Meetup Spotlight: Memphis Shy Guys

Jennifer is anything but socially awkward. The Meetup she organizes is jam packed with awesome activities—even outgoing locals would call it one of the most active and fun loving groups in Memphis. You’d never guess that Jennifer heads up the Memphis Shy Guys Meetup— A Group for the Shy and Socially Awkward.

Memphis Shy Guys

While Meetup might seem like a strange destination for those with social anxiety—face to face interactions with strangers?!— it works wonders for members, and Jennifer’s Shy Guys are proof. Her members come out in droves for Meetups like ‘Trivia Night’ and ‘Salsa Dancing’—not exactly activities for the faint of heart. There are over 600 Social Anxiety Meetups, and over 400 Shyness Meetups worldwide. Some of them are public, some of them are private, but all of them are designed to support members through a fear of social situations.

Continue Reading →

womenvets5

Organizer Spotlight: Women Veterans of San Antonio

When Robin Harder moved to San Antonio, Texas, she joined several running Meetups. In 2013, when three foot surgeries over the course of a year forced her to take a running hiatus, Robin decided to look for a different kind of group—this time, one for veterans. Sergeant First Class Harder is an active duty soldier—she’s served in the Army for almost 20 years.

Robin’s search for veterans’ Meetups in San Antonio turned up empty. “There weren’t any,” she recalls, “so I thought, ‘why don’t I start one?’” On May 7, 2013, Robin founded the Women Veterans of San Antonio Meetup. A year and a half later, she’s found over 70 women veterans with a shared vision. That vision, she explains, is to create a place for women veterans to socialize and enjoy themselves. There are lots of veteran support groups, Robin says, but she’s setting out to create something different. “We don’t want to just commiserate, or dwell on bad memories—we want to get out and do fun things together.” Her group gets together every month for coffee, and recent Meetups have included a winery tour, and a trip to see the San Antonio Stars—the Spurs’ sister team—play.  “I just really wanted to meet with other military women to share experiences, and have some fun while we do it,” Robin says. “We don’t really dwell on our military experience, but its the common bond that brings us all together.”

When Robin created the Meetup, her choice to limit the group to women was intentional. My husband is a retiree too,” Robin says. “He served 20 years, and when we’re out together people automatically identify him as military, and come right up to him. He always says, ‘you know, my wife has been in for almost 20 years too, and she was deployed to Afghanistan,’ and they don’t know what to do, or how to talk to me or anything. They never think about women being in the military too.” The Meetup’s slogan, plastered across the hot pink t-shirts Robin ordered for the group, reads: “Women are veterans too.” “There really aren’t groups out there that are exclusively female,” Robin explains. “There are big conferences and things, but there isn’t anything that’s just like, ‘let’s go grab coffee.’ Being part of a Meetup has allowed that to happen, and it wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”

Continue Reading →