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Author Topic: Forming break-away social groups  (Read 6282 times)

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Ceallach

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Forming break-away social groups
« on: October 20, 2013, 05:46:17 AM »
Along with 2 friends I am trying to navigate the etiquette of breaking away from an established group to avoid members who we've found we just aren't going to get along with due to their lack of social graces.     This group is a first time mothers group which formed nearly a year ago when our babies were born, we meet weekly on a set day for playdates/walks, plus other occasional social get together with or without our babies.  I want to start socialising with just  a subset of the group.   I'm trying to work out how I can do that without being rude or inconsiderate.  I already meet with some of the girls 1:1 or 3 of us, but I guess I'm wondering if I can socialise with more than that without being rude to the people excluded.  e.g. if 8 get together without inviting the other 3, is that rude?  Or just life?        (It's not unusual for smaller subsets to get together, but everybody is always invited).

Of the group members:
2 (Abby & Betty) I am close to and we catch up outside of the group too, lasting friendships have formed
3 (Anna, Katie, Jean) who I really like and get along great with, we occasionally have contact outside of group which is increasing
2 (Sarah, Rachel) who I like despite having not a lot in common, we seem to enjoy each others company
3 (Jane, Marie, Hayley) who I really wish I never had to spend time with ever again due to their general lack of social graces and having nothing in common.  I find myself skipping group sometimes just to avoid them.

My husband is tired of having me dreading attending group or coming home with stories of rude/frustrating things Jane or Marie have done.  And because myself and Abby and Betty get frustrated, often we skip the main group get togethers anyway.  It's rare for more than 5 to attend each week. This social network is really important as I don't have much friends or family around.   Is there anything I should be thinking of in terms of being considerate to those I want to exclude? (For example, when I throw my son's first birthday party - obviously I wouldn't discuss any event in front of people who weren't invited, but they'll probably hear about it anyway or guess).

Do I need to avoid organising anything on the regular "group" day (Wednesdays) even though it's one of the only days each week that I have free to socialise?  (I am back at work part-time).   Or essentially is any day fair game and adults should be able to pick what to attend?  I dislike conflict and I have no desire to be a mean girl or make anybody feel bad.   Sorry if this post is incoherent I am very sleep deprived, but I've been thinking of this for awhile and wanting some eHell advice!
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cicero

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2013, 05:57:51 AM »
I think "this is just life" but unless they have been *really* abusive/rude to you, you want to do this in a nice way.

I would probably try to either "break up" the group or "me break away" from the group, and not "form a break away group". Something like "this has been great while going through our first pregnancy [or whatever] and junior's first year, but now that I'm [going back to work/going to the gym/competing on masterchef] i find that I won't have time for this group any more." then, maybe wait a week or two, and go on meeting *your* friends as you like.

I do think it would be rude to invite 8 without the other three.

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YummyMummy66

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2013, 06:07:56 AM »
If you wanted to do something, I would not do it on the day that the regular group meets.

I would pick a different day and time and invite those you wish to invite.   I would not invite them via the group or at the regular group meeting.  I would invite them either by phone or email and when doing so, especially by email, I would list the names of the attendees, maybe in the header.....

"June, Jane, Josie, Kim, Nancy, Susie, Betty, etc.", I would like to invite you to my home on such and such a date and time,  Please let me know if you can attend."   or "Baby Ceallach would love for you to join us at --------, on date and time.  We hope you can make it".

This way, they see who is invited and hopefully, would not assume the other three are invited and would not say anything.

They can either come or not, and then if they show up, then you can explain why you decided to meet with them on a different day.   Just say, I don't feel that I mesh with so and so, and wanted to have a different group day/meeting. 

You might find that others might feel the same way as you do and did not know how to get out of the regular group meeting themselves.

secretrebel

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2013, 06:16:56 AM »
Detach yourself from the group and tell them it's been fun but you are going to duck out for the forseeable future.

Then see all the ladies you like in smaller groups, 3s and4s. In about a year they'll simply be friends you met when all your babies were young and no need to include the 3 you didn't keep in touch with when planning an event.

Redsoil

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2013, 06:51:14 AM »
In the short term, I imagine it may be more graceful to simply "fade out" from the regular group, citing busy-ness due to a changing schedule.  Then, on other days, invite those you wish to socialise with to events/play dates/coffee etc.  As time goes on, you can then start t include the original day to socialise back into your schedule for those you want to see (keeping in mind that this may conflict with their wish to attend the original group).
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flickan

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2013, 09:28:08 AM »
In a practical sense, this is simply what happens when friendships form.  You spend more time with those you feel closest to.

