Dominated by One

Though confrontation is difficult, it can be essential to small group health.

Connie loved to talk. Most of all, she loved to psychobabble.

She'd prattle on during Bible study: "My boyfriend won't talk about the future of our relationship, but he spends each weekend with me. I think he likes me. But why doesn't he tell me his true feelings? Is he just being a guy? Does he not like me? Then why hasn't he broken up with me? Can we have a relationship if we don't communicate?"

On and on she went—every small group meeting, for at least 30 minutes of an hour-and-a-half meeting.

At first, the small group showed forbearance. That's what small groups do, right? Put up with the worst of each other? But soon the Phil McGraw analysis became too much.

Phones would ring after small group meetings and conversations would begin, "Doesn't Connie understand that she's not the only person in that room? Other people have problems, too."

The problem persisted, and the leader, Lydia, knew that something had to change soon. Gossip was deteriorating the group. Eyes rolled and glares shot across the room when Connie spoke. Many people never had time to share their concerns and insights. As a result, two members left the group.

Connie invited Lydia to have coffee with her one afternoon. Immediately, conversation turned to Connie's relationship. Sadly, the relationship had ended, and Lydia was truly sorry for Connie's loss. But at the same time, she foresaw the future of her small group: Connie's endless analysis of "What went wrong?"

Lydia knew she had to confront Connie, but the time didn't feel right.

About a week later, Lydia and Connie met again. Lydia asked Connie, "Do you realize that you absorb a lot of our small ...

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