I could use some advice and I'd like your opinion. I wish to remain anonymous in name for this, so I hope that is okay. I live in a large city and for many years have hosted furmeets for the local furries in the area. My mate and I host several each year and we REALLY enjoy the meets that we have hosted. These meets have been fairly open-invitation-style meets, allowing folks to come whom we have never met before. And we host the majority of these meets in our own home.
However, recently there have been incidents. Things that have begun to sour the joy we have gotten from these events. Most of these problems are minor and petty and really just annoyances. But at our last meet... One of our guests stole something from us.
That in and of itself isn't the problem. The problem is ... now we are not sure if we should ever have a furmeet in our home again.
As I said, we LOVE the meets and really enjoyed them. The thought of stopping them sickens us. And we KNOW the actions of this one individual were just that, one person. And obviously we know who this person is and they will not be welcomed back, but it raises the specter of future violations.
Some have advised us to continue the meets but make them invitation only, and then only people we can trust. But the downside to that is all the new furs we could be meeting who would not be allowed to attend.
Some have suggested stopping meets completely, and again this is distasteful to us since we enjoy them so much.
And others have suggested not having them in our home anymore. Have them in public venues only. Which, while a safer idea for our home and security, can mean much more management on our part to find, prepare, and keep clean and safe the venue we choose.
I've been mulling this over for some time and really don't know what to do. If this was simply the one theft it might be easier, but as I said, there were other incidents which have begun to sour the meets for us. This is more like the iron girder that broke the camel's back.
And while lots of people have been kind enough to offer advice, they have all been, by and larger, from this area. I'd like to have the opinion of someone who is not from our meets or area. And I have noted that you are very thoughtful about your answers, so I would really appreciate your opinion.
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You and your mate are a very generous and kind furs to open up your home as you have been. Most people I have met in my travels are kind and respectful, but, as you have seen, it only takes one or two bad beans in the pot to give you a bellyache.
Papabear has never hosted a meet in his bear den, but I have, of course, held parties. When I do, my guests stay in the living room, kitchen, or back yard, and they are, naturally, allowed to use the guest bathroom. Valuable items my mate and I own are kept in the bedroom and offices, and really valuable items are kept in a lockbox or safe. This is not because I don’t trust my friends—and, indeed, if they want to give themselves a tour of the house, they may do so—but it makes me think that one solution, if I were to have random people in my home, would be to install interior door locks on my bedrooms and office. You can get them for about $10 or $20 each at any hardware store. Then, before your party, put anything of value inside the rooms with locks on the doors. If you have more than one bathroom, designate one of them as a guest bath, and keep the other one locked as well. The locked bathroom is for you to place things like prescription medications (I’ve heard awful stories that some foolish people actually like to play a game in which they ingest pills the prescription for which they don’t even know!)
So, this way, you can keep all your guests in the living room, or family room, and the kitchen where even the boldest of thieves would be unlikely to take something, and, if they did, it wouldn’t be of much value anyway. That would be my first recommendation. Try this first and see how it goes.
If you are still having problems, my second recommendation would be to have parties by invitation only. This doesn’t mean that you won’t meet anyone new. You can tell people you invite that they may invite a guest or two, someone who has not been there before, and hopefully you would trust them not to invite an unpleasant person. To help you with this, you might try organizing a MeetUp group (http://usa.meetup.com/) if you haven’t already done so. This is a great way to send people invites, find out who is coming to the party, and share information.
I’m not sure what your furmeets are like, but if they are unstructured parties where people come to your home, eat, drink, and chat, you might also try something more structured, like a card or video game tournament. Have everyone who is coming participate in the activity, and this will create a more organized activity in which people are easier to track and keep an eye on.
I agree with you that organizing a meet outside the home, such as a picnic or bowling outing, can be a lot of work. It’s also a lot chummier if you can have a party in the home and just let your furry thang hang out (*ahem* so to speak). See what you think of my above suggestions, and let me know how it goes.
The fandom needs more furries like you! People who are willing to organize safe and fun functions. I hope that you won’t have to cancel your parties because of one or two derps.
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My thanks. I forgot to mention that we often allow guests to stay the night, especially if they are from very far away. We use a 3 hour rule. You drive 3 hours, you get to stay the night. Unless it's the one party we do where alcohol is served and then everyone who drinks stays the night, unless they have a clear designated driver. Your advice is about what we have thought of. And much appreciated. We have considered the locks situation, strictly limiting the overnighters, and a sort of loose invitation plan. I really appreciate your opinions and advice because they help us see the problem clearer.
I think we will still do some thinking on this, but a combination of a few of these options may make our home more secure, and still allow us to have these meets. Also, you have given us some new ideas with the meetup site to help us organize better, and you've given us some food for thought on a very real problem we never thought of. The prescription issue. That never even occurred to us, and thankfully has not been one of the problems we faced. But it will certainly be one will address before the next meet now that we are aware.
Thank you so much.
And our next meet was supposed to be in August, but until we resolve this to our satisfaction, we will continue to keep that event as cancelled. Our next on after that will be in November. If all goes well, I'll be happy to update you on how well things worked out.
Again, thank you for the advice.
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Okay, I didn't know about those other issues. My advice on those would be: 1) no alcohol, period. You do not need booze to have a good time. If people stop coming because they can't get drunk, then you're better off without them. 2) ONLY people you know well and trust can spend the night. I can't even imagine why you would allow a stranger to stay overnight in your home. If they are driving from far away, let them make other arrangements for an overnight stay.
I'm glad I could help!
Take care. Stay furry!
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