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  #1  
Old 1st October 2017, 18:57
migster migster is offline
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Question Meetup.com

Calling on everyone who has used meetup.com in the past to share their experiences!

What was it like? Please describe how meetups take place. Were people receptive and welcoming or were there already established groups? Was it well organised and who was in charge? Did you find it useful and was it helpful for your condition?

Please share!
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  #2  
Old 1st October 2017, 19:09
Tiger_Lily Tiger_Lily is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

I've attended five or six in the past few years. They were all positive experiences Some people already knew each other, some didn't but all were included. They were all well organised and were organised mostly by someone who had a lot of experience in organising meets. I went to several coffee meets, a picnic in the park, lunch in a restaurant and an Escape Room meet, the last one I organised
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  #3  
Old 1st October 2017, 21:31
gregarious_introvert gregarious_introvert is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

Hello migster. I've found a very varied experience of meetup over the past couple of years (both with those I have attended and from what others have told me about their own experiences). There are some Event Hosts who don't provide adequate information about how and where to find them (although, if the information given in advance seems unclear, I would ask for clarification before I got there) and others who don't make enough effort to make guests feel comfortable. There are also some groups which, in my view, attract too many people to events for the first-timer to be able to feel comfortable (I think 6-20 people is the optimum attendance, there are some groups which attract 60-100 for some events).

Having said all the above, most of the time there is good information given and Event Hosts make an effort to help people make the most of the event; there are very few cliques (and those that do exist tend not to be closed off). I've attended meetups which cover a wide range of activities: walks, pub quizzes, gigs, festivals, camping, meals out, social drinks, days out, weekends away, trips abroad, clubbing, bingo... anything and everything really! It did help my condition (I used to concentrate almost entirely on social anxiety groups), continues to do so and these days allows me to help others in a similar way.

I don't want to comment on whether the meetups I've attended have been well-organised, as about 95% of them have been organised by me: however, this is how I like to organise a meetup: firstly, give clear information on what we'll be doing, where we'll be doing it, where to meet and what time etc.; secondly, confirm this by e-mailing everyone who is attending 24 hours before the event (at which point, I say what I'll be wearing and exactly where I'll be standing, also give my mobile number as a point of contact). Finally, I will always be at the event at least 15 minutes before it starts, wait outside the venue so that nobody needs to enter alone, introduce everyone to each other (especially the first-timers, for whom I do a special monthly event) - and if there are any people who haven't arrived by the time I have to go in to host, I leave a comment describing how to find us (eg. where in the pub we're sitting) or, if I have the person's number, text them to let them know what's happening.

From time to time, I do find people who find it difficult to make it to a meetup because of anxiety, agoraphobia or something similar, in which case I will offer to meet them one-to-one in advance, or visit them at home, or help in some other way. I find that most Organizers tend not to do this, though!
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  #4  
Old 2nd October 2017, 02:45
hollowone hollowone is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

RE migster
Quote:
What was it like? Please describe how meetups take place. Were people receptive and welcoming or were there already established groups? Was it well organised and who was in charge? Did you find it useful and was it helpful for your condition?
In all my experiences, everyone's been lovely and welcoming for most the events I've attended, and I've made new friends, mostly older than me, I've not experienced any cliquishness at all in any of the events I've attended.

RE
Quote:
Did you find it useful and was it helpful for your condition?
Yes it's definitely useful, it's valuable social experience. It's certainly great practice in meeting new people even if you don't meet the types you're hoping to.

The only issue with the local meet-up scene in my area is the one that happens regularly doesn't give enough opportunity to talk to new people (a pub quiz on a Monday), you don't get the chance to get to know people and, people shoot off as soon as it's over. Apart from that, it's been positive as far as starting conversations with people and getting to know the regulars is concerned.

If you're contemplating it, try an event that takes your fancy and turn up. Usually the host will mark the table with a sheet of paper with the name of the event. Here's a great article that might answer your concerns
https://www.succeedsocially.com/meetup
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  #5  
Old 3rd October 2017, 15:38
migster migster is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

@gregarious_introvert:

So... you attend meetups and are even an organiser yourself. Wow. Why are you on here then? LOL Seriously, what aspects of SA do you have issues with? I am struggling to understand how you could be classed as an SA sufferer if you can meet up with strangers and even play the role of organiser with a group of people you either hardly ever met or never been with at all.

