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Friendship and Leadership: taking over a group

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Hey John! Looking very nice! Just getting a gist of this, yes you made some mistakes. But you are leading, and in a positive direction, and that's what matters. I think JB's beer spilling move was almost desperate, he knows power's shifting to you and wanted to sabotage what was giving you power - even if people thought the game was too mentally intensive, you were still organizing an activity with them and I'm sure they appreciated that. 🙂 Keep going and cheers!

John Freeman and Stef have reacted to this post.
John FreemanStef

Thank you Kellvo. Yes, I do think that's the most important thing to do is to keep the social momentum going on.

That is why these are the next steps for my strategy and I'm happy to let you know what you guys think:

General strategies

Spend time 1-on-1 with the people I like the most during the week, so naturally friendships will strengthen. I think that's a better use of my time than being on the Internet after going home. The more time I spend with people, the stronger the bond, the bigger the influence.

Find alternate ways of giving value to these people: in the form of listening, advice, etc. This is what I'm the best at to give value as I studied so much self-development and due to my profession. However, this is also the kind of value people are the most resistant to because it gives you a tremendous power of influence over them. You can influence their beliefs, values and identities if your mental framework is more "advanced" or more "useful" than theirs.

Next steps

  1. Organize a boardgame a Sunday afternoon or a hike: I'm thinking that I've already done a few times the board games + food + drinks thing.
  2. In the future (post-Corona), organize an escape game.

2 ideas that I'm happy to have feed-back on: 

  1. Organize events on Fridays instead of Saturdays: I got quite a bit of resistance with Saturday even though people complied in the end. I think that Fridays or Sundays would work better until the bonds are strong enough for them to prioritize my events for Saturday instead of other events.
  2. Let them organize stuff: I think it would strengthen the group if people can take an active part of it. That is also why I was ok to do it at F's place: to even things out.
Kellvo has reacted to this post.
Kellvo

Great going, John.

All good notes, as well.
Cooking at someone else's place and doing all the work, yeah, that can easily end up being low-power unless others have enough social intelligence to chip in, or to at least make up the difference with gratitude, "thank yous" and compliments.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks!

Something I did not mention: I was supposed to arrive 1 hour earlier but could not make it. If I would have come 1 hour earlier and we would have cooked with F.: we would have worked as a team and people would not have seen me cooking.

That's the thing: when people arrive at your place it's very different if they see you cooking or if the food is already ready and they just eat. It seems like a detail but it shows you either as a provider or as the cook. One is high-power the other is not.

The thing is that I organized everything and it feels like now people already take what I provide for granted. They thanked everyone but I'm the one who put it all together.

F also said that I used JB and R as "hole-fillers" because two people did not come. But it was the opposite and I defended against this frame. I was happier that they could come. They were invited in the first place, said they were not coming and changed their minds at the last minute because their plans got canceled.

That's what I mean: I provided food, friends, games and fun. Otherwise they would have not enjoyed this. But still I got some nasty comments from F. However, I could improve my relationship with A. as he helped me to cook and with B. as he helped me to dry the game and paid the taxi for me.

I think that is the moment where I have to stick to my plan but not force it. Otherwise it will feel bitter for me. I expanded a lot of effort and people had their fun but it feels they took it for granted or at least like I was not the one who organized and cooked everything.  So some people notice what I'm doing and others don't.

That is why I think at this point I need to build closer personal relationships. If I'm always "the organizer" then they will just feel like I'm doing all the work and they can just show up.

What I feel the worst about is F's behaviour. From the beginning he wanted to show off his big apartment in contrast with my tiny studio. So all of this was a power move. That was my biggest disappointment. F is still a lot in material things: what you have or doesn't have.

Also, it framed me as somebody who uses other people's places to do things. JB and R did not know that I actually made a favor to A. so he could go to F's place despite the ostracization. I will tell them indirectly.

One last observation: I bought a lot of food and F said: "it must have cost you 50 euros" in front of everybody. I said: "A little bit more, but it's my pleasure".

