A few days ago, the NYTimes published an article asking “Why is it so hard to make friends after 30?” Being in my early 20′s, this scared me. I didn’t realize making friends became more difficult.
But according to them, it is.
In response, a company called GrubWithUs posted an article that paints their service as the future of friend-making through what I’m calling “Connection Intent.” Here’s what they had to say:
Not everybody likes softball leagues or cocktail hours. Even fewer will meet for a game of bridge or a random party at a private home. But here’s the thing: everybody’s gotta eat. It’s the universal language of breaking bread with others that makes Grubwithus an easy, intuitive, and delicious way to solve this problem.
Repeated, local, unplanned interactions are built directly into Grubwithus! That’s almost all we do!
At this point, my Spidey senses started to tingle. This is an incredible opportunity to live on mission in your city and invite people into your community. And for that, GrubWithUs needs to succeed.
Being on Mission – GrubWithUs Style
Imagine that you and your wife are pretty well settled in a city. For our purposes, we’ll call it Atlanta. And you enjoy biking, hiking and other healthy activities. Finally, as a Christian, you are looking for an opportunity to love the community around you.
Unfortunately, given our country’s individualism, connecting with people is tough! Churches turn into bubbles which repel outsiders. With such busy lives, I’m not sure how two people ever meet up. But connecting with people can be done! Mealtime is one of the last remaining opportunities to truly look someone in the eyes.
For Example – International Lunch
A good example of connecting organically over food happens every Friday at my University. A dozen people from our church invite international students to hang out and spend time together. It’s very relaxed – kicking the soccer ball, playing frisbee. This has led to some really interesting interactions with wonderful cultures. A few weeks ago, I got to eat rice with my hands. It changed my life.
At first we weren’t really sure what to do. It was mostly awkward. All the time. Eventually, we connected with internationals and the results were incredible. Friends started to ask questions about God and began to move toward Jesus. Every week, 15-25 international students join us for lunch. Over July 4th (Independence Day in the US) three Americans took 10 international students to see fireworks. Talk about a backward Independence Day!
The point of that is, people are eager to connect. Food is a great starting point. Crucially, we aren’t obsessive or creepy about connecting, but we are intentional about praying that they would have a right vision of Jesus and submit to him as King.
Back to GrubWithUs
It’s almost impossible to walk up to a random stranger and invite him or her to eat. In my experience it works with international students and that’s about all. If we can find a person a moment where they’re already looking, on a service like GrubWithUs, then the “success rate” of connecting goes up exponentially.
GrubWithUs works for the same reason that Google Ads perform well (Purchasing Intent) and Match.com can form so many relationships (dating intent). Let’s name it Connection Intent. It’s that “I really want a friend right now” moment when you’re new to a city or have nothing to do on a Friday night.
By meeting people at their moment of Connection Intent, the scary idea of “sharing your faith” or “servant evangelism” becomes natural. Like inviting someone to eat dinner with friends.
So what can we do?
It’s easy. Here’s how to get started:
Find a friend who can break the ice comfortably and create a group. Make sure it’s set as “public”. Check out the “Columbia Mexican Food” group I created.
Groups are persistent, like Facebook groups, so you can have multiple meals together over time.
Finally, invite a few friends to populate the group. At that point, you will appear when people are looking for a meetup nearby.
The network is still young, but the opportunity is too big to pass up. You have a chance to join with your community and live on mission by eating with new friends. And it’s even easier now on GrubWithUs.
What do you think, are you in?