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Voicelessness and Emotional Survival => What Helps? => Topic started by: Certain Hope on August 10, 2006, 12:05:24 PM

Title: The Function of a Clique
Post by: Certain Hope on August 10, 2006, 12:05:24 PM
Courtesy of Wikipedia, various sources, and Hope ... for those who are struggling with involvement in or exclusion from the latest cliques.

  A clique is an informal and restricted social group formed by a number of people who share common interests - formal social groups are referred to as societies or organizations.

Cliques at times have complex structures, and characteristics tend to differ between one another. However, one characteristic which is common to nearly all cliques is the existence of a defined power structure, generally comprised of a leader (or a few leaders), followers,  and pariahs. Social roles within cliques vary, but two roles commonly associated with female cliques are notably applicable to most cliques - that of the "queen bee" and that of the "outcast".

The queen bee is the clique's leader. Characteristics often associated to her are a pleasant appearance, charisma, skill in manipulation and monetary power. The queen bee has substantial influence and power over the clique, and is usually envied and looked upon as a role model by clique members and at times by outsiders to the clique. Her actions are closely followed and imitated, even though they may not be of a positive nature.

With this, the social role of the "outcast" is defined, as individuals that the queen bee dislikes may be classified by her as such, thus encouraging clique members to victimize the outcast, in order to continue to be part of the clique or to receive praise from the queen bee.

In most cliques there is, at least to some degree, a power struggle for the position of the queen bee. Hence, the clique's leader might change from time to time, for example due to a member (or non-member) exceeding the queen bee's abilities, or members getting fed up with the Queen Bee's antics and thus attracting followers of the old clique leader. Outside influences may also act upon the social structure of the clique, such as changing interests or increasing maturity among clique members.

The outcast is a person who does not fit into any specific clique, and as such, at times faces physical and psychological aggression from clique members, in a fashion similar to bullying. It is not common for witnesses to defend an outcast, as most fear being rejected and potentially becoming an outcast themselves. Ultimately, most of the damage an outcast receives is psychological. Feelings of isolation and enmity may result into the outcast developing clinical depression, psychological trauma, eating disorders, and, in some cases, suicidal thoughts.

Effects of clique membership:

Positive effects:
It may be enjoyable to be part of a clique, as members are regularly involved in social and recreational activities, such as going out together. Clique members may also forge closer and more lasting friendships, as they socialise with each other more often and generally have common interests. It is also believed by some that being part of a clique creates a sense of belonging, and benefits the social skills of a person. In some cases the clique may prevent a member from making bad choices (e.g. taking drugs): if the "Queen Bee" makes it clear that she is against drugs, the members may stay away from them in result. However, this is not always the case.

Negative effects:
Clique members may be influenced through peer pressure to engage in actions perceived by some as negative or damaging. People who are part of a clique often have low self-esteem, and are obsessed with fitting in. This obsession can overrule their personal convictions and bring them to participate in activities they'd never consider apart from association with the clique. For instance, they may hold back on approaching someone they'd like to be friends with, thinking that she's out of their league.

What's the Difference Between a Group of Friends and a Clique?
Friendship groups are normal and healthy. It's nice to feel you belong and fit in. It's good to know you have friends to hang out with. Being part of a group can help people develop relationship skills, feel close to others, get and give support, share ideas, discover what's important to them, and have fun. The people in these groups feel they have a place where they are welcome and supported, and where they can be themselves, quirks and all.

Some groups stick together for a long time. Others drift apart after a while as people develop new interests, make different friends, or just find they have less in common. People can move in and out of different groups and can even be part of several at the same time. Even within a group, people often have one or two friends they feel closest to and enjoy the most.

