Group member or a stand alone.

Group behaviour is something which can be a comfort if the members know and follow the rules, the culture and the language.  Belonging can tick boxes for some  people and brings a sense of ease and security.  Rules have to be followed, and there is a way of being within the group which becomes known and adhered to.

Sport, music, hobbies, eating, marriage, parenting, art, drinking, books, crafts, stamp collecting, any specific collections, motoring, motor biking, cycling, walking, gardening and film or theatre, crosswords, chess, debating, technology, magic, cooking and many more all have representative clubs to join.

As well as the interests in common goes a language, dress, friendships, rules and regulations, leaders, troublemakers, talkers, quiet ones, the jokers, the serious ones and many unspoken ways of being which are followed.

All this and more brings comfort and a feeling of well being and safety for many, yet for others, group behaviour is to be avoided and can be seen as threatening and fearsome.  Some will stand on the fringe of a group and are able to dip in and out but not be a fully paid up member.  They also have the ability to dip in and out of several clubs but never fully join any.  Some will long to join but feel inadequate in some way so tend to criticise the caricature of the members as a form of defence.  Those who stand alone in life, are often successful in their field, are respected yet not particularly liked.  Joining a group for them would be risky and unfamiliar.

Groups, threatening and frightening to the outsider, can be supportive and loyal to their own.

School, which is enforced and not chosen, is a first lesson in how to join or not join a group.  The loner, depending on how they represent themselves, can be tolerated, admired and even envied or if they are very different to the main stream can experience kind teasing at best or bullying and cruelty at worst.

Join a group or stand alone.  Sometimes to choose to be one or the other or interchange the choice is a preferred position but to be forced into either role is when personal choice has gone and real fear becomes the drive.

Coupleworks can help with determining why people choose which way to be and this can sometimes help them to select a partner with whom they are in tune.

Clare Ireland