I’ve written previously on how I find it hard to meet and keep friends in my local area. As it turns out, I’m not alone in this thinking. Many people in Canberra (especially if they’re new to the city) find it hard to fit in and find friends.
Her Canberra, a website that keeps people up to date on the goings on in Canberra, published an article last year on finding friends in the city and were amazed at the response they received from people saying that thought it was difficult. As a result of that they started the Click + Connect events to get a bunch of women in the city together to meet new people.
It was 2 days before the event that I found out about the event and I thought it sounded like a pretty good idea. I also found it quite a terrifying idea when I thought about walking into a restaurant full of strangers. I didn’t buy my ticket until the night before the event and was still pretty scared about doing it. There was an ‘interests’ survey when buying tickets so they could try and match you with similar personalities however I couldn’t tick any of the boxes and had to use the dreaded ‘other’ option. I wondered if I was going to be that quiet weirdo in the corner.
There were more than 50 women that came to the dinner and many others who couldn’t make it because of availability. Part of me thinks it’s pretty amazing feat for Her Canberra and Guild to cater but they did a great job of it. Another part of me thinks it’s a bit sad that so many people (who knows how many more are in the same situation and just don’t know about Click + Connect) have a hard time making friends in this city.
While I did feel a bit like the odd one out wearing my jeans and pop culture reference t-shirt, where most of the other women actually looked like grown ups, I didn’t feel like I was excluded and everyone was very friendly and interested in knowing about everyone else.
The dinner was held at our local board game restaurant (it’s the only one we have and opened in January), Guild, which I was also a little hesitant about. I mean, aren’t board games for nerds? It may be that I underestimated the many different types of games that come under the banner of ‘board game’ and that, in fact, they were pretty fun. It was actually an excellent idea to run the event here as it was the perfect ice breaker for all of us shy strangers (although some were less shy) sitting at a table together.
As part of the event, we had a banquet dinner that included a free drink. I, obviously, went for the one that included Vodka. Plus it had lavender infused lemonade! I had to find out what that was about – as it turns out, I am much more adventurous when trying new food than meeting new people. Both me and the girl next to me ordered this drink and marvelled over how pretty it looked. In reality, it was much more purple (you may even say, lavender) than this photo shows with little bits of lavender floating around the glass. Once I got over the fact that I was about to drink some lavender, I gave it a try and it was actually quite decent and really did taste like lavender. I was quite pleasantly surprised.
I was quite impressed that we were all able to choose our own pizza. It was an amazing feat by the pizza chefs to get so many pizzas out in such a short amount of time. I went with your typical ‘meat lovers’ style pizza which, in this case, was called Zombicide. All the pizzas had game based names, e.g. the 4 cheeses was called Connect 4 which I thought was cute.
The toppings on the pizza were pretty great but the base let it down a bit. It was quite crunchy and sort of biscuit like. I’m not sure if this is because they had to cater for so many people in such a short timeframe or whether this is their standard base. That being said, it didn’t ruin the pizza but it could be improved on.
The staff were great at Guild and they had people roaming around whose job it was to come and make sure everyone’s game was going ok or to check if they wanted a new one and in some cases come and play the game with you. It’s a nice service and you can tell they really enjoy what they do. It is definitely a good place to go with a bunch of friends, family or basically anyone (as we found out that night).
Her Canberra put together a pretty great event. It was well organised and a lot of fun. After I made the walk down the stairs to Guild and was introduced to my ‘early bird’ table friends I was less anxious about it all, I knew we were in capable hands!
I’m not sure that I made any lifelong friends this time around but I enjoyed going out and trying something a little different, as well as getting a chance to check out Guild with a big group of people, something I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do.
I’m definitely interested in going to future events and recommend their facebook group for anyone in the area to keep an eye on for next time.