I recognized a bit of me when I read this in “As I was Saying” . It’s a book of speeches by RI Past President Cliff Dochterman. This quote below was part of a speech called “Friendly Fire of Rotary” i.e : What causes the decline of service clubs – often we do. He calls it “Friendly Fire” – When we do things that are detrimental to growth. Read on!
“There is still another form of friendly fire which is so hard to imagine that it could actually be a disservice to your Rotary club, because it is so unintentional. In many clubs there are those great Rotary friends who enjoy so much their long time friendship week after week that they always sit at the same table. These Rotarians never realize that they are actually reducing the opportunities for friendship with other members of the club. I have been to clubs where someone will warn “You can’t sit there, that’s Charlie’s chair”. There is nothing wrong with great friendships, but sometimes friends become so comfortable that it separates a small group from the rest of the members.
The tragedy is that those devoted Rotarians are unwittingly eroding the possibility of sharing their friendship with new Rotarians, prospective new members or visitors. It is a tribute to Rotary that such wonderful , long standing friendships can be built in a Rotary Club, but it is sad to realize that they may be actually be causing other members to feel left out of Rotary friendship.
We must remember that closed circle of friends can be a form of “friendly fire” when new members or other Rotarians do not find the kind of welcome or fellowship they expected from all club members – who thought that all members were going to be their new friends, and would welcome them into their club.