If you are needing friends or just looking for some people with a shared interest to hang out with, I strongly encourage you to create a group on either Meetup or Facebook.
It doesn’t matter if you are shy or outgoing, anyone can lead a group. The biggest aspect of being a successful leader is to bring enthusiasm to the group and be organized in setting up activities and opportunities to come together.
The other important part of leading a group is managing your expectations. I touched on this briefly in my post, Will You Be My Friend?: Adult Version, but I wanted to expand on that a little more.
Today I am focusing on the frustrations of running a group. (Check out Leading a Group: Rewards for the benefits.) I’m posting these not to deter you from starting a group. My hope is that reading these will make you aware of what to expect, so these annoyances won’t kill your enthusiasm.
People will RSVP for an event and then won’t show up or even let you know they aren’t coming. – This is the ultimate frustration, because it is hard to know how long to wait around to see if more people will show up. My rule is that I wait 10 minutes, then I begin the event. It’s best to set the expectation that if people are late, they will not be waited on.
People will ask for special considerations. – I’ve had people request we do things in a particular area that is closer to them, or move the time an event starts, and what I have experienced 100% of the time is that these same people will not show up after you do accommodate them. Set up activities for what works for you.
People will RSVP for events they have no business attending. – I have had a blind lady sign up for an art exhibit and to come pick up trash, and a lady that complained about having to walk too far to find the food court in a mall sign up for a 5K. I’m all about empowerment if you have disabilities, but here’s what happens. As leader you get tied down accommodating their needs and you don’t get to enjoy the activity that you set up. My advice is to express your concern to that person and suggest another activity that you think they will enjoy more.
People will post reasons why they can’t come, instead of simply changing their RSVP. – Let me be brutally honest here. If I have met you at a previous event, then I may care, but if you haven’t come to an event yet, I don’t give a fuck that you’re mother-in-law is in town and you can’t make it.
Certain people will only come if there is a gift exchange of some sort. – These people ALWAYS bring the shittiest gifts.
You will spend some time soothing feelings of easily offended people. – Either they are upset because they set up an event and no one (or not enough) people showed up, or they are butt-hurt over something someone said, or they think you show favoritism to others in the group. I believe in trying to talk things out, but if they are constantly getting their feelings hurt, at some point it isn’t worth the effort anymore. Don’t get bogged down with these people.
People will complain that you aren’t setting up enough activities or the right kind activities. – In our group, anyone can create an event. I remind them of that fact when they start complaining.
Half of those that RSVP will actually show up. – When you first set up an activity, you will get a ton of people that say they want to come. As the day of the event draws closer, people will start dropping like flies. This is just life. Everything sounds like a great idea until you actually have to put some effort in going. Do NOT take this personally.
You will have people post or contact you with questions about the event when the answer is very clearly laid out in the description of the event. – Technically challenged or just plain stupid, it’s annoying.
You will eventually have to kick someone out of the group to save your sanity. – Get this in your head now, it is going to happen. There is always that one person who causes you and others to have a horrible time whenever they are around. Kick them out swiftly and don’t feel bad about it. You don’t want people you really enjoy to stop coming because of this person. I do give them one shot and talk to them, as respectfully as possible, about what is causing the friction, but if they don’t get it, don’t waste anymore of your time.
On the other end of the spectrum, you will meet some very cool people that will never show up to another event. – This just sucks and there isn’t anything you can do about it. Life is crazy, it could be any number of reasons. This is another one not to take personally.
Weeding out a fake profile (Facebook only) – Our group is based in Fort Worth, Texas, if someone from Nigeria wants to join, I feel like I’m pretty safe not accepting that one. Or if their profile is just pictures and no one seems to be interacting with them, it’s probably fake. I’m sure I don’t catch all of these, but I try to make an educated guess.
The most proactive move you can make when creating a new group is to create a list of rules. I’ve posted the rules for our Sarcastic Girlfriends group below so you can see how these help. If you set the tone for the group up front, it cuts down on the number of frustrations you encounter.
You got this!
The following are the official rules for the Sarcastic Girlfriends group. Please read and make sure you abide by these few rules. Thanks!
1) The group is called “Sarcastic Girlfriends” for a reason. If you are easily offended, this is NOT the group for you.
2) Stalking and harassing behavior will get you removed from the group. We want to encourage friendships and communication, but be respectful of individuals time and wishes.
3) You must be able to get yourself to a meetup. Absolutely no posts asking for rides. Feel free to message certain individuals privately if you need to, but make sure they are open to those types of requests.
4) Posts of funny memes are always welcome on our page, and they will not be monitored or censored.
5) Anyone can create an event for this group. If you do create an event, you are responsible for any/all coordination of that event. Feel free to ask for help, but you are ultimately responsible for that event.
6) Don’t “share” events created for this group outside of the Sarcastic Girlfriends group. You are free to invite friends to most events, but don’t share the event on your personal page.