CLIQUES: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE PLASTICS
BY MCKENNA NELSON ON FEBRUARY 21, 2014
“You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V. jocks, Asian nerds, cool Asians, Varsity jocks, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don't eat anything, desperate wannabes, burnouts, flirtatious band geeks, the greatest people you will ever meet and the worst. Beware of plastics.”
Although our school is not as exciting or dramatic as the one that Cady Heron, Regina George and Gretchen Wieners attended in Mean Girls, there are still a fair amount of cliques, or social groups.
Most students at Rose can be classified into three groups. First, there are those students who have a finite social group and choose to only associate with that group. Next, there are those people who associate with a group of friends but choose to mingle with other groups. Finally, there are those who choose to be friends with everybody instead of being confined to a social group. I like to call those people freelancers.
Personally, I am a freelancer. I would much rather be friends with everyone than have a group of people that I exclusively interact with. Throughout high school, I have developed friendships with a wide range of people, and made many connections with people that may have seemed intimidating or unapproachable. Doing this has allowed me to choose who I talk to and hang out with.
Some people talk of the group they are in and describe that “one person” in their group who they absolutely cannot stand. Why would someone undergo that torture? If you have people who are in your life that you do not like, there is a very simple solution. Remove them. It may sound cliché, but being a freelancer allows me to pick my friends without being confined to a clique that contains my arch nemesis (or just someone you do not like if you are not as dramatic as I am).
Another issue when it comes to Rose cliques is intruders to cliques. It is okay to be in a clique, but do not, under any circumstances, ignore people who do not belong to your clique. There is nothing more frustrating than attempting to start a conversation with someone, then remembering that they are one of those people who thinks that anybody who is not in their social group is invisible. Being a freelancer, this is a frequent occurrence. I promise I am not a zombie. I can assure you I will not eat your face off. Just because I am not in your clique, does not mean you cannot talk to me.
One of the worst parts about cliques is the inevitable with every group: people getting left out. There is no worse feeling than that of an outsider. Imagine walking into a cafeteria on your first day at Rose and sitting down at the only empty seat you can find. Unbeknownst to you, you just sat at the popular girls’ table (just an example). In an ideal situation, one of these girls would step up and introduce herself to you in order to strike a conversation. She would make you feel welcome. However, we do not attend the ideal high school. We attend Rose, where pride is rampant and achievement abounds.
Instead of feeling welcome as a new kid, you feel like the odd man out. You feel like the third wheel, the only one who does not understand any of the inside jokes. It may sound like the most cliche piece of advice given to high schoolers, but if you see somebody who looks out of place, there is a good chance that they feel that way. Instead of looking at your friends and saying, “OMG look at her! Her clothes are so weird and what is her hair doing?!” why not just go talk to her? If you have not experienced a moment of feeling out of place and awkward in a new environment, you are very lucky. Do not force others to undergo this awful endeavor. Strike up a conversation, and who knows? You may find your best friend that you end up staying close with throughout your entire life.
Despite all the negative aspects of cliques, there are some positives. For some people, there is nothing better than a group of friends with which you share hilarious group messages, late night phone calls because of text break-ups, gossip and gallons of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. If this is you, please, do continue. But think about the people outside your clique. They are not wads already-chewed-gum on the hallway floors of Rose that you should look at with disgust and avoid at all costs. They are people, and unlike wads of gum, they have feelings. Do not be afraid to befriend new people. Expand outside your comfort zone. Think outside the clique.