Opt-out events

I went for coffee with a friend on Friday morning, and we talked about her long-running monthly book club, now in its 20th year. Over its two decade existence, the size of the group has sometimes ebbed down to 6-7 attendees and other times swelled up to more than 20. The premise is simple: each month the host sets the book and the date, and whoever can attend (and wants to) does. No need to give a detailed explanation if you can’t go. No need to even read the book if you do go. At it’s core, the club is really just a way to keep a group of friends in contact over the years.

This reminded me of an episode from the Broken Brain Podcast that I listened to recently, in which host Dhru Purohit discusses a weekly event that he started several years ago with a group of friends. While the event’s name (‘Man Morning Thursdays’…eye roll) could probably use a revamp, the idea is similar to my friend’s book club: the group has standing plans every Thursday morning (before work) to go for a hike and talk business. Again, there’s no pressure to attend, but the hike will happen every week for those who want to. Dhru coins this an ‘opt-out event’.

I’ve realized that I’m part of my own ‘opt-out event club’: a group of ten friends who go out for dinner (ideally at a restaurant the majority of the group has never been to before) each month. I used to see many of the members of the group on a weekly basis even without the dinner club, but then people had kids, got busy jobs, and you know how it goes. Now I rarely see most of them outside of the dinners, and probably would have lost touch with several of them years ago if it weren’t for the ‘club’. Our dinners have brought me a great deal of happiness, and I love that it’s low pressure…nobody makes me feel bad if I can’t attend (although I always want to).

I’m thinking that I’d like to start another opt-out group event with a different circle of friends at some point. I’m still not sure what form it will take, but here are some ideas if you’re looking to start your own:

  • A dinner club, pot-luck, Soup Group (seriously, how cool is this?) or casual monthly dinner party
  • A fitness class or hike
  • A book or article club
  • A clothing exchange
  • A cookie exchange or fudge bake
  • A Stitch ‘n’ Bitch or craft club

Happy Leap Day!

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