People are funny. Sometimes funny ha-ha; sometimes funny weird. Meetup.com groups seem to serve as lightning rods for both types.
Take, for instance, the young woman in her early twenties who recounted a meetup.com excursion gone terribly wrong–to a group of women who belong to the same group but who didn’t attend said excursion. What ensued was a hilarious and cautionary tale about the potential for meeting oddball folks through meetup events that you wouldn’t normally associate with, let alone drive home.
Then there was the woman from another meetup group whom I’d initially pegged as a black hole: Everything she said was hyper negative, no matter what the circumstances. The second time I brunched with her, I realized that she possesses the double-edged sword of loving to hear herself talk to the exclusion of everyone else plus the inability to allow people to hold their own beliefs. Charming.
Funny-weird people are everywhere: meetup events, work, school, the grocery store. Avoidance is futile, and the most important thing we can do is to react appropriately. When the old lady in line ahead of me at the grocery store verbally abused me for not noticing her yoga magazine didn’t advance up the conveyor belt with the rest of her groceries, I simply smiled and apologized for the confusion then avoided eye contact. It didn’t keep her from continuing to glare at me, but it certainly prevented me from punching her in the face.
But it’s the murkier situations that you have to watch out for. Recently, my husband and I were invited over for dinner at the home of a woman from a meetup group and her husband. They have two young sons, 2 years old and 2 months old, so I was giddy with visions of stroller walks and play dates. As we sat down for dinner, their infant began to cry from the play yard in the living room (where he’d been lying alone since at least the hour we’d been there). Neither parent got up from the table. The husband said, chuckling, “One thing’s for sure, you’ve never heard of a baby dying from crying!” Perhaps not, but I have heard of them growing up to be sociopaths.
The baby continued to cry for the next 15 minutes or so, and then the wife excused herself by saying she had to take care of the baby. Did she feed him? No. Did she try to calm him? No. She took him into his bedroom, laid him in his crib, and shutting the door behind her, returned to dinner. He continued to cry for the next 30 minutes. Once she fed him and brought him to the table where he could have human interaction, he was fine. My husband and I left later that night, wondering if we really wanted to continue to develop a friendship with people who appeared to be unwilling to let their infant disrupt their lives or even participate in their lives.
As I wrote in an earlier posting, making friends as an adult is hard to do.
This weekend my husband and I have a “play date” at the home of another woman I met from meetup and her husband. They have a 10-month old daughter. God, I hope they’re funny ha-ha…