Remember when you meet that you may have three kinds of cynics in
the room: (1) silent, (2) subtle, and (3) self-aware. Silent cynics seldom speak, and if they do, they don’t unveil their cynicism.They don’t want to rock the ideological boat, so if they do speak, they say what they believe the group wants to hear. Subtle cynics arevery appropriate in their cynicism and may couch their cynicismin phrases like, “Some people believe . . .” or “I hear that most people think . . .” These individuals want to make a point without upending the group’s core values. Self-aware cynics blatantly and unapologetically verbalize their disbelief and doubts.
Group leaders must know that each of these persons is likely present and will affect the gathering. Silent cynics will most likely discuss what they really think away from the group gathering. This passive-aggressive behavior affects only those who the silent cynic is speaking with and may or may not affect the person or group negatively. Subtle cynics create moments of frustration for group members. Since they are unwilling or unable to let the group know that they are talking about their own doubts, the group cannot face the cynics’ beliefs head on and journey with them in ways that would be transforming. Self-aware cynics
are a gift to a small group. These individuals force group members to conclude whether they have embraced the ideals of their parents or other people they have respected rather than establishing a faith of their own. While the self-aware cynic may bring the facilitator some cringe factor, he or she will say things that let mature believers respond with what silent and subtle cynics need to hearto move beyond their cynicism.
You May Also Want to Read...
A Peak Inside A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic 1: Why I Wrote It