Friends in Low Places

Question: I moved with my then boyfriend to the pacific northwest 2 years ago. I was really lonely at first, so I took advantage of meetup.com and went to several different groups. I’m a crafter so I started with a local yarn crafting group. I’ve made a lot of friends in this group. We laugh, share our lives, and just generally have a good time. The organizer of the group stood up for me when I married previously mentioned bf. We are really good friends. Unfortunately, the group has had some problems recently. Back in June the organizer started her own yarn business and really became too busy to keep up with organizer duties on her own. She added a group member who has said some really hurtful things to and about me (behind my back) as a co-organizer and this person has taken the opportunity to really mess up the group dynamics. It started with little things at first, then it escalated. At the most recent meetup, a member was gone and the c0-organizer lead the group in a personal attack on the absent member. Another member of the group (who is my friend) made it clear that she wasn’t going to sit and listen to the hour long bashing session anymore. The co-organizer then proceeded to scream at her and kicked her out of the group. The group’s original organizer wasn’t there for this incident and because of that hasn’t done anything about this. When I tried to bring it up to her she defended the co-organizer and basically brushed my concerns off. I don’t know whether I should go back to the group or not. I don’t want to cut ties with the friends that I’ve gained and I feel like leaving the group would force me to do that. Do I stay and hope things get better? Or do I cut my ties and hope for the best?

Don’t Go Cutting My Yarn

Hey, Yarn, what a tough spot! I can certainly understand not wanting to lose the few good friends you’ve made being part of this group.

As you describe her, the co-organizer seems like a manipulative jerk who is feeling inordinately powerful in her new role, and there seems to be at least a few people enjoying her power trip and meanness. That’s really too bad, and immature on all of their parts, but you don’t have any control over their behavior so it may not be worth your time or the emotional cost to talk to her/them.

If you feel strongly that you need to say something to the co-organizer, do it privately and directly. She might react less harshly if there isn’t an audience to entertain. She still might not care or change, but if you feel up to trying, who knows? She may surprise you.

Alternatively, I bet you can cut ties to the group and still keep the good friends you’ve made. It sounds like the friendships have already transcended the group (which was your goal in joining, right?). Tell your friends, including the original organizer, that it’s time for you to leave the group but that you still want to be friends with them. You can tell them it’s because of the new dynamic, or you can just say you want to move on, or whatever reason you’d like, that’s up to you. Except: don’t gossip, tell them your feelings if you choose to elaborate.

Cardinal Rule: You went to a meet up, you met some good friends. Chances were high that there would be one or two in the group who wouldn’t become your pal. It’s okay to cut your losses, and cut your yarn somewhere else, with people you actually want to be around.

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2 responses to “Friends in Low Places

  1. Geez! Those yarn crafters are intense! I hope that Don’t Go Cutting My Yarn is able to maintain friendships with the nice members of the group after s/he leaves the group. Great advice, as always.

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