Lonely Cities

It’s ironic how cities can be so populous, and yet contain some of the loneliest people.

There’s a whole host of reasons for this, and I won’t go into statistical data here.  The fact remains that more and more of us are boxed off from one another, and the walls just keep getting higher.

This is why I’m a huge fan of Meetup.com.  Having discovered it several years ago, I was grateful for an opportunity to join interesting activities and meet new people that I otherwise would not have known about.

Not everyone fairs well in some of the more traditional ways of making friends.  Work can be a huge disappointment, and we’re just not drawn to the watering holes (and if we are, we generally keep to ourselves anyway).  Family is far away, or if it is close it can be such a drain that relief only comes through distance.  We are not the sporting types, aside from the odd jog around the block.

Increasingly, we find our lives more and more invested online, in the virtual world.  This place can give you the illusion of friendship and can even leave you feeling satisfied……for a very brief time.  Then, when the space next to you in bed is empty, or you face another Friday night in front of the TV, you realize just how barren this world really is.

And that’s where Meetup.com enters the fray with a vision to transform cities into places where locals gather around numerous interests and find that very thing they crave….community.  Many a friendship, many an intimate relationship has been formed through this network.

One year ago having just moved to Brisbane I logged on to Meetup.com hoping to find a space for coffee lovers to meet.  While there was huge demand, this space did not exist, so I created it and adorned it with the name Brisbane Coffee Lovers (which I admit is actually copied from an American group using their own city name).  And it took off quickly.

In celebrating the anniversary, many people expressed their appreciation for the group, and how much it had changed their experience of Brisbane.  All because of my little whim to meet coffee geeks.  And I realized that my own experience of loneliness has now become the means by which lonely people can connect.

So I now christen this wonderful group with the following motto, and hope it continues in this vein:

Coffee is merely the bridge by which strangers become friends


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