Some friendship groups seem pretty flexible and welcome people to join in. Others seem much more restricted, though. People in these groups make it clear that not just anyone can be part of their crowd. It is that level of restriction, I think, that makes a group a clique. Cliques are tight groups that usually have a strict code of membership and ways to act. Instead of being centered on shared values and beliefs, many cliques tend to focus on maintaining their status and popularity. For instance, a certain clique may try to make it seem like the people in the clique are "better" than those outside, or that their clique is "better" or higher status than another clique. Unlike regular groups of friends, where members are free to socialize with others outside the group, people in cliques do everything together. Although people might think it's better to belong to a clique than to be excluded, many times people in cliques end up dealing with lots of pressures and rules. They soon start to worry about whether they'll continue to be popular or whether they'll be dropped. After a while, they may begin to realize that true friends wouldn't be so bossy, pushy, or demanding.

Cliques give people who like to take control a chance to be in charge (for good or bad!). And, for people who feel more comfortable following, they offer a place where rules are clearly defined. It's always clear to clique members what they need to do to fit in.

Clique membership is usually tightly controlled by the leaders. These social gatekeepers are the ones with the power to decide who should be hot and who should not. This type of membership control usually happens in female cliques.

Many women find that entry into a clique isn't guaranteed. In fact, a womanl who is seen as likeable and popular may actually be excluded from belonging to a clique. That's because her personality or confidence may pose a threat to the leaders. She may not be a good "follower" - especially if she can be popular enough on her own. Sometimes her friends may even be invited to join when she isn't. Clique members may deliberately exclude her in an attempt to take away her perceived power or the threat they think she could pose. People in cliques sometimes use their power to hurt others on purpose, either by excluding them, being mean, or both.

It's not all roses inside the clique either. A person's standing within the group can always be under threat. Most of the followers cling to the leader not out of true friendship, but because they want to keep their position in the group. But even the leader can lose her power. In fact, the queen bee in a strong female clique probably worries as much - or even more - about being popular and accepted as the outsiders do. Because no one feels secure, clique members often use the tools of flattery, humiliation, or rumors to manipulate situations and preserve their status.

A few women do manage to stay friends with people both inside and outside the clique. But that can be hard to do because there's often intense pressure from the group to be friends only with people on the approved list. It takes a lot of self-confidence to dare to be friends with someone outside the clique.

Sometimes clique members decide they want out. They don't like being limited by the rules, and they don't like leaving others out and hurting people's feelings. As people mature, they usually outgrow the need to be part of a clique.

Whether you're on the inside or the outside, cliques can make your life tough. But there are ways to cope:

Know yourself - and your reputation. Now is a time for getting back in touch with your values, interests, and beliefs. If you're encountering cliques, it's a good opportunity to ask yourself some self-discovery questions about what you and your true friends give each other. Do you want to be part of a group because you need to feel accepted or because you actually share their values? Has your group of friends morphed into something you don't like? How do your friends influence the way people think about you? Does this make you feel good or bad?

Stay involved in activities that make you feel good about yourself. If you're in a clique, don't let the group pressure you into giving up things you love or spending time and money on things that aren't important to you. If you're on the outside and feeling left out, getting involved in things that interest you is a great way to find a sense of belonging, help you feel valued, and take your mind off a group that's not welcoming.

Keep your social circles open and diverse. Cliques can be very limiting in the way they control how members look, think, dress, and behave. Don't let them make you miss out on getting to know people who may become close friends. If you're on the outside, it can help to find a close friend or group of friends whose values, goals, and behaviors fit in with yours. The support and genuine caring you get will keep you from feeling so defenseless when the mean girls tease and bully. Sometimes just knowing that clique members are probably insecure can limit their power over you.

Speak out. If you feel your group of friends is turning into a clique, take a stand for your beliefs. Be prepared that the clique might go on without you (remember those women who feel threatened by someone else's strength). But there's also a chance that others might follow your lead and stop acting so clique-y. If it's too hard to get up the courage to speak out, you still don't have to participate in things that feel wrong. Speaking up about intimidation you've observed is the right thing to do.

Have a mind of your own. Be sensitive to others and don't go along with what you don't believe is right - even if others are doing it. You are the only one responsible for your behavior. True friends will respect your mind, your rights, and your independent choices.
Friendships change. Just as the rising power of one or more cliques can make life miserable, shifting social winds can take their power away.

