Why do we need to be part of a group?
Even though we have been existing as individuals with our own identities, we are always involved with some type of group or the other. As kids we had different types of groups when we were in our teens then we had a different group and when we grew up we have had a different group and we will continue to be a part of a group as we will move ahead in our lives. What lead us to be a part of those groups? What sense did we derive from it? Most importantly what did we learn from it? In history and even today we encounter so many people who are a part of one or more groups. Group can be said to be a collection of people who have come together with a common motive or interests or an aim. This can be one understanding of what is a group. Another way of understanding it can be that group is a collection of people who have similar likes and dislikes. There can be multiple meaning on the basis of the type and need for a particular group. There can be various reasons for forming or being in a group. Let us see and try to make sense of why do we be a part of a particular group and at the same time how it has been benefiting us?
Groups are essential part of our lives, we cannot deny the fundamental fact that we have always been a part of group. There are 2 types of groups- primary groups and secondary groups. Primary are the ones that we choose to join such as our friend’s group, work groups and groups at organizational level and the groups in which we are born such as our family or community. These groups are an essential part of our identity. Secondary groups are the ones that are made for short term or there to achieve an aim or a motive, such as a group made for the completion of a project. These groups those are available for us tries to develop some kind of a collective value system or a collective level as well as at an individual level. Not everyone has a similar purpose of joining a group. There are some common aspects that we derive from being a part of any group. If we recall an experience of a group from our past or even the present group in which we are, we can get something or learning from them. Our learning and experience can be influenced by the defining characteristic of groups such as an experience gained from a formal group will be different from that gained by an informal group and visa-versa. This aspect can make changes in the way we perceive a group. It is not always that being a part of group will establish a positive experience, it can leave a negative impact also, yet there would be learning and it depends on our way of perceiving positives and negatives. As humans there has been a constant need of having a feeling of belongingness and acceptance by the people around. The basic sense that one can derive from joining a group is feeling of belongingness. It makes them realize that their presence and time is being valued. A group might have some norms and values that are shared by the people of the group. By agreeing to those norms, people feel that they have a similar understanding pattern. A group consists of different people and there are different position given to each and every individual. Even though it is collective in nature, each and every individual has a specific position, or status and each position is distinct. There is particular set of skills required to operate on that position. When an individual is actually a part of a group he or she starts understanding the patterns of the group members and start working on developing skills which were not present earlier. It shows that how news skills can be easily gained from being a part of a group. It might sound a little technical but looking from a basic perspective, people with different personalities and traits come together, imagine the benefits for an introvert or people who are low in communication after becoming a group member. That individual will get an opportunity to interact with people and make connections, and looking at the other way around extraverts can enhance their circle and socialize more. People share different perspective and we learn from their experience and contribute by sharing our learning and perspectives as well. Dealing with people requires some skills and when people are together in a group they tend to enhance their decision making, negotiation and problem solving skills. It really teaches you to stand out and be heard because in order to be heard even within a group you need to think creatively and critically. The process is a way of engaging and initiating self enhancement. Groups enable us to form a collective identity which makes it easier to connect and understand people within the group. Every group has a leader or even if there is not an official leader still there will be someone who would be there a step ahead from others. That can help in understanding authority and teaching us how one can deal with the leading person. In a setting where people are together to move towards achieving something, communication plays an inevitable role. Communication plays an important role in a social, personal and professional setting. Along with communication, active listening is also an important aspect which is a part of learning process when you are a part of a group.
Being a part of a group helps us in having an overall development which is on cognitive as well as on a behavioral level. With this it presents an opportunity to sense and understand abstract concepts like harmony and solidarity. It has been a way to promote diversity and different cultures. People from different backgrounds, race, gender, age and religion become a part of a group and share their values and cultures. Even though the group is established for a particular period of time, when it is disbanded the people involved leave with newly established connections which stays along and can be reached out to whenever needed. A line of network is created that keeps on expanding. An experience is gained that simply adds to your self-esteem and even if the experience is not good you become aware of how things should be in future to avoid such mistakes.