New Jersey Young Professionals

Get out. Make friends. Meet people in NJ.

Hey NJYP Veterans! 

You know who you are.  You attend at least one event a month, you were a Member on the old website(s), you walk into a Happy Hour and everyone calls your name, you may even HOST events.

Let's help the Newbies out (they keep pouring in) by giving them some "first event" advice.  Perhaps you can:
- Suggest what to do if they attend alone.
- Share how you felt at your first event.
- Recommend a type of event that is good for first-timers (game night vs single mingle vs happy hour, etc).
- Tell them what to expect.

If your advice helps get at least one Newbie out, that is one more person you can potentially make friends with (or network with or date).

Thanks in advance!
Laura






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I always feel very socially awkward in large crowds when I don't know anyone (that's why I'm a photographer---I feel a lot more comfortable approaching strangers when hiding behind a big camera!). After a few years as an NJYP member, I usually know at least a few people at these events, and that has totally emboldened me over the last few years to speak to more people both in NJYP and outside of our events!

For your first event, if you're totally terrified like I was, and you can bring a friend with you, just buy yourself a drink and position yourself by a high-traffic area of the bar. Seasoned veterans such as myself will strike up conversations with people while waiting for the bartender to make a drink, so figure out where most people are queuing for alcohol and grab a barstool there, facing the masses. Someone will strike up a conversation within minutes.

Also, if you're shy, make your first NJYP event an NJYP-members only event (rather than the YP Networking events) and strike up a conversation about anything or everything with the first person you see on their own when you walk in the door (after you both get your drinks, of course. Never stop a YP getting their drink!). They're there to meet people too!
I'm a veteran who hasn't been around in a while, so i dont know how many people know me.

Happy hours are a great place to start - people are milling around talking to each other in a very causal atmosphere. People trickle in and out at different times so there are always new faces!

You can expect lots of friendly people. There are always some people who are there with a group of friends (I'm usually one of those people) but they are there to meet people and mingle as well. Do not be afraid to walk up to someone and say hello. It can be overwhelming, even for us veterans! But i have never regretted talking to people and have meet some really good friends! I find it easier to start talking to one ro two people and then find that more gravitate into the conversation.

most importantly, HAVE FUN!

-Brianne
As a grizzled veteran (literally grizzled - I haven't shaved in a few days), I've seen new people come to events for years like terrified deer. These are the people I seek out - I figure if I can be bombastic and loud, and they tolerate me, they'll do fine with the other 99% of NJYPs who are normal, haha. My advice to new members is that you literally have nothing to lose striking up a conversation with any random person you see at an event. If they're another newbie, they're equally nervous, and now you've made a new friend who understands the situation you're in. If they're a vet like me, they will have no qualms about talking to you and introducing you to other people. Us long-time members love meeting new people - you're what keeps the group going and fun! So don't be shy, come say hi (I swear I didn't mean to rhyme).

Good events to go to for first-timers:
Happy Hours (lots of people mingling with drinks, so everyone's loose)
Game night (everyone's relaxed & having a good time)
Single Mingle (if you don't hit it off as dating, perhaps you can be friends)

The whole point of joining the organization is to meet new people, so ultimately the strategy is up to you, as long as the result is the same. So come over and say hello, you never know what you'll find, but it'll be fun no matter what!
I joined NJYP back in June 2005, so i think i qualify :)

My very first event was a Game Night and I came by myself. I think it's an awesome way to meet people because there's something to do/talk about immediately once you start playing games! My second event was a Happy Hour which i didn't like as much because I didn't know anyone there, and I hate going up to groups of people I don't know because I feel like i'm butting in. People who know me refuse to believe that i'm shy, but when I don't know a single person in the entire room, I don't know where to begin! Now i'm an "oldbie" so Happy Hours are fun because the more events you attend, the more people you get to know!

Single Mingles are great too. My husband and I met at an NJYP Single Mingle (although we technically met at 2 other NJYP events before that, but he asked for my number at the Single Mingle), so we're proof they do work :)

I also think the hikes are awesome, even though i haven't been able to go to any of them recently.

