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πŸ”– Reading Time: 9 minutes ‧

If you’ve moved to Toronto recently, you’ve probably realized that it’s not that easy to meet new people, let alone making friends.

Everyone seems to be in tight friend groups already and not looking to make new connections. Or if they are open to it, it stays superficial and it’s impossible to go deep.

And especially as an introvert that can’t do small talk and big events it seems it’s impossible to make friends in Toronto.

Since I moved to Toronto 11 years ago I have tried A LOT of networking events and different groups in the search for meaningful connections, so I thought I would share my favourites in this post today, so hopefully, it will help someone find THEIR people much faster than it took me.

Follow these 5 steps to FIND YOUR PEOPLE in Toronto

  1. Choose one of the groups or events from the list below
  2. Attend alone (so you force yourself to talk to new people) and go in with the mindset that “Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet”
  3. Have an open mind and intend to learn something new
  4. Remember to be yourself. You’re not supposed to connect with everyone, so don’t “fake it ’till you make it”
  5. Don’t be a stranger after you connect with someone you jive with and set up a date to reconnect (ideally doing an activity you both enjoy rather than just meeting for coffee)

Join my ASK DEEP QUESTIONS MOVEMENT Facebook Group of like-minded people that have the courage to be vulnerable and start a conversation that matters.

JOIN AN ENGAGING ONLINE COMMUNITY

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There are a ton of super active Facebook Groups that are a great resource for any questions you might have about settling in Toronto.

You can even start joining different communities before you arrive. While travelling in Colombia I used this trick to find out about events and meetups of the entrepreneur community in Bogota and Medellin, so once I arrived I already had something ined up to meet new people.

Here are some of the groups that I have personally joined and found the most useful:

✅ BUNZ FRIENDING ZONE

This highly engaged Facebook Group is a sub-group of BUNZ TRADING ZONE, which is a cashless trading zone, inhabited by a community of barterers. There are also many ‘secret’ groups which you can learn about by just engaging with the community – there’s a zone for everything!

This specific group is for anyone looking to make a friend, so there will be lots of posts with people introducing themselves or looking for people to hang out.

>>> Click here to request joining the Facebook Group

✅ YES THEORY TORONTO FAM

If you’re not familiar with YES THEORY, then you might fall down this YouTube rabbit hole of inspiring videos of a group of guys challenging themselves to step outside their comfort zone every day. Their mission is to spread love, positivity, and seeking discomfort.

In the last year, their following of like-minded people living by their values has grown exponentially and now there are local groups all over the world. Check out the mini group for people from Ontario, Canada that organizes sporadic meetups and adventures.

>>> Join the Yes Theory Toronto Fam Facebook Group

✅ TEPP (TORONTO ENTREPRENEURS OF PASSION AND PURPOSE)

This was my “gateway drug” to the heart-centred entrepreneurship community in Toronto and I have met business owners from all different backgrounds.

Some of their core values are authenticity, service and mentorship which they embody by their no-self-promotion rule inside the group. So only use this group for peer-sharing and to inspire each other.

>>> Join their Facebook Group and if you see them doing an “Unconference” make sure to show up and participate.

Attend the next Tuesday Talk with Strangers to connect with other diverse minds from different cultures and backgrounds.

TALK TO STRANGERS

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Online communities are great to have as a resource and might be a great starting point as an introvert, but your goal should always be turning online conversations into real-life meetings. So these groups will help you get outside your comfort zone and practise talking to strangers.

✅ TEA WITH STRANGERS

Literally tea, with strangers. For two hours, five-ish strangers sit at a cafe with a host to talk. A no-strings-attached conversation. Not about anything in particular. The circumstances are unusual, but that’s the point. (When I was writing this there were currently no Toronto events planned)

>>> Sign up with Tea with Strangers and join for tea time

✅ I TALK TO STRANGERS

I TALK TO STRANGERS® (ITTS) is a global social movement that unites various ethnic, racial, and socio-economic groups through conversation.

Currently, they have a monthly event called Tuesday Talks where guests are introduced to fellow strangers in their local community in a fun, social networking fashion. Along with guests from all walks of life, participants explore how talking with other individuals leads to meaningful, lasting relationships in both personal and professional life!

The evening is just a time to kick back after work in the early part of the week, have fun meeting new people, converse, and get inspired! And it’s free!

>> Look up one of the upcoming events here

✅ CONVERSATIONS WITH STRANGERS

Eight internet strangers that met through Reddit created “Conversations with Strangers” to bring people together and create a real community. The idea is simple: They bring people together and create a safe environment where real, meaningful conversations can take place.

Who is it for? Everyone who enjoys a good conversation. It does not matter if you’re still in school or have already retired, as long as your intent is the same as ours, then we welcome you with open arms.

>>> Follow their Facebook Page to find out about upcoming events

Attend the next CAMPFIRE CONVERSATIONS event for a facilitated experience of meeting new people and turning acquaintances into friends

HAVE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS

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I believe that “relationships travel at the speed of vulnerability”, so once you started meeting strangers you need to get beyond the small talk quickly and get to the meaningful conversations. Sometimes that can be quite hard to do on your own, especially as an introvert, so here are some events that help facilitate these deep conversations.

✅ CAMPFIRE CONVERSATIONS

At Campfire Conversations we’ll get an opportunity to remove our masks, have “real talk” and make new and meaningful connections.

We can keep going through life making shallow conversations with strangers who remain strangers or we can put a little bit of our REAL selves on the line, give people a glimpse of our soul and create the opportunity for a deeper connection… You have a CHOICE.

During this event, you will engage in facilitated conversations that start just below the surface and end with a group activity that gives you the courage to be vulnerable and walk away with real connections.

