When we first moved to Brooklyn we discovered that within ten blocks of our apartment there was a group of five couples our age who always hung out together. We quickly assimilated ourselves into that group and had one of the most memorable summers of our lives. We just recently went on a reunion cruise with them (3 of the couples have since moved) and had a ball. These are good people and we’ve had some good times.
Apparently we were a clique.
Dictionary.com defines a clique as “A small exclusive group of friends or associates.”
Okay, so we were a group, but it’s not like we were an organized group with an admission policy. When choosing who to call it was usually for the following reasons (in order of importance):
1) similar personality / interests
2) close vicinity
3) similar age
4) lack of money
This seems to be the natural tendency of friendships. However, they aren’t the only ones we became friends with, just those with whom we became closest to.
There’s another type of group: board game groups, poker groups, Bunko groups, Girl’s Night Out groups, Xbox groups, etc. For those who followed Kristen Johnston’s thread on Bunko… well, it got bonked (the thread, not the group. The future of the group is still in question. Apparently the clique nature of the group was the problem, not the psuedo-gambling aspect). These groups have a (often unwritten) purpose whether that’s playing a game or getting away from their kids.
The inherent problem with exclusivity is that every time we make any choice we are at the same time excluding all other choices. If I choose to buy an Apple Macintosh I’m at the same time excluding Dell, Gateway, IBM, Sony as well as the Windows software. We can’t choose everything.
Exclusivity is what makes a clique a clique and not just a group of people. As I see it, it manifests itself in two ways:
1) people exclude
2) people feel excluded
A clique only exists to the person being excluded, not the excluder. In other words, whether or not #1 happens, it’s from #2 that problems arise.
Many of us think the BCS (college football) is a clique. Many think the Bloggernacle is a clique. Many non-Mormons think our religion is a clique. And the reason I’m writing this is because so many feel that there are cliques within our wards.
So what can we do?
My wife and I regularly have people over for dinner, often our friends (those who we’re comfortable with) and sometimes others (newcomers, those who live far away, those we don’t know too well, etc.) and we always have a good time. We often feel bad for not inviting more of these people we don’t know over for dinner… that is, until we remember that they haven’t invited us over. We’re not bothered by this but it makes my point: quit pouting about being excluded unless you’re doing your share of including.