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to offer a different perspective on the "clique" thing

(300 Posts)
CailinDana Fri 21-Mar-14 15:18:57

I sympathise with people who struggle to make friends. It's hard, and loneliness is horrible. I've been in situations where I've struggled to make friends and it was extremely frustrating.

But. I always saw my lack of friends as my problem or the product of circumstances rather than the fault of "cliquey" others who wouldn't include me.

Aren't "cliques" just friendship groups that you don't happen to be part of? And surely it's not their duty to include you if they don't want to? It's up to them who they want to be friends with and it seems odd to get angry at them for not just insiscriminately including everyone.

Definitely, some peope are just Not Nice. But why want to be friends with them anyway? Everyone else is just bumbling along getting by. If they happen to have a group of friends they laugh with at the school gate, good for them.

Don't look to others to validate you. They just don't have the time or inclination to do that.

SlowlorisIncognito Mon 24-Mar-14 23:27:02

I'm doing a degree at the moment, and I know a lot of the people on my course would describe our course as a bit cliquey- that is, we have our circles of friends made in first year, and while we are all polite to each other, we don't make that much effort to socialise outside our groups except on big nights like after the last exam.

However, I would say that we have just gravitated to people we have more in common with. For example, my group contains me and two others who are a bit older than most of the other students and commute in. Some groups are mainly international students. That sort of thing.

I would say I am fairly confident in myself- for example I do one optional module with one other friend and if she's not in, I am happy to sit by myself. I don't quite have the level of confidence to talk to strangers (even those who look a bit lonely) in a lot of contexts. I did do it at freshers, and will occassionally do it, but I'm not brave enough to do it all the time. I guess in some ways that must make me come across as cliquey.

I think a lot of people do struggle with percieved cliques at uni. The problem is that making friends really relies on you putting yourself out there in the first few weeks, making a big effort and saying yes to everything, and maybe joining a few societies too. For some people, this is obviously really difficult on top of moving out for the first time and everything else. But as friendship groups get more established, they have to do more of the running, until they feel like everyone is actively excluding them. Most of the time, I would say they're not, but they also aren't in "strike up a conversation with every stranger they meet" mode anymore.

Confidence probably does have a lot to do with it. I made friends easily possibly because I didn't care that much about making friends. I also still have the group of friends I had from my town before going to uni, and meet up with them semi-regularly. So I wasn't desperate for a support network like some people are.

I do think some people believe they are entitled to friendship whilst putting in exactly no effort. I mostly drop these people because I assume they don't want to be my friend if they never reciprocate to invites and stuff, and then they can get upset. However, obviously groups do exist that get their entertainment from gossiping about and excluding others, so it is difficult.

On the flipside of this, I once cut a man out of my life who was very sexually pushy, and was called a bitch and told I was an awful person for this. I don't really care that he's socially awkward, or depressed or whatever. I had broken up with his friend a few months before, so there really wasn't a reason for me to keep seeing him, and I didn't enjoy his company. I don't think anyone has a duty to be friends with anyone else.

SallyMcgally Mon 24-Mar-14 23:07:31

Well unless she's actually said something there's no reason to think that she does think you're cliquey. That's different from those of us who have experienced cliquiness and can describe it.

archshoes Mon 24-Mar-14 23:05:44

Are you perhaps worried about a problem that doesnt exist? Because it doesnt sound like there are cliques where you volunteer?

If the group is not shunning, or blanking or excluding etc, then it is up to her whether she chooses to join or not.

CailinDana Mon 24-Mar-14 23:00:57

No what I wonder is if the woman I referred to sees the various groups of other parents chatting as cliques. She seems quite miserable but from what I can see her friendlessness is not down to the group being "cliquey" but due to the fact that she makes zero effort.

archshoes Mon 24-Mar-14 22:53:04

But you are missing the point.
It is not about individuals. It is about a group.

And you, on your own, are not a group.

Unless there are a whole bunch of you that has been called a clique, and this has made you wonder?

CailinDana Mon 24-Mar-14 22:50:17

What I mean about saying hello is that I'm not going to say hello indefinitely to someone who would just pass me by if I didn't say it first every single time.

Plus I do always make an effort with quiet people but for example there's a mum who's been coming to our group for 11 months and I've forced conversation after conversation, introduced her to other people etc and yet she still sits on her own every week and never initiates conversation. She may be shy or quiet but I have to assume that after nearly a year of trying to get her to mix unsuccessfully that she just isn't interested surely? I have considered asking her directly but I'm wary of putting her on the spot.

SallyMcgally Mon 24-Mar-14 22:46:12

It's my experience that shy people are usually very pleased and relieved to catch your eye, and exchange a smile and a hello. Nobody's asking for more than that.

PortofinoRevisited Mon 24-Mar-14 22:23:52

It is just polite to say hello every time though. It costs you nothing. As I said before I do think that people need to make efforts, And that goes for the shy as much as it does for the uber confident.