Title: Re: The Function of a Clique
Post by: Certain Hope on August 11, 2006, 06:22:31 AM
....c o u g h ..... echo echo....  hehe

Yeah, Jac... all the really kewl people can hang out over here ~ lol  :P

How about aqua for the curtains...?  a couple potted plants, an espresso machine... we'll be in business! :)

I'll take you up on the idea to put "Tricks" here, too... thanks!  This is seeming like a good time to get back to basics and this sorta stuff is where it's at, for me. Have a great day, (((((((Jac))))))))

Title: Re: The Function of a Clique
Post by: Stormchild on August 11, 2006, 08:02:27 AM
;-)    :P    :-D
Title: Re: The Function of a Clique
Post by: Certain Hope on August 11, 2006, 08:07:16 AM
LOL !  O thou woman of few words  :P  :wink:

I know you're conserving energy ((((((Stormy)))))))    I hope you have an excellent day!

Title: Re: The Function of a Clique
Post by: Stormchild on August 11, 2006, 08:23:54 AM
Hope - it's better than that. Much, much, so much better.

Many of the things I used to post were things that pressed on me for some time, that developed in my thoughts and then almost demanded for me to post them. Things that were brought to mind as I read here, based on others' experiences as they shared them. Trends I noticed, similarities, things I suddenly understood from my past or ongoing therapy, stuff I suddenly realized many of us might have in common, and be experiencing both outside and inside...

Now there are a lot of people posting incredible insights and synthesis here - you and jac and tracks, and several more I apologize for not being able to name just this second. It doesn't detract from the individual stories and sharing, it ties things together, builds on them, helps us make sense of our individual journeys, helps 'dispel the gathered mist' of our common but often hidden-from-shame human experiences, past and present...

I'm rolling around in all this good stuff like a happy puppy on her back in sweet green grass in the sun - and enjoying listening to the other voices and learning from the other minds on this level, the level of 'putting it all together and seeing what it means' - just as much as I have always enjoyed learning from each person's individual experiences or individual responses to other's experiences.

I wanted badly to say something before but didn't know how, because I'm so happy I'm afraid. This is wonderful, wonderful stuff, wealth and abundance beyond measure, I'm loving it. I'm quiet with contentment and delight, which makes my resting that much sweeter.

Thank you Hope, thank you jac, tracks, everyone, dear god I wish you could see me saying it... I mean it so very very much.
Title: Re: The Function of a Clique
Post by: Certain Hope on August 11, 2006, 03:34:45 PM
Awww Stormy... For a brief moment here, I felt so bad... like I'd pushed you into commenting further, when all along, I was quite satisfied with your  :wink:   :P    :D         

But then... this...   I'm rolling around in all this good stuff like a happy puppy on her back in sweet green grass in the sun -

 Weeee....... what a visual !!  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D   Too awesome!

I know that there are different learning styles and not everyone receives info in the same way, but I just love it all, too! The personal accounts, the articles, poetry, hymn and Bible verses... it all truly does fit together and each piece builds upon the last, for me, fitting together into this wonderful portal... to wholeness. It's confirming, and re-sifting, then validating and re-stating... I can't get enough of the truth and don't ever want to lose sight of it again. I know what you mean about being afraid to be so happy, but I don't think this can be jinxed. Not as long as... forgetting what lies behind, we run the race set before us... with joy  :)

Much love, Stormy

Title: Re: The Function of a Clique
Post by: Stormchild on August 11, 2006, 08:53:36 PM
:oops: :oops: :oops:

jac, that's sweet... and I know how hard it was to set up that graphic, because I've tried stuff like that and given up many many times!
Title: Re: The Function of a Clique
Post by: Certain Hope on August 12, 2006, 07:19:45 AM
lol  ((((((((((Jac))))))))) you sweetie...  puttin a post-it on monitor here ~ Note to self: Check other board !!

Have a great day!

Bunches of love,