First off, let me say, I have a super-wonderful group of friends that I love, love, love to death. I am beyond lucky in this regard.
I need some more. :)
I've got my "family," my little core group of besties that I spend most of my free time with. They are my family, and we, collectively, are also the Spinster Sisters. And not 'cause we be up in the gym, workin' on our fitness. We do the same thing: go out together and not meet anyone else. This is fine, we always have a lot of fun. I do not want it to be the backbone of my 20-year-plan, however. Or maybe it's okay if my besties are the backbone of the plan - as long as I've got some good, strong ribs branching off in other directions!
Then I've got my "marrieds." My best girlfriends who are wrapped up in their own busy lives, and we generally hang out at work or the occasional weekend/evening activity. Even our families don't overlap much - in most cases our kids are different ages and different interests, etc.
I've got a couple "specialized," too. :) Two guys (who collectively make up my perfect man - sadly one is married and the other gay) who go to art functions with me, alone or all together. My married girlfriend who is always up for my NPR events that I love so much. Thank GOODNESS for her, because I *need* to go to these events and I tell you, nothing vexes me more than being unable to find someone to go with me. She just bought our tickets to "Fran Lebowitz and Dan Savage - A Night of Conversation." It's in March 2012! I do not know Fran Lebowitz, but I seriously loves me some Dan Savage (like super-crushin'-on-the-gay-guy) love. :) Oh, that man is smart and funny and sassy and opinionated and he just cracks me up.
Anyway - where was I going with this? Oh yes, wonderful friends, love them to pieces. However, it's time to branch out. I am opposed to ruts and routines, and I have decided that I really, genuinely just hate online dating, and thus, it is time for me to meet new people.
Months ago, I started using meetup.com. What a fascinating site! I just learned it was started in response to 9/11. The originator wanted to capitalize on the sense of loving our fellow Americans and wanting to build community that we were all feeling after the attacks. So meetup.com was born: a website with groups based on specific interests (OMG - are there ever a ton of interest-groups!). A fun, free way to meet other people (it's not a dating site) who share your interests. I highly recommend checking it out. There are lots of singles groups, but there are even more non-singles groups.
Well, I didn't actually "start using" meetup.com, because although I am not shy, I am intimidated about showing up to do stuff with a bunch of strangers. I have been tracking several groups for months, thinking about attending functions. I *did* take the kids on a single-parent meetup this summer when we went whale watching. It was a very fun day and while I didn't go out of my way to meet people, it was nice to be surrounded by gobs of other single parents.
Last night I went with one of my art friends to the Seattle Art Museum for an artists' reception (READ: free food and cocktails). This had me feeling happy and social, then he packed me off to my first meetup.com event on my own. It's a group of Seattle singles who like food. :) I am a Seattle single who likes food! This group just picks restaurants around the city and goes and eats there. Usually small groups of 6-10, but last night was the monthly meeting with 30 or so people. The organizer was really good - I think that makes all the difference. When I walked into the restaurant, he was watching for people wandering in looking dazed and confused, and he stood up and greeted me, then immediately introduced me around.
I met the nicest people! Nice professionals, like me. I say this because I was very worried they would be weirdo losers and I would have to then face my own weirdo-loser status. It was a very fun evening and I will not hesitate to go again. I am feeling rather encouraged today about my ability to get out and have a blast, whether or not my own group of friends is available to join me.