How to Navigate a Shanghai Expat Mixer
All you need to know to start making friends in Shanghai
If you haven’t attended a Shanghai Expat Wednesday Mixer yet, then it’s time to make it your weekly routine. Even if you’re one of the regulars, everyone can benefit from a few tips that I have found useful to maximize your time at these events.
To keep things exciting, Shanghai Expat switches venues every three months or so, so these tips apply to the mixers, in general.
1) Arrive whenever you can, but from 8:30 to 9 p.m. is when the mixers really get going.
Mixers are on Wednesdays from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., and while the occasional few people do show early or on time, many start showing up around 8:30 and 9. Don’t worry about arriving at 10 or even 10:30. Mixers, along with the Sunday Coffee Meetings, never abruptly end when scheduled, so feel free to hang around longer.
2) Take advantage of the drink deal.
Shanghai Expat offers amazing deals for attendees, usually half-off a selection of drinks. At Andaz Hotel’s Xuan Bar, drinks are only 35 RMB each. Entry for both Shanghai Expat Wednesday Mixers and Sunday Coffee Meetings is always free, so why not get a drink (or a few) while you’re there?
3) Don’t be afraid to approach others and introduce yourself.
Whether you bring a friend or not, many people go to the mixers alone but end up really enjoying themselves while chatting with new friends. At the same time, feel free to leave one group and join another. It’s called a mixer for a reason. And no, you’re never too cool to use the nametags provided.
4) Be prepared to leave with some new WeChat contacts.
Almost everyone in China uses the popular messaging app WeChat. If you don’t have it yet, download it—and get ready to be asked for your WeChat ID and/or QR code. With WeChat, you can not only send text and audio messages, but also send photos (up to nine at a time), video chat, send a variety of entertaining stickers, and update your WeChat moments.
5) Return as often as possible!
Every mixer experience is different. Sometimes, you will see some of the same people you saw last week, but you never know who you may meet next. People have met their best friends and even significant others at our mixers. Really. Don’t let rain stop you, either.
See you on Wednesday!