Until recently, I considered the word “clique” as mean and unfriendly. It’s typically used in a derogatory way to describe a group of people, said with an eye roll, click of the tongue, or both, simultaneously. I’m in a clique. Hell, I’m in a few cliques, and I’m annoyed the tone of this defining term is one of snobbery and disapproval. I think a clique is more accurately defined as a group of people with shared interests whose personalities just jive together. The word “clique” needs some rebranding, and I’m here to shift the paradigm from negative to positive and share a different perspective of why I believe cliques are good. Actually, cliques are great.
In a big group of friends, cliques organically assimilate as easy friendship dynamics evolve. Why isn’t this a good thing? Did you ever notice that a clique that is negatively perceived as being exclusionary is usually criticized by another clique? It’s happened to me countless times, and it feels hypocritical when one of my cliques is poo-pooed. And by guess who? Another clique. I’ve learned to ignore it because I won’t feel guilty for finding small groups of women who bring out the best in me while ensuring our space is safe to be my true self, as wonderful or horrible as the moment I’m in dictates. And neither should you.
I do understand that many times the ones critical of a clique see something special about it and inherently want to be a part of it. Nothing is preventing anyone from curating a similar group of their own because regardless of who is in the clique, the desired end result is the same: to feel accepted, valued, and recognized as an important part of the group. My cliques provide me with exactly that and then some. The “then some” part of fulfillment is my favorite because each clique encourages a nuance of my personality that I get to explore within the group.
Cliques are condemned because some definitions say, “the group doesn’t readily allow others to join them.” So what? Maybe it’s because the energy they’ve found together is considered to be uniquely exceptional, and they don’t want it disrupted. Protecting that safe space is vital and sacred. So let them. It doesn’t mean they’re b*tches because they want to preserve the dynamics. It also doesn’t mean they wouldn’t want to affiliate with you in a separate clique. But cliques within cliques are acceptable and should not be judged.
Can we please stop demonizing cliques? B*tches will be b*tches, regardless if they’re in a clique or not. And that differentiation is important because cliques will always exist. So will b*tches, and it doesn’t mean that the women in a clique are behaving horrendously if they want to maintain it as is. My wish is that the perception of cliques changes to a positive one because when a group of women are lucky enough to find each other, that sisterhood should be celebrated by all of us, together, as one big clique.
I challenge you to share your favorite things about your cliques in the comments, or others that you’ve observed. Let’s begin to shift to a positive narrative about cliques now!