The Joy of Friendship: Part 3 (Cliques)
Don’t let anyone kid you, high school is all about survival. You must find a way to survive, and that is the major cause of cliques.
A clique is an exclusive group. Oftentimes, it is formed around a common interest. A popular example would be a group of football players. You could even expand it to include all “jocks”. But it doesn’t have to be about common interests. In many cases, smaller groups of friends join together to form a larger circle. Safety in numbers. Either join the pack or accept exile.
Obviously, there are many downsides to this system formed out of fear. The idea of “the group” may be used to pressure individuals against their will. “We are going to do this. You probably should to.” And since you don’t want to be outside of the group, you go along with its ways. Another downside could be that it is mistakenly assumed that all members of the group are friends of equal standing. The reality may be that certain individuals are close friends and others are close acquaintances. Confusion about the difference will lead to jealousy and all types of hurt feelings.
If a friendship is based on the clique, it is weak. It is impossible to establish a deep and meaningful bond when the only time you’re together is with other members of the group. Going to the movies, or out to dinner, or whatever it is kids do these days is not the basis of a friendship. You can’t be friends with a group.
Yet, despite the drawbacks, cliques can serve as incubators for true friendships.
Part 4: Building Character