When Melissa Myrick found herself unemployed for a few months last year, she felt isolated and lonely.
Without a wide network of friends in Halifax, she decided to create a Facebook group to encourage HRM women to connect online. Her goal was to make it a place where they could share their interests and meet up for activities ranging from bowling to book clubs to skating at the oval.
“When you’re a kid, you go to the playground and say ‘Hi, do you want to play with me?’ But when you’re 30 years old it doesn’t work that way,” Myrick laughed. “I thought there has to be a way of putting yourself out there and feel safe doing it.”
Last March she launched her virtual meeting place, which now has close to 300 members. Not only has she found friends herself, she has also helped other women do the same.
“If the people in your life aren’t good, get rid of them and go find new people, branch out,” Myrick advised.
The group page is private, so only members can access the information. Myrick said she’s careful to ensure anyone wanting to join the page is legitimate.
“It’s a closed group because I feel women would be more willing to put themselves out there if not everybody can get access to their information,” she said.
“As of right now, we have women who are into doing things like going to the gym, going for a walk, grabbing a coffee,” she said. “Sometimes people can be shy, so I get the ball rolling by doing things like polls and actually creating events.”
Organized events through the site include cooking classes, cosmic bingo, evenings at Clay Cafe and Sexy Girl parties.
“This is really about helping people connect. I know what it’s like to feel lonely,” Myrick said. “I want people to know that whatever your age you can still put yourself out there and make new friends. You don’t have to be alone or do things alone if you don’t want to.”
Myrick said the group is open to women of all ages, and as the group develops she expects the number of events to grow also.
“In the beginning a group of us went for a hike and we were all younger except for our driver who was in her 60s. She moved but we still keep in touch,” she said. “There doesn’t seem to be any particular age range, it really is a variety of women.”
General information on HRM Women Link can be found at www.facebook.com/HrmWomenLink and via Twitter @HRMWomenLink. To submit a request to join the private group, go to www.facebook.com/groups/hrmwomenlink/ .