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Thread: The Group Dynamic

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    The Group Dynamic

    Why do people act differently when in a group?

    Adolescent males are notorious for their naughty behavior when they congregate in groups. This past weekend the wife and I were at a restaurant and sitting behind us was a group of toasted, cackling mostly middle aged women. I was trying hard not to eavesdrop but you couldnt help overhear their loud talking and laughing. It sounded like it was a group of old friends (a reunion?) and one of them was having a birthday. It seems the 'fairer sex' is just as bad if not worse than their male counterparts when it comes to the pottymouth department!

    I suppose it also makes a difference as far as what kind of group, but why and how do people act differently when in a group?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    It seems the 'fairer sex' is just as bad if not worse than their male counterparts when it comes to the pottymouth department!
    Actually, I believe that groups of middle aged women are far more caddy than a similar group of men. Especially when it comes to topics of sexual activity.

    Hell, Queen B makes me blush even when my kids are around.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Budgie
    Actually, I believe that groups of middle aged women are far more caddy than a similar group of men. Especially when it comes to topics of sexual activity.

    Hell, Queen B makes me blush even when my kids are around.
    Yes middle aged women can be a bit wild, no alot wild.

    My belief is that for many many years as we are growing up, we are told that we should act a certain way and behave in public, then we must teach it to our children all the while supressing the natural inclination to really cut loose. Women get together and have girlfriend groups where we can really talk about the things we really think. To find those true friends that we can just talk openly is a true joy as we are busy with families it is hard to maintain time to cultivate those friends, so if a group of women can keep those friends through the good and the bad of life, what a treasure. That is why those red hat society women are so popular.

    Budgie, as for making you blush, you don't even know the half of it. I have been fairly well behaved. Really.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Queen B
    Women get together and have girlfriend groups where we can really talk about the things we really think. To find those true friends that we can just talk openly is a true joy as we are busy with families it is hard to maintain time to cultivate those friends, so if a group of women can keep those friends through the good and the bad of life, what a treasure.
    Yeah, guys are usually in shock when they hear about what we discuss together.

  5. #5
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Queen B
    That is why those red hat society women are so popular.
    (sorta OT)I have seen this time and again in a whole lot of different places! Groups of boisterous older women often dressed in purple and wearing red hats. What IS this phenomenon all about? Some secret society? A plot to overthrow worthless husbands?
    Last edited by Maister; 14 Oct 2005 at 10:26 AM.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  6. #6
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Queen B
    Women get together and have girlfriend groups
    WHAAAA?

    Count me in! Eh, Boys? (nudge nudge) Heh Heh Heh Heh


    (Male, insensitivity moment added to lighten up a beautiful Friday morning... )
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    (sorta OT)I have seen this time and again in a whole lot of different places! Groups of boisterous older women often dressed in purple and wearing red hats. What IS this phenomenon all about? Some secret society? A plot to overthrow worthless husbands?
    The Red Hat Ladies group thingy has spread like wildfire here in the mid-west. There are gaggles (flocks/schools/prides...whatever) of these generally mid-50's plus women terrorizing coffee houses and restaurants in these here parts. The Red hat and purple attire is a symbol stating that "I just don't care and am a wild and crazy old bag". I don't think these groups get raunchy like their younger counterparts. I think all this is a good thing since I believe strongly in the power (both good and bad) of social equity. Reread your "Bowling Alone".
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    It sounds to me like the red hat thing was inspired by a poem. I can't tell you the title or author, but the gist of it is "when I grow old, I will let go of all my inhibitions and stop caring what other people think and do wild and crazy, unacceptable things like wear purple with red -- oh, hell, why don't I just start today".

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    It sounds to me like the red hat thing was inspired by a poem. I can't tell you the title or author, but the gist of it is "when I grow old, I will let go of all my inhibitions and stop caring what other people think and do wild and crazy, unacceptable things like wear purple with red -- oh, hell, why don't I just start today".
    Go for it. Click Here.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  10. #10
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Depends on the group....if I'm with people I know and am confortable around, I will lose most constraint and just blather and act as my whims come. Then the group begins to feed off each other, if enough of us are acting this way, and it can just build and build till some stops it (ie: rest. owner, parents, others around, but not in group, etc.)

    If it is a group of people that I don't know well, I am generally reserved and listen more and talk less, in order to gauge the personalities of the individuals of the group. These groups are generally not a problem, because no one is usually not bulding off each other.

    Then...there are the times when I just let loose in a group of mere acquaintances, because I conclude that I don't give a rat's arse, and will probably never see them again.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Planner Groupie's avatar
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    I have to agree with Queen B. It's nice to have people you can relate to and talk about anything (mostly men and yes, sex). I love being able to get together with my girlfriends and have some great laughs.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Budgie
    Go for it. Click Here.
    Thanks, but I think joining a group of people to express my nonconformity and following their dress code and accepting their permission to act rebellious......would be ironic, at best.