So the goal is to not attempt to replace the group (which it doesn't sound like you're doing anyway) but to leave the group, as others have said, and then to spend time with these women that you do like at a different time.

You don't have to get along with everyone in a regularly meeting group.  You're just there for one common interest.  You certainly shouldn't feel compelled to invite all of these people to your son's life events.

I feel like scheduled groups like book clubs, knitting clubs, moms clubs, are really just there for adults to form friendships.  The point isn't that you bond with everyone in the group, the point is that you bond with a few people and it's a springboard for other things.  No one stays in those clubs forever, they're a place to meet like minded people and get support.

m2kbug

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2013, 11:03:01 AM »
I think at this point, if you continue with this mommy group and you go and plan events with the group at the exclusion of just a couple, that would be rather rude of you and also hurtful.  I would just leave the group and continue to meet up with my closer friends.  You can always find another group or activity for your little one and have some grownup interaction.  You dread this group, you don't enjoy it, so it's time to move on and continue getting together with Abby and Betty at other times.

NyaChan

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2013, 01:12:06 PM »
I would start by having get togethers with about 4 people and rotate people in and out - except for the troublesome ones of course.  As in A, B, C, and D; then A, C, F, and G; then B, D, F, and G; and so on and so forth.  Then it isn't as if you are having a group even that doesn't include specific people, you are just doing some activity or enjoying the company of a smaller group of varied friends.  Over time, say a couple of months, you do the drift from the big group and it won't seem so odd when you invite all the people you like to one gathering without the problem people.

TootsNYC

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2013, 02:03:26 PM »
I would start by having get togethers with about 4 people and rotate people in and out - except for the troublesome ones of course.  As in A, B, C, and D; then A, C, F, and G; then B, D, F, and G; and so on and so forth.  Then it isn't as if you are having a group even that doesn't include specific people, you are just doing some activity or enjoying the company of a smaller group of varied friends.  Over time, say a couple of months, you do the drift from the big group and it won't seem so odd when you invite all the people you like to one gathering without the problem people.

This is my vote as well.

Note also that if you are hosting, then you get to invite--so I encourage you to host.
However, when you invite people, you need to say, "Oh, this isn't the mother's group, and I can't invite everybody because I don't have room, so don't mention it so people don't feel bad."

And you can use the same day, but not the same time.

Lynn2000

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2013, 02:09:28 PM »
Kind of synthesizing several previous posts--first I would detach from the original group. I don't know if the formality of the group merits an official announcement, or if you can just cease showing up.

Then, I would invite the people I wanted to socialize with me. I wouldn't do all 8 at once to start with, but rather in smaller groups. I would also avoid Wednesday evening to start with.

Then, after "a while," you can start planning to meet on Wednesday evening. "A while" is probably several months at least, but it also depends on whether your friends have stuck with the original group (and thus have a scheduling conflict that evening) or not. Obviously if you know a lot of your potential guests have a scheduling conflict one timeslot, you're not going to pick that timeslot for your own thing.

Then at some point, for something big, you can invite all 8 friends, and not invite anyone you don't consider a friend, and it will feel perfectly natural, because you aren't thinking of them as "a subset of Group" but rather as "my friends."
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Roe

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2013, 02:23:03 PM »
Pulling back and eventually splitting from the group and inviting those you want to socialize with to separate events (not a Wednesday) is how I'd do it.


Ceallach

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2013, 05:05:27 PM »
It's tricky.... I think this has cemented what I was already thinking.   Which is that I either sit at home with my baby on Wednesdays, catch-up with Abby or Betty 1:1, or go to the group.  I don't think there's any way around that.   The problem is I work Monday, Tuesday & Thursday.    So Wed & Fri are my social days with bubs.   Anna works Fridays so unless I go to group I won't get to see her (that's been the obstacle so far - we exchange text messages but Wednesday is literally the only weekday we have in common to meet up).   I do often see Abby or Betty on Fridays.   I could reach out to a couple of the others to catch-up on a Friday occasionally perhaps?

Also to clarify, I definitely am not looking to form a separate formal group excluding those 3, but I'd like to be able to socialise with more than 1-2 at a time without feeling obliged to invite the rest.   I'm hearing that this is ok as long as it's completely separate and as long as it's not a majority e.g. everybody except for those 3.

I think at this point, if you continue with this mommy group and you go and plan events with the group at the exclusion of just a couple, that would be rather rude of you and also hurtful.  I would just leave the group and continue to meet up with my closer friends.  You can always find another group or activity for your little one and have some grownup interaction.  You dread this group, you don't enjoy it, so it's time to move on and continue getting together with Abby and Betty at other times.