PortofinoRevisited Mon 24-Mar-14 22:20:53

No that it not what I am saying at all. Some people aren't friendly at all. But many newbies at baby groups or school gates ARE just shy. They might appear aloof when they are probably just scared. Many people have given examples of being blanked or disregarded by the existing friendship groups. Who has given an example of a someone who refuses to talk to anyone when approached in a friendly manner? If I met someone like that a new baby group I would worry about PND and would be trying even harder.

CailinDana Mon 24-Mar-14 21:35:21

I am not saying it's all the fault of shy people - I have said a few times that there are nasty people and bullies out there. But they're not worth knowing. There is a sense I am getting from your posts though Porto (perhaps wrongly) that you feel confident people because they are confident should overlook the behaviour of shy people that may appear rude and persist in trying to make friends with them even if the shy person gives very little response to their efforts. That's a lot to ask of confident people IMO. Even with basic courtesy - I'm not going to continually be the one to say hello every time.

blueballoon79 Mon 24-Mar-14 20:33:27

I agree Portofino I have been incredibly shy in the past but have never been so rude as to blank somebody.

There's no excuse for blanking people and being rude to them and it is nothing short of bitchy, childish behaviour to do so.

You don't have to be friends with everyone, of course not, but to blank people and not even say hello to them is rude.

archshoes Mon 24-Mar-14 20:32:28

If you dont experience something, do you ever think that it is true?

PortofinoRevisited Mon 24-Mar-14 20:03:33

There is a middle ground where politeness and good manners rule.

PortofinoRevisited Mon 24-Mar-14 20:02:52

You seem to be determined that this is all the fault of shy people - it's THEIR OWN fault they have no friends sort of thing. I am a great believer that everyone needs to make an effort. Be it the shy ones taking a deep breath and getting on with it, but ALSO the not so shy ones not being fucking rude to people.

PortofinoRevisited Mon 24-Mar-14 19:59:13

And as someone who has been very shy and unconfident in the past, I don't think I would have blanked and turned away from a friendly person who spoke to me directly. I would have been very grateful.

PortofinoRevisited Mon 24-Mar-14 19:53:16

That is not the scenario that was being discussed though.

CailinDana Mon 24-Mar-14 19:08:39

What if someone blanks because they're shy Porto?

PortofinoRevisited Mon 24-Mar-14 18:50:56

i really do think this "blanking" thing is very sad, and not at all becoming to adult women. It really does not hurt to be friendly and polite to other people. Heck, a guy came and asked me for money on my way to get the bus tonight after work(sadly lots of homeless people in that area). I said, I was sorry - I didn't have any (true actually) but did stop, smile and speak to him politely, rather than ignore him and rush away. He is still a human being.

oohlalabonbons Mon 24-Mar-14 18:37:25

Thanks, Cailin!

ElenorRigby - any tips?! What did your mission consist of?!

archshoes Mon 24-Mar-14 18:36:37

Cliques shun.
They are bullying, but it is subtle or not so subtle emotional stuff.
Dont think that it is physical?

CailinDana Mon 24-Mar-14 18:25:26

That's great bonbons!

blueballoon79 Mon 24-Mar-14 18:14:11

I agree SallyMcgally at my DD's school there are parents in friendship groups who will smile at me, say hello and chat, then there are the clique I spoke about who ignore me.

Perhaps Comeme is correct in thinking that they are happy with their own group and found it unnerving having someone else interact with them. I suppose if you're not used to social interaction outside your own little group it might be frightening having somebody you don't know talking to you.

My DD will often clam up and be shy around people she doesn't know and refuse to say hello. I'm encouraging her to at least say hello no matter how shy she feels and am hoping that as she matures she will grow out of it. Perhaps these women never did?

ElenorRigby Mon 24-Mar-14 17:56:16

"my biggest fear is that she'll be as bad at making friends as me sad. So....must not project my own nerves onto her!"

I totally get that.
It has been my mission that DD is not like me ie a shy, socially awkward and anxious.

Thank goodness, she is not like me in that way.

Fierce, confident, precocious she is. smile

oohlalabonbons Mon 24-Mar-14 17:37:19

Have enjoyed reading this thread and have been inspired to text three friends that I've been feeling a bit 'woe is me' about. I have a tendency to be so nervous I shut off and am often thought to be aloof and snobbish. My dd starts school in September so I'm mentally gearing myself up already - my biggest fear is that she'll be as bad at making friends as me sad. So....must not project my own nerves onto her!

SallyMcgally Mon 24-Mar-14 17:34:37

Comeme You could be right, and there are times when I come over as standoffish, I'm sure, but I really don't think that that was the case on this occasion, not least because even if that were the case, it's really not OK to agree with your kid that someone else's work is crap. And I was trying to be quite friendly and smiley.
I don't think you sound cliquey at all smile. When I use that word I mean behaviour such as I've described, or as blueballoon describes. That's v different to just not wanting to be friends.

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