Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Friendship: Together We Can Do So Much

Devora Zheutlin MA, CAS

“A group exists when two or more people think of themselves as ‘us.’ ” —Dr. David G. Myers

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

 Mishpacha image

 

Together We Can Do So Much

We know that people are social and need company and human interaction. We crave relationships and shrivel up from loneliness. But a wonderful and powerful question that has been raised is whether we are influenced by the presence of another person who is acting along with us. In other words, do we do more, perform more dynamically, and react more strongly when others are near?

The resounding answer is yes, we do. But that’s where the fascinating part begins. Sometimes the group’s influence makes us feel lost in a crowd and more uninhibited, bold, and free to misbehave. Think of times you may have felt fine doing something less than okay in a group, that you would have never done alone. Other times the group’s influence sweeps us along in generosity to others, spiritual awakening, and speedier performance. Imagine the power and “charge” of a tefillah uttered along with others at a large gathering such as a public asifah, that is more emotional than what one could have achieved alone. How do we understand this contradiction? Does being part of a group disrupt us and unleash bad behavior, or does it enhances us and bring out our best?

 

It’s Natural!

Here comes a very interesting answer. Being part of a group enhances whatever you naturally tend to do. Whatever behavior a person tends to, that behavior is more likely to occur when in the presence of others. The company of others helps us do the things that are simple to us and likely. If we are naturally a little rough around the edges, the group may free us to act inappropriately. If, however, our core is composed of fine traits, then our spirits soar in a group and we are more likely to be enhanced and do better when surrounded by others.

Racheli had a sweet plan in mind but was vacillating. She thought it might be great to have a welcoming committee for girls entering 9th grade and coming to their Back-to-School summer evening for the first time. Although she liked the idea, she felt a little hesitant as she started mingling at the event alone. She greeted the newcomers a bit shyly, and then moved on. But when six of her fellow classmates arrived and joined her, that really energized her. The girls eagerly swept through the room, greeting, smiling, and disarming the freshies.

Here we see, up close, the power of the group and its capacity. In addition, there are some specific group behaviors that we might want to examine more closely. (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 724)

Related Stories

New Kid on the Block

Danielle Sarah Storch

Let’s meet a few “new kids” who’ve switched schools, for a variety of reasons, and hear what they ha...

DMCs: Twist of the Summer

As told to Leah Greenburg

There’s got to be someone here I could be friends with. Everyone looked nice, everyone thanked me so...

Movin’ On Up: Part 4

Shaina Keren

Obviously, no 19-year-old girl is getting hired to run anybody’s marketing firm, and I just found ou...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Speechless
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah