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This local event series makes it easy for women to make new friends.
“Everyone’s a little broken, and everyone belongs. … I want a house with a crowded table.”
These lyrics from country supergroup The Highwomen were just the inspiration Lucy McInnis was waiting for. After moving to Raleigh from her hometown of New York City, she was looking for ways to meet new people and found herself wading through networking event after networking event. But she didn’t want a job—she wanted friends.
So she took matters into her own hands and created The Crowded Table Club, an event series geared toward helping women make friends.
“You can walk in armed with that purpose—that every other single human body in that room wants to meet you and wants to get to know you,” says McInnis, who also serves as director of events and business development for Downtown Raleigh Alliance. “We have so much unlearning to do about female friendships. That helps sort of set the stage. Come and be yourself and make a new friend.”
Each event is themed, which McInnis says not only helps break the ice, but guides attendees on what to wear (because we all know how difficult it can be deciding on an outfit!). She held her first event, Caftans and Cocktails, launched last June and has since hosted four more, including a Hocus Pocus viewing at the enchanting Raleigh Little Theatre and a ’90s-themed night, complete with nostalgic treats like Fruit by the Foot and Ring Pops, a friendship bracelet station, and games like Girl Talk and MASH. On deck this spring, Crowded Table’s Sip & Stroll public art tour in DTR and a BYO dog outdoor picnic.
To help further ease the anxiety that can often cloud new social situations, attendees are seated near those with common interests based on their responses to a survey McInnis sends pre-event. Prompts are also available to jump-start conversation.
Ultimately, the club’s tagline says it all: “Because making friends as a grown woman should NOT be this hard.” So whether you’re new to the area or a longtime local looking for some fresh friendships, this club could be just what you’re looking for.
“I want a space for everyone,” says McInnis. “We’re all a little broken, but we’re here and everyone belongs.” @crowdedtableclub
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