For both young and old, finding things to do locally and meeting new people can be difficult, especially since we live in such an online world these days. In fact, most of us have more “friends” or group activities online than we do locally. Although this is something being experienced all over the world, isolating ourselves within an online community is simply not good for us in the long term. So say tons of psychologists, and many mothers. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we know they’re right.
Being completely shy and a near social recluse myself, you may wonder how I even began considering this topic in the first place? It happened while I was doing some research for another upcoming EDN article. I noticed that in many local forums and some other websites that deal with our area directly, there were many questions and comments regarding how to meet people in Eugene or Springfield. They also were asking about any local groups to join, so that they could meet people that way. Other common local questions were on what things there were to do in our county, things they could do with a friend or as a family.
Who are these people looking for real flesh and blood friends? Well, you may think that these must be people new to our area, and many were or are, but on top of that there were and are just as many people posting and stating that they’re longtime residents that also wanted to find a buddy to pal around with once in awhile.
Another group of people looking for friends in Eugene / Springfield and for something to do with those friends, are our children. Usually teenagers. As a mother of a 19 and 23 year old, I have heard throughout the years the “I’m bored” phrase. I still hear it actually. Another common comment you’ve also probably heard is, “there’s just nothing to do here.” This is when we can often see what impact all of the online social interaction is having with our children, and then hopefully see that it may also can be doing the same to us. By their spending so much time in this new land of social contact through computers and smartphones, they spend little to no time interacting in real time with real people, and it shows.
It’s easy to become so completely hooked into your world on the internet that you find yourself having a tougher and tougher time when it comes to having one on one contact up close and personal. Starting to establish friends for yourself or your children may even feel a bit intimidating. Just keep in mind for yourself and your teen, that this doesn’t mean that they have to get rid of their (on average) 229 Facebook friends, or have to stop using Skype or Google Hangout as a means of communicating with people locally or internationally.
It just means we are trying to form a new type and kind of relationship, not really new since this was the “old” way of doing things and the “new” way is how we’re doing it now, however, it may feel new to the younger generations. Keeping that in mind can be helpful as you try to help them find activities they are interested in.
So, whether we are new to the area or have been here a long time, or whether we are young or we are old, a new adventure of meeting new people and trying new things can still be had. Better yet, we can find friends and activities locally by using the same tech savie skills that made all of our online friends possible. Using the new way to make friends, which is by using social sites, can help you find friends the old way. I will get you started by showing you a few sites and ideas of when and where to meet new people or do new things, but then the rest is up to you. I also would love it if you share your favorite places to meet people or favorite things to do here in Lane County!
Start Local with Facebook:
Since most of us these days connect to Facebook in order to keep up with friends and family, it’s a good place to start for finding some local meet ups. To find local groups, events, people and more in Eugene or Springfield, type the city name and state you are looking for into the Facebook search bar. A search for Eugene, Oregon brought up lots of results in several categories.
You will find your categories on the left side of your screen. Clicking on Groups shows a variety of groups in Eugene. The groups vary, including groups for those that love nature, religion, hobbies, business types and more. Some are closed groups, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join, it just means you’ll have to ask.
