Today, for seemingly unapparent reasons, one of my psychology professors broke us up into random groups. I haven’t been in a random group since high school. Here are some thoughts I had about groups:
1. Groups need a purpose. When you break people up into a group, they expect you to give them things to do. That task can be as simple as “get to know each other,” but there has to be one. Otherwise, it is quite possible the individuals of the group will sit in total and utter silence.
2. Determining a group leader is tricky. I am one of those people who likes leadership to be thrust on me. I dislike seeking it out for myself. The former technique appeals to my ego. Other people get to tell me how great of a leader I am and why I am important to a group or organization. I naturally assume that everyone prefers leadership to be thrust upon them. I also naturally assume that without knowing me, random strangers will see the great halo of leadership that emanates from my radiant body and will beg me to take the group leader position. Because leading things grows tiresome, sometimes I swiftly lead the hand of fate in another direction and thrust the leadership role onto someone else. Also, this allows me the chance to lie to myself and say that I want more people to have the chance to lead things. I did that today and then realized how much of a jerk move that is. All of a sudden I’ve become that guy – the group leader has reason to dislike me because I gave him more responsibility and everyone else is a little off-put by the fact that I chose the leader. Not very diplomatic. And just so you know, while this paragraph reads as over-the-top, these thoughts literally went through my mind.
3. There is always a Negative Nelly. Negative Nelly’s happen. I try not to be one. Sometimes, I try to combat Negative Nelly’s with humor. I do this by re-spinning negative thoughts into positive ones. This isn’t always effective, but it’s helpful and provides a fun past time.
4. You will never be part of the cool group. You know the one. Somehow, all of the frat guys have congregated to one corner of the room and all get put into the same group. Their group is cracking jokes within a minute of introducing themselves. You are never part of that group mostly because of the “grass is always greener” phenomenon. Believe it or not, the people in the cool group are probably envious of the group that has it all together or the group with the strong, clear leader. There’s no point in trying to be the “cool group.” Just do what you do and do it. If your group is the joke-cracking group, be the joke-cracking group, but don’t force it.
Even though I kind of dislike being assigned a random group, I’m actually kind of excited by the prospect. It’s not very often that you are forced to interact with complete strangers and build a relationship from it. It’s invigorating.