A question was recently asked in a Mensa based online group. It went something like this, “What does Group Name mean to you? What do you love? Why do you stay?”
For obvious reasons, I won’t mention the group name… but the comments in response to the questions are very applicable to Mensa in general. Often times, people will sit on the sidelines and make observations about how ‘Mensa can be so much better if only…’. Rarely, will the people making the suggestions, attempt to enact real changes. To paraphrase a Mensan, ‘To complain, is to volunteer!’ And that’s the essence of this post. Everyone will have different experiences and interactions, as is true with anything else in life. Mensa, to me at least, is a relationship wherein the value we get out of it, is proportional to our participation.
What follows, are a few comments to the questions.
- Making an obscure reference or joke and people getting it. But what really keeps me here, and what will keep me fighting for our Group Name? Family. The fact is that anyone who *wants* to belong to this family is accepted with open arms.I can be loud and obnoxious and self-centered and a total attention whore. I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things. I know there are plenty of people here who believe differently than I do about almost everything. And I’d be willing to bet there are people here who just don’t like me, for whatever reason. You know what? THAT’S OKAY. We’re still family. The reason I stay and fight is because I know a lot of y’all would do it for me. If my life caved in, Group Name would have my back…and not just the people I count among my IRL friends. I know I’d have help from lurkers, and from those who disagree with me, and maybe even from those who don’t like me. And that’s not because I post all the time, or I’m a “cool kid,” or whatever. It’s because FAMILY.
- Friendship. Acceptance. Belonging. I joined Mensa in 2010 on a dare. I didn’t get my money’s worth until February of last year when I found Group Name. Some of the people here have become incredibly important to me, and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them, because they allowed me to be myself, without judgment, without condemnation, and they liked me in spite of my flaws, which are legion. This is my family. My tribe. My Island of Misfit Mensans.
- I love the people… y’all are just some damn fun people! The fact that so many people have offered to drop everything and come help me… people reach out to check on you… people who you didn’t even realize knew who you were! The jokes, the sarcasm, the drinks… all awesome! Y’all have become family so quickly…. I’m all emotional today so I’m just going to leave it at I fucking love y’all
- For me, it is a testing facility for advanced ideas and language, which can go anywhere.
- Freedom to be me. Family – the one I choose. Fun because every serious matter has a joke in it.
- A bunch of smart people who are from a wide variety of backgrounds.
I love the fact that some of my dearest friends I have become acquainted with in this group and then met in person. I like the fact that friends I have made through here have proven to be very loyal in the face of opposition.
- My wife will hear my full-throated laughter from the next room and comment, “You’re reading Group Name, aren’t you?” Sometimes I laugh so hard that I cannot breathe. Group Name: Witty, sarcastic and clever people to whom I am much obliged!
- In just one year’s time, my social circle has completely changed for the better. As others have said previously, I feel like I’ve found my people. I’m kicking myself for putting off the test all these years. [Bonus annoyance about that: After taking the test and being offered membership, I found some previous test scores that would have had me in years ago.] Many of you have become closer to me than I am to my “family of origin.”
- Group Name is (my) tribe. I love people who make irreverent statements and think really out of the box.
If you belong to a similar type of organization, why do you stay? What’s your motivation?