Housekeeping for Men's Groups
Usually you need 6 or 8 men to keep the group viable. For instance, if one or two men are unable to attend on a given day there need to be enough left to have a good session. Fortnightly meetings seem most common. Weekly seems to be too much commitment for most and monthly meetings are generally not enough to sustain momentum and nurture connection.
A suitable place to meet is important: often men’s groups move around the homes of their members but some homes have more suitable spaces than others. It makes sense to usually meet at a place that provides a comfortable, quiet and private space. And it is often important to occasionally meet at each man’s home who wants that.
Most men would prefer a departure process for anyone wishing to leave the group. This contributes to a safe and healthy group and preferably all group members commit to the process when they join the group. For instance a minimum notice period of one month or longer and the exiting member speaking to his reasons for departure and including the group in the process of the decision to leave will support the group and keep relationships clean. Some groups have a departure ceremony to be decided at the time. Without a process the group can be left wondering what happened and the departing member may be left with unnecessary baggage.
Many groups have found that when you get down to 5 members you need to start looking for new recruits. New members may be invited for a trial period , followed by a joint review at the end of that time. Unanimous agreement is needed if the new recruit is to join. An initiation ceremony, if used, can be decided at the time. It is essential that the new member commits to the group’s guidelines.
What structures does the group have? Start time, end time adhered to? Fortnightly meetings? Suitable place or places to meet? Sharing round at the beginning? Sharing limited to 5 min. throughout the group or is it intentionally open? Rotate leadership? Are “I” statements generally expected? Is small talk avoided?
When a group decides to meet fortnightly, missing one meeting means it will be a month before the next meeting. Consequently, it is important to keep misses to a minimum. It works well to start and finish on time without waiting for latecomers. Latecomers can take their place in the circle with a minimum of interruption to the flow.
Ask for a commitment to the group and full attendance at the beginning of the group and each year. (At the anniversary of the first session?)
Does the group set goals each year and into the future?
Be present, if you can’t then communicate – send apologies.
Ask someone to follow up on any one who misses a session.
Are members allowed to speak without interruption, other than occasionally by the leader of the day if someone is speeching etc?
Do members refrain from advice giving unless requested?
Is confidentiality maintained?