Here are a few, but do the search yourself for an entire list:
What to do in Eugene: https://www.facebook.com/365EugeneOR
Eugene Garage Sales, for those of you that love garage sales this will be something you can join online but also then get out a few days a week to meet others that love a good deal too! https://www.facebook.com/groups/EugeneOregonGarageSales/
Professional Photographers in Eugene: The title speaks for itself, so if you are involved in professional photography, this group may be for you! https://www.facebook.com/groups/191965790822714/https://www.facebook.com/groups/92008165259/
Emerald Valley Quilters: Love quilting? Here are some friends that will help keep you inspired with tips and more! https://www.facebook.com/groups/191965790822714/
The Eugene, Oregon Group: Now this one is for anyone. No matter what it is you like, love or even hate, this group is united due to one commonality; Eugene, Oregon. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Eugene.Oregon.Community/
Online MeetUP sites: One of the best sites to find some friends or groups locally is called Meetup.com. There are many groups and meeting places listed for both Eugene and Springfield. There is a great calendar available so you can search by date or by category. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can start your own group or meeting. Here’s a sampling from Meetup.com for Eugene:
“Mix n’ Minglers formerly known as Eugene Girls Night out has gone Co-Ed! Our purpose is to create a supportive, caring, fun and active group of people looking to make new friends and build lasting friendships, have fun, create new experiences and learn new things. The members of this Meetup enjoy experiencing a variety of activities from drinks and appetizers to workshops and classes, watching movies, dinner parties, potlucks, arts and crafts, games, community events as well as hiking, biking an …”
“Our adult flag football group is for a bunch of guys where the age bell curve is 35 years old. The main reason for this group is to play competitive games where mature football fans can participate in a sport they love. This group will welcome all players who are trying to get back into shape while participating in a sport they love. We will also ask anyone to leave that is rude, plays without thought of others, or tries to start fights. There are no set teams. Simply RSVP for weekly game show u …”
“We are a group of UX, UI, and Web Designers in Eugene who love the industry. We want to have a strong community of designers and learn from each other. Join our meetings if you want to see what other designers in the area are working on, learn some new tips, network with other designers and developers or see presentations by design pros from ad agencies, startups, and design shops. This is an exciting time for designers.”
“Novice or advanced just bring some knitting/craft and chat over tea or coffee. Meet new people and make lasting friendships.”
“We like to get out and have fun, go to happy hour, meet new people, and socialize. Our interests are as varied as our users. Whether you are new to town and looking to meet people, feel like a third wheel with your married friends, or are just looking to expand your social circles; chances are we have something for you.”
“This is an activist’s only group. Our goal is to have 100% green sustainability in Lane County ASAP. These meetups will be to discuss the implementation of total green sustainability in our area.”
“We are a group who love to travel, like discussing their travels, sharing their travel ideas, want to meet fellow travelers and make new friends, find travel buddies, share their travel tips and ways to get and go on a great trip. Please bring your pictures and any videos you might have. We may try and arrange a trip for the group to go on. But if nothing else we can each enjoy everyone’s travel experiences!”
Meetup.com for Eugene is: http://www.meetup.com/cities/us/or/eugene/ Meetup.com for Springfield: http://www.meetup.com/cities/us/or/springfield/A similar site Meetin.Org: http://www.meetin.org/MEETinEUGENE/
Make friends by volunteering. There are many volunteer groups and organizations in our community. This list can get you started: http://www.volunteermatch.org/search
Support Groups: If you find yourself in need of support for anything, including addictive support groups, weight loss, bipolar or other mental illnesses support, cancer, and so much more, you can go to this site. They have a great listing of the support groups in our area: http://www.yellowpages.com/eugene-or/support-groups
Bored?: If you’re more bored than wanting to make friends, you can check out sites with Things to Do, Dining, Organizations and more. Here are a few good ones: http://www.americantowns.com/or/eugene-things-to-do
Teens / Young Adults: For teen or young adult fun things to do and great places to meet other teens, check out this article and list of sites and ideas: Fun Things for Teenagers in Eugene, Oregon | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_7699433_fun-things-teenagers-eugene-oregon.html#ixzz2P6KBw7gL
For teens that love art, there’s the non-profit community center, Maude Kerns Art Center, which offers free art classes. There also are a variety of events such as exhibitions, lectures, workshops and internship programs. Studio space is offered to anyone who wants it.
For the more traditional teen that loves having fun there is Moose’s Billiards and Games in downtown Eugene. They offer pool tables, video games and air hockey tables.
Bowling facilities are also available at various locations, as well as some laser tag spots. One loved hangout by teens is Putters, which is on Hwy 99: www.eugenesgamecentral.com/putters.html
Family: Fun & Cheap things to do in Eugene: http://mecheshier.hubpages.com/hub/Free-and-Cheap-Things-To-Do-in-Eugene-Oregon
Other Family things to do: http://www.familydaysout.com/kids-things-to-do-usa/springfield/or/
Lastly! Try sharing a ride with someone. You can be helpful to our ecology and find friends at the same time! Ride Share: http://www.carpoolworld.com/carpool.html?to=SPRINGFIELD&wc=USA,US&ws=OR&lat=44.0858760&lon=-123.0270338