This is not a current issue. I’m not currently involved in many group activities, for many reasons, and the following rant is not one of them. 🙂 But it IS something I think about off and on, and I’m considering opening my house to another stitching group in the next year or so… So I’m back to thinking about it.
I have never really understood the concept of a “stitch and bitch.” I understand the need to gab — to talk to like-minded friends. But the bitching? There’s too much of that in the world already to let it intrude on a good stitch-in.
When we’ve had stitch groups at our house, I’ve had to ban whining and bad-natured gossip. Because I’ve found if I let any of it into the house, that’s ALL that goes on – no solutions are found, no knitting or stitching actually happens. I find that very sad. And, coming out of it, instead of being refreshed by spending time with friends, I’m exhausted, drained, and soon I don’t want to see anyone anymore.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t discuss problems – whether just for sympathy, to get it off the chest, or to elicit suggestions and brainstorming from our peers. But there is a fine line between venting a problem and whinging for whinging’s sake. It’s the latter I try to ban, but it’s hard. There are cycles where everyone seems to have a problem – and if you try to be positive about life in general, there’s the feeling of betrayal from your peers. As if even the attempt is disregarding the problems they are having.
I had a dance instructor who at the beginning of a workshop session would remind us all that for the next few hours we were DANCERS. That the rest of the world needed to be put on hold. Indeed, could be put on hold while we concentrated on what we paid her for. No cell phones, no worrying about husbands, kids, work email or so on for that time period. I like this. It was one of the most focussed and relaxing (so to speak) workshops I’ve ever attended. I try to bring that energy into my classes and workshops. I’d like to bring something like that into our stitch-ins, too, but I’m not entirely sure how to approach it. After all, these are friends with whom I like to share interests, not strangers who are paying me for my time.
Anyone have any ideas? Does negative energy pervade your stitch groups? Or can you celebrate life in general during your time together, good and bad, without diverging into an emotional swamp?