  13. #13
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Thanks, but I think joining a group of people to express my nonconformity and following their dress code and accepting their permission to act rebellious......would be ironic, at best.
    Nice....very nice.

    Bart: Do you like my new earring?

    Lisa: It's very rebellious, in a conformist sort of way.

    (or something like that)
    Last edited by mendelman; 14 Oct 2005 at 12:13 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  14. #14
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Ahhhh....touché.

    Bart: Do you like my new earring?

    Lisa: It's very rebellious, in a conformist sort of way.

    (or something like that)

    "You've upset this family and our proud Naval tradition..."

    "Spaarkle sparkle..."
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    You know, I don't really have a substantive reply to you two, I'm just cracking up -- and wishing I had that "bow and curtsy" emoticon that all Class Clowns need at a time like this.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Yes middle aged women can be a bit wild, no alot wild.
    Like I've said before, it takes women a decade or so longer than men, for their libido to reach full boil.

    Depends on the group....if I'm with people I know and am confortable around, I will lose most constraint and just blather and act as my whims come. Then the group begins to feed off each other, if enough of us are acting this way, and it can just build and build till some stops it (ie: rest. owner, parents, others around, but not in group, etc.)

    If it is a group of people that I don't know well, I am generally reserved and listen more and talk less, in order to gauge the personalities of the individuals of the group. These groups are generally not a problem, because no one is usually not bulding off each other.

    Then...there are the times when I just let loose in a group of mere acquaintances, because I conclude that I don't give a rat's arse, and will probably never see them again.
    That ^ describes my behavior pretty well. When I'm with a group of good friends, the group is a living thing in its own right. There is a diffusion of responsibility as well as a certain sense of shared power beyond what is available on an individual basis.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  17. #17
    Cyburbian plankton's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Why do people act differently when in a group?
    I just posted a moderate rant in the noontime question thread related to this issue. Putting aside little kids and the red hat ladies (btw, there's a great group of these ladies here) for the moment, I believe people act differently in groups becuase of a general lack of self confidence and inability (unwillingness?) for introspection.

    More and more, people just want to fit in and be part of the winning, or more populous, team. With college tuition far outpacing median incomes in this country, fewer people will get higher educations and advanced degrees, fewer independent thinkers will be prevelent in our society, and Joe & Jane Public will continue to follow a general plan for themselves that has been set by "the group" or other external forces, as opposed to one that has been devised by themselves with their best interests in mind.

    Why is it that (imho) so many people vote in a manner that is not in their best self interest? Is it because one political party (the "winning" one) has a perceived higher moral standard than the other party and being part of the winning party pleases the group more, and is far more important, than taking some time for critical thought and analysis that could /gasp/ upset the crowd? Looks like the "think tanks" are working..........

  18. #18
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Maister, go and ask our secretary about sex. She does not even need to be in a group to make the office blush… and often push it too far.

    In reality I think that it is the confidence that we get being a social animal. It is the same thing with rioting mobs. They will do things as a group that none of them would do alone.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I think that people sort of become like "cells" in a new "organism" when they are in a group. That isn't an exact analogy, but I can't think of a better one. Different aspects of one's own personality will come out in response to different people/situations and a particular group winds up with its own "personality", so to speak. On Cyburbia, I rarely talk about homeschooling or my kids (at least from my perspective). On homeschooling lists, I rarely talk about GIS or environmental issues, etc. So different aspects of me get expressed depending upon what group I am in and what things we have in common -- plus personalities come into play, of course. Each group has its own norms, cultural practices, etc. Homeschooling lists are dominated by women and it is a very different dynamic than mixed company like Cyburbia -- plus "family friendly" seems to be a more stringent standard than "work safe". It is supposed to be something like PG-13 at worst -- which gets me mildly in hot water at times.

    Adding just one new person can sometimes significantly impact the group dynamic.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Interesting topic. Of course, the group dynamic applies to both men and women. I really like my co-workers, but the social behavior of the men when they are in a group sometimes drives me nuts. Recently, we took my boss out to lunch for his birthday. While our office manager and I looked on in silence, the men carried on a conversation about hunting that went from distasteful to outright disgusting (and several of them don't even hunt). Finally, seething , I asked them if they could PLEASE find another topic of conversation because they were making me ill. They complied, but I find it interesting that when I spoke to several of them individually about it afterwards, none of them took responsibility for the conversation.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Stan Dynamic

    When this Bear anticipated the Stanfest Laething (Kalamazoo-zoo, last August), that anticipation extended to wondering about the so-called "group dynamic", "planner-speak", etc.

    Turned out it was not a problem.

    As expected, they were just as geeky in person as they are on Cyburbia.



    Bearnamic
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Yes, the Red Hat Society was inspired by a poem: "A poet put it very well..."

    And I even found the poem: Warning by Jenny Joseph

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