Groups, cliques and sets

Your friends may be a very mixed bunch without much in common; or you may have a strong ‘friendship group’ that all get along together and enjoy doing the same things.

It can be very good to be part of a group. But be careful that it does not become a clique. 

A clique:

  • takes itself very seriously
  • deliberately leaves out other people
  • requires its members to behave in a certain way and conform to its ‘rules’
  • will throw out members who don’t conform, and often do its very best to make them feel miserable.

If you are in a clique, you’re often desperate to fit in so that you are not thrown out. This means:

  • you don’t develop your own ideas, opinions, style or even character
  • you’re much more likely to be mean to others outside the clique
  • you spend too much of your time worrying.

If you think about it, you will probably prefer good friends to ‘friends’ who don’t deserve the name. But it can be hard to leave a clique.

If you decide to leave a clique, make sure you have an ‘exit plan’:

  • Make sure you have other people (family or friends outside your school) who will be there to support you.
  • Think about taking up a new hobby, or throwing yourself into your schoolwork – something to stop you worrying about the clique.
  • And, in time, thinking about making new friends.

The same applies if you are thrown out of a clique – but you will have the extra challenge of feeling rejected. Find someone you can talk to about this: your family or friends outside the school, or a school counsellor. They can give you some perspective (hearing about other people’s experiences often helps) and make practical suggestions for managing your day-to-day life.

If you find yourself feeling very unhappy, try ringing Childline or look at our section on looking after your mind.

Try to remember: you are not alone. Others have been through similar things, and there are people who can help you.

You may also be interested in our other pages on friends (and non-friends):

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Friends (and non-friends)