Sometimes I don't like staying in hostels (which is a great way to meet people and be social) but then I struggle finding places to meet people. What are alternative ways to find social events or gatherings.
Couchsurfing, though not as alive as it once was, is still a reasonably good source for local meetups etc. Meetup.com is another, though tends to be for interest-specific groups.
The other approach I have had some luck with is searching Facebook groups for the name of the place/region I am going, and joining some that look interesting then posting to see if anyone wants to meet up, or if there are already some events planned. Eg I have done this with Burner groups in Colombia and Brazil.
It depends what your interests are, and your locations.
Meetup.com - this is a friendly social networking site that covers everything from hiking to knitting to pub-crawling to socializing: whatever. While it's usually for regular members, you can join, attend, and get to know those people - even if it's just for one day. They are already putting themselves out there, so they'll be happy to help you.
Local rags - Almost all cities have a WhatsOn magazine, or like here, portlandmercury.com, where events are held. These almost always include networking or social events in addition to the usual concerts, etc.
Couchsurfing.com - As mentioned already, this is/was a great site that, in addition to staying places, has social events for travelers.
AirBnB.com - Consider using an AirBnB instead of a hotel or hostel. Almost every one I've stayed in has been nicer than a hotel, the same price, and I got to chat with the owners over a glass of wine. They recommended the secret places to go to, and would I like to join them and their friends at a neighborhood potluck tomorrow?
Hash House Harriers - This is a very social and welcoming group that does a casual run/walk followed by some beers and a few traditions. There is one in virtually every reasonably-sized city on Earth. Be sure to ask their contact on the website first what their walk entails. A few are intense with pretty raunchy beer-guzzling, etc., but most are tame, with a few kids ("brats") and people walking their dogs. ALL, however, are welcoming in my experience, 25 countries and counting.
Religious Institutions - At least in the city I live in, if you're at all religious, there are mosques, churches and others that have community events, just browse the websites and resources.
Volunteer Volunteer Volunteer! - This I found to be the most productive and fulfilling way to meet locals and actually some life-long-distance friends. I've spent an evening at a homeless shelter just scooping food, a tree-survey, a turtle rescue, etc. Be polite and sociable, and not too in-your-face about asking what to do, and you'll likely get invited to hang out later or be shown around town.