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I think this Sarah Scribbles' strip illustrated the question in a nutshell: enter image description here

Sometimes when at meetups, or at miscellaneous networking events I would meet people I could click with and become friends - common topics, shared interests, what not. After that event though, I worried about how to catch up with them. How do I ask? Is saying "Hey do you want to hang out and have coffee together and talk about stuff" sounds strange to me, and is only something that I will ask of a friend whom I know very well.

What are some possible "excuses"?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this sounds like a phrasing request which we don't answer here. – Ael Jan 2 '19 at 14:18
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Through personal experiences i have found that using the knowledge of your shared interests is the most helpful when trying to bridge the gap between acquaintances you may occasionally meet at miscellaneous networking events" and friends.

When using this information to come up with "excuses" I would suggest doing so in steps over time, where your invitations gradually become more and more personal which gives each of you more of a chance to gain that mutual understanding that you both enjoy the others company.

These steps should be refined and adapted to your personal situation but here is an example of what I would do:

First draw attention to the fact you are hoping to see them at an event you are both already going to. This first step is the most nerve wracking still important and choosing an event you are both already attending helps relieve the pressure for you and the other person.

Hi, I just heard about {%insert social event} (will you be attending?)/(i hope to see you there)/(i have this {%insert shared interest} to show you)

Next invite them to a new event they aren't attending of a similar nature.

My colleague told me about {%insert new event} I was wondering if you wanted to go and check it out with me?

After inviting them to a few of these, try to bridge the events into something more personal where the goal is to hang out with them rather than attend the networking event.

Did you want to meet up and have coffee or something before going to the event?

Eventually disregarding the event entirely where asking them if they want to hang out feels natural. The key here being that people feel more comfortable with things that are familiar to them. So slowly leaning into it can help reduce that awkward feeling, doing all of this may be a bit excessive and some of the steps could be unreasonable in your situation. Skipping some or all of the build up and going straight to asking someone to hang out is still totally fine! So please, after meeting someone you would like to befriend, push through the awkward and anxious thought that makes you hesitate and simply make an offer to follow up, however clumsy or embarrassing it may be and you will find that many people are delighted by the idea of hanging out with you again.

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Let me lay down a couple of ideas.

First, this part:

saying "Hey do you want to hang out and have coffee together and talk about stuff" sounds strange to me

needs attention. Why don't you just ... try it? See what happens. If it sounds too vague and random, link it to something specific. There's always a renaissance fair or community theater play going on. Always have such an event "in your pocket" as it were. If you meet someone you want to hang around with more, you've got something nice and specific ready and waiting.

Second, you might play around with the wording a bit as well. Maybe, "Hey, I'm at loose ends this Thursday. Want to go grab a bite? Heard about this new place..."

Good luck!

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Well, you don't have to ask them out for coffee if you don't feel like asking them to drink coffee with you.

When you start a relationship, remember, your feeling comfortable is important.

Try thinking it more like "What do I enjoy that the other person is likely to enjoy as well, or at least give a try?". After all, if you and the other person have exchanged information, and the other person hasn't reached you, you can reach out first. And you can choose to use what pickaxe to break the ice.

That is what I can suggest you for now. Please update, and hopefully I and the community can help you some more.

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I believe in "if you don't ask you won't find out" and "what is the worse that can happen?". As someone who used to be super shy and introverted I do quite well now in small groups of people whom I have things in common with, which helps develop friendships since you have some common grounds. I started a meetup group because I didn't meet like minded people and now many of the members of my group are also my friends. I bet there are meetup groups you can join in your area. I would say just be yourself and don't be afraid of people's reaction. Everyone gravitates towards people who are positive and smiling. You could say something like "want to check out that new movie since you said you like comedies? I heard it's really good" or I heard you like this type a food, I heard there is a good restaurant near me.

Some of us take longer than others to get comfortable in a group but once you find one or more people you can relate to or feel comfortable talking to it makes it easier to fit into a group conversation.

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