Leaving and joining a whole new group on Wednesdays and starting afresh is a quite unappealing prospect for so many reasons. 
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katycoo

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2013, 05:40:30 PM »
The ladies that you do want to maintain friendships with - how do they feel about the other 3  women?  Because that will have a fairly big effect if you are the only one who doesn't like them.

Ceallach

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2013, 06:04:49 PM »
In a practical sense, this is simply what happens when friendships form.  You spend more time with those you feel closest to.

So the goal is to not attempt to replace the group (which it doesn't sound like you're doing anyway) but to leave the group, as others have said, and then to spend time with these women that you do like at a different time.

You don't have to get along with everyone in a regularly meeting group.  You're just there for one common interest.  You certainly shouldn't feel compelled to invite all of these people to your son's life events.

I feel like scheduled groups like book clubs, knitting clubs, moms clubs, are really just there for adults to form friendships.  The point isn't that you bond with everyone in the group, the point is that you bond with a few people and it's a springboard for other things.  No one stays in those clubs forever, they're a place to meet like minded people and get support.

That's all very true.   To give you an idea of what the problem is, these are the 3 ladies who I don't want to be around:

Hayley - fairly innocuous and although I wouldn't consider her a friend it wouldn't bother me being in a group with her.  She is incredibly naive and does some very stupid things (including actions that put her daughter in risk of harm, in front of us - such as leaving her unattended on a high surface and wandering off).  But ultimately yeah, just an example of a person in a group I don't gel with.    So not a group issue but I certainly wouldn't invite her to any separate event I hosted.

Marie - is incredibly self-absorbed and if given the chance will monopolize the conversation.   We all know everything about her - including incredibly personal, medical oversharing.  She knows very little about anybody else and never shows any interest in other people.  She makes disparaging remarks about her own baby (I think she is projecting her personal insecurities onto her), and also makes incredibly offensive comments to people in the group, but ironically is frequently finding offense from inadvertant things other people do.   In addition to that her and I have literally nothing in common except for the fact we are female and have a child.   Even how we had our children and how we're raising them are miles apart.    (Plus beliefs, family, lifestyle, careers, age etc). 

Jane - this is the biggest problem.  Jane is loud and obnoxious, talks over everybody (ironically, when she attends I don't find Marie as annoying because Jane drowns out Marie's monologue!).     She has an opinion on everything and seems to think we all need to hear them.   She is incredibly dismissive of others.   I've tried to engage positively with her, so she'll raise a topic and I might say "Yes that's interesting, I also read XYZ about it" and she'll slam me down talking over the top with "Yeah I know all about that, it's Blahblahblah", while waving her hand at me dismissively.    Basically she is a know-it-all who loves the sound of her own voice. 


I formed these opinions fairly quickly upon meeting them, but decided it was just my problem and to be equally nice to everybody in the group.  So I've made an effort to befriend all equally.   Over time comments from Abby and Betty in particular clued me in to how they were feeling - sure enough, turns out that they have found all of the above to be true also and are becoming increasingly frustrated!   (A couple of the others have expressed annoyance at specific things they have done, but not said anything to me particularly about it).   So it's definitely not just me.

What I tend to do is hold back on RSVPing to group events (informal, but we have a FB group where we plan our get togethers and say if we're coming) until I can see who else is coming.    Because if there's a big enough group some of the annoyances can be minimized as obviously no one person can dominate a whole big group.    I don't know if anybody has any other suggestions as to how I can stop this being such a frustration?   

Some weeks group is awesome, other weeks I come home angry because Jane or Marie have been rudely dominating the conversation and nobody else can get a word in edgewise, or they've made a rude remark to somebody.    That's why I dread going - I never know which I'm going to get!
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PastryGoddess

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Re: Forming break-away social groups
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2013, 09:08:42 PM »
since Wednesday is the only day you and Abby can get together, why not make sporadic plans to not meet up with the group, but instead hang out 1:1 at another location. 

With the other 3 people that you really like, why not make occasional plans to get together on Wednesday or Friday with them to hang out.  maybe on Wednesday's you can invite Abby and Anna to meet up somewhere else.  On Friday's you can invite Betty and Katie to hang out. etc, etc, etc

You know that you have made really good friends in Abby and Betty.  Having them there with other people who you are still creating friendships with, will help the process to run more smoothly.  Eventually after a few months, you can just stop going to the group all together and contact your friends directly to make plans.