Hubby belongs to a group of men who meets weekly to catch up with what’s happened in each other’s lives and talk about their feelings. What? Guys do that??? Well, my guy and six of his buddies do.
And, guess what. They don’t meet in a bar. They meet at one of the single guy’s home. (Five are married; two single.) But they don’t play pool or watch TV. They talk. Really.
But, what do they talk about? Well, that, they keep to themselves. So they will feel safe to be vulnerable with each other, they promise not to share whatever is said outside their group with others. Not even pillow talk when they get home.
It’s not a therapy group; there is no therapist. My understanding is they take turns facilitating. I’ve been in women’s groups where we share, but nothing like this.
This enlightened type of men’s group is gaining popularity, especially with more mature men seeking to know themselves better. To that end, Hubby and his buds sponsor an annual weekend “camp” where they hire professional facilitators and invite members of other men’s groups to attend. I think they shoot for about fifty participants, and men come in from all over to attend. A few years ago, I “helped” with airport runs. I remember chauffeuring guys from Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida, D.C., Colorado, New Mexico, and California. I dropped them at the “camp” and got the hell out of dodge.
But, back to Hubby’s group. Of course, I know (and love) all of these men. Hubby joined their already established group several years ago. We get together socially on occasion and often celebrate milestones like birthdays and holidays together. Sometimes we will do something with one of the members and his wife. But I’ve not felt like I knew all of them well—until this weekend.
This weekend, the seven of them plus a man from another group invited a trainer in from Colorado to do a coaching workshop. And, guess what! They invited the wives to attend. One other wife (Erica) and I took them up on their offer, and for 2 ½ days the eleven of us did large group training, breakout groups, and other exercises. It was a “train the trainer” seminar of sorts, but while learning to be trainers (coaches) we were trainees as we learned the material.
Hubby and I hosted the event and when I say it was a cool experience, that’s a gross understatement. The days were long. Some brought their lunch, but Hubby brought a year’s worth of cold cuts and, because we awoke to a smattering of snow on Saturday, I made an impromptu pot of vegetable soup. Several of the men were vegetarians and the soup was scarfed down in the blink of an eye. Since it was so popular, I made bean soup for Sunday, using what I had in the pantry. I’ve not left the house since Friday.
After all was over, the other couple hung around and watched the Super Bowl with us. Hubby made the comment that he’d never seen me so relaxed when I entertained. And, he was right. I didn’t feel uptight at all even though six or eight people were maneuvering around my kitchen island.
As I reflected on his observation, I wondered why I wasn’t uptight. It’s because I didn’t feel responsible for the experience they had. If they wanted coffee, they could make it. (The coffee maker was on the counter, as was sugar, creamer, cups, etc., but I make lousy coffee.) I didn’t feel like I had to put the meat on a tray and make everything all “pretty.” We used paper plates and plastic cutlery, and kept the dishwasher going with cups and bowls and other things.
I just let things happen. And you know what? It worked out fine. And because I was relaxed, they were relaxed. Or maybe they would have been relaxed regardless, but I thought that was a keen observation and one I’ll remember when MY friends come over and I start fussing over things. They don’t care either. It’s me who drives myself crazy.
But, again, back to Hubby’s group. Erica and I were with them all weekend and it was great. I’m not sure what I expected, but I didn’t expect to integrate quite as naturally as we did. The course was interesting. (I’m still digesting it.) The guys wanted to do it to make them better facilitators at their upcoming “camp.” Erica and I wanted to do it for several reasons. One was to get a sense of the energy of their group when they’re together. Of course, we knew we would shift the energy, but probably not as much as we thought.
I was a bit surprised to have been included. Of course it was at my house, so I would have been here even if I hadn’t participated. The guys seemed glad with their decision to invite us. Of course, they don’t plan to invite us to be a part of their weekly meetings. That’s reserved just for them—as it should be. But, Erica and I are ready to start a women’s group using a similar model. We’ll meet every other week.
Does anyone have any experiences you’d like to share with a similar group? Ideas. Suggestions. We can make our group anything we want it to be and are open to input.