In this age of digital friends, long-distance families, and online gaming, I think at this point we have all been a part of an online friend group at some point. Beyond that, I think it's a pretty good bet that at least most of us have either been part of or witnessed group drama online, which can be all sorts of Not Fun.
In case it wasn't already quite clear, I can confirm that yes, there was a spot of group drama in one of the Discord servers I devote my time to. And yes, it was very Not Fun.
But I am not here to rant and ramble about a specific person and what he or she said about such-and-such. I am here to examine the root cause of discord in friend groups (ha ha, I made a funny) and how we might address it in as loving, biblical, and non-aggressive a way as possible. Though, keep in mind that I am no expert or professional, so take everything I say with a heavy helping of salt.
Before we can take a look at what causes division in a group, we must first put it in the context of what brings a group together. There can be several reasons, and any combination of them might apply to any group, but they generally boil down to:
- Common interests - Common goals - Common origins - Common values
The more each member of the group invests with the others in any of the four categories, the stronger and more stable the group dynamic will be.
With this in mind, it's pretty obvious that where group division comes from is where there is little or no overlap between the members. Where overlap between the members is lacking, division occurs. How important that thing is to an individual will affect how prominent the division is between them and the rest of the group.
The greatest divisions (and therefore the biggest group drama) I find are generally rooted in where values don't overlap between the members. On the surface, an argument may look like it's about politics or sports or something else, but where the difficulty lies can be much deeper, like in a disagreement over what is ethically or morally acceptable, or the "reality" behind a situation. Subjects like "what is truth" don't usually come up in actual words, but that issue can underpin a discussion that seems to be entirely unrelated.
My personal group drama appeared to be centered around tone of voice and use of authority in conversations, but I think its root was actually in the value (and sincerity) of an apology, and whether or not forgiveness should be given when it's requested, or at a later time.
Who held what opinion and who did/said what are not important, but I think it's valuable to advise you lovely Inklings to consider in future whether the argument that's ruffled your feathers is actually about what it seems to be about. If you can get down to the division that's making things difficult, I think resolving the drama will be easier on a number of levels.
I wish you all the best, my lovelies. Take care of yourselves, and enjoy these last days of summer.