Ok Let’s talk about cliques. Almost every woman I know has been hurt by or made to feel less than their worth by a clique. That could have been at work, church, or even all the way back in school. This type of hurt can permeate our future friendships and even affect how we trust people in our relationships. This post aims to equip you to ban the cliques from your life!
Feeling a sense of belonging is hugely important and it is intertwined with every aspect of our lives. We are completely wired to long to belong to social groups. So, when we feel left out of a group we feel a part of (notice I say feel part of not connected into), it’s totally normal to have an emotional response to that. It is not juvenile to have hurt feelings if you have felt shunned by a group. It’s completely normal and we all feel it. We are just encouraged not to show it.
Ban the Clique
We can ban the clique mentality altogether. It is possible. The foundation of it is in working together, understanding we are all part of one collective, and actively breaking down barriers. There are practical things we can do to ban the clique too.
First of all, ban the word clique from your vocabulary! The word clique is only ever used with negative connotations. It is only ever used to describe feeling left out or not a part of a group. Cliques don’t describe themselves as cliques. Here’s why: they are not actually as common as you would think. Usually there are only one or two hurting people trying to drive the group behaviour. That is not a group, right? That is two hurting people who found each other and are kind of reverberating each other’s behaviour. They find validation of their hurt in each other. Most likely these two people are misguidedly trying to protect themselves from future hurt. Unfortunately it’s at the expense of someone else. The majority of the rest of the group maybe don’t even know you are being hurt. Therefore, the only thing making this group of women a clique you’re not a part of is your own saying so! Ban ‘clique’ from your vernacular.
Almost always we are not truly connected into these groups.
Hurting People Hurt People
Sometimes people don’t mind knowing that someone is feeling hurt or left out of a group as long as they themselves are in it. Feeling belonging is so important to us that sometimes we’ll stay in a group even when we know it’s bad for us or that we’re not really connected.
Anyone who is happy to be part of an exclusive clique at the expense of someone else’s feelings has issues. That is not something you can fix, that is personal self-development work that you are not responsible for. However, if they are happy with that at this moment in time then that is not someone you want to associate with is it? So instead of saying you’re not in the clique, you could use the phrase ‘I don’t count myself as someone who intentionally hurts other people’ or ‘my friends do not intentionally hurt people’. This type of language reaffirms the kind of people you would like to have as your friends now and in the future.
The Right People
So, we’ve decided we don’t want to be responsible for being in a group that hurts other people. That’s great, but how can we connect with the right people and how can we be the right people? There are 3 simple things we can do.
Acceptance of individuality
Not being threatened by other’s individuality or strengths. This easily leads on from being able to support others.
2. Being open to other people’s vulnerability
This is about being able to listen to other people’s stories and not hearing them as a relation to yourself or your own story.
3. Being vulnerable with other people
Not oversharing with every person you meet but, when you feel safe, to step out a bit and share a bit more of yourself. This is how true connections are made. Going past ‘weather conversation’.
Are You The Clique?
The fact that most of us have been hurt by a clique means that each of us have probably been perceived to have been in a clique ourselves.
We can all challenge the status quo. When women are for each other, amazing things happen.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on cliques in the comments. Have you thought of other practical ways to ban the clique?