By Jillian Richardson
I’m typically a positive person, but I’m going to be honest with you: Americans are lonely as hell. The average person in the U.S. has only one close friend. One in four people have no confidantes at all. Zero. To make things worse, 75% of people say that they’re unsatisfied with the friendships that they do have. Religious gatherings are on the decline, but new ways to gather in community can be hard to find.
That’s why I created The Joy List, a weekly newsletter with the mission of making New York City–– and eventually the world–– a less lonely place. I do this by sharing a vulnerable story from my week, then featuring daily events that have facilitated a moment of connection.
While many newsletters highlight art galleries, movies and shows, those experiences are easy to attend alone and leave without interacting with anyone else. (Especially if, like many people, you have social anxiety.) As one of my readers told me, “I go to these events because I want to see the art and meet fellow artists, but then I don’t talk to a single person.”
I created The Joy List because it was something that I wish I had when I moved to New York. Like a lot of Americans, I was feeling lonely. And it wasn’t because I wasn’t meeting enough people. It was because I wasn’t in spaces that prioritized deep connection.
Slowly, I started finding events that had a sense of kindness and community. Some of them are listed below. I hope that you take the brave step to attend one of these gatherings or, at the very least, go somewhere that’s filled with the type of people you want to become. Personally, this has been one of the biggest ways to reduce my sense of loneliness.
1) Medi Club
Medi Club is a monthly gathering that combines meditation, group conversations, music, and healthy food. I’ve been going for almost two years and it’s always a highlight of my month. While the programming is amazing, the people are even better. This crew simply glows. (And they’re also really, really good-looking.) If you’re looking to bring more mindful people into your life, check it out.
Other than Medi Club, there are plenty of other opportunities to get involved with this community: a volunteering program, musical ensemble, diversity committee, and a bike club. Oh, and they do meditations with thousands of people a couple times a year. No big deal. Fill out this form to find out more.
2) The Get Down
The Get Down is my favorite dance party in NYC. This is not “too cool” club vibes. It’s “Oh my God! I’m so excited to see you! Wanna get in a circle and pound the ground while this dude plays drums?” vibes. Come get out of your head and into your body.
Innerglow is always an evening filled with wonderful people, a calming meditation, some great music, and kick-ass conversations. Come hang, and use code “joylist” for $5 off your ticket!
4) The November Project
I’m always on the lookout for affordable workouts that welcome all body types and abilities. Enter: The November Project. These champions gather at 6:28 AM multiple times a week, and work their booties off with a huge grin and a bunch of high fives. To be honest, I’ve never woken up early enough to trek over to one–– but I hear wonderful things. Plus, it’s always free!
Want to get your nerd on before going out? Check out ThinkOlio! It’s like a college course, but with beer and more fun. This time around, the discussion will be about myths and ancient Indian philosophy. Awwww yeah!