We all know the fake smiles that made everyone (including myself) green with envy. The cool kids, the “it” crowd— whatever you called them, they all were essentially the same: the group of kids who were extremely popular.
High school cliques are something you either took part in or were affected by at a point in your life where you’re expected to start figuring out who you are and what you want to be. Having friends around makes this very long and turbulent process a lot easier, but because we’re figuring out who we are, your judgement ends up clouded and you can end up making bad choices.
I can say I’ve definitely made bad friend choices — I was wooed, coerced, blinded by the idea of fitting in. I say fitting in because I don’t think there is a proper definition for it. Google says it’s “to be socially compatible with other members of a group,” but when I say “fitting in” you know that feeling.
But then we have the cliques. They appear to always have drama and seem to talk negatively about and amongst each other, so I wouldn’t consider that socially compatible. Even small friend groups have arguments that can leave people alone or excluded from the group; this is why I don’t think any one friend group is truly “socially compatible.”
Personally I think we’re all drawn into this idea of fitting in, despite how unrealistic it is, because throughout high school you’re changing so frequently. Deep down we all want someone who relates to what we’re going through. I’m not trying to preach to the choir, but I honestly can’t think of another reason to want a friendship with someone who negatively impacts the people around them.
Though in my personal experience they don’t all cause drama or are bad people per se. I believe they aren’t bad people — they just make bad decisions when surrounded by bad influences.
The big thing about high school cliques is that they are temporary, usually lasting for four years at most, and people tend to grow out of the “popularity contest phase” towards the end. I think you become more focused on you and the future ahead of you. After graduation you venture out into the world with whatever path you chose, in a way leaving behind most (I hope) of the drama that defined all of us for those few years. This also means leaving the need to be a part of the clique behind you.
In the last year of high school you tend to drop the “superficial” friends and you either keep or make genuine friends who are looking out for your best interest. You could also use this opportunity to start fresh and make new friends during this new chapter of your life.
Friends are important — I mean who else is going to entertain your obsession over a TV show? Seek out friendships, not for the clout/popularity, but because their personality draws you to them, and they make your life better by being in it. Popularity doesn’t compare to the people who really care.