Some of the meetups you mentioned sound really appealing; I'm thinking of weekends away, trips abroad or social drinks. Those are the sort of things I would really love to start doing. Very happy for you that you are at that level!

Would you say that it was the exposure combined with what seems to transpire from your posts as a desire to improve yourself and belief that you can do it, that has allowed you to be where you are now? How much progress have you made, by the way? As in, how badly did you suffer from SA?

Slightly tangential question: what sort of meetups do you organise? You mention anxiety sufferers in your last paragraph so I'm wondering whether you organise meetups related to SA/GA.
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  #6  
Old 3rd October 2017, 15:43
migster migster is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

@hollowone:
@tigerlily:

Thank you for your reply (and the informative link, hollowone)! Couple of questions, if I may: how much of a positive impact has attending meetups made on your SA? In what ways did SA impair your social life before? How long ago did you start attending meetups?

This topic genuinely fascinates me. Thanks again to all of you!
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  #7  
Old 3rd October 2017, 15:45
migster migster is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

Oh, seeing as I'm firing off questions in all directions: what do you guys think of drop-in group sessions ran by the NHS? Are they effective at all? Never been to one myself but thinking of attending one weekly even though the only benefits I see myself deriving from the experience are from helping others.

Apologies for all the questions!
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  #8  
Old 4th October 2017, 12:59
Velcro-Touch Velcro-Touch is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

I joined Meetup in march I don't want to get to dramatic and say it's changed my life but its definitely improved it, I attend a fitness class up to 3 times a week then week go for food and drinks after, gave me a chance to meet people my own age who are into my kind of thing. Everyone is really friendly they recently went a weeks holiday together to avimore, sadly I had to work. They invite me along to stuff outside of the group like days out and parties

Socialising more and exposing myself to eating out and stuff has really helped me

Generally Meetups with social anxiety don't work everyone is too shy or scared, it's better to find outgoing people and feed off their energy in my opinion. I got a fresh start with these people no one knew me when I was worse.

It's tough to find a group in your area that is frequent and the same people always go so you can build relationships but that's what I found.

There are cinema groups, fitness groups, geek groups, dog waking.....

Just try it if you don't like it you don't have to go back, many people attend and you never see them again for whatever reason
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  #9  
Old 4th October 2017, 16:38
Tiger_Lily Tiger_Lily is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by Velcro-Touch
Generally Meetups with social anxiety don't work everyone is too shy or scared, it's better to find outgoing people and feed off their energy in my opinion. I got a fresh start with these people no one knew me when I was worse.
This hasn't been my experience at all. All of the meets I attended were anxiety meets. There were quieter members in the group sure, but most were able to chat and we had some good conversations It made me feel much more at ease, knowing I was with other people who had experienced or were experiencing anxiety.
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  #10  
Old 4th October 2017, 17:29
Velcro-Touch Velcro-Touch is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger_Lily
This hasn't been my experience at all. All of the meets I attended were anxiety meets. There were quieter members in the group sure, but most were able to chat and we had some good conversations It made me feel much more at ease, knowing I was with other people who had experienced or were experiencing anxiety.
That's good, I think Glasgow has one with some regulars, maybe 8 or 9 people go fortnightly, but with 500 people in the group attendance isn't great

250 member in the Edinburgh group, yet to have a successful Meetup it's been running for over 6 months

Maybe I should become an organiser of the Edinburgh one
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  #11  
Old 4th October 2017, 17:51
KookyBlue KookyBlue is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

I'm off to one tonight,a pub quiz,haven't been to a meet in ages so trying to get back out there and going to them again.
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  #12  
Old 4th October 2017, 18:08
gregarious_introvert gregarious_introvert is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by migster
@gregarious_introvert:

So... you attend meetups and are even an organiser yourself. Wow. Why are you on here then? LOL Seriously, what aspects of SA do you have issues with? I am struggling to understand how you could be classed as an SA sufferer if you can meet up with strangers and even play the role of organiser with a group of people you either hardly ever met or never been with at all.

Some of the meetups you mentioned sound really appealing; I'm thinking of weekends away, trips abroad or social drinks. Those are the sort of things I would really love to start doing. Very happy for you that you are at that level!

Would you say that it was the exposure combined with what seems to transpire from your posts as a desire to improve yourself and belief that you can do it, that has allowed you to be where you are now? How much progress have you made, by the way? As in, how badly did you suffer from SA?

