Monday, February 11, 2013

How To Break Up With My Newest Book Club

I harbor this super unrealistic fantasy that I will someday find myself in a local Podunkville book club that will be a perfect fit for me: it will be a welcoming space where everyone's voices can be heard, where we read interesting, challenging books and actually talk about them intelligently and in a way that honors differing perspectives.

Obviously, I've been there, tried that multiple times - and truly, this is never going to happen. Never? No, not ever. I see that clearly now. Dream dashed, but it's ok.

What keeps happening is that I'm a terrible judge of how certain people are going to eventually behave in a group setting. For example, there's one person I completely misjudged as being a lot more open and agreeable than they really are, and well, I now wish to extricate myself from any and all association with said person. (Long story short: this person has a habit of revealing other people's private information in a harsh, public manner, doesn't read social cues well, and totally dominates the conversation. And now I feel the need to protect myself.)

So, I once again find myself in "deja vu all over again"-land. The new book club started in September. By November, I had discovered I needed to get out. I've been trying the Be Perpetually Busy method of book club break ups ever since, to no avail.

I think a break up email to the whole group is probably in order. But something about that idea makes me cringe inside. Please tell me how you would go about breaking up with a local book club you had just joined.


MrsHaley said...

Hush, I've had to break up with 2 book clubs since we moved to a new city a year ago. I was in 4 (!!) book clubs I LOVED in our old location, and I have just not found The Vibe here yet. Also, scheduling. Anyway, you must be a helluva lot more polite than me, because I break up with them by responding ONCE, saying "Oops! Too busy lately! Have a good one!" then deleting their emails, not replying ever again, and never showing up. If I'm not invested in the relationships, then I'm not interested in providing explanations. I just disappear. I see nothing wrong with that, if you have not developed Friendships that would be affected by doing so. I am already at the very limit of my emotional energy -- I don't have a square to spare for people I haven't connected with.

hush said...

@MrsHaley - IRL I'm probably way too polite (being half Southern and half Midwestern and all). Where I'm from, my not showing up since November would be taken as the hint it obviously is, but apparently that's not how people roll in the Northwest.

Haley said...

Dear Book Club Ladies,

Thank you all so much for including me in your group last year - I really enjoyed getting to know all of you and read some great titles I wouldn't have normally chosen for myself.

However, my commitments at home and at work have left me feeling a bit overstretched and I need to step back devote what little free time I have left to reading for me. As book lovers, I think you'll all understand.

Blah blah, I'll see you around town, please let me know next time you all meet up for wine, etc etc,


Marcia (123 blog) said...

Yes, except for the last sentence - don't give them an inch :)

It does sound like you may be too polite.

I'm quite blunt - I would have said, "listen guys, I've decided to look for a group closer to home/ work/ whatever. And can you please take me off your list?"


Lisa @ Trapped In North Jersey said...

ditto to Haley's letter, except not even that polite or "let me know next time." Straight up "can't fit it in my schedule, nice knowing you." You owe no explanations.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to Lisa. :)

Cloud said...

My book club has had people announce they need to take a little hiatus... and then just never return. So that would be the super non-confrontational way to do it. I like the more direct approach in Haley's comment, though!

Claudia said...

I dunno, if you don't like their style, why not say that?

(Warnng, I'm tired and grumpy right now)

Dear Book Club,

Thanks for letting me join. It's become clear that I have a differing idea of what book clubs should be than what I've found. So I guess that means I'm not coming anymore.


Haley said...

Haha, I'm all southern and it pains me to not tack on the polite ending! But yes, if she thinks they're wackos, it's best to just cut the ties and don't offer continued friendship.

hush said...

There are 2 friendships I have in the group that will withstand my dumping the book club, so I have little to lose - it will just bug me to know I'll probably be gossiped about for 5 minutes but I bet I'll quickly get over it.

@Haley - I feel you on the "southern" wording! Luckily, there's just one wacko - but unfortunately the wacko has all the power and voice in the club, due to the fact that most of the people in the club are followers who are also constrained by the fact they happen to work under wacko, which is just how wacko likes things to be arranged. Good riddance.

I think I'm going to write one email for myself that I don't send (a la @Marcia & Claudia's delicious wording), and I will actually send a version of @Haley's. Thank you all!

hush said...

@Cloud - Lol, I've also been in clubs where people quit by fibbing, saying they're "taking a break" or even "going on sabbatical" (which made me chuckle) - my own style is to be slightly more direct than that. I don't want to leave room for anyone to mistakenly think I might return!

feMOMhist said...

its not u its me