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  1. #11
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Well, I don't mind that kind of shit, and as a teacher I did it all the time. It helps get rid of group-think problems, helps people with group picking issues like @SuchIrony's, and allows for equalization of the playing field. I never let groups remain for too long. It makes people better at dealing with unfamiliar others (which is a skill, and can indeed be improved with practice) and thinking on their feet. It also breaks up the kind of pre-formed, petty power hierarchies that hinder personal and group progress.

    But that's for assignments. I don't know about this "retreat," nor would I ever really recommend this as a friend-making device. Although, now that you mention it, don't we make most of our friends through school and work? And aren't school and work basically just another kind of forced socialization? So yeah, maybe it works for that, too.
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  2. #12
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    That's interesting, I was actually thinking the opposite. I see more value in learning to work with unfamiliar others on important, productive tasks - though given my past history with group work (as in, me generally ending up doing the majority of the work because I'm a perfectionist), I tend to dislike forced-group interactions where the group is rated. But I don't understand the point of forcing people out of their comfort zones during a brief, casual time period. They way I thought about it, if real connections are going to be forged, they'll be forged because there's a reason to connect, mutual benefit to be obtained for connecting. The same holds true for icebreakers - if it's like the "two truths and a lie" game, ugh. I hate telling a group my personal business and them having to interact with me when we all know that none of us are interested. If it's a discussion about cultural background to learn more about each other, that's actually potentially useful. I just resent forced socialization when the point is forced socialization.
    Too much is riding on those important, productive tasks for me to want to experiment with social interaction. It is like making a recipe for the first time for dinner guests I really want to impress. I would rather have a taste of the new foods first, in a situation with lower stakes. Then I know what confidence level I can assign to it/them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    But that's for assignments. I don't know about this "retreat," nor would I ever really recommend this as a friend-making device. Although, now that you mention it, don't we make most of our friends through school and work? And aren't school and work basically just another kind of forced socialization?
    That depends on both the basis for the grouping, and the level of socializing expected. In public school, for instance, we were assigned based on age and address. This means I was thrown in with a broad spectrum of folks, most of whom I had little in common with. Also, more socializing and group activity were expected than I like ever, anywhere. Needless to say, I made few friends. At the opposite end of the spectrum is my current job. I have much in common with my coworkers, and there is little forced socialization. We interact as needed to get the job done, which is actually very enjoyable. Most of my friends have indeed come from such a setting, but then we are all here because we want to be, and because we share those common interests. Grad school was similar; college less so.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  3. #13
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaotic Harmony View Post
    For what seems like the millionth time, the people running our meeting yesterday forced people to break away from their cliques. It seems like every meeting or retreat we have anymore they insist on assigning seats or do some stupid game to break up the cliques. I'm incredibly reserved at work and keep to myself, so I hate when they do this. I prefer to stick around the people I know and am comfortable with. At the last staff retreat we had, when they assigned seats, I actually had an anxiety attack because I just wasn't comfortable with the people I had to sit with...not to mention I got stuck next to a woman that drives me crazy on a daily basis at work. (Thanks! I avoid her for a reason guys! That's another story though.) The other thing was, I tend to sit in the back off to the side because it's less distracting for me. When they forced us to move around, I wound up with a woman who would not shut up through the entire meeting and just kept making snarky comments. That's part of the reason I prefer to choose where I sit and who is around me.

    I guess I just don't see the point in making people branch away from the people they are comfortable with. It never changes anything around here. After the meeting or retreat is over everyone flocks back to who they are more comfortable around. I have yet to ever see one of these forced interactions result in any kind of bond or friendship after the meeting/retreat was over. The only thing it does is makes me want to find a reason to be absent or busy when the next meeting rolls around.

    Anybody else hate being forced to interact with your coworkers you don't know well? Or being forced to interact with other students in a class you don't know well?
    Ask any teacher and they'll tell you that these sorts of tactics aren't for people like you. They're to avoid the awkwardness the teacher feels when watching someone look for a group when they dont have one. So the teacher just assigns seats to avoid having to watch the awkwardness.

  4. #14
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venom View Post
    Ask any teacher and they'll tell you that these sorts of tactics aren't for people like you. They're to avoid the awkwardness the teacher feels when watching someone look for a group when they dont have one. So the teacher just assigns seats to avoid having to watch the awkwardness.
    So often when I point out how counterproductive, illogical, or outright stupid some requirement or expectation is, I am told, "It's not meant for people like you".

    Then STOP insisting that I do it and go bother the people it IS meant for!
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  5. #15
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaotic Harmony View Post
    For what seems like the millionth time, the people running our meeting yesterday forced people to break away from their cliques. It seems like every meeting or retreat we have anymore they insist on assigning seats or do some stupid game to break up the cliques. I'm incredibly reserved at work and keep to myself, so I hate when they do this. I prefer to stick around the people I know and am comfortable with. At the last staff retreat we had, when they assigned seats, I actually had an anxiety attack because I just wasn't comfortable with the people I had to sit with...not to mention I got stuck next to a woman that drives me crazy on a daily basis at work. (Thanks! I avoid her for a reason guys! That's another story though.) The other thing was, I tend to sit in the back off to the side because it's less distracting for me. When they forced us to move around, I wound up with a woman who would not shut up through the entire meeting and just kept making snarky comments. That's part of the reason I prefer to choose where I sit and who is around me.

