Can't seem to break through the clique nature of the church - what do I do?

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kotm
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Joined: 25 Oct 2022, 17:54

Can't seem to break through the clique nature of the church - what do I do?

Post by kotm »

I decided to attend my YSA Home Evening last night. Moreso hopping a girl I'm kinda interested in would be there. But she wasn't. So I figured whatever might as well try to get to know some more people. Welp this is how it went. I sat with someone I kinda knew, but then his fiance came over and they were just giggling and flirting with each other. So I moved to another table full of people I kinda knew. Tried talking to them. But since I wasn't part of that specific friend group or clique, they seemed to not want me there. So I just got up and left.

So tell me. I am trying. But when things like this are out of my control, what's even the point? Sure. Lots of groups have cliques. But it's out of control in the church. I honestly fear what life will be like for me once I age out of the YSA range. Not even sure if it's worth trying after that. I just feel super alienated by the church and it's members.
AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Can't seem to break through the clique nature of the church - what do I do?

Post by AmyJ »

1. Go you for showing up and being willing to talk to people. That can be tough a lot of times.
2. It really stinks that the groups of people you experienced didn't support you connecting to them and treated you more like a wallflower then a friend. People are really good at looking at their own situation and not including others. It takes a lot of years (and/or intense experiences) to develop the level of empathy to connect to others.

3 I guess that the "point" is what do you want to make of it? You could use this experience and the take-aways you got from in it a lot of ways:
a) For leaving that entire church scene (including church activities).
b) For leaving the church social scene and developing social connections through hobbies or social networking.
c) To "move on" to a different church social group (your location may be such that you can "ward-hop" as it were).
d) A a motivating experience to develop different social skills, become healthier (to draw people), etc.
e) To swear off of humanity entirely and become a hermit (outside of work).

There are a lot of things about life you cannot control - but where you choose to put your attention and energy becomes habitual which creates the life you have lived. Sometimes all you can do is "keep the door open" socially while moving on to social activities that are worth your time because they help you develop skills and energize you.

This isn't a "just you" experience by any means. Community/Social Network building in general is getting a lot harder to build and interact with because it is easier to choose solitude over social gathering for everyone and because of the amount of work that people need to put in for survival - there aren't many people with the luxury of time and energy to build community. It isn't any easier as a woman, as a wife, or as a parent with kids, believe me.

While there are things you could do to change your social environment, change your social skills, and change your appearance so that some people see you and are drawn to you (and are likely to be fulfilling in their own right on some levels), they do not answer the question of "why bother"?
Roy
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Re: Can't seem to break through the clique nature of the church - what do I do?

Post by Roy »

I also struggle socializing. But as a 40+ year old man, there are no longer any cliques. I just go to church and people talk to me or they don't.

When people talk to me, it usually comes in one of two forms:

1) they want something from me - usually to set up some type of interview, etc.
2) they are greeting me

I do agree that after YSA, the ability to socialize at church diminishes.

However, some of my best relationships in the church environment have come from serving in callings together. Are there any committees that you can ask to serve in? My preference would be activity planning committee.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13
AmyJ
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Re: Can't seem to break through the clique nature of the church - what do I do?

Post by AmyJ »

Roy wrote: 15 May 2024, 09:10 When people talk to me, it usually comes in one of two forms:

1) they want something from me - usually to set up some type of interview, etc.
2) they are greeting me
I must have thoroughly confused our ministering brother in November when I showed up at church and went up to talk to him after Sacrament as introduction.

I knew who he was because we had had a text conversation 6 months before where he wanted to visit and I set specific boundaries... and he never came to visit because "it never managed to happen"... I knew who he was because he was on the stand as one of the counselors.

I just wanted to introduce myself to get an actual read on the individual. So I guess I wanted his attention as a technicality?
I did say "Hello" so technically it was a greeting too.

I haven't heard from him since then - mostly because he hasn't been worth my attention.

But then, I would always go up to our ministering people and say something like, "I know you are assigned to visit us - let's talk logistics about when this month you are visiting - we can make date X or date Y work...".
Roy wrote: 15 May 2024, 09:10 I do agree that after YSA, the ability to socialize at church diminishes.

However, some of my best relationships in the church environment have come from serving in callings together. Are there any committees that you can ask to serve in? My preference would be activity planning committee.
I did alright being an RS teacher and in Achievement Days (LDS Girl Scouts). RS teacher because I am good at teaching, and Achievement Days because my oldest was in that age group then. I dropped all callings in 2021, so I really am not one to talk though.

I'd say "Attend service projects on the Stake level if you can" - those have been rewarding for me personally, and you get the added bonus of surprising people when you show up and they don't expect it:)
Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Can't seem to break through the clique nature of the church - what do I do?

Post by Minyan Man »

There are many older posts on this site that deal with this topic. For example, viewtopic.php?p=142354#p142354
I like to use the search... button above. There are posts I even made that I forgot about. (I'm old you know.)

This is one example. Bring it up & we can discuss or comment again.
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nibbler
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Re: Can't seem to break through the clique nature of the church - what do I do?

Post by nibbler »

I've probably told the same stolen joke multiple times... Jesus' greatest miracle was having 12 close friends when he was in his 30s.

I still have faint memories of my YSA days and I still remember there being cliques. I don't remember it being intentional, just something people naturally do. I saw similar cliques in high school (and there were probably two or three members in the entire school, so it's not just a church people thing).

It's tough finding people to trust and people to be friends with. I think that's why once you're in a group the group tends to be tight knit, because it's so hard to break through that ice.

I'm an extreme introvert. It's tough for me to break through that ice. Any time there are preestablished groups it's even harder to break through because I find it more intimidating to approach groups of people vs. approaching individuals. When people are already paired up and chatting away it feels awkward to me to try to insert myself.

