May 12, 2024 - News

How one group Break(s) the Bubble

Two men, one in an unzipped hoodie and green t-shirt, the other in a dark blue hoodie, talk over a picnic table with a sheet of name tags on it and a sign that reads "Break the Bubble."

Jon Slock (left) organizes Break the Bubble events around the Twin Cities. Photo: Kyle Stokes/Axios

About a decade ago, after lamenting the Twin Cities' social chilliness, two friends decided to organize a mixer: not for dating or networking, but simply for people seeking new friends.

Flashback: One simple flyer was all it took to attract 40 people, and Break the Bubble was born, current coordinator Jon Slock tells Axios.

Why it matters: Their experience shows that you, too, can break the ice in Minnesota!

State of play: The group now regularly draws at least 100 people to their casual, twice-monthly hangouts for people of all ages, Slock tells Axios.

How it works: Break the Bubble attendees come and go as they please — the opposite of "speed friending" events, or even a book club or language class, which require a set time commitment and prep work, Slock said.

In his research, Lewis with the Greater MSP Partnership has found newcomers had more success in these unstructured, random-venue events.

  • At big festivals, concerts or events, locals tend to go "with their pocket of friends" and aren't looking to mingle.

What they're saying: The struggle to make friends here is "all real," said Slock, who was born in Indiana but has lived here more than 20 years.

  • But "it's true anywhere as an adult. It's tough to meet people after a while."

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