It’s not a networking group, or a singles group, or a group devoted to new Minnesotans. Instead, the nonprofit Break the Bubble is simply about meeting new friends.
“After college, it’s just difficult to meet new people,” said Milwaukee native Mariano Garcia. “When people go in to these events without any idea of networking or dating, people can really be themselves.”
The group was founded more than two years ago when Seattle transplant Matt Decuir and returning Minnesotan Nora Riemenschneider connected over their critiques of “Minnesota Nice.”
“It’s almost like people are living in a bubble, and we need to break that,” Decuir said.
They purchased the domain BreaktheBubble.com for a $60 box of chocolates. They found taprooms willing to host the group on slow nights. And they brainstormed icebreaker questions to write on name tags. (On Valentine’s Day last year, everyone wrote down something they love and something they hate, and while mingling, others had to guess which was which.)
The first event drew more than 100 people, a crowd Break the Bubble has continued to draw since. Free tickets to happy hours and other events are usually gone within 24 hours.
“There is still a huge appetite for it,” Decuir said.
Ashley Murphy moved to Minnesota from Australia, and said he immediately liked the group’s approach. People don’t feel like they are being propositioned for a business opportunity or a date, he said.
“We definitely don’t try to promote that angle,” he said. “Our mission is just to help people make friends and mix up their social network.”
The next event is Tuesday, Feb. 9 at the Fulton Brewery taproom, 414 6th Ave. N.
For more information, visit breakthebubble.com.