Slightly tangential question: what sort of meetups do you organise? You mention anxiety sufferers in your last paragraph so I'm wondering whether you organise meetups related to SA/GA.
That's a lot of questions! Let me start with how I suffered before I got involved with meetup - I was completely agoraphobic, only leaving the house when absolutely necessary (shopping, or to drive to see my girlfriend - and I'd managed to arrange my life so that shopping was once a month or less); I'd never had a social life at all previously, being rejected because of (what I know now to be) the effects of my autism. The first meetup I attended (which was 2 1/2 years after I joined meetup) was a walk, I was quite literally shaking and I spent the first hour of the walk in total silence, terrified of someone speaking to me.

Eventually, someone did speak to me and everyone could see how nervous I was, they were sensitive to my situation (although probably a little over-attentive and too sympathetic) and I felt welcomed and accepted. At the time, I was determined not to slip back into my old ways, so joined more meetup groups the next day (at which point I discovered some social anxiety groups) and tried to attend as many meets as I could. It happened that one group, a social anxiety group in Sheffield, lost it's Organizer and I found myself taking it over; although that group is now history, I have been an Organizer ever since - I find it easier to be the Organizer than to just attend (I would probably not have the courage to attend half the events I do unless I had to be there) because nobody can tell me I'm not welcome (in theory, at least)!

I no longer organise specific social anxiety groups: my experience of SA groups is that they have an ebb and flow - you get a core member of attendees who at some point move on (in my Sheffield group, the regulars decided to start organising their own thing outside meetup but sometimes people move to more regular social groups) and then find yourself rebuilding (if the group is large and established enough, this doesn't have to be an issue, but sadly the Sheffield group struggled to rebuild after all the regulars moved on together and I couldn't justify the expense any longer). However, I am still supportive of the Nottingham & Derby Social Anxiety Group and I find many members of the groups I organise who suffer with anxiety and other issues, whom I am able to help and who feel comfortable in the group because of my background (my meetup profile mentions my issues with anxiety, agoraphobia and Asperger's).

As for the progress I've made, I am a very different person to the one I was two years ago; I had no social skills (notwithstanding that my ex-fiancée had put in a lot of work teaching me body language, facial expressions, voice tones, social etiquette etc. before I ventured out into meetup) and had to learn not only how to relate to people, but how not to be upset when I was ignored, interrupted or talked over (it still happens!). I had actually given up any hope of ever having a social life, so I am still pinching myself that I am where I am today. I continue to struggle on a daily basis, some days it can be hard to walk through the door, others I find it hard to get involved in conversations; it's still hard for me to form friendships which exist outside meetup (then again, I am hosting six days per week on average, so I don't have a lot of time outside meetup).

I would say it's not so much the exposure but having little successes and being able to build on those which has helped; I've also been keen to learn about human interaction and managed to observe better than I could when the anxiety was in control how to pick up on cues, when to speak, when to listen, how to show others that I'm interested - and also, crucially (and the part I struggle with more than anything), to ask questions (and make eye contact, also a struggle). Things which once seemed impossible are now beginning to come naturally - most of the time.

One of the major steps forward was when some members of a meetup group organised a trip to Budapest (March 2016, seven months after my first meetup) and I was invited; in fact, it provided the blueprint for my travel groups, but was the first time in my entire life that I had been away with a group of people - until then, any travelling (in the UK or abroad) had been alone or with a partner - and discovering that I could spend that length of time with others without being hated was a major revelation.

I think I've covered all your questions, migster, but if not let me know!
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  #13  
Old 12th October 2017, 19:53
migster migster is offline
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Default Re: Meetup.com

Hi Gregarious_introvert. Thanks so much for your very descriptive reply; I so very much appreciate it. It is surprising just how much strength and motivation I derive from posts such as yours, which I have found to propel me forward and eventually allow me to deal with my issues. I get your point about the small successes and building on them. I suppose that is exactly what has been happening to me since I have decided to force myself to "get out there" (as it were) and confront my fears and issues head-on.

Could I possibly bug you with yet another question or two? What is it like to participate in a meet-up, so not in the role of organiser, and which focuses on social anxiety specifically? What sort of stuff and activities (tend to) take place? Is there a specific kind of meet up you would recommend to someone who is eager to address social-related fears and issues, has no friends at the moment due to a break up at the end of last year (that I've only recently recovered from) and who has only participated in a user-led support group so far?

Thanks again for your input!
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