The pros and cons of local support groups may vary from person to person, as each individual may consider certain factors more important than others. In general, however, the pros often include being close to home or work and being less likely to skip meetings because of traffic or fatigue. Many people may also consider the chance to make local, supportive friends important. Some of the cons of local support groups may include the possibility of embarrassment when seeing support group members outside of the meeting environment and having fewer scheduling options. An individual may even feel concerned about his personal appearance when attending a local group.
Among the pros of attending local support groups is location convenience. When a support group is close to a participant's home or place of business, attending meetings will typically prove much easier. Often, people feel tempted to skip support group meetings because of the distance they have to travel to get there. If the distance is too great, such issues as traffic and unpleasant weather may interfere with one's ability to attend every meeting. Likewise, an individual might opt to skip meetings for such reasons as feeling tired if they are not held in a convenient location.
Another possible pro of attending local support groups is the comfort a participant may feel in having the group meeting nearby. When an individual is struggling with a problem of some sort, knowing that support is not far away may make him feel more comfortable and capable of dealing with the problem. Likewise, having a nearby support group may allow him to develop friendships that could prove important as time passes. He might call on the friends he makes in local support groups for help and advice when the groups are not meeting, for instance. Additionally, he may end up socializing with support group friends for years after his problem has been resolved.
As far as the cons of attending local support groups are concerned, a person may not have many. One of the main cons might actually be the fact that the group is local. When a person participates in a support group that is located far from his home or place of business, he is more likely to enjoy a level of anonymity that may be difficult to attain with a local group. An individual may consider this and hold back from participating in local groups for fear that others in his area will learn of his problem. He may also worry about bumping into a support group participant at the local grocery store or even having to face him in a job interview one day.
When comparing a local support group with an online option, an individual may also consider the meeting schedule of the local group a con. In many cases, a person can have more scheduling flexibility with an online group, and he may not have to make as much of a participation commitment. Additionally, he may appreciate the fact that his appearance won't matter if he attends an online group, whereas he may feel concerned about his attire and general appearance when meeting with a local group face to face.