Interest-based communities

Radhika Mohta
12 min readJan 19, 2022
Cycling trip from HSR to Cubbon Park BLR on a Sunday morning

“How do I meet new people who share the same interest as me?”, I’m often asked in my work as a matchmaker and relationship coach. So here’s a curated list of communities, groups, and places where you are likely to meet people who are interested in at least one interest area as much as you. That makes it easy to break the ice and have a conversation. Allow me to add — proximity, consistency and vulnerability are the three pillars of a solid friendship. So, you still need to make the effort to sustain the momentum of your conversation by engaging with them repeatedly or meeting them outside the online world if you’ve only had a virtual interaction. (Work-in-progress list, so keep sending your Instagram DMs with additional information)

Pro-tip: Non-verbal communication comes much before you speak your first word! Notice what you are saying about yourself through your laptop stickers, mobile case, signature handbag, badges on your backpack, the book in your hand, the message on your t-shirt, and much more! Your vibe attracts your tribe!

Across India - Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru

Creative Mornings for creative professionals to attend an event that allows you to discover your city’s creativity. These are free events, RSVP is a must.

Leap is a network built only for women to connect and engage in online and offline activities. Leap (af)fair is the highlight for me. Lifetime Membership fee + per event charge.

Headstart is a startup community to help you grow in the ecosystem.

eChai is a startup network and their events allow you to meet fellow founders and aspiring ones. Typically free events.

WeWork is a chain of co-working spaces. Working out of here, specially on a Friday could mean meeting founders, freelancers and fellow professionals.

Toastmasters is a good way to improve your public speaking skills and meet people who come with a growth mindset to upskill themselves. I attended the 300th meet of HSR Toastmasters and won an Amazon gift card for impromptu speaking :D

Sunset Cinema club for open air movie screening enthusiasts.

Alt EFF Film Club happens across Bengaluru, Goa and Mumbai on the 3rd Friday of every month.

Travel enthusiast? WOW Club is for the wanderlust women.

Saadi Dilli

To explore Delhi on foot, check out these walks - Delhi Heritage Walks, Sair e Dilli, Delhi by Foot, Delhi Food Walks, Delhi Photo Walks.

Travel lovers head to Kunzum Cafe. Book club here. Scrabble lovers here. Gurgaon Organic Famers Market for clean and healthy living here. Noida Cycling club here. For pottery, for spiritual lovers — there’s Zorba.

Aamchi Mumbai

Popular spaces in Mumbai include Asiatic Society Mumbai, NCPA, Prithvi Theatre, NMACC, Jehangir Art Gallery, Chemould Prescot Road, G5A Foundation (Lower Parel). These are good starting points to discover and then zero in on what you’d like to do more of. Again, check them out on Instagram.

To explore Mumbai on foot, head to Khaki Tours. Dog lovers head for a Dog Yoga. Cat lovers head to the Cat Cafe. BNHS for nature trails. Book club here. Coworking and pottery studio, Mitti. IFBE for creative folks.

Painting parties by Bombay Drawing Room can be fun and colourful. For spiritual souls, there’s Kirtan Mumbai.

I love patting the cats while sitting at Prithvi Cafe and waiting for a play to open. Marine Drive remains my all-time favourite.

Namma Bengaluru

Popular spaces where you are likely to cross paths with like-minded folks include Bangalore International Centre, Museum of Art and Photography, Lahe Lahe, Atta Galatta, National Gallery of Modern Art, Maraa Collective. Give them a follow on Instagram to check out their programming!

How do we talk BLR without mentioning URLs for IRL meetups in the startup space? Draper Startup House for Entrepreneurs hosts events in Koramangala.

Gully Tours organises Dosa Walks, Malleswaram walks, Colonial crawls and more. Bangalore Local Walks organises local history walks, food tours, experiences and more!

Cubbon Park is a beautiful space in the heart of the city. It acts as a melting pot for people who come from diverse walks of life. Weekends here witness Cubbon Reads, Cubbon Paints, Cubbon Writes, Cubbon Knits and more! Check out Instagram for these handles. Head to the dog park if you are a dog lover coz that’s a meet and greet place for furry friends.

