20-40-60 Etiquette: Finding your way in
QUESTION: A lot of my friends are members of book clubs and garden clubs in Oklahoma City. How do I join these groups? Do I need to be invited, or can I just politely ask members to include me?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: Of course, ask! If you want to be included, take that step. If they say no, start your own!
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: Ask your friends if they’re accepting new members or tell them that if there’s ever an opening, you’d love to join. Sometimes there’s an opening and sometimes there’s not, but keep listening for opportunities to be in on something from the beginning. You can also look on different organizations’ websites for events — both Myriad Botanical Gardens and Will Rogers Garden Exhibition Center come to mind for garden-related ones — and sign up for one. You might meet some like-minded people who want to start a club. Libraries also hold events that you can join.
HELEN’S ANSWER: If you have a friend who is a member of a club, you might express your interest in belonging. Some clubs have limited membership and cannot accept new members. Others are always looking for new people. You might want to visit before becoming a member. In Oklahoma City, many garden clubs meet at the Will Rogers Garden Center. You might call there and inquire about specific clubs that interest you, like the Rose Garden Club, the Iris Club, or Daisy Club.
GUEST’S ANSWER: Patti Leeman, community volunteer: There are clubs in Oklahoma City, and there are clubs in Oklahoma City. Some are by invitation only, some like Daughters of the American Revolution that you must be born into as descended from someone who was in the Revolutionary War, and some are, “y’all come.”
You should tell one of your friends that you would enjoy being a guest at her garden club, visit, and if you enjoy the experience and the people, tell her of your interest in joining. Clubs often have waiting lists because they are limited by space and requirements for meetings. Ask about the dues and responsibilities of membership.
If this club doesn’t appeal to you for long term, ask other friends to visit their clubs. In Oklahoma City, as in other cities, it is often easier to Get INTO a club than to get OUT OF one, so be certain that you have found a match, not just a club meeting. THEN, if you don’t find what you are looking for, you might follow the lead of Diane Keaton in the now-showing delightful movie “Poms” and start your own club.
Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.