I've always heard about writer's groups where everyone sits around reading each other's work and sing cum by ar. I never really knew if I really wanted to join one of these groups, not because I'm afraid of showing my work to others and gaining criticism. I took creative writing classes in college. I know how this works. Everyone reads and talks about what they think of it. Invariably, everyone mentions what they do and don't like about each story. It's always up to the writer to decide if they wish to follow the advice of the crowd or not. Usually, if you're receiving the same advice from most students, it's probably best to take it. Everything else can be done a-la-carte.
Anyway, that's not what I was afraid of because I had done it before. What I was afraid of is what everyone is afraid of: the unknown. I've heard the horror stories. If it winds up being a group of dopes who all give all the wrong advice, and swear it's gospel, or if there's others who do take offense to all the advice they receive.
Fortunately, this was not the case with the writing group I found. In fact if anything, this group has the potential to be my dream team. The group leader is a fan of science fiction and fantasy, and even kaiju (Godzilla, Mothra, and other giant monsters). Another member is a fellow professor at the Virginia Community College System, so I can receive the academic perspective from him, and finally one more member says she reads a lot of period pieces (which is exactly what I write).
Hopefully, this group sticks around. My only complaint is logistics. It is all the way in Virginia Beach and sometimes they meet in Chesapeake. I live in Suffolk, Virginia, so we're talking about a 30 to 45 minute drive each week. The second week, I was actually thinking about starting my own writing group right here in Suffolk. The Suffolk main library is about 5 minutes from my house. But this group has turned out to be so good so far that it's actually worth the drive. I read a chapter of my current project, and got feedback that I feel was very good.
So I guess my point is, don't be afraid to meet up with people and share your writing. It is a positive experience. Sometimes it's better than sharing it on a message board (which I've also done), because you get real reactions in real time. The most important thing is you have to let others read your work in order to really improve. Good luck out there.