By Kim Calvert
It’s not always easy to get out of our comfort zones, but it can be the only way to make new friends, especially when you’re single and living in Los Angeles.
If you live in Los Angeles, you won’t be surprised to hear that this city continues to win the prize for having the worst traffic in the nation. No wonder so many of us refuse to leave the house once we finally manage to get back in from fighting the freeways. And how ironic that with close to 10 million people living in L.A. County, many of us (including me) don’t even know the names of our next-door neighbors.
This city provides the perfect storm for social isolation. Take the traffic gridlock, add to that the paranoia that makes it seem improper to say “hello” or “good afternoon” when you pass someone on the street, then mix in the way Facebook makes it easy to interact with friends online and you have all the ingredients for self-justified seclusion — and we who are single are particularly vulnerable.
Sure, it’s reassuring that social media websites such as Facebook and even our own SingularCity can deliver a sense of a social life without having to get dressed or comb your hair. It’s hard not to succumb to these minimal-risk, no-effort ways (some would say artificial ways) to be part of a human community. But these networks have also become substitutes for what used to mean “I saw you, you saw me, we shook hands, we looked into each other’s eyes and had a voice audible conversation” — in other words: real human interaction.
Part of the concept of SingularCity is to provide the convenience of an online social networking community, but it’s also to provide real-time opportunities for people to meet other people — not necessarily with the agenda of finding a date (although that does happen) but to make new friends and expand the connections to other single people who share a singular commonality.
But getting people to actually show up, even when they’ve made a “virtual” commitment, takes a ridiculous amount of effort. I hear this from people who plan events and mixers of all kinds all over this city — and it’s especially problematic with the over-30 crowd. I have to admit, I’ve been guilty myself, ending up too wiped out at the end of the day to gear up again for a night out.
Yes, traffic sucks; yes, it can be awkward to meet new people; yes, it’s easier to just stay home and post comments on Facebook. But it’s our life, and despite the hassles, the city we live in is an amazing place, and some very amazing human beings live here. Isn’t it time we got out and started to really meet some of them?
Be sure to vote in our poll this week: Virtual vs. Real Social Interaction