I hate these lists. So often these “top five guides” are worthless, and say silly things like “make friends at the coffee shop”. I don’t know about you, but short of some Tinder “pre-dates” (the date before the date… don’t @ me), I’ve never met a friend at a coffee shop. It’s weird. Even if I do chat with a friendly espresso lover, do we actually make it to the stage of exchanging contact info and hanging out? Definitely not.
Luckily, I’ve hosted hundreds of events and met thousands of strangers. Meeting new people is pretty standard weekend fare for me. So, if your goal is to make new friends or maybe connect with a new boo thang—welcome!
Join a walking or hiking group. Yes, there are Black hiking groups! If you play a competitive sport then definitely join the recreation league in your area. I personally think hiking groups are the best bet. If you are shy, no one finds it weird if you say little, but when you are ready to join the conversation it’s easy because you’ve been eavesdropping for a mile. Often a hiking group will grab breakfast or lunch after the walk, so that’s bonus time for friendship building. Competitive sports have less in-the-moment conversation time, but a drink after the (hopefully winning) game is great for building camaraderie.
Join a book club. It’s easy to find book clubs online or affiliated with your library. Your best bet for meeting Black people is to join a book club focused on Black authors. Personally, I find it hard to keep up with a group reading schedule, but if you’re into it… live your life boo!
Take a fun class at your community college or rec center. Do you enjoy dancing? Want to learn Spanish? Always wanted to know how to garden? It’s all about structure! The teacher or instructor is doing the heavy lifting by doing most of the talking and giving you something to do with your hands (Hands! Why do you be so awkward?) Bear in mind that you’ll meet more Black people in a class that relates to Black culture. It’s perfectly normal to invite your classmates to grab sandwiches after two hours of learning how to Chicago step together. Do it! Do you know what happens when you combine classmates with sandwiches? You get friendships.
Join a Black travel group! Leaving your city, state or country is a great way to meet new people. If solo traveling and bumping into strangers in hotel lobbies isn’t your speed, consider joining a travel group. You aren’t doing any of the planning, you’re taking lots of photos, and you are swapping travel adventure stories. All it takes is one weekend getaway to make long lasting new friendships.
This wouldn’t be an internet list without a shameless plug! Seriously though, I’ve met many of my closest friends through Black Everywhere and you can too. Come to an event in your city and you’ll encounter other people looking for friends, a fun activity, and almost always some food—the royal trifecta of friendship building. Events are typically free and low cost, and membership is free too!
So, now you know where to meet Black people, but here’s the key to making these friendships stick—follow up! If you meet someone at a Black Everywhere event, reconnect with them later in our group chat (blackeverywhere.com/groupchat). Schedule 1:1 hangouts to turn associates into real friends!
Oh, and if none of that works… I’ll be your friend. Send me questions, comments and silly memes at firstname.lastname@example.org.