Social Question

liminal's avatar

How does one decide one's place in a group or community?

Asked by liminal (7761points) April 6th, 2010

When one finds themselves in a large group situation such as a school, online community, church, social organization, etc… how does one determine their value in the group and their role in it? What sort of parameters or measuring stick (if any) can a person use?

I am going to withhold my personal opinion, because, I am not looking for affirmations or rejection of my perceptions as much as I want to hear what people think.

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19 Answers

evandad's avatar

Have fun and forget about popularity contests.

davidbetterman's avatar

One simply makes one’s place anywhere on earth or one stars talking about people as one…

Trillian's avatar

One defines one’s own role by the ways in which one interacts with the others of the group. There are certain roles which come about in group forming, the agitator, the peace maker, the rationalist… Roles are complex entities that can change over time within the group due to other changing dynamics.
There are a lot of factors at play here, so defining one’s role in any group will depend on the reason for the group, how cohesive the group is when one joins the group, where in the group process the group itself is, all sorts of dynamics that are constantly evolving.
Good Question.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Unless you appoint yourself Fuhrer or stage a coup, I think “the group” kind of decides that for you, doesn’t it?

@CyanoticWasp For Life

phillis's avatar

I’d give anything to see davidbetterman and CyanoticWasp on the same ticket. what a hoot!

There are SO many variables to this that we might as well be counting stars in the Milky Way, but I’ll cut to the bottom line. Wherever you go, there you are.

<crickets chirp>


Okay, here’s the deal. You have to know YOUR strengths and weaknesses so that you know beyond the shadow of any doubt what you bring to the table. Those are your bargaining chips…..and the source of your strength. As long as you know that, little else matters…....unless you’re a prick. Seriously.
People don’t like that.

chamelopotamus's avatar

Know who knows – that is, pay attention to who knows the most and interact with them.

Cruiser's avatar

Pretty simple and pretty obvious as in any situation…you decide! You decide if this community or group has the people, quality of ideals that suit and or fit your needs. Your role then will be determined by the group by what contribution you can make to this community or group. Or like @CyanoticWasp said…stage a coup and take it over and impress your will upon it.

nebule's avatar

yes…I would have said that as long as you are yourself and don’t try to be anything you are not then your place would emerge organically?

janbb's avatar

Well, it helps if the group has lurve points so you can tell what you’re really worth. ~

MarcoNJ's avatar

Simple. By not worrying about what the others in the group think of you. Just play nice and do you. Eventually you’ll have a cool little comfy spot in the group…or not.

monocle's avatar

What @MarcoNJ said.
Also, people tend to miss the whole point after following groups, and groups change all the time.

wundayatta's avatar

One does not decide their place in a group. That’s what others do. All one can do is what one wants to—help as one wants to help, or not—and see how others respond.

You might get various types of feedback about this. You might get officially appointed or elected to a position. You might just start playing a role, and see if people cooperate with you. You might get private feedback that you are messing up or doing something good.

Mostly, though, I don’t think people give much feedback. Which leaves you on your own. You don’t know what others think your place is. You might have your own opinion of what your place is, but it may or may not be shared by others. For what it’s worth, if someone tells me they are the leader of this or that, I tend to assume they aren’t the leader, and if they are, they are a bad one.

I think one’s worth to others is only as much as “what have you done for me, lately?” If you haven’t done anything, they either forget about you or actively dislike you. Nothing is permanent in human relationships. In fact, little lasts longer than a few minutes.

janbb's avatar

@wundayatta Cynical, much? Having a bad day, kiddo?

wundayatta's avatar

@janbb Nope. That’s how it has always been for me. No one ever cut me very much slack. Well, perhaps that’s not true. I didn’t have much slack as a child, and perhaps that has made me perceive the world somewhat cynically (perhaps even inaccurately) since then.

janbb's avatar

@wundayatta Thanks for the response. Hope it shifts at some point for you. I didn’t get much as a kid but have learned as an adult to love myself and receive love and approval from friends.

wundayatta's avatar

@janbb If I ever learn to love myself, I’ll throw a party and fly everyone in to join me.!

janbb's avatar

@wundayatta I’ll bake you a cake for that party!

phillis's avatar

That is one party I would lov eto attend :)

nebule's avatar

I’ll come too…money willing!

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