Groups form. Groups disband. Some change, and others are acquired.
This is the nature of groups, particularly groups focused on community. There are several kinds of communal groups, from faith groups to atheist groups, board game groups to drug addiction groups, from hiking groups to movie groups. Some are specifically designed for singles, couples, poly-amorous, a-sexuals, and some aren’t targeting any of these groups.
While I might be rambling, the main point is, there are many, diverse groups, both inclusive and exclusive.
My wife and I were part of a group fora couple of years, but decided to leave the group when one of the heads’ choices started to take a turn and start to affect the group name’s integrity. He was an alcoholic, abusive to his wife, rumored to have crossed boundaries with one of his children, and made advances to me awkwardly in front of the group.
At this time, I was starting to do music journalism (I used the term loosely) and really didn’t need the financial and social burden of yet another night out on the town. So, while I was leaving one group, I still had people in my life that resembled a community. A new group, if you will.
After a year or so of doing that, I was messaged on Facebook by someone from the group I was a part of but left. She wanted to form a new group along the same veins and wanted me to co-lead with her. I was in a transitional period, so I agreed.
Right from the get-go, I was getting messages from her and others about certain individuals to not allow in the group, and suggestions on who to kick out if they were already involved. People I don’t know. Several of these I gave a chance to prove themselves, and I’m still cool with them.
Ironically, the ones who were warning me about the dramatic people were actually dramatic themselves. These included the original co-founder ended up eventually leaving. The group met weekly and we had a lot of fun with pizzas and beers, and even had a Facebook group for online conversations. It was a decent community, and many people from other, similar groups would often co-mingle with us, and we with them.
This went on for a few years and I eventually burned out on drinking it up weekly, and I had an opportunity for leadership in an established non-profit organization.I announced the final meeting date, made about 10 regulars administrators over the Facebook group, and left everyone to do what they wanted after that last day of pizza and beer.
The group never met again, but there was some dialog here and there on the Facebook group, but nothing substantial. Usually, a linked article to something or a funny meme.
It was recently brought to me the idea of instead of letting the group fizzle out to a slow death, to officially bring it into the original group that it off-shot from. By this time, there was new leadership there, and I thought this was a great idea.
The thing I had said to my own group before we “broke up” is that there were other groups like this one and there was no need for competition. I released the group that night to fully immerse themselves into one or more of the other local groups. The group I had led was spawned as an offshoot because of division, and now that division didn’t need to exist anymore.
The group served its purpose, and this would be an official re-merge of the separated rivers.
I rarely used the Facebook group, as did anyone else, so I hopped on it and started cleaning it up. I changed the name to reflect both groups, and I made an announcement via post and description.
Also, after several years, there were problems with the members list, where people had disconnected themselves from Facebook. Not a surprise, as even I had thought of doing it myself. But it leaves these weird no-name faceless “Facebook User” icons instead of profile pictures. Gone!
While cleaning house, the leader of the other group (or, merged groups) asked why I was doing this. I replied with the above, that I was emptying out deleted or banned accounts. There was no response except can I remove myself as administrator.
I never followed up, but after chewing on this, I felt I had to get words out, if only in this form of an essay. Maybe they thought I was no longer an admin, like I stepped down from any head involvement with that group. Maybe I didn’t realize that I shouldn’t still have the metaphorical office door keys.
So I handed them over. I removed my administrator status, and then I left the Facebook group. I hadn’t returned to the merged group either, nor am I sure if I will. There are a few people in both groups that I like and will hang without side of the group. Groups are messy. Choosing who comes over for BBQ isn’t. Well, not usually.
It’s funny because you have all these people around you, shaking your hand, filling your heart with kindness and your head with importance. But when you don’t make an appearance for awhile, you’re less welcomed. You start to realize that you aren’t going because you’re probably not wanted there.
I guess there is a season for things to happen. And when things end. There is a time when you are invited to start something, and apparently a time you’re shown the door.