Who’s ready to meet a New Group??!!
It was in 1965 that psychologist Bruce Tuckman proposed that teams/groups go through the following five phases: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning.
Having met groups of complete strangers on multiple treks and trips, I’m always fascinated by how these phases unravel themselves so consistently each time, every time!
A new group is born…aka Forming!
The birth of a new group is always exciting! Even before we meet in person, the group takes birth on WhatsApp, typically. And I’m already curious to meet these fascinating people in person.
When the group meets in person, I feel that in general people tend to gravitate towards the most enthusiastic/boisterous individuals/subgroups — atleast initially.
On a recent trek, this was a group of four guys just out of college and a couple of years into work. They were determined to make their presence felt.
On another trip, I met an energetic guy in his mid-twenties who wanted to be the unannounced leader of the group. He even triggered a round of introductions for all of us and we felt obliged to participate!
Well, once groups are set in motion, there is no dearth for energy!!
Let’s agree to disagree….aka Storming!
Unless someone is of the my-way-or-the-highway type, open conflicts and disagreements are rare on these trips. This is because you hardly know your trip-mates. And, you have set out to make a memorable holiday. The memories need to be right ones!
“Storming” does happen though! You’ll end up interacting with a lot of folks. You might find someone too loud. Someone too quiet. Someone too hyper. Someone too boring. (Ohh..I’m sure others would have boxed me in a certain template too!)Eventually you’ll find that anchor person or subgroup, who’d end up your go-to companion(s) on the trip.
While you wouldn’t cling to the person or vice-versa, you’ll still need someone to share tents with or split expenses or walk together in total silence!
This is as normal as it can get….aka norming!
The initial wave of energy does temper down gradually. The “settling in” happens once you have found your anchor person.
I found a reliable companion on a recent trip. We eventually gelled so well that he invited me to lodge with him on the morning after the trip, and provided the proverbial “roof over my head” before my flight later that evening. We are still in touch on off.
There’s a certain beauty and irony to the bonds that we develop on these trips. Specially if you’re travelling solo, you still want that space. Yet you are also open to the bond that some mature conversations, fun and silence can create, giving the comfort of company. You need to be a solo traveler to resonate with this!
And now we mean business….aka performing!
It’s action time now! We set out to achieve the core purpose of the group — which is completing the trip without many too many hiccups. I say without “too many” hiccups because there are bound to be some inevitable changes to schedule/weather problems/health problems in large groups.
Well, performance here could also mean your individual performance. Once the trip is well and truly underway, are you enjoying it??!
For the first time in all these years, I felt a little lonely when I started out on my weekend trek a couple of weeks ago. This was only on the night of the departure though. Once I settled down with my fellow-travelers, I had an excellent time! Just like with any other group!
It’s time to say bye…or goodbye…aka adjourning!
The end of any trip. In my experiences, the longer the trip, the heavier the parting. Spending a week together, with zero connectivity to the outside world and only each other to look out for, can create some strong bonds.
Reality does set in once we know that the adventure is ending. Sometimes, the acquaintances would have become friends and an exchange of phone numbers happens. Most times, we end up adding each other on social media. Most mates from these trips end up close enough to be in touch on Instagram…but not close enough to talk on WhatsApp.
Meeting new people on trips and treks has its own allure. While being with Nature has always been a rejuvenating experience, I also end up getting to know new people with different interests, habits and motivations! And that way, I’ve discovered myself a little more every time I travel!