might roll their eyes up or say "uhhh" before answering. Girls often think this is not sexy, but this is normal, genuine human conversation. It’s not a professional networking event or a sales pitch. Regular guys aren’t going to produce easy, glib lies in a polished fashion. They’re not trying to impress you, they're focusing on being themselves and not royally messing up.


“Keepers” will also take more time to get to know you. They may not ask for your number, and if they do, they may blurt it out awkwardly, not in a practiced way that should tell you that they've also asked every other girl for her number. I coach clients to nicely say no to requests for their number. A smarter way for men to find out if they'll see you again is to bring up another upcoming event and ask if you're going too. This is why meetups and other organized, structured classes/groups are great - because you can get to know people over consistent, regular interactions. Ideally, get to know a guy for at least three (3) months of group co-ed interactions before you give him your number or agree to go on a date.**

That's why it's good to start now. Don't waste this summer. Growing relationships is a little like growing anything else…it’s seasonal, you have to wait for organic growth, and there's no rushing good results.

**Practice, practice, practice saying "No, I don't think so," "Maybe next time," or "I don't think that's a good idea" when guys ask you for your number or IG. Don’t give a direct line to men who haven’t proven themselves or earned it yet. That is intimate access - it’s a higher level. You don’t just hand it out to people because they swiped on you on an app, or they happened to show up to the same public forum you showed up at. It is a total waste of your time to have one-on-one conversations – through text or otherwise – with men who haven’t proved their character, and haven’t even gotten to know you well enough to genuinely have a crush on you. If you’re interested too, simply set a commitment to meet at the next week’s event/meeting, and BE THERE. If he’s interested, he’ll move heaven and earth to make sure he’s there too. The more you practice saying no, the easier it’ll become, and the more meaningful it will be when you finally say yes.


So there you have it. I’m sure this manual may raise more questions than it answers, and that’s certainly going to be the case as you start going out there and doing these things IRL. But you’ve got this!! Just be smart, be brave, and have fun! Remember: if you aren’t able to pick and build relationships with good women, then you’re not going to magically be able to pick and build relationships with good men. So start from that first step and let the rest come with time and experience. Stay safe, have fun, and happy growing!!!


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