No More Lonely Friends is coming to Austin

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Little did Marissa Meizz, a 23-year-old New Yorker, know that bad friends would be just the thing to make her an internet star. Little did she know that this would be the beginning of a worldwide movement – with her at the forefront – aimed at forging healthy human connections. Instead, Meizz felt her stomach clench as she watched a viral TikTok video that was addressed to her: “Marissa,” said user Drew Harding, a stranger at the time. “I was just walking past your friends and I have to tell you that the weekend you’re gone isn’t the only time they get to have their birthday party. You choose to do it the weekend you’re away and you need to know. TikTok, help me find Marissa.”

Meizz put the pieces together and knew she was the Marissa in question. And, true to what Harding overheard, the girls she actually hung out with became the worst. As her heart pounded and her disappointment mounted, she knew one thing for sure: she needed to find better friends.

Luckily, the internet stepped in to help. After responding to Harding’s video, she gained more than 100,000 followers overnight. Her inbox was flooded with DMs – some writing sympathy or encouragement while many asked to be her friend. Thinking about how to meet all of her new contacts, she organized a picnic get-together in Central Park in May 2021. She expected 20 people to stop by. More than 200 appeared, and thus No more lonely friends was conceived.

Meizz has successfully hosted more than 30 meetings since the original event a year ago, and – luckily for us – she made the trip to Austin this weekend for a pop-up hangout at the Fair Market. The added benefit: In addition to the opportunity to make new friends, Saturday’s shindig will also feature adoptable dogs to play with. (“Socializing is easier when dogs are involved,” stresses Meizz.) Thanks to funding from IRL‘s Together fundsthree local animal shelters are also sponsored (Austin Pets Alive, Hound Rescue and Final Frontier) and participants have the opportunity to go home with a new furry friend.

“One thing I’ve learned since then is how different everyone is socially,” says Meizz. “Everyone is so different, but when it comes to meeting people, everyone is the same: being outside really helps. Being in an open space with lots of people really helps. It’s different from a bar.”

There will be no alcoholic beverages at the event, but Chi’Lantro Korean BBQ and Cold Ones artisanal pallets will be parked nearby – and everyone is invited to bring their own picnic food.

Do you feel intimidated to go alone? Meizz understands but promises it will be worth it. “Come. Feel it,” she says. “It’s going to tear down the wall you’re building for yourself.”

Fair Market, 1100 E Fifth St., 1-5 p.m

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