Dear Dr. Archer,
I am a 79 year old man in good health. My problem is that I've been asked to resign from most of the social groups that I have belonged or belong to.
Most recently a senior men's group, totaling 200 men. I also was asked to resign from a toastmaster's club after being a member for three years.
What happens is that everyone likes me in the beginning, I attain a major leadership role, and then I offend one or more people and they kick me out. Help!
You don't give me much to go by, so I'm going to ask you to look at yourself in an objective light. When a person joins a group, of course everyone welcomes him with open arms.
The newcomer is given the benefit of the doubt and everyone is cordial and on their best behavior. But with time comes familiarity, and the true self comes out. A few things to ponder, Bob, to see if you fall into any of these categories.
**Do you enjoy polarizing topics, namely politics or religion? These can strengthen or break any relationship. If you talk about either one in a forceful, judgemental manner, you're in danger of turning others off.
**Do you say things that could be construed as racist? Huge, huge turnoff, Bob. Whether intentional or not, this subject is taboo. It's 2012 and we all need to appreciate others regardless of sex, race or religion.
**Do you constantly talk about boring subjects. Do you go on and on about whatever? Spend more time listening and less talking.
**Do you make crude comments? Above all, keep it classy, Bob. You may think you’re one of the guys, but possibly taking it too far.
**When you are in your leadership role, do you listen to others, or do you become a dictator? As I discuss in Kuki's Wife Is Squeezing The Fun Out Of His Life, being in a dictatorship is not fun for anyone except the dictator. Being a good leader means you're also a good listener, willing to hear others' great ideas.
I'm not sure if you fall into one or more of these categories. The best thing I can tell you is to honestly look within yourself and take inventory.
Also, ask other trusted friends for a brutally honest assessment of who you are. Remember the words of Randolph S. Bourne, who said "Friendships are fragile things and require as much care in handling as another other fragile and precious thing."
If none of these ring a bell, then simply ask. Talk to the those who asked you to resign and again ask for brutal honesty. You may learn much and be able to repair the damages.
There is definitely something going on here and you need to make it a point to find out what it is. Good luck.