My advice is just to find things that interest you on the event schedule, and you'll find like-minded people at them. Good luck! :)
as a vet to me going to game night a fun event for a newbie to go to. if your new just relax and have a fun time no one here is going to start fighting or bite your head off (just dont mess with our drinkslol). Start up a conversation with Anthony myself or the sixfootseven person in the room. tell us your new and well introduce you to people as social butterflys we are. The next thing you need to do is until your comfortable in a group setting as our go to happy hours or njyp only event so that way you get use to our behavior. just say hi and see what happens.
I think the best thing is to go to a NJYP only event (so you know everyone is part of the group) that is oriented towards some activity (like game night, dinner and a movie, a foodie event) as opposed to a happy hour or mingle because the activity will break the ice for you. If you are more outgoing and less shy, then striking up convo in a happy hour or mingle is great too. Just remember, while it might be hard the first time, you are almost guaranteed to see a familiar face the second time, and each event after you can bet you will know more and more people.
I agree with what has already been written by others here. If you aren't a happy hour type, and trust me most folks experience the same shyness about approaching a crowd of people who may or may not mostly know each other, then best bet is to sign up for an activity you want to try out or perhaps already enjoy. Chances are good you'll find someone with a common interest. At happy hour, the tips provided are good ones. But FIND OUT WHO'S GOING WHERE AFTERWARD'S! At around 8pm or 9pm, everyone's hungry and will go upstairs/downstairs/next door to grab some grub so... hey, be the one suggesting and you'll be the one with 2, 3, 6, 10 more friends than you came into the night with. MAKE YOUR INTERESTS KNOWN! You aren't the only person who enjoys Bass Fishing or listens to TV on the Radio so talk about those things. We're ALL strangers, even those of us who have been around a while, so make the best of it and get cozy with us all. Don't feel you have to know everything about everyone; you'll do fine. That said, find a group of folks you like right away!
Most of what I have to say has been said by others ... bring a friend/sibling/coworker with you if you are scared out of your mind. A coworker brought me to my first NJYP event ... but don't ONLY talk to your friend! People will be less likely to approach you if you are completely involved in a conversation with another person and don't look interested in meeting new people. Honestly, I think the best thing you can do and the thing I tell newbies who come in when I'm hosting an event, is walk up to whoever looks outgoing/friendly, muster up all your courage and say "Hi, I'm ___ and this is my first event." Usually saying that you're new is a great conversation starter ... and it lets people know that you're probably feeling a little uneasy and to go easy on you :) Everyone who is there had a first event when they didn't know someone so you already have something in common. Also, when you walk into an event and you see groups of people talking, don't be afraid to approach a group ... usually the groups are artificial ... they're random people who happened to arrive before you and started talking to each other and more people joined them .... it's not necessarily a clique!

My first event, I wanted to turn around and run back to my car before I even walked in the door. The first 30 minutes or so I felt very self-conscious and awkward and wished I had never agreed to go ... but in time as people mingle, more people start talking to you and by the end of the night you're left wondering what on earth you were so afraid of. You will survive it !!!
I'm definitely not a seasoned veteran but I can share what my first experience was like! I attended a happy hour at Taste in Red Bank by myself (just moved to NJ) and didn't know anyone. I was a bit nervous as I walked in, but put on my "networking" hat and was determined to meet people. Turns out, it wasn't as hard as I thought. The moment I walked in the door, I was greeted by friendly people.

At this event, the whole bar at Taste was full of NYJP (and only NJYP from what I could tell!)... maybe 100 or more young professionals, chatting it up. The energy in the room was thick and everyone was having a great time. I made my way to the bar for a drink and on the way, met 3 people. After getting a glass of wine, I was greeted by people on both sides happy to make an introduction.

A couple hours flew by, and by the end of the evening I had met over 20 people and had meaningful and fun conversations with all of them, as well as exchanging business cards. I'm sure if I hadn't spent as much time chatting with each one, I could have met more, but I was having too much fun.

I'd definitely recommend this happy hour for meeting young professionals in many fields. I met people in healthcare, engineering, design, marketing and more. Good luck, and see you at the next Taste event!
Fantastic story Sarah! Thanks for sharing it. It's what I dream happens at each event.
Lots of great answers you have all posted. My best advice to Newbies(and I was one once myself) is that just go up to a group of people and say hello. You never know what might happen after that!
Beer. Lots and lots of beer.

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