I pissed off a lot of people at a meetup. How can I patch things up with them and be friends, or is it even possible anymore and should I just give up?
So in my ongoing, extended and mostly unsuccessful quest to make friends in this city, I've been going to a lot of meetups and groups like that. There's usually been just one outcome, but now there are two outcomes. The first outcome was that people just didn't like me. Now we can add a second outcome, which is a major fight.
Warning: drama, I suppose, below. Please, please, please know that I'm not trying to maliciously or passive-aggressively spread this around any further (i.e. it's not a situation like this
) but get some semi-anonymous advice, because I don't want to screw this up any more than I already have but don't have anyone I can get advice from in person. Or put another way, please don't think it's me trying to be like "look at these catty people from another meetup!" when it's actually "please help me get these people I like not to hate me." Because of this, I'd really appreciate it if people didn't criticize the people involved, in any "oh, they're jerks" sense. They're not. The only person who deserves criticism here is me.
A rough timeline of events:
1) We're at a meetup. It's gone on for hours and had several venue changes. We'd been drinking, but at that point I wasn't drunk at all, to rule that out as a factor. I mean, it's not like I can reverse-breathalyze myself, but I generally know.
So now it's fairly late in the night, and people start gossiping about another member of the group who wasn't present. Let's call her Jessica. It's clear that there'd been resentment brewing for a while there, and though I don't know the details of all of it because I wasn't there for most of it, let alone its backchannels, I knew that it'd existed.
2) The specific resentment in this
case, I guess, was that person flirting with another (male) member of the group, when I guess she wasn't supposed to. If it seems vague, it's because I don't understand how any of that is wrong. I know it's a thing in group dynamics that if the "wrong" people flirt with the "wrong" people, it makes people mad, but those rules are never spoken, so how can you be expected to know? Doesn't tha Anyway, it gets to the point where they're trying to text him, put him on speakerphone and be like "Talk to us! Don't talk to Jessica!"
3) I speak up and say that I'm uncomfortable with this. I guess this is a personal failing of mine, that I'm incapable of shutting my goddamn mouth; it seems like it wouldn't be a failing, but it never, ever ends well.
4) They stop gossiping about Jessica, but nobody seems to see why it was wrong. Well, maybe one or two people did, but it was clear that I just pissed on the whole group dynamic. I try to look like I'm still having fun, but I am terrible at this and eventually have to go into the bathroom just so people can't see me trying and failing not to look upset.
5) A couple people find me and try to talk to me, but I am literally almost at the point of tears and say that I don't want to have that conversation right now. This goes on for half an hour or so, with varying degrees of how much I'm talking and how upset I am. Things aren't exactly civil.
6) And then this is the terrible mistake I made - I posted something to the meetup page (publicly) saying, without names, that people were talking shit about Jessica (again, no names used) at the meetup. My reasoning was that there had been a lot of discussion lately about how much private info people were comfortable posting, and I felt like this would be relevant. I guess I also wanted to call it out, maybe? I dunno. Again, this was a terrible mistake.
7) A lot of drama and terribleness happens when people realize what I've done. Everyone leaves, I give up even pretending I'm having fun, there is a giant argument on the group page, I get back to my apartment and fall asleep alone (relevant because a lot of them were crashing at someone else's place, so relevant in social-dynamics terms.) I wake up, check the page, and it's just gotten even worse. I am leaving out a lot of details because really, there's no point hashing them out. You know what this sort of thing looks like.
8) I wake up and want to die.
So. Yes. What can I even do in this situation that will make things better? Is it even possible to be friends with these people anymore, or is it best just to leave? If it is possible to be friends with them, what on earth are the steps that need to be taken to get from A to B? Or if it isn't possible, how can I at least make them hate me as little as possible? Because even if these specific people can't be my friends, I feel like I don't want to leave a trail of six-degrees-of-resentment around the city, because it can be surprisingly, shockingly small for something so massive. I don't want to get into a situation where a prospective friend - or, for that matter, date - finds about this secondhand and turns on me.
I don't know. I just want friends and for people to like me. I don't ever want to be mean to anyone, and I don't want any of this to happen at all.