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When it comes to finding new friends, the traditional wisdom is to join a group whose members share your interests – that’s what is all about – but like shopping online for a pair of shoes that’s going to fit comfortably or finding your perfect mate, there’s some hit or miss to finding the right Meetup for you. I picked groups by looking at the number of Meetups they had hosted recently and member reviews – some groups are inactive or have very few members; the best groups have been around for a long time and have a lot of members.To find groups in my area, I entered my zip code in the search engine, set a distance of 50 miles and added some interests: books, arts, culture, movies, writing. I checked out member profiles as well to see if the people sounded interesting.Once I’d picked a few groups, all I had to do was click “join” on the group’s page.Some groups require approval by the organizer; unless you’re a serial killer, you’ll get an approval by email in a day or two.Despite the age gap (I’m 72), everyone was extremely friendly – nobody gave me the “invisible” treatment – and the book I nominated was chosen, which amazed me since no one knew me and it’s a pretty esoteric book (“The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker.) I networked madly.I announced I wanted to move to Florida and needed a realtor, and of course there was a realtor in the group (every group has a realtor) who happened to be one of the older members and from New York.
While joining a group on Meetup is free, the site makes money by charging group organizers a nominal fee – currently to per month, depending on the payment plan.Members can start or find groups in their area that match their interests – from politics or the arts, to urban adventures, crafting and writing.