Nerdy Society

Members of the Nerdy Society gather to play board games and meet new people at the Columbia Mall. The group of gamers meets every Wednesday. 

Adulting is hard. There aren’t enough hours in the day for work, personal time and making friends, especially if you’re in a new city. Friendships often take a back seat in adulthood. In fact, according to a study published in the Psychological Bulletin, “while social circles increase through early adulthood, friendship networks peak and start to decrease” in a person’s 20s.

But don’t let the study get you down. Sure, you’ve left the playground, but there are still plenty of people out there who’d love to trade sandwiches and secrets. Columbia has several organizations designed to help adults make friends.

Find a cure for your board-em

Board games have always been a way to bring families and friends together, and a group in Columbia uses them to forge new bonds. Formed in 2012, the Nerdy Society is a group of adults who meet to play board games every Wednesday at the Columbia Mall. Although the group has more than 550 registered members on the website Meetup.com, about 12 to 25 people attend each week with the sole purpose of having fun. Group organizer Jim McElmurry says gathering around board games helps introverts and those with social anxiety get to know other people in a more relaxed situation.

“For us introverts who didn’t develop those skills in high school and grade school, it is very difficult to approach people in general and speak up and see where you click,” McElmurry says of struggling with social skills and getting to know new people. “If you’re new, I try to meet you, introduce you to a game, and you can get familiar with the game and the people around you before you try having conversations.”

The group also organizes movie nights, laser tag and paintball outings.

Relive the glory of your athletic years

If board games don’t get your blood pumping, try a sports team at the Missouri Athletic Center. For adults, the MAC offers soccer, volleyball, basketball and pickleball (a paddle sport that mixes elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton), some of which you can sign up for without a full team. Soccer, for example, is a popular sport to sign up for solo.

MAC director Anna Lower says that each year there is usually at least one team is that is made up of players who sign up alone.

Test your knowledge with a trivia night

Trivia nights are a way to enjoy a drink and have some fun battling it out with other adults. CoMo Growlers & Pints hosts trivia nights away from the student-dense downtown bars. Question themes range from history to pop culture, with first place receiving a $25 credit to their tab and second place winning the chance to choose a question category for the next week’s event.

Although it’s easier if you arrive with a team, you are welcome to join forces with other groups or individuals. 

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