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Convivial Pursuits

Cultivating IRL Mates in a “Postmates” World

The holiday season is well underway! It’s meant to be a joyful time of the year, but for some, the season may be met with angst, particularly when you’re navigating the holidays solo.

Happy hour gathering before a dinner.  People smiling.
Wine Supper at Chef Jerry Edward's (founder of Chef's Expressions) home. Ex-strangers, new connections.

Mixolo wants to make it easy for you to go out and cultivate new connections and expand your community IRL (in real life) around the things you want to do and find your joy even, and especially, when you’re on your own.

There are more people living solo than ever before and the trend continues.

  • · 30% of households in the US alone are occupied by one resident.

  • · Single adults make up about 1/3 of the entire US population.

  • · Single women will account for 45% of the US population by 2030.

That said, Mixolo defines solo as “self-determined.” We attract people in relationships as well, together or on their own.

With the advent of clever technology, it’s become easier to check out, literally and figuratively, without ever having to encounter another human. We’re not about to tell you that’s all bad.

In the winter months, however, as our natural hibernating instincts kick in, we are more likely to grapple with feelings of isolation and the “L’ word - loneliness, a state of mind few of us like to acknowledge. These feelings are common, regardless of relationship status or the strength or our social circles.

The “virtual” engagement offered by social networking apps can be beneficial but has its limitations. Instagram is ending the like function on its platform due to the unintended consequences of dangerous comparisons that can lead to feelings of inadequacy and worse, marginalization.

While we can’t turn back time or progress, Mixolo was founded to offer a new way to engage and preserve the benefits of going out, doing what we love, and making meaningful connections when we do.

What we did not anticipate was the depth of societal stigmas around solo pursuits that were ingrained in our subconscious well before technology. There is stigma in being perceived as lonely or alone, though not necessarily the same thing.

Some people prefer to check out rather than experience feelings of shame, real or imagined, often perpetuated by the manner in which hospitality and entertainment venues sideline or ignore the unaccompanied guest. Those public spaces, often an integral part of a community’s local economy where real-life social networks were once built, are rapidly disappearing as we choose to order in and stay in.

Human connection remains at the top of the list of ways to manage feelings of loneliness. It is a fundamental human need to be connected socially and it is crucial to our wellbeing.

Two people in a restaurant having conversation over beer.
Flashback to our inaugural event. at the former Brewhouse No. 16.

When it comes down to it, managing loneliness requires that we engage in self-determined efforts to create the joy we want in our lives. However, if the feelings become acute, it’s probably a good idea to talk to someone.

There are a number of ways to take charge of those feelings. We’re serving up our favorite three holiday wishes for you:

1) Decrease your screen time and get outside. For most of us, this is the easiest. When you go outside, you literally change your mind.

2) Pursue the things you love or are curious about - even if it means stepping outside of your social bubble.

Beekeeping 101. An outdoor adventure at the Piedmont Learning Center and apiary in Gwynn Oak, MD.

3) Make and cultivate new connections. We recognize that this is the hardest wish to make come true, particularly with the inevitable life shits that upset the social circles that might normally be convenient to us, healthy human connection is most beneficial to our sense of wellbeing and belonging.

This time of year, we often opt out of things we want to do because we feel pressure to find a plus-one. Even if you have a romantic partner or squad that you identify with, they may not share your interests.

What if you could order in and go out - with others?

With Mixolo (the words Mix and solo combined), we want to make it easier for people to go out and do what they love, with or without a plus-one, and expand their community.

Rosh Hashanah unofficially ushers in the many religious observances for the holiday season. And Halloween is usually the point at which all of the marketing kicks in and we are inundated with reminders wherever we turn. Maybe you enjoy sitting through the multiple versions of the Nutcracker from hip-hop to classic and your go-to plus-one prefers a "festivus" approach to the season.

We’re like a "proprietary Eventbrite" offering events in our app that are solo-friendly, but we add a social networking component that groups you with other solos who want to attend the same event or experience.

Membership is free in our Beta app. Members can build a profile in the app telling Mixolo a bit about where they are and what they like to do. You don’t just buy a ticket to an event; you actually find people there ready to enjoy it with when you arrive on your own.

Profiles are private by default. Only after you’ve met in person can you decide that you want to follow up with your new connections with our MIXCHAT messaging platform and keep building around that interests that you share.

So, when you step out on your own to that concert, holiday parade, theater performance or chef’s table, #youcansitwithus. We help relieve any awkwardness you may feel around arriving alone. You are welcomed and introduced to your new plus-some.

We’ve come to realize that Mixolo may be at the forefront of a cultural shift. Checking in is not only good for the individual but the wellness of our society as a whole. With technology making our lives and work easier, we may find that a new “creative” economy emerges, buoyed by people engaging and uniting in fun and enriching activities with and for each other. #noplusonerequired

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