Reflecting back to my YSA days, it truly was a case of an extrovert finding me, liking me, and adopting me. Otherwise I'm sure I would have been on the outside looking in during my YSA years.

What I don't remember is how long it took. Certainly more than a few activities (IMO church on Sunday is a terrible place to try to get to know people). I'm sure it took some muscling through lots of awkward experiences before an extrovert adopted me. Once that happened I became a part of their clique. :P

That's not to say muscling through awkwardness is the answer. I like the idea of keeping at it but I also like the idea of broadening horizons beyond just church.
Healing requires from us to stop struggling, but to enjoy life more and endure it less.
— Darina Stoyanova
Carburettor
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Joined: 10 Jul 2023, 01:49

Re: Can't seem to break through the clique nature of the church - what do I do?

Post by Carburettor »

AmyJ wrote: 15 May 2024, 10:00 But then, I would always go up to our ministering people and say something like, "I know you are assigned to visit us - let's talk logistics about when this month you are visiting - we can make date X or date Y work...".
I suspect you may have set yourself up for disappointment if you have forgotten (or missed the memo) that "Ministering" replaced "Home and Visiting Teaching" awhile back.

Technically, they aren't assigned to "visit" you; they are assigned to "minister," and what that looks like depends upon the individuals involved.

I visited my assigned families for decades (whether they wanted it or not!) as a home teacher, but now I keep in far more relaxed contact over social media and visit if/when they ask (e.g., to provide a blessing) or to deliver treats on special days.

I certainly don't want an assigned robot visiting me at inconvenient times simply to check a box.
AmyJ
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Re: Can't seem to break through the clique nature of the church - what do I do?

Post by AmyJ »

Carburettor wrote: 16 May 2024, 07:42
AmyJ wrote: 15 May 2024, 10:00 But then, I would always go up to our ministering people and say something like, "I know you are assigned to visit us - let's talk logistics about when this month you are visiting - we can make date X or date Y work...".
I suspect you may have set yourself up for disappointment if you have forgotten (or missed the memo) that "Ministering" replaced "Home and Visiting Teaching" awhile back.

Technically, they aren't assigned to "visit" you; they are assigned to "minister," and what that looks like depends upon the individuals involved.

I visited my assigned families for decades (whether they wanted it or not!) as a home teacher, but now I keep in far more relaxed contact over social media and visit if/when they ask (e.g., to provide a blessing) or to deliver treats on special days.

I certainly don't want an assigned robot visiting me at inconvenient times simply to check a box.
I was aware of the language updates and relaxation of expectations (quarterly/whenever vs monthly). I was trying to make their lives easier by coordinating them visiting us and getting to know us so that they could "minister" to us. In this case, our ministering brother probably didn't know what to make of my trek up to the pulpit after sacrament meeting to introduce myself because I knew who he was and he didn't know who I was. I also wanted to see how this individual communicates non-verbally to get a sense of who they are and what their priorities are.

My "hot take" on this individual is that my actions were not expected and that he took a long time adapting to my blunt logistics style - and that my family would eat him for breakfast (metaphorically speaking).

He hasn't communicated with us since we met in November, and he hasn't texted since July - ergo, we are not worth his time to visit us and get to know us (because where he is with his testimony does not support prioritizing friendships with less active/inactive people). Honestly, it's his loss much more than ours.
Carburettor
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Joined: 10 Jul 2023, 01:49

Re: Can't seem to break through the clique nature of the church - what do I do?

Post by Carburettor »

AmyJ wrote: 16 May 2024, 09:33 He hasn't communicated with us since we met in November, and he hasn't texted since July - ergo, we are not worth his time to visit us and get to know us (because where he is with his testimony does not support prioritizing friendships with less active/inactive people). Honestly, it's his loss much more than ours.
From your POV, it may seem that you're not worth his time. However, if my current leadership calling is anything to go by, it may just be that he simply doesn't have the energy to fight the fires in his personal and professional life while also trying to be all things to all people. As you know, no one gets paid for sacrificing their time to do something they never asked to do in the first place.

I no longer have expectations of anyone in leadership, although it is all too easy to slip and be judgmental on occasion when I feel like someone is publicly "bigging themselves up" for all they do. If they want to do something, that's great; but I feel it's deeply unfair to hold a grudge that someone hasn't spent more of their personal time on me or others. They don't actually owe me anything, but we are each guilty of treating leadership like they are contracted to work unceasingly for our betterment — even while we ourselves aren't doing anything of the kind.

I don't wish to sound critical, but if you're on the fringes of activity then I'm guessing it may have been awhile since you served in a leadership capacity. From where I sit, it's an exhausting and thankless position to occupy, and sometimes I just want to tell people to demonstrate a little self-reliance and stop waiting for someone else to fix their problems.
AmyJ
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Re: Can't seem to break through the clique nature of the church - what do I do?

Post by AmyJ »

I hear the message you are sending :D

My intent was to analyze a situation I encountered according to Roy's general parameters mentioned in the conversation.
If anything, I made it harder for this individual to want to befriend us, because I didn't follow the "social rule" (at least of framing my conversation so it matched up with the parameters Roy set out). I did set boundaries about "bearing testimony" via text and he said he was comfortable with those boundaries and he would get back to us "after his vacation" in July. He didn't text. I completed the introductions as a way to try to "break the ice". Clearly, the ice is still there.

I don't have any problems I want to bring to this individual, so I am not and will ask them to "solve them" for me. I am sad that they "could have been" our friend and "could have been in our lives" (and vice versa).

I am extremely likely to "tell it like it is (respectfully)" which is the main reason why I haven't been in leadership positions (outside of RS teacher and Activity Day leader back in the day).
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