That was a mistake. Next time I will say:

"Come on man, it's not about the money, it's about the friendship" or "It's not about the money. It's my pleasure to offer you this meal."

F is socially savvy. However he likes to win at games so he likes to feel superior. That should have been a warning for me. As many times it shows insecurity and who says insecurity says attempts of domination.

He also said some racist things so I really did not like the overall: "look at my stuff, racist jokes are ok" thing.

I also like what you said Kellvo as there are unconscious mechanisms at play here. So some people might sabotage your efforts.

Something else that I noticed which is a bit off-topic: all the time I spent studying, working and doing pick-up, I did not spent it with male friends to understand the dynamics. So it kind of feels like I'm catching up.

Also I realize that I forgot to obey the law of least effort. I appeared like I put a lot of effort  to organize this and to make people come together. I also appeared as I had to ask F’s permission to invite people. So I made many mistakes but I did learn a lot.

I will focus on giving as much value as possible to people AND to make it look like it was effortless.

I also realized that the skills I’m lacking to move forward are influence and persuasion skills. I will listen to books on this topic.

Hello guys,

I would like a feed-back from you on this exchange, please. I'm organizing a board game evening after I called R. to see if he was up for one. He was up so I posted in the whatsapp group:

  • John: "who's up for a game on Saturday at my place? On program: burgers and bluff/deduction games."
  • Everyone: "yeah, I'm up" (4 people were up, they proposed to do the game early so I proposed 6pm and people said ok).
  • A.: "I'm up" (and makes a one-up joke about another friend wanting to go home early)
  • A. (sends a picture of the game he bought): I'm taking this.

He did not asked me what games I had in mind or what I had planned, so it felt quite imposing and not very respectful. It's a very dominant posture: "I'm doing this, deal with it!". Also it's a picture of a game he already posted in the group to show us he bought it, so it was a seed for this move. So I answered:

  • John: "Ah cool A.!" (this is a "Yes" to him) I already planned other games (true statement, this a "No" to his "proposition") 🙁 . Rather next time with pleasure! (this is a "Yes", saying I'm open to this idea, just not this time)".
  • A.: "No worries".
  • A.: "Saturday is your day"

To me this is quite passive-aggressive. So, basically, he implies that I'm the only one who decides. That is not true. I showed flexibility in the past by going to my friend's place and cooking for them to allow A. to go to his friend's place (reminder: F's girlfriend banned A. from their place when she's there). When I did that, I felt like I was being taken advantage because I cooked for the group, got the worst seat and did not any recognition for the organization of the event. I'm not looking for recognition, I'm saying that organizing this event at my friend's conditions was kind of a loss for me.

So, I learned that I cannot half-organize an event. If I do, it blows up. Either I organize it or I don't. If someone wants to participate, then we do it together. And since I'm showing the initiative, the other one has to ask if it's ok with me. Then we find our respective roles. That's just being polite. So, basically, these are my boundaries. I upheld them.

Now my question is: how to proceed next? I don't want to pollute the whatsapp group with a useless conflict. I also changed my mind. First, I wrote the title: "taking over a group", but I changed my mind. I want to provide value, have friendship and have fun. I don't care about taking over anything. This does not resonate with me anymore.

What do you think is the next best move?

I'm thinking about talking to him to better understand his position. I think this conflict is a loss to the group. I could have said: "yes, we could do both games". I would have done it with another individual. But with an individual constantly trying to dominate others out of insecurity, I think it's not going to go smoothly. Also, his behaviour is a form of social scalping. That's how I feel about it.

Hey John,

Yeah, largely agree with your analysis.
I'd have personally phrased this one differently:

I already planned other games

Into:

Cool man, I was planning to do X (because of Y), but next time, for sure

Most likely to achieve the same outcome, but less imposing, and more collaborative-sounding.
If you give a reason why, even more collaborative, for example explaining why your choice is fun for everyone -and not because "you chose it".

