Below is a reply I posted on a discussion board about “Cliques”. Talk about long-winded:
Going back to the ideas of cliques, yes they do exist. That’s the nature of humanity. Do they exist as much as people say they do ? Probably not.
From my own observations the stereotypical clique of a group of nasty poisonous people is present but not frequent. You will encounter a bunch of insecure people who gather together and as a group look down their noses at people. The reason that they stick together is probably because they can’t find anyone else that will put up with this incessant bitching. That’s good really, it shows the community can do its own policing and reject the rubbish.
There are groups of people on the scene that socialise together and they most certainly are not cliques. Humans gather in groups, work in groups, socialise in groups, use group intelligence and knowledge sharing. For the scene or any community to be made up of groups of people is the norm.
For an outsider trying to crack the group and become part of it can prove difficult but I think it’s not that members of the group are unwilling to make friends and welcome people but it’s down to them being so comfortable with the status quo that change can unnerve them. I find groups can be more welcoming and open minded about individuals than one person dealing with just one other. Groups allow a buffer which increases tolerance.
A lot of time groups will allow the shy and nervous person to open up and allow their personality to shine, but when a new person comes along the shy person will once again go all quiet which could be misinterpreted as being unfriendly. I know of one person who seemed very unapproachable but it was because they’re a very shy person.
( On a side note and without going into a full anthropological debate, groups also have a size limit which according to Dunbar in the paper “Co-evolution of Neocortex size” is 150. 150 was why up until last week contact lists were limited to this number on MSN. So, some people might just get overloaded as they reach this soft limit and might not appear to want proper friendship.)
Some people that feel rejected by groups may have been rejected because they didn’t understand the social dynamic of the group and instead of trying to go with the flow and understand the way the group operated they came in and tried to change the flow. You’ll rarely be able to do that. It’s always best when trying to interact with a group to learn the rules and then work with them. Strong personalities can upset the established equilibrium of the group.
Groups too can have an individual or two who are insecure and love nothing more than to berate someone and make them feel inferior. If the group is weak they’ll allow these personalities to get away with this ugly behaviour. It’s a shame but it does not mean that the ones who didn’t speak out are nasty people or the same as those mouthing off. I wouldn’t consider the group a clique either.
There are others who are loathe to admit that they did not integrate into a group because they just didn’t fit. Being in total denial they’ll make up excuses as to why. They won’t say it’s because they stirred shit and set group members against each other. It’s far easier on the ego to state the group was too cliquey. Cliques are the new “race card” these days. Blame it all on the cliques. People need to adapt to fit into a group, generally in just small ways.
So, in summary as it needs one: there are cliques, but they are not prevalent and the best thing to do with a clique is ignore the losers.