"This is the safe space for men over 50 to discuss anything and everything they wish, from health and relationships to money and retirement and everything in between. The men present in the group decide what's discussed in the group."
Men Beyond 50 recently relaunched our website www.menbeyond50.net and already hold UK events - men's gatherings usually in the great outdoors camping style - giving a great male only environment to discuss, meet, reflect and listen to some pretty interesting people whilst getting a great change of scene.
Now, together with MENSPEAK Men's Groups we are running Open Men's Groups in London for men over 50.
Who is lurking in the shadows of our psyche? Best friends? Bad influences? (GOOD FUN!) Role models? Siblings? Children? Parents? Those we love, loathe and lust after the most? What about partners and primary relationships?
We do slick rounds of questions, listen to ourselves and one another, get real, hang out, have a laugh. We often get into a topic early on and only one round is done. The funniest, most embarrassing stories can provide the most valuable insights!
The name of the game is self awareness. No one tells anyone else what to, or what not to do. We share our thoughts and experiences and respectfully challenge one another.
The middle name (of the game) is hanging out with other men. Clean male company, comparing notes and having a laugh. Not a therapy group, our space is more a quick, slick check-in, providing invaluable insights for daily life.
The surname is Bond (no, not James!) With the depth and same-sidedness we naturally slip into, it would be weird not to. This is where a load of men can get together and be on the same side with what we have in common.
OPEN GROUPS: (open to all men, 50+ or interested in 50+ issues) 3rd Monday of the month - 6.45pm for a 7pm start. Doors close 7.10pm. 9.30pm ends. £20 (£15)
OUR CURRENT GROUND RULES
(i) CONFIDENTIALITY Traditionally ‘what is said in this room stays in this room’, though we usually agree that we may discuss our own process and even refer to something that may be helpful to someone out of the group as ‘something I saw on TV’, or ‘my friend said’, etc. The important thing is that no one can be identified!
(ii) RESPECT Respect in this group means to listen to others when they speak, and be aware of how you are behaving. Treat others in a way you would expect to be treated by them. Respect of other people naturally follows on from self-respect, as lack of self-respect will reflect in lack of respect for others. Respect our own truth, boundaries, feelings, instincts and intuition.
(iii) TAKE PART It would be better to authentically and honestly say “Pass” than to lie, perform, get into automatic-pilot banter, go into our heads and out of touch with ourselves. Telling the truth and sharing our selves gives everyone else in the room safety and permission to do the same.
(iv) BE HONEST Be honest to ourselves - about our feelings as well as our words – because that way we can own our feelings and work things through, rather than quietly internalise and carry it until we find an opportunity to dump it on someone else, within / outside the group.
(v) OWN IT Use “I” statements, rather than “you”, “one” or “we”. What is being said by you may not be true for all present. Depersonalising is often a way of avoiding ownership of a feeling, an experience, opinion, or issue.
(vi) DON’T BULLY Neither aggressive, nor passive-aggressive bullying is an option here. No one’s safety is to be compromised. This is a space where people can learn how to challenge, or disagree with another person, clearly, honestly, honourably and with respect.
(vii) DON’T VAMP OR STEAL When someone is telling their story, give them the space to express it from their experience, without projecting how good, bad or ugly it is; without jumping into / steering / boosting their drama; without upstaging them with a more dramatic story, so they can listen to their own words and choose how to work it through.
(viii) EXPERIMENT WITH WHO YOU ARE You may be known as a joker, peacemaker, shy, confident, introvert, extrovert, whatever personalities your circles are used to. This space encourages us to experiment with allowing some of the quiet parts inside to come out and see how authentic they feel; with the option of asking for feedback.
(ix) STAY UNTIL THE END If something said by another, or something comes up that may feel uncomfortable, bring up anger, sadness, etc. it would probably be better to work this through with the group – or at least name it, instead of quietly holding on to it – rather than taking it away with you and allowing its power to overshadow you for however long it may take hold.
(x) LIVE BEYOND THE RULES Playing small to ‘be good’ in the group would be less valuable than playing big and growing within the group. That’s not to say ‘break the rules’ but it is to say play big enough that you may be challenged and we may all grow in awareness and life choices from our time together.
Disclaimer: All activities are undertaken entirely at the participant risk and no responsibility can be taken for any physical, mental or emotional injury suffered by any participant. By taking part each participant accepts full responsibility for his safety and well-being. If in doubt, please seek professional advice before participating.