For poetry lovers, there’s Poets of Bangalore. Language is usually no bar. I last performed a poetry recital here in March 2022 and loved the energy.

For Hindi and Urdu poetry lovers, Anjuman is amazing. I wrote my first ever Hindi poem in 2018 so that I could perform at their gathering in Atta Galatta in Koramangala. There’s also Baithak by Ziya Qureshi at Theatrename, Koramangala.

Bangalore Storytelling Society used to have campfire vibes — warm and cozy and mesmerizing during their sessions at Atta Galatta in Koramangala. Vikram and the team do a fabulous job at putting it together. They are now online, of course, and you can participate from anywhere in the world. For music lovers, Saptasur Karaoke Club is a good starting point.

For theatre lovers, Enad is an active Bengali drama group in JP Nagar.

For art and craft lovers, Bloom and Grow in Koramangala is your spot. I loved participating in the Declutter sale there where I was able to sell out stuff from the painting parties I once hosted.

Lahe Lahe in Indiranagar is a lovely space where you want to slow down and soak in some music, dance, and culture. I loved participating in the Dandiya night they hosted in 2021. Mansi, Nikhil, and the team are warm and friendly folks.

Dance lovers can check out Dhuri in Indiranagar. There’s LVDS in Vasanthnagar for salsa, bachate, hip-hop, freestyle jive, swing and more. For Improv, check out what Anvesh is doing in Koramangala. For classical performing art events, check out Kalanataka. For Bengaluru city-based tours, visit here. For Malleswaram walk, visit here.

The Human Library Bangalore is lovely. I loved interacting with the books in our 30-minute long sessions as a reader. I continue to be friends with someone I met here since both of us shared a Sattu drink I was carrying and it turned out to be our lunch that day. She also became a book once. You may like to read my experience from THL here.

Boardgame lovers enjoy the sessions hosted by Rohit and team VictoryPoint Board Games. They usually host on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Then there’s ReRoll Games who are currently on Discord. Meeples meetup last hosted in March 2022 in Indiranagar. You can check with them.

For chess lovers, Bangalore Chess Club is your go-to place.

Cycling enthusiasts love Bums on the Saddle. My hubby has done a 100km ride with them and truly appreciated the sincere efforts of organizing, helping each other out, and ensuring it was inclusive for relatively new folks like him. You may also check out iCycle for community events and bicycle rentals. We have rented out from their HSR store for a few of our rides. Also, check Bangalore Cycling Club.

For skating, touch base with Pavan Shekar.

For sports, consider checking Playo to find someone who’d also like to do the same activity as you and sync up with them. For running, Soles of Bangalore. There’s Sisters In Sweat (SIS) exclusively for women, by women, stitched together by sport and wellness.​

Pokemon Go lovers can find friends, fun and fitness from PoGoBlr community.

Car lover? Check out Cars and Coffee Bengaluru and Team 88 for their meetups over a shared passion for cars.

Plant lovers can indulge in exchanging seeds and plants here and here. Freecycle Bangalore enables you to recycle when you or someone else declutters.

Crochet lovers can head to HSR Crochets here.

Looking to volunteer for causes? Head to V the Volunteers that works alongside senior care homes, animal shelters and more.

Online

GrabChai for 1:1 with Startup folks and good conversations. I have never had a dull moment with people I have met through GrabChai. Kudos to Aditya and Suhas and The Product Folks team for their sincere efforts to bring people together.

LunchClub for 1:1 with a relatively global audience. Someone I met there ended up being my recurring client for hosting online events.

Airbnb online experiences are a good way to explore a new culture, art form, or a new place. I learned to write my name in 3 different ways in Japanese, planned a 3-day itinerary if I were to visit New York City, did Tai chi with someone from Beijing, and attended a magic show from Malaysia. Oh and I also hosted a few Airbnb online experiences around India Travel and Culture.

For book lovers, I attended a Zoom gathering by this Reading Academy and liked our conversations in the breakout rooms. I also attended the Bookish club which has moved from Clubhouse to Twitter Spaces. They have 15 slots in an hour and you talk about the book that you are reading that week. Ranjeet is kind enough to maintain a Notion doc so that you can look up the books being referred by people who are reading them. Sanskaari Girls book club, The Sunday Book Club, The Ready Readers, Broke Bibliophiles Bangalore, Nikita’s Book Shelf are great, I heard.