    I guess I just don't see the point in making people branch away from the people they are comfortable with. It never changes anything around here. After the meeting or retreat is over everyone flocks back to who they are more comfortable around. I have yet to ever see one of these forced interactions result in any kind of bond or friendship after the meeting/retreat was over. The only thing it does is makes me want to find a reason to be absent or busy when the next meeting rolls around.

    Anybody else hate being forced to interact with your coworkers you don't know well? Or being forced to interact with other students in a class you don't know well?
    I think there are several reasons companies do this. One of the biggest challenges is that people tend to know their specific area - they are siloed in their perspective as well as their thinking. By combining people from different teams, they are looking for people to develop a broader perspective. There is also the aspect of an effective work environment. The "cliques" tend to be characterized by a high level of trust. When that trust doesn't extend beyond the immediate clique to other areas, it can negatively impact productivity as well as people's satisfaction with their job which also then leads to turnover. Employees are more efficient and effective to the extent that people effectively communicate and collaborate with each other. The benefits of breaking down the silos and these little steps to force people to work with people they don't know are not often immediately apparent but over time, I have seen gradual movement towards better collaboration. I've been as guilty as anyone else as far as being part of these cliques. I've had projects where there were multiple cliques and it got in the way of getting the job done. It's really a big issue which is why there is probably a focus on it in your company. The fact that they seem to have such a big focus on it there would lead me to believe that there is a problem that someone is trying to solve. Maybe you have some perspectives on that.

    It sounds like you're shy or quiet. We grow when we are pushed out of our comfort zone. My suggestion is that you try and look at these situations as an opportunity vs. a negative thing that you are forced to do. What are the good things that you can gain out of it? There must be some positives.

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  6. #16
    Paranoid Android Video's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venom View Post
    Ask any teacher and they'll tell you that these sorts of tactics aren't for people like you. They're to avoid the awkwardness the teacher feels when watching someone look for a group when they dont have one. So the teacher just assigns seats to avoid having to watch the awkwardness.
    The way you put it makes it sound like the exercises are mainly for the benefit of the teachers, as opposed to being for the benefit of the kids. Did I read that correctly? Where this focus lies is important to me.

  7. #17
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webslinger View Post
    The way you put it makes it sound like the exercises are mainly for the benefit of the teachers, as opposed to being for the benefit of the kids. Did I read that correctly? Where this focus lies is important to me.
    Okay... Yes the SFJ teacher that does it probably does actually care and do it for the sake of the kid.... I was just saying from my mean ol entp perspective that's how I would justify wasting the time to make up assigned seats...

  8. #18
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Cellmold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    So often when I point out how counterproductive, illogical, or outright stupid some requirement or expectation is, I am told, "It's not meant for people like you".

    Then STOP insisting that I do it and go bother the people it IS meant for!
    But you know, that is just the defensive reaction from people who have just been shown the short-comings of their expectations and are now furiously back peddling in order to save face.

    I would say they DO think it applies to you and everyone else, (otherwise they wouldn't bother in the first place and i'm sure you already know that), but they pretend it doesn't when you point out the flaws in the idea because the other option would be to lose faith in their own system of how something should be done.

    It is usually a fail in logic,(although when concerning people and social rituals logic does tend to take a backseat anyhow), it is also a fail in an attempt at rigidly controlling the external environment.

    As for being forced to interact with co-workers....I shudder at the idea. Of course I am able to get along with most people on a superficial level and have managed to cultivate an internal plan of social interactions in order to do so. So on the surface I look like I am engaging with others, when really there is almost no investment whatsoever.

    At least when i'm at work.
    'One of (Lucas) Cranach's masterpieces, discussed by (Joseph) Koerner, is in it's self-referentiality the perfect expression of left-hemisphere emptiness and a precursor of post-modernism. There is no longer anything to point to beyond, nothing Other, so it points pointlessly to itself.' - Iain McGilChrist

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  9. #19
    Senior Member Chaotic Harmony's Avatar
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    I guess when I posted this, what set me off was the major clique was the one dictating that the other cliques needed to be broken up....but they all stayed together telling the rest of us what to do. It was just BS that they expected our cliques to be broken up, but wouldn't break theirs up. Seems a tad bit unfair.


  10. #20
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffirmitiveAnxiety View Post
    But you know, that is just the defensive reaction from people who have just been shown the short-comings of their expectations and are now furiously back peddling in order to save face.

    I would say they DO think it applies to you and everyone else, (otherwise they wouldn't bother in the first place and i'm sure you already know that), but they pretend it doesn't when you point out the flaws in the idea because the other option would be to lose faith in their own system of how something should be done.

    It is usually a fail in logic,(although when concerning people and social rituals logic does tend to take a backseat anyhow), it is also a fail in an attempt at rigidly controlling the external environment.
    A fail in logic, certainly. I see it also as a sign of laziness, and putting process over results (the means justify the ends).
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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