The Day I Swore Off Meetup.com
Does anyone even go to Meetup events?
2 years ago, I moved to the “South Bay” of Los Angeles to be closer to my job. I was commuting 17 miles a day before that (for 3 years) which, in LA Traffic time, is at least 90 min each way. Even though the South Bay is considered part of Los Angeles County, it’s so far removed that it doesn’t feel like part of the city. At the time, I didn’t have many friends in the area… so I did what most digitally connected adults do when the want to meet new people: turn to meetup.com. I wanted to find some local girlfriends to work out and brunch with on the weekends instead of being a home-body.
Almost immediately after searching, I found a Meetup called “Girlfriends of the South Bay” and I was unbelievably excited; however, I could never commit to going to any of their events. One day, the owner of the group arranged a bunch of events and told us she was looking for hosts. I decided to take on the responsibility of host for a bottomless mimosa brunch — that way I would be held accountable to ACTUALLY go to an event.
There were around 20 girls who RSVP’d yes. Bubbling with excitement, I called up the restaurant and reserved a spot for 25 people. Additionally, I told my friends from college to come down & invited a cousin that had just moved to LA.
When you host a meetup.com event, they advise you to put something on the table that will distinguish that you are the host. So naturally, in preparation, I bought an obnoxious XL Little Mermaid balloon along with a sign. I was overly-eager and thought that the balloon could act as a weird but funny conversation starter.
The restaurant was on the beach and the space was limited, so the owner had reserved an entire back table for the party.
..30 mins in, no one shows up. So, my friends & I order for ourselves.
…1 hour in, still no one. What happened to the 20 people?
…90 min… the owner comes to the table, “Are you sure you need all these tables? Brunch is a high demand time for us.” My response, “Um, I guess not?”
…2 hours in, still no one.
…2.5 hours in & drunk with my friends now, we start making friends with randoms in the restaurant who were curious about why I bought this crazy balloon.
Honestly, I had never been more embarrassed in my life. I thought, “This is why I don’t do meetup.com”. It was basically like being stood up for a first date, except worse… because I was stood up by 20 dates… all at the same time!
I was grateful that my friends from out of town came to visit that weekend otherwise, I would have been sitting there alone! I was in disbelief that not even ONE person showed up. Does this normally happen with meetups? I didn’t know but I knew that this would be the first and last time I used this as a service to meet people.