The time I spent at The Jar was amazing. We’d have a shared experience in the form of storytelling or recital and then move to breakout rooms to discuss it in detail. I was an early adopter and it was free then.

Tribeless hosts monthly sessions to build more empathy. Global audience and good to gain perspective.

For people who are remote workers or digital nomads, check out Remote Indian. I have met Abhishek once and it’s amazing to see his efforts shaping up into a highly resourceful and tight-knit community.

For explorers, Jagriti Yatra — the world’s largest entrepreneurial train journey has now gone digital. I was a Facilitator in the 2018 batch and those 15 days will forever be etched in my memory. Here’s a post where I talk about living on a train for 15 days, the planned visits, the uninterrupted conversations, maximizing serendipity, and making friends that feel like childhood friends but as an adult. Ever so grateful to Shashank, Ashutosh, and the team for enabling this once-in-a-lifetime experience for youngsters. And to Abhishek Singhania, Bharat Aggarwal and Akshay Panwar for our very own Parivaar group.

Curious about the hinterlands of India? Shodhyatra is a good fit to travel and learn together. Of course, we love Prof Anil Gupta. (I’m surrounded by Wimwians, so this is a no-brainer)

For travel enthusiasts, check out group tours by Ikigai. This came as a recommendation from someone in the online social mixer I host for single folks.

Courses

Cohort-based courses allow you to spend time with people working towards the same goal as you. I am currently running a Dating Accelerator that enables single people to get ready for their last first date. Simplifying the What, Where and How of Dating so you can focus on the When and Who.

Skillshare enables you to learn or improve a skill and make friends along the way. Inspired by Neha, I did some Zen doodles last year. You can learn more about her work here.

For writing enthusiasts, I’d recommend a workshop by Rashmi Bansal. I made friends with someone by writing and sharing the same prompt — Pani Puri. She and I are WhatsApp pals and have yet to meet IRL.

For upskilling/ career progression, you could look at GrowthX, The Product Folks.

Event discovery

For a one-off event, I have immensely benefitted from LBB in discovering events that led me to Script by Godrej in Indiranagar for a jazz night, also a coffee brewing session by a Blue Tokai barista. On another occasion, I participated in a ceramic mug painting by FabIndia in Koramangala.

Facebook Events, Meetup groups, Eventbrite are good for discovering events.

Event listings column in Bangalore Mirror/news dailies, Twitter search, following Instagram accounts of local influencers/ event venues are other ways of finding interesting events that allow you to eventually tap into the communities where these people hang out.

For elderly folks, check out Silver Talkies and Khyaal.

You may also check out this WhatsApp group — Putting Scenes by Mannan for activities in Bengaluru. And these platforms -

Airbnb Experiences

Looking for work-related communities? Here’s a list by Springworks.

P.S. Found this Reddit post useful for things to do in Bengaluru. If you live or work in HSR or would like to attend events here, join us in HSRisHome community that helps foster connection while socialising sober.

International Edition

Multiple Cities

Soho House for the world’s creatives to belong.

Daybreaker is a wellness community and sober morning dance party that happens online and in 28 cities globally. I’ve read its founder’s work, Belong by Radha Agrawal and loved it. Sign up with them in SF, LA, NYC, Austin, Seattle, Washington DC, Amsterdam or more!

Creative Mornings is world’s largest face to face creative community. Events are free. Find one near you or get started with the online field trips! Do not overthink if you do not identify as ‘creative enough’. Just go and you’ll not be disappointed at the warmth experienced in these gatherings.

Interintellect to connect with thoughtful people over detailed discussions on interesting topics. Join them in SF, NYC, Amsterdam, London and more!

The Turquoise Table enables you to connect with the people in your neighbourhood over a shared meal. It is present in 50 states across the US.

No More Lonely Friends hosts picnics in parks and meetups across the US for people aged 20–40 years.

SofarSounds hosts secret concerts in unique spaces and has a thribing music community.

