Cliques

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photo by by Glenn Harper

Another common frustration I hear from swingers (both new and experienced)  is the feeling that everyone is in a clique. I hear this complaint about meet-and-greets, clubs, parties, and even websites. Cliques are often a perception rather than a reality.

I remember the first time Tyler and I went to a particular meet-and-greet. It was at a trendy dance club filled with couches, lounge chairs, and a few curtained-off booths. After making a lap or two, we were very happy to find a set of four comfy chairs. What luck, we thought, we'll get to meet whichever couple ends up sitting in those chairs! Within 10 minutes, someone did come, but only to ask us if they could take a chair and go somewhere else with it…sigh…We got up and walked around some more, but all we saw were large groups of people who seemed like completely unapproachable cliques. And so in our newness and shyness, we decided not to approach…By the end of the night we did meet a few other new couples like ourselves, but we left the party with the distinct impression that the whole thing was just too cliquey for us.

No too long afterward, we started meeting a few lifestyle couples at a local bar. We talked, got to know their friends, and introduced them to our friends. In short time, the group grew from about 8 to about 30, with varying levels of participation each week. Although we were all swingers, that was about all we had in common. New people joined the group often, and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.

One evening I was talking with a couple who was new to the group, and they informed me that they'd been worried about coming because they'd heard we were cliquey. I was shocked! Us? Cliquey? So I thought about it, and tried to remember any time we had shunned a new couple. I couldn't come up with a single time, but I did realize that as a group of friends, perhaps there had been times when we were all wrapped up in a birthday celebration or the appearance of someone we hadn't seen in a long while that maybe we hadn't realized there were new people who hadn't been welcomed.

It was then when I realized that I'd probably been much too hard on the other meet-and-greet. I'd assumed because no one came up to me, membership packet in hand, that I wasn't welcome.
What I should have remembered is that a clique is usually just a group you're not a member of yet. Sure, there are exclusive cliques that will completely ignore you if you don't comply with their narrow view of beauty or success, but honestly, those groups are rarer than you'd think.

To illustrate my point, a month ago, Tyler and I went to another meet-and-greet just like the first. It was at another trendy dance club take-over that none of our friends were attending. This time, however, was completely different. As we walked around, we realized that although there were large groups of people, we'd made acquaintances in many of the groups at some time over the last 5 years. So instead of sitting waiting for people to come up to us, we spent the whole evening moving from one group to another, sometimes saying hello to people we hadn't seen in months or years, and other times introducing ourselves to people we had never met at all. The event was a great success!

So how do you get from outsider to insider? Well the only real way is to put yourself out there.

  • If you're attending a party with a guest list, go through it ahead of time and look for people you might be interested in meeting. If you can, send a message to a few couples – something to the effect of “We noticed you'll be attending XYZ and look forward to meeting you!”.
  • If you get to the party and find you do know people there, ask to be introduced to the people they're with, or introduce yourself!
  • Some people are more comfortable going to events if they already know other attendees. So if you have friends you can go with, great! Just remember to mingle with other guests too, not just the people you came with!
  • Keep showing up. Maybe you won't make a connection the first time, or even the second, but as people start to recognize you, they will be more likely to warm up to you.
  • If you still end up not knowing anyone at the event, you're going to have to introduce yourself. I know it can feel awkward or even frightening, but just try to engage those around you. Flirt! Compliment that lovely lady's hair, shoes, or dress. Tell that handsome guy how great his eyes are.  Give that sexy couple a big ol' smile 🙂

Most importantly, don't give up. If a stranger is just a friend you haven't met, then a clique may just be a group of  friends you haven't met.

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3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Great article. If you see a couple standing by themselves and they look like someone you might be interested in, make the first move. We have done this several times and ended up playing with the couple who later thanked us for making the first move. My wife and I are both on the shy side so we developed a system that works good for us. I usually don't drink when we go to parties, but after the wife has a couple of drinks she becomes a social butterfly. If we see a couple we both like, she will approach them by herself and usually start flirting with the female half to see if the female half is into girls. We don't play with couples who don't have a bi female. After a few minutes. if the wife likes the vibe, she waves me over and introduces me. If she doesn't "feel it", she moves around the room to other couples. Our friends rib us saying I'm like a fisherman who throws his "bait" out to see what he can catch. We have met a lot of great people the three years we have been in the lifestyle and look forward to meeting many more. Good luck and good fishing.

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    We just went to a party and only knew one couple. Making a long story short, we mingled the entire night and met a bunch of new people. We ended up playing a little bit with the couple that we knew on the dance floor ( no nudity). At the end of the party we had couples coming up to us stating they when we first arrived, they thought we were going to be a "stiff" couple, and apologized to us because they were wrong. The way we look at it, you are going there to meet people so you can get naked with them. If you are shy about introducing yourself, how are you going to be when you start to undress? I understand there are shy people, heck I am one of them, but that is something that a few drinks can fix. If you are still having a hard time meeting people, go dance with your partner, it is a guaranteed way to meet new people, and it really does not matter if you can dance, just get on the dance floor.

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    Great article. We haven’t been to a club since we lived in Vegas almost 10 years ago and the two clubs we attended were terrible. I qualify that by saying that we were very young in our relationship and in our swinging life so it might have been a different experience if we were to attend the same clubs today.
    We haven’t been to any of our local clubs here yet, although I think we need to get over the two bad experiences and give these clubs a shot. We do have a local bar where swingers tend to hang out. We met our playmates there for our first date a few weeks ago and just in the tables around the one we were sitting at were several other swinger couples. One couple we have been talking to on swingtowns and one that our new friends had texted with from swinglifestyle. 
    I will remember your advice when we do attend a club again. I’m usually a social butterfly but always worry that people won’t like us, won’t find us attractive or funny when we find ourselves in a situation like that. Only one way to find out, right 😉 
    And yes, getting on the dance floor is a great way to make new friends, even if you can’t dance. It’s such a good excuse to put one set of sexy body parts next to another set. 

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