>>> Join the next Campfire

✅ NOVEL EVENINGS

What started as a small book club with the intent to create meaningful connections for the founders turned into a growing community in just a few short months. They realized that in the fast pace of everyday lives, more and more people like are looking for ways to grow and give.

Through their community, they hope to inspire and to connect – authentically.

✅ AUTHENTIC RELATING TORONTO

“Authentic Relating” a rapidly growing community dedicated to bringing more authenticity, openness, and connection to the city, and the world at large.

Their goal is to explore, within ourselves and others, outward expressions that more closely resemble our true internal experiences. They do this in service of expanding our awareness such that we gain more choice in our lives, which gives us access to more freedom, aliveness, and satisfaction with ourselves and our relationships.

>>> Find out about the next connection lab or circling event

Once you attend a Reset event you’ll be invited to the super active Facebook group that has a weekly “Hangout Ask” where you can connect with people IRL.

JOIN A COMMUNITY

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Even better than joining an event is finding a community where you feel like you belong. A group of people that accept you for who you are, without having to change. I highly recommend offering to help and volunteer once you found your community and co-create in making it better because that is the best way to meet new people and connect deeply.

✅ LIVE YOUR LEGEND

This group is for anyone who is interested in connecting with like-minded and supportive people in Toronto, who will keep you accountable and inspired to do the work you love. They were originally brought together as readers of Scott Dinsmore’s blog.

>>> Join one of their monthly meetups

✅ RESET

What started out as a digital detox summer camp for adults is now an incredibly engaged community that runs several events a year within the city. Reset is a cultural movement and community of creators, entrepreneurs and healers and runs also one of my favourite (invite-only) Facebook Groups.

>>> Learn more about reset here

✅ SUPERNACULAR

This was the very first event I attended where I made 30 new friends in 48 hours – it was incredible to find this community of people sharing the same values as me.

The mission of Supernacular is to create an awesome local community of changemakers. They gather to reflect, grow and connect. Through inspiring events, meaningful conversations, and mutual support, they help you elevate yourself so you can bring your magic into the world.

>>> Join the Supernacular Toronto Facebook Group here

✅ CONFAB COMMUNITY

Sandra runs the most amazing (invite-only) day retreats for big-hearted, growth-oriented entrepreneurs. With facilitated activities and delicious food (usually outside the city) this is my favourite “networking” event. Your biggest chance to get one of the rare tickets is to get an existing member bring you as a guest.

>>> Sign up for the mailing list for a chance to attend

Wanna have really deep conversations with a small group of strangers over delicious, Colombian food? Then sign up for the next DEEP DINNER event.

CONNECT OVER FOOD

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Something magical happens when we break bread together. It almost like when our hands and mouths are busy eating delicious food when can focus on deeper and meaningful conversations. So next time you’re hungry check out one of these connection dinners:

✅ FROM STRANGERS TO FAMILY

Created for entrepreneurs, founders, futurepreneurs, and people who are changing the world by how they’re showing up, our dinners are small and intimate, and never exceed 12 people.

We know that entrepreneurship can be a lonely place, sometimes. We know that it’s one thing to talk about margins and profitability, and market share and our strat-plans; these are all things entrepreneurs need to talk about, but they’re surface level and don’t dive to the heart of entrepreneurship. We love facilitating a deeper more meaningful conversation that gets to the heart of what’s challenging us, what scares us and what’s possible when like-minded people come together to support each other’s success.

Our principle golden rule is that we’re a community of peers, not prospects – so these dinners aren’t an opportunity to pitch. They’re an opportunity to connect more meaningfully and to build a network that’s a strength isn’t a pocket full of business cards, but a heart and mind that’s full and richer – all because of one simple dinner. We’ve seen it happen time and time again.

>>> Apply here to join one of the next dinners

✅ HARVEST TABLE DINNER

You’re feeling isolated and in need of a community who understands the particular ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.

You want to find kindred creatives to learn from, collaborate with and be inspired by. Since the most fruitful and sincere connections are often built around the dinner table, we have cooked up a space for you to show up and be fed both in spirit and in body.

Each month, Nurture offers a collaborative intimate dining experience that is part community incubator, part supper club, part creative salon – all delicious, organic, and served family-style.

>>> Grab your set for the next dinner

✅ DEEP DINNERS BY ASK DEEP QUESTIONS

Starting in April 2019 I am excited to be continuing my dinner parties and brunches that bring together community-builders and changemakers from Toronto. We will enjoy delicious food prepared by my wife (cookiemartinez.com) and a facilitated conversation using my ASK DEEP QUESTIONS cards.

>>> Sign up to get an invite for the initial dinner at our new location

"Relationships Travel at the Speed of Vulnerability"

PS: Did you know that loneliness rates have more than doubled since the 1980ies?

  • 1 in 4 North Americans have zero friends to confide in
  • Studies have shown that poor social connections are as bad as smoking or obesity
  • Although we are the most connected generation, a lot of us feel isolated, disconnected or alone

It took me 8 years to FIND MY PEOPLE after moving to Toronto because I was doing “networking” all wrong and just collected more and more contacts, without making REAL connections.

So I am excited to start supporting people that have just moved to a new city or gone through another big life transition create more meaningful relationships, build their personal support community and feel less alone.

>>> Find out more about my brand new online course here.

FIND YOUR PEOPLE IS DESIGNED TO HELP YOU CREATE DEEP AND MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS IN YOUR NEW HOME.

Jan Keck

About Jan Keck

Jan’s mission is to help people feel less alone, so by creating experiences, workshops and programs he is fueling the movement for deeper human connection. His work has been featured on TEDx, CBC News, Breakfast TV, Cityline and HuffPost and he is currently building a community of facilitators that design the MAGICAL HUMAN MOMENTS online.