To his last move, I'd have replied:

Him: It's your day
You: LOL, thanks man, it's our day. Beers are already in the frige

Reframes with a collaborative, "for the group" frame, and then moves on with whatever good news you have to share (important bit not to stay stuck in the frame battle).

TALK TO HIM OR NOT? BETTER NOT

John: I'm thinking about talking to him to better understand his position.

I would skip this one.

Many minor conflicts in real life are better left in the rearview mirror (ie.: better moving on).

Assertiveness is great, but it can be over-used if we risk breaking rapport with people we need (something we already talked about), or if we discuss every single small thing (this case).

Also, some people won't change, so discussing the issue might not actually lead anywhere.

But you can be more nitpicking and assertive here on the forum (feedback/clarification thread), so you get your learning here, and then play it smarter/easier in person.

TAKING OVER VS HAVING FUN

John: I also changed my mind. First, I wrote the title: "taking over a group", but I changed my mind. I want to provide value, have friendship and have fun.

OK, awesome.

Since the previous posts were about taking over, we can leave it as it is, but if your mindset or approach has changed, feel free to let this thread die and open a new thread with a title that better reflects your current goals/mindset.


John: reminder: F's girlfriend banned A. from their place when she's there

LOL, man I was laughing at this one, what a situation, one must really dislike someone to "ban him", and what a power move, feels like the teacher schooling the naughty boy.

John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thanks for your answer!

Cool man, I was planning to do X (because of Y), but next time, for sure

Yes, it's better.

If you give a reason why, even more collaborative, for example explaining why your choice is fun for everyone -and not because "you chose it".

That's the thing, I researched games, I bought them, I'm taking into account my friends' tastes, I will learn the rules. So I'm putting a lot of efforts for everyone to have fun, including me. I did not want to go into explaining because then we would have opened another argument: what game is better to play? He will say: "yes, I also researched and bought it" And explaining would have felt like justifying.

Him: It's your day
You: LOL, thanks man, it's our day. Beers are already in the fridge

Reframes with a collaborative, "for the group" frame, and then moves on with whatever good news you have to share (important bit not to stay stuck in the frame battle).

That's great. It's perfect. That's where my mind is at. Thanks!

TALK TO HIM OR NOT? BETTER NOT

Got it. As you can see. It's still something I'm in the process of learning.

Since the previous posts were about taking over, we can leave it as it is, but if your mindset or approach has changed, feel free to let this thread die and open a new thread with a title that better reflects your current goals/mindset.

No need to change the name of the thread. However, I understand that despite A.'s constant one upping as a default way to relate to others, my aggressive attitude to build a group might have led me to bump heads with him. I think taking over a group is a valid strategy. However, I think one has to have a more positive and inclusive mindset rather than an aggressive one. In friendships I mean. Also to take more time and be patient.

LOL, man I was laughing at this one, what a situation, one must really dislike someone to "ban him", and what a power move, feels like the teacher schooling the naughty boy.

She really knew how to screw with his status big time. She's mad at him because he broke up with his ex-GF who has a chronic depression and left the apartment or something like that. And the whole group of females turned against him. I don't know the details, I just know the outcome. It's a couple thing I'm not sure someone is guilty of something here. I don't have an opinion.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood

John: That's the thing, I researched games, I bought them, I'm taking into account my friends' tastes, I will learn the rules. So I'm putting a lot of efforts for everyone to have fun, including me. I did not want to go into explaining because then we would have opened another argument: what game is better to play? He will say: "yes, I also researched and bought it" And explaining would have felt like justifying.

Got it, yeah, you wanted to avoid potentially opening that can of worms, good call.

Then you could have skipped that part.
OR, maybe just added something that shows that it's for the group, but while confirming the "already taken decision", something like "I was planning X, it's super fun, you'll see guys". So you insist, quite strongly, but still with a frame of "it's for all of us I've taken this decision".

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Matthew WhitewoodJohn Freeman
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Exactly. Thanks, that's where my heart's at. I want to offer them a good time. It's my pleasure. It is for the group. I just have to express it.

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Matthew Whitewood
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