Lots of good advice in here.
Id suggest, figure out what you want out of the game, and go from there.
If your goal is to get better and compete, then youre right about playing with better players. It will help you. Watching, asking questions and getting feedback from players who do something better than you will almost never be a waste of time.
If youre mostly aiming to have it be a R and R activity, treat it that way. Seek out others who are easy going and try to play with them when you can.
To me it sounds like youre interested in being better, and learning faster. I think youve taken the right steps by joining a local club, getting outto leagues, minis and other events. The more youre there the faster you can establish relationships with the other players. Make contacts, and try and play regularly with people that share your passion. You'll weed out the people you dont wanna be around. As stated earlier, DG is just like any other aspect of life, its a mixed bag.