Sure, you probably have dozens of Facebook pals and Twitter followers, but e-friends do not a real posse make—nor will they help in your search for self-improvement. Get off the computer and scope out these ways to meet people (yes, in real life!). There are sport leagues, volunteer projects and offbeat events, so you’ll find plenty of options for making friends, regardless of your interests.
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Bat Haus Coworking
Natalie Chan and Cody Sullivan opened this congenial spot earlier this year, after determining that there weren’t many places in the area that were serving the needs of freelancers. Fifty to sixty people use the 2,500-square-foot clubhouse each week, taking advantage of perks such as Wi-Fi, mail delivery and a shared kitchen. At least one collaboration, between a Web developer and a graphic designer, has been sparked among Bat Haus members. The venue also hosts events, including monthly Presentation Party Night lectures and a flea market on weekends. batha.us. Unlimited membership $149/month, part-time membership $99/month, day pass $10.
Since it opened in 2010, the Brainery has acted as a hub for folks who want to sate their curiosity about food, history, or any number of quirky topics. Small class sizes make it easy to chat with other attendees, and more hands-on workshops encourage interaction among participants. This winter, the Brainery will open a new classroom in Prospect Heights that will also function as a coworking space, further helping nerdy types meet and mingle. brooklynbrainery.com. New space opening TBA.
The Young Patrons of Lincoln Center
Performing-arts buffs unite for discussions, community-outreach programs, sneak previews of shows and exclusive opportunities to meet performers. Annual galas provide an excuse to dust off your formal wear, get schmancy and sip bubbly. 212-875-5236, lincolncenter.org/YPLC. Members-only holiday party Dec 13; annual membership $250.
Young Professionals Book Club & Dinner
Having hosted open-to-all book clubs, the JCC in Manhattan recently introduced a gathering dedicated solely to people under 40. The two-hour monthly powwow, led by a different member each time, brings together bibliophiles from across the boroughs to share wine, dinner and conversation on a chosen novel. 646-505-5727, jccmanhattan.org. Dec 19 at 7pm; $10.
Gotham Rock Choir
Whether you’re a former chorus nerd or you harbor a secret desire to be on The Voice, it’s time to serenade something other than your conditioner bottle. While this ensemble’s high-profile performances have included singing the national anthem at Madison Square Garden, founder Mark Cannistraro keeps the environment fun and low-pressure. Members from all vocal sections (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) can often be found socializing before and after weekly Tuesday rehearsals. E-mail email@example.com for meeting location (gothamrockchoir.com). Tue 7pm; $7–$10 per meeting. Through Dec 18.
Owner Catherine Clark launched knitting and crafting tutorials at her petite craft shop in late 2003, after noticing that informal groups would gather on Friday nights to crochet and converse. At this workshop, which takes place over five two-hour classes, instructor Heather Love helps groups of four to six neophytes make an entire hexagon quilt by hand. Make the most of your time by sharing your experiences (or lack thereof) with others who’ve always wanted to create a DIY gift but never managed to move beyond construction-paper greeting cards. 718-237-7753, brooklyngeneral.com. Mon 10, Dec 17, Jan 7, 14, 21 at 7pm; $190 per session.
New York Fun Run
Unless you’ve got the Benjamins for a helicopter ride, there’s no better way to see the city than on foot. Find running buddies by jogging around town with this sociable group. Members, who call themselves “Run-Chuggers,” meet at a bar in a different neighborhood every Wednesday night and set out along a predetermined route, returning to the same watering hole for a few guilt-free postrun beers. The 30- to 50-minute trot allows plenty of time to think up clever conversation starters. meetup.com/nyc-fun-run. Wed 7pm; free.
Play Soccer 2 Give
Soccer and service go hand in hand with this nonprofit, which encourages players from all over the city to meet for competitive-yet-friendly games of pickup footy. Proceeds fund youth-soccer equipment in underprivileged communities here and around the world. Players of all skill levels can sign up for January’s winter indoor season as individuals or as a group of up to five. meetup.com/playsoccer2give. $2–$10 per match.
Founded in 2007 by a pair of ex-journalists, Many Hopes is dedicated to housing, educating and empowering orphaned girls in Kenya. In just a few years, the organization has built four homes in the coastal town of Mtwapa for 44 kids who had been living on the streets. The long-term goal: raising young women to be leaders who will help bring their country out of poverty. Participants who contribute $10 to $25 monthly—all of which directly supports Many Hopes’ initiatives—meet once a month, culminating in the yearly Breaking Ground fund-raising campaign. The organization also hosts get-togethers for local chapters and annual retreats, and even takes three groups to Mtwapa each year. Visit manyhopes.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Launched in 2008, this initiative from the venerable shelter brings together professionals in their twenties and thirties looking to make a difference in downtown Manhattan. Think of it as networking, only way more productive and valuable. In addition to throwing an annual summer fund-raiser, the Young Philanthropists organize projects and events to assist homeless people and at-risk youth, such as coat drives. The group’s latest effort is serving meals to the homeless community at the Bowery Mission in the East Village. To join in, e-mail email@example.com. 212-684-2800, ext 152; bowery.org/donate/youngphilanthropists. Next event: January.