Group dynamics can drive you crazy. Our group grew to over 200 members over 5 years. People don’t always get along. They have different personalities, differing political, religious, and social beliefs. It’s impossible to be the referee when arguments and conflict occur, and they will. Try and have a good team behind you to help manage the group and use them as a sounding board when you have to make difficult decisions.
I remember one member who joined and he immediately made other members feel uncomfortable because he announced to everyone he met that he was polyamorous. At our lunches, he would pass out his polyamorous card and literature to married couples who were not interested in the polyamory lifestyle. Our priority was for the safety and happiness of the group and it required the leadership team to step in by drafting a letter to him:
“We need to bring to your attention an issue that has come up regarding your polyamory group. Several of our members have approached us and informed us that they were made to feel uncomfortable with regard to the conversations and discussions on details about your group. They had advised us that it appeared you were attempting to recruit new members by virtue of your distribution of business cards and other literature. Whether this is try or not rests on several different things, all of which can be construed or misconstrued by those who may not agree with your personal choices.
Because of the highly individualistic nature of Freethinkers, we strive to offer a safe-haven to all of our membership. Thus, we discourage through FFS policy the active or perceived recruitment of our members by other members, or visitors, who belong to various organizations that are not directly related to freethought. While we do not discriminate or judge anyone for their personal choices as a group, we also discourage anyone from the actual or perceived pressure to join or support these types of groups, of which your polyamory group would be part of.
Again, we are not apt to support censorship, nor do we judge anyone for their personal lifestyle choices. You are, of course, welcome to visit with us any time and join in the conversation. We just ask that you refrain from causing discomfort to our membership by passing out cards and literature. We ask the same thing of all of our members who are members of other organizations not related to freethought.
Thank you, The Fayette Freethought Society Leadership Team”
Freethinkers are individualistic. Politically, they can lean left, right or somewhere in the middle. I tried to keep our group apolitical so everyone would feel welcome. We did not publicly endorse any political party or candidate. Even if you try and maintain an apolitical group policy, there will always be conflict between those who hold strong political views. I did try to intervene at times during political conflicts but some members did end up leaving the group because they thought the group was too liberal, and some thought it was too conservative. It’s impossible to please everyone.