Hikerkind organises women-led hikes in the US - NYC, Southern California and Seattle.

The Breakfast app enables you to meet new people over breakfast in London, NYC, SF, Berlin and more!

The Board Walks brings curious people together to walk 5 miles and have amazing conversations, every Saturday 8 am in the US - SF and Austin. They have also put together this guide for social life in Austin.

November Fitness is on a mission to lower intimadation of fitness with fun. Join this community of fitness enthusiasts!

Internations is a community of expats. Paid membership and curated events in multiple cities globally.

Couchsurfers organise meetups in cities they are present in, globally.

Worldpackers enables you to travel, collaborate and volunteer.

Guruwalk provides free walking tour guides globally.

AllTrails helps you go outdoors by exploring nearby trails in the US.

For serendipitous interactions, head to Sweetgreen (hello, fellow salad lovers) and SoulCycle (hola, fellow fitness lovers)

San Francisco

SFIRL newsletter enables you to discover the top tech and startup events.

The Commons is your ‘home outside of home’ — a community and third space I’d have most certainly applied for if I were in SF.

Glide welcomes volunteers in its community kitchen.

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy organises park socials for nature lovers.

Around The Corner connects people for a 1:1 conversation in SF and other cities.

New York

New York Social Network makes your social life simple in NYC with hikes, social walks, after-work parties, trivia nights, scavenger hunts, singles mixers, apple picking and much more!

You can dig up more cool stuff happening in NYC with CoolStuff.

IRL NYC newsletter brings you events for ambitious people in the city.

Reading Rhythms hosts reading parties where you can read with friends to curated music. It’s not a book club! In Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Cuculi lets you discover new places to eat and meet new people.

New York Public Library hosts crafting, crochet, watercolour painting, language lessons and much more!

That Dinner Thing is a monthly popup supper club where you can buy the tickets only in pairs.

Covey Club is women-only and hosts in NYC, NOLA and other places. I have attended their online sessions and loved the vibe.

The Girls Who Gather seeks to enable authentic conversations among women.

City Girls Who Walk meets on Sundays 12 noon.

Supermomos for curated IRL experiences ranging from dinners for immigrants to half marathons.

Low key gatherings for the socially curious here with Hygge.

Lightning Society is a social wellness movement bringing community back to urban living.

Fractal Collective is an unlikely assortment of writers, designers, musicians, clowns, entrepreneurs, artists, coders, and scientists slowly cultivating a flourishing neighborhood within a neighborhood in Bushwick, Brooklyn — one of NYC’s creative hubs. It’s like a campus for adults.

Verci is a community hub to fuel your ambitions.

Midnight Cafe by Kasra hosts salons and fun parties in homes and third spaces.

You can also volunteer at Animal Care Centre, or at a fod bank, or for senior care at Encore.

In-person dating events by We met IRL, Speed NYC Dating and Ambyr club.

Boston

eChai for startup gatherings.

Make Friends After College community.

The Jar to experience art, culture and community.

London

It’s Hard Back Out Here is a book club for people in their 20s.

Lonely Girls Club is a community of women, for women, by women. They organise walks, book clubs and more in London, Manchester and Nottingham.

Spare Ribs Club is an intersectional feminist book and supper club; a community exploring feminism through literature, art, music and food.

The Bondi Literary Salon hosts monthly book clubs.

Bored of Dating Apps organises singles events including croissant crawl, yoga classes, dance sessions, book clubs and more!

Thursday organises singles events only on Thursdays!

Resources for LGBTQ+ community

As You Are - Matchmaking app and service for LGBTQ+ Indians globally

Glii - Queer dating app

The Queer Muslim Project

Bengaluru Queer Running Group - Sunday mornings at Cubbon Park, BLR

Rainbow Luv by Matrimony

Gurnoor Kaur Behl runs Delhi Queer Spaces

Queer Food Walks in Delhi by Iqbal Dehalvi

Look up Bangalore Queer Tango dance sessions.

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Radhika Mohta

❤️ Dating Accelerator at radhikamohta.com | As seen in India Today, The Hindu, The Times of India, New Indian Express, Mid-Day, Deccan Herald and Bhaskar