Posted by: Natalie Hatch | April 27, 2009

Clickity Cliques – who needs ’em?

This week we’re looking at cliques, in schools, sporting clubs, dance studios, you know the drill. We’ve all either been part of, or been victim of, a clique at one time in our lives. Some might be part of a ‘group’ right now. While I’m not saying that all cliques are bad, I’d like us all to have a look at the types of cliques there are in our schools.

The goths/emo’s; the sporting jocks; the socialites; the nerds; the outsiders; the SEUs; and the list goes on and on. Why is it that we feel we have to pidgeon hole everyone we meet? I wonder if it’s because we haven’t been taught to accept and embrace differences? Or if we have been taught we choose not to because of the fear of what other people will think of us?

At my school we had several cliques – the In group were called ‘The Socialites’ by the rest of us, and they included the sporting jocks and the kids who had money; then there were the Outsiders (my group) who were just regular kids that didn’t do much of much; then there were the Goths; and then the Nerds (which included every other kid who didn’t fit into any of the other groups). Most people talked to each other; Nerds, Outsiders, Goths and some Socialites often chatted during big lunch. But to go to a Socialite Party you had to be invited. Whereas if an Outsider had a party everyone would come along.

I remember times when I would be teased terribly by the Socialite crowd. The name calling and put downs were really terrible, especially by the boys, they made me feel like a troll and I would cry most nights because of the things they would say. I hated high school and couldn’t wait to be done with it. In fact there were a group of girls who made my life hell, they were mostly blond with money and would go out of there way to make sure I was excluded from a lot of things. If I had to speak to any of them for whatever reason they would pretend I wasn’t there and ask one of the guys to interpret what I had said. I used to lie awake at night thinking up terrible ways to get back at them.

One incident stands out to me,  a blond socialite girl who had recently taken up karate. She started to try and bully the Outsiders for no particular reason. Getting my bag out of the port racks (we don’t have lockers here in Australia, kids bring their books to school in their bags and then stash them in racks outside classrooms) I saw her coming up towards me with a large group of kids egging her on. I put my books in my bag and started to stand up, it was then that she kicked my legs out from underneath me and I went sprawling on the ground. This girl stood over me laughing her head off and saying what a waste of space I was (in different terms though). I sat on the ground humiliated with the rest of the socialites laughing at me.

That was the point of my life when I realised I could either be a victim forever or I could change myself and become someone better than the rest of them. I took up martial arts myself and got fit. I decided if anyone ever tried anything like that again, no matter how badly I lost I would stand up to them and give it all I had.  My life did a bit of a 180 degree turn.

A few years later the boys that had called me a ‘bushpig’ (that was the nicest name) during high school were asking me out, telling me how hot I was. Do you know my answer?  I was the same inside as I had always been, and that if they didn’t want me back then there was no way in hell I would want them now.  It felt sooo good to do that. A few even apologised for their behaviour in high school.

The girl who pushed me over, I don’t know where she is, but I know one thing, I’m better than her because I’ve never put someone else down to make myself feel good.

What about you, in high school now or then, did you fit in with the crowd? Are the cliques getting more exclusive or are there more people willing to accept others despite their differences?

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Responses

  1. Wow, what an interesting story.
    I’m so glad you picked yourself up off the ground (literally) and found your inner strength!

    Where I grew up, cliques worked quite differently in a lot of ways, so I never had this kind of experience.
    It makes me wonder though. Most people I meet were Outsiders. Is there a bunch of people somewhere out there that were all Socialites? Do they get together and wonder if anyone knows anyone from other cliques?

    What do the popular kids do? Seems they neither become writers or readers… Or if they do, they hide their past. Hmmm…

  2. When we got to high school, it seemed I had missed out on an important memo. I thought that high school was going to be an extension of primary school, but with harder maths and no play equipment. But no, it seemed everyone except me had decided that this was the time to get Popular. Totally bewildered, I had no idea what had gotten into everybody. The funny thing is, by year 10 (that’s the fourth year of high school for those in the US) everyone calmed down a bit, the bullying lessoned and people started to grow up. Not when it came to dating, that was a whole other pit of pain. But friendship groups relaxed a bit. Not that I and my friends were ever invited to a “socialites” party, but we had our own parties, and they were certainly not as cliquey as there were in year 7!

  3. Nat – you really took me back with all your talk of port racks and bushpigs. Are you sure we didn’t go to the same school???!!!!!

    Anyway, we sort of had reverse cliques at my school – all the popular kids were the ones who looked gorgeous but partied hard and did badly at school. I mainly hung out with them, but at the same knew I wanted to go to University so I also did my school work and stayed friends with all the other kids who I’d known all through primary school. Glad I did as well since they were the ones who ended up going to Uni with me!

  4. I am so happy my school didn’t have cliques.

  5. Kiki I don’t know what the popular kids did, a lot of the Outsiders are now quite successful. Rhiannon I think in Senior things got better but there was still a great divide, so glad your school didn’t have that.
    Amanda did you go to a Queensland school?
    Livinia having cliques isn’t good, the segregation is really hard to overcome.

  6. I did! Kenmore High!

  7. Another product of the Queensland secondary school system waving here!

    Good onya, Nat, for picking yourself up after getting bullied.


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