Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I was part of a book group for a long time. I helped to organize it
when I was friendlier with all the participants. In fact, I’m the one who
connected many of them with one another. The group fell apart when
one of the people invited someone new to fill a vacancy. The new gal
was loud, overly opinionated about her own and others’ insights, and
simply didn’t fit in. The others in the former group get together
relatively often without inviting me, which yes does hurt my feelings,
though No I haven’t talked about it with them.


A clique has bonded
over activities I do not share (tandem bike riding and strenuous hiking
(which I cannot do), and knitting (which I am remedial at doing).
They’re all coupled and I am single. I am starting a new book group
with some other friends and we’re trying to balance out the
membership. One of the knitter/cyclers heard and suggested inviting
some of the cyclers etc into the new group. I realize I am bristling at
the idea, because I feel socially snubbed and want this group to be
friendlier than I feel towards them. What can I say to move this
conversation forward?


Dear Snubbed:

Talk very frankly to the person who wants to recreate the old
constellation of member. Tell her that you are interested in moving
forward, and in trying a different set of people and creating new
relationship. Acknowledge both why the old book group fell apart and
that you know the others have a robust social life together of which
you are not a part. Try very hard to avoid sounding snubbed or bitter.
Just acknowledge their common interests are activities that you do not
choose to partake in, so you don’t feel you want to include them in this
new group. It’s legit, and has the added advantage of being true, as
my lawyer brother likes to quip.

Say among your goals for the new club is a new group of people and
energies. Then follow through. Create an outreach effort by talking to
the core people and asking them each to invite one other person who
meets a set of criteria you all agree upon. Explain what works in
groups and what does not, at least for you. Ask them to tell you the
same. Note: Groups take time to gel. Take some chances and you ma
surprise yourself with new friends.