Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cliques

Today I want to talk to you all about my fantastic Sunday School Class. We came to this class about 3 years ago. Without it Scott and I would be lost. The friends....they are our family. We formed a wonderful friendship/bond with about 8 couples....we eat out once sometimes twice a month with them go to the gym with some of them, go to lunch with them, talk on the phone with almost all of them weekly, do things with our kids every other week. We love one another, pray for each other, do things for each other...enjoy each other,we cook for each other, watch each other's kids, have drinks together,and we would all drop everything for one another......here is the problem.

We have been called cliquey in class.....I hate this word clique. Hate . It. People have left the class because they say we are so cliquey......this hurts our feelings...we go out of our ways to call these people, talk to them in class....ect....we dont ask them to go with us on some events seperate from Sunday School Class...because we dont feel a bond with them. But we do however include them in class things....we dont consider ourselves snobby or cliquey.....we are friends.....we have formed bonds that have touched us all.

So I need some advice on how to handle this...what to say what to do.....I'm tired of being known as the clique.....we are great friends....so why is this so wrong? Why do we feel like the bad guys...why cant we be friends? Why cant we do things outside of class without the others getting jealous?

My Friends are my Estate....Emily Dickinson

12 comments:

Barb said...

You know, Jen, when Rob was an air traffic controller, he had a "crew." They all worked the same shift together. There were probably 12 guys. They set up a monthly dinner party. Each month, the couples took turns choosing the restaurant and all the couples met there for an evening of fun.

You might suggest this for the whole class. It's a great way for everyone to socialize. The eight of you that have bonded can still do your things together but the others would feel like they're included, too. And you never know when a new couple might fit in with the "clique." There's always room to add new friends.

I think if they knew the eight of you wanted to see them outside the class they'd feel more like part of the class. Just a thought but we all had so much fun when we did our monthly dinners.

lainb said...

I agree with Barb. I work in a large department so "cliques" are inevitable...you just can't be CLOSE friends with everyone. So, forming closer friendships are to be expected. However, we also have a couple of people who are the designated "party planners" and organize a basic event (dinner, ball game, etc.) for EVERYONE in the department once a month. This gives everyone an opportunity to get to know each other outside of work (er, Sunday School) conditions. Sometimes it even leads to "meshing" of cliques. But, yes, I HATE the concept of cliques too!

gail said...

I too like Barb said about having something every month or 2 for the whole class so that everyone would feel involved and included. It is probably inevitable that smaller groups will form; it is hard to be close in a large group. But having something for the whole class on a regular basis might help everyone get to know all members a bit better and everyone would feel included.

Marci said...

I agree with what the other ladies here have said, but also know there are ALWAYS going to be people who don't like what you are doing or feel left out. Many of them are in that place because of themselves. They don't know how to interact and have fun. Do all you can for these out of the love of Jesus, but then rest in knowing you are allowed to have friends that are going to be closer than others. We need those friends to confide in and to be accountable to as well as have fun with. The larger the group, the less intimate your conversations and heart sharing can be. Don't let it steal your joy. Your joy can only be taken if you let it.

Pattie said...

That is a tough one. I do agree with the wise ladies who have commented before me. I think that it is a blessing you have these folks in your life. Do not allow others to steal your joy because of their insecurities. You cannot be close to everyone. I think if you extend a hand or an invitation to those who feel left out, that is a wonderful thing. If they choose to take it, then that is good thing. You may add to your circle of friends.If they don't, it is not your responsibility to make them happy . Let us know what you decide.
BTW: How do the other folks in your group feel about being called a clique?

Kathleen Marie said...

Excellent ideas here. When I was the Women's Ministry president at our church for five years we started having the same problem so we started to rotate where the meeting would be held...at someones home or neutral at the church and if someone wanted it at their home I would oblige them. I also set up committees and place some of those not so close to me in positions which helped draw others in. This may be hard for a Sunday school class but even something simple like who can bring a treat each week or plan an outing for the group.

And don't feel guilty about having friends in the group. Just make sure when you are in the group that as a leader or popular person who leads even without a title that you spend that time focusing your energy on those you don't normally spend so much time with.

Anna said...

I think its hard to not be seen as a "clique". Anytime new comers come to a class, they are going to feel like there are "cliques"..that's just kind of the way it is! But...as long as you are going out of your way to be welcoming, that is all you can do. Invite them out to eat after church, things like that...that goes a long way. When we first joined the class we are in now, we had several people come up & ask us to lunch after church...it just really made us feel welcome. If you've done all you can do....then don't worry about it!

Betty said...

Jen, Just want to say thanks for coming by to visit with me at Country Charm.
I'm sorry about your missing red plate. I've loaned things out and forgotten to whom I loaned them.
Come by any time.

Kim said...

Jen, I am so sorry that this is causing you stress. I've read your post several times today and tried to think of something to say to give you a peace about this situation. When we lived in the midwest, our Sunday school class was awesome. There was a group of 4 or 5 couples that were much closer to each other than the rest of the class. We were not one of them...they had lived in the area longer and had just grown closer before we started going to church there. Personally, it didn't really bother me when they did things together outside of "church" stuff, but we were all involved socially as a class. One of the things we did as a class was once a month met at a coffee shop close to the church for class and just had a short lesson and spent time getting to know each other better. We made arrangements with the nursery so they knew where we were and it was nice. When all is said and done, there will always be people who are insecure when they feel excluded (even if they aren't really excluded), so please don't let this worry you too much.

chris said...

Everyone has written some great ideas and encouragement. I think there advice is right on. Therefore I hate to write this but -- pray and ask God to show you if you are treating some of these people different. I'm not saying you are but ask God anyway. Since you are speaking to them and not ignoring them I really don't understand their problem. But I've learned that they are usually insecure and just need some time. You'd be surprised what a simple 'hello, how are you' and then really sticking around to listen, can do for some people.
Anyway, I agree, don't lose the joy you have in your friends that you enjoy spending time with. They are gifts from God.

Sue said...

I am in Jen's SS class. Her family has become part of our family. She is one of the most outgoing and considerate people in our class. She is always sending a special note to welcome newcomers, birthday greetings or just thinking of you. People naturally gravitate toward her Godly spirit. The couples that she is most involved with outside of church have benefited from her kind spirit and have also greatly supported her family. They are mutually healthy relationships. They have an accountibility with Jen. She is supportive, but also firm in her Christian beliefs. I believe the "tension" of this "clique" can sometimes be explained by personal insecurities, spiritual struggles or just plan lack of communication.

Our class is HUGE! Partly due to the fun, outgoing extroverted people that are leaders in the class. You can not possibly make a personal connection weekly with EVERY person in there. Jen does an amazing job at coordinating a dozen socials each year. All this with a new baby at home. It is a testimony to her caring nature that she puts ALL others before herself to see that there is a chance to bond for so many. I know she struggles with this subject and just pray that the Lord shows her a path to peace.

Christina said...

This is definitely a hard one. I have to say Barb has a great idea. That way if you have a group dinner party you can then go out the next time with just the ones you've bonded with.