For years, cliques have existed inside of high schools. A clique is a group of people who share common interests and do not allow others to join them without a form of initiation. Cliques have become an issue in America for children that are joining a new school, as well for kids who do not fit in with those surrounding them. However, it also commonly hurts those involved in the cliques.

The main problem with cliques is that the people in the groups tend to shut others out, and exalt those who are in the group. Oftentimes this outlook can lead to people in the group bullying and picking on others. However, being in a clique is often no better than being excluded from a clique because these kids feel pressure to look and think a certain way, all the while being scared that they will get kicked out of the group.

These groups form and attract members in multiple ways. Typically, people join cliques so that they can be part of the cool, popular crowd, however, that is not the only reason. Many people join cliques simply because they are afraid of being excluded and not having friends. Others join so that they can gain power, or so that they can follow a strict set of rules. Both girls and boys join these cliques. The problem is, once you are in a clique, it is difficult to leave because you do not want to become a target or become excluded. Even after witnessing bullying, it takes a lot of courage to leave these groups.

Although dealing with cliques can be a hard thing, there are certain steps you can take to make it easier. The most important thing is to know who you are, and what you stand for. Look at your values, interests, and beliefs and make sure that your friend group is not going against these. However, do not narrow your friend group to just people who have the exact same beliefs as you do, keep it diverse. That being said, do not give up things about yourself for anyone else- enjoy your favorite activities, listen to your favorite songs, and wear what you want to wear! Lastly, make sure to speak out if you ever see cliques forming in your high school or bullying occurring! Sometimes people are unaware that a clique is forming, so make sure to let your voice be heard, even if they do not listen.

If you ever encounter cliques, be sure to remember that the people inside of the groups probably have their own issues going on, such as insecurity or things happening in their home life. Also remember, a certain clique will not last forever, and more than likely one day you will not be surrounded by cliques at all. It is really important to make friends that you can connect with and trust, rather than ones that boost your popularity or tell you what to do. Make sure to also be the kind of friend you would like to have yourself by being kind, honest, and trustworthy.

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