16 Dec 2016

What Makes a Successful Lolita Meet



Meets can be a little daunting, especially at first. And that’s regardless of whether you’re attending or organising one. I went to a total of eight meets, of which I organised one (my second to last one). So while my perspective on this week’s Lolita Blog Carnival topic is still very much from a newbie perspective, what I’ve observed thus far boils down to three main things.




1. Place

Art Gallery by Carlo Mirande
Flickr
The location of the meet has to suit its purpose. Sometimes the meet itself is centred on visiting a place, so then it’s about ensuring that it’s an interesting one. Sometimes it’s just a ‘let’s catch up’ eat and drink kind of meet, so make sure that your venue isn’t too noisy, thus stopping you from having a chat. I’m assuming here that whatever the meet idea, it’s appropriate to wear Lolita there (so you’re not planning, for example, to go rock climbing or mud fighting), but whatever you’ve planned the venue has to fit the needs. At the end of the day, even a casual get-together for dinner won’t make a fun meet with your fellow frillies if you’re somewhere that’s noisy, dirty and full of people you’d rather avoid for whatever reason. Plus, people need to know what would be appropriate wear for that occasion!




2. Activities

Misako Aoki on set of 'Maepatsuhimeka'
Taken from Nekohimechan's blog
This isn’t to say that you have to be doing something incredible and different at every meet you attend. Rather it is to highlight that having a purpose to the meet will improve the chances of it going well. So make it clear whether this is a casual lunch/shopping kind of meet or whether it’s a themed one with planned activities. The ‘let’s just meet there and see what we feel like’ approach only works for groups of very close friends, which could exclude any newcomers to the comm. Arrange for something to do that will keep you all occupied – going to the vintage fair, an afternoon tea, Halloween fun and games, a treasure hunt, crafts, anything – and maybe have a little backup in case something goes wrong (e.g. bad weather or everyone gets tired/hungry halfway through).

And if you are planning to do a themed meet with lots of themed activities, then be flexible. At the end of the day people attend to socialise as well as to take part in what’s planned, for some this may be the first time in a while that they’ve seen each other and they will want to catch up without being or meaning to be rude to you as the host. Use your knowledge of the group and best judgement to decide when the most appropriate time to do a planned activity is and when you should just relax and chat/eat/discuss the latest releases/have fun.

3. People

Gothic Lolita with suitcase by Hekerui.
Wikimedia Commons
Without other Lolitas there wouldn’t be a meet in the first place. And again, I’m not trying to say that the best meets are the ones where only long-time best friends attend, that’s totally untrue. But a good host will make sure that everyone is made to feel welcome, introduced to others where appropriate, help a newcomer find their place in the group. I was lucky in that I’m surrounded by absolutely lovely comms, I also realise that there are Lolitas out there who don’t feel like they fit in with theirs, which often boils down to people simply not clicking together for whatever reason. However, while you can’t control whether people will like each other, you can control how you yourself act. You can be a caring and welcoming host or one focused only on their friends. Similarly, you can choose to make effort to say ‘Hi, my name’s X, this is my first meet’ to at least one person in the group or you can stay quiet, hoping for the best and a helping hand from someone else. In both cases the former positive and active approach often means the different between a meet that you’ll remember as successful (even if all you did was have dinner or wander round the shopping centre) or one which you’ll be disappointed with.


There are certainly many more specific tips which could be employed to ensure that a meet is successful, but that’s going into all sorts of details. The three things above, however, apply to any and all meets and together usually end up creating a lovely mixture. Why? Because when the first two bits are clear (where are you going and what will you be doing), then the people attending will be up for it, will arrive all excited to take part and will act in a more welcoming way, creating a friendly atmosphere for everyone.

What have you found to be a necessary ingredient to making a Lolita meet successful? Have you attended a lot of meets or are you yet to attend your first one? Have you ever hosted a meet? I’d love to hear your stories and I encourage you to read what other bloggers have written:

LINKS TO BE UPDATED


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