Recently, I wrote a small guide about how to host your own Lolita (or general) meet up. The thing is, a meet up is a two sided process; people who host and people who attend. Both sides have to do their part in order to make the meet a success, so today we’re going to have a look at what to do when attending meetups.
Step 1: Get involved in the discussion
One of the steps to having a great community is getting involved; if only one or two people make an effort to start discussions or suggest meets your community is likely to die pretty fast. If you see a suggested event, take the time to look it over and make a comment. If you’re really interested, or want to help with the organization that’s always great! Maybe you don’t want to help plan, but you have a great suggestion for the day: go for it, suggest it and make your community the kind of place you can be really proud of.
This is the time to ask questions such “does this venue have disabled access?” Or “does this café have any options for people with gluten intolerance or shellfish allergies?” If these are issues that relate to you. There’s not always a guarantee that you can be catered for, but most places will be keen to help and it really helps the meet organizers.
If you’re going to a restaurant, you might need to check if you will need to pay by card or bring cash. Some places may not allow everyone in a large party to pay separately by card, so make sure to prepare yourself so as not to inconvenience everyone else.
Step 2: Confirm your attendance
It really helps meet organizers if they have at least a rough idea of how many people plan to attend. If you can’t come, please say that you can’t come. Nothing is more confusing to someone who is trying to organize a day out than a big pile of maybes.
If you know you can’t make it a few days before, or even on the day, please inform the organizers of the meet so they’re not stood around worrying and waiting for you at the train station. If you’re going to be late, or you’re lost and need directions please let the organizers know!
If you need to pay a deposit please pay it as soon as possible. If you need to wait until payday, please keep the meet organizer informed so they don’t waste time chasing up payments.
You could also post discussions in the event like “what is everyone thinking of wearing?” To drum up excitement or “is anyone getting this bus/train?” To potentially find a travel buddy.
Step 3: Before the meet
If the meet involves some kind of activity that needs to be prepared beforehand, get involved in the discussion about it. If the meet is a picnic, it would be pretty embarrassing to turn up without anything to eat, so keep yourself informed about what to expect on the day.
If you’re coming to your first meet you might want to post a comment like “hello, this will be my first meet is there anything I need to know?” I’m sure your community will be welcoming and friendly, but it’s good to let people know that this will be your first meet so they can make an extra effort to include you in the group. If you’re feeling really shy and feel like you need to bring a friend, remember to ask first.
Night before the meet up check list:
- Is my outfit clean and ready?
- Have I organized my travel? Do I need to check train/bus times or book tickets?
- What is the weather going to be like, will I need a jacket or umbrella?
- Do I need cash? Do I have cash in my purse and money in my bank account?
- Do I need to charge my camera? Have I packed spare batteries?
- Am I going to wear makeup? Will I need to bring any makeup to top up throughout the day?
- Am I going to wear a wig? Will I need to bring a wig comb, hair brush or extra hair clips?
- Do I need to bring extra deodorant or perfume?
- Do I need to take any medication? Do I need to tell anyone else about my medication?
- Do I need to bring a bottle of water? (People with diabetes might need energy drinks)
- Do I have any other medical problems or food allergies that I need to tell someone about?
- Do I need to bring anything else related to the meet up?
Step 4: Your Duties as a Guest
I feel like basic manners cover most of your duties as a guest – try not to be late, try to be polite and get involved in conversations and activities. Introduce yourself to anyone that you don’t know and make an effort to speak to all of the other attendees. If you don’t know about something, ask! It’s a great conversation starter.
“I’ve never heard of that, what kind of designs do they make? What is your favourite thing about them?” Is a great thing to say when you don’t know what to say.
If you’ve brought a friend with you please don’t just speak to your friend all day, make an effort to speak to everyone else at the meet. Remember, you came to meet people with similar interests and make new friends, not spend time hanging out with your friend near a group of other people.
I have heard about attendees skipping out on restaurant bills at meets before, it should go without saying but please don’t do that. I personally suggest passing the bill around the table and getting people to cross off what has been paid for one by one, rather than putting cash in the middle and hoping it adds up at the end.
If you’re taking photography or video, remember to be courteous. Don’t photograph anyone that doesn’t want you to. If someone has taken a picture of you, remember to thank them and don’t pester them to send it to you right away. If you think the shot is unflattering, you can politely take them aside and ask if it would be possible to try again, or if the photo can be taken down from social media.
Step 5: After the Meet
Remember to thank the organizers and say goodbye to other attendees. If you need to leave in a rush, let at least one person know so that the organizers do not have to worry about you. You might want to post a little thank you on the event page, or a share any pictures that you might have taken during the day.
Maybe you might even want to think about hosting your own meet?
If you have a complaint about a meet; for example you felt that you were insulted by another guest or you were unhappy with the service at the chosen venue, then please send a message to the organizers so that they can handle the matter discreetly.