• This is an article for most kids to read on their own (younger ones might need some adult help) because they’re the ones who are going to be dealing with cliques. Besides, sometimes advice is more easily taken when it is not coming from a parent! I can’t tell you how many times my children have come to me with a new revelation they either heard or ‘discovered’ on their own—something I had already been telling them for years but clearly they never heard!

    I have been in the position of being teased and feeling like I did not fit in.

    I’m pretty sure that most of you kids out there have some understanding of what a clique is by now. But just so we’re all on the same page, a clique is an exclusive group of people who have something in common.  The key word here is exclusive—meaning that it has the potential to exclude others who don’t have the same interests. However, cliques are not always bad; though that’s the way we tend to see them.  The good thing about them is that they help unite people who share common interests.  The downside is when they ridicule, ostracize or intimidate others who don’t share similar beliefs. This is when it becomes a problem. It’s a form of bullying (See our Coping with Bullies article) with the added pressure of social acceptance.  Here are some things to help you deal with cliques– When you’re the focus of a clique’s negative attention, it’s natural to feel scared, sad, and want to do just about anything to fit in. Some cliques even make it a rite of passage to be mean to others in order to be accepted or maintain your status. When this happens, it’s no longer a clique but has become more like a gang, in which at any point, if you decide to leave, you may be targeted. I have been in the position of being teased and feeling like I did not fit in.  I stayed away from the pressure of joining those negative cliques and did not let being a target get to me by keeping these 10 tips at the forefront of my mind.

    1. They’re Just Insecure and/or Jealous – Don’t take it personally. Especially, if you’re talented musically, intellectually or on another front, they may try to make themselves feel better by making fun of you.
    2. They’ll Regret it – This is not a threat, but rather when those people grow up they’ll hopefully mature and realize that they were wrong and will likely be embarrassed of their behavior. Often it’s too late so as adults they may try to make amends for their past.
    3. They Are Not For You – If they are treating you or others this poorly, it’s not the group with which you want to hang out.   You do not want to be a part of a group that thinks it is cool to be mean to others.
    4. Step Aside – Ignore them and just keep walking. Anything you say may fuel their fire. They’ll eventually move on and are likely to find another target (but hopefully not).  If you see this happen, you can try to befriend that person.
    5. The truth is that people will want to be around you because you’re a good person who is confident enough to speak your mind and stand up for injustices.

    6. Feel Sad for Them – It might not help you right away but if you can get yourself to the point where you can see how sad it is that they need to put other people down in order to feel good about themselves, you will feel stronger.  You might naturally feel bad when you see someone with a severe physical or mental disability and would probably ignore anything negative that person said.  Try to think of a negative clique in the same way – their pain or disabilities aren’t necessarily visible, but are on the inside.
    7. Know that You’ll be Successful – Stick with your plans and goals and you’ll be successful in reaching them. Don’t allow others to distract or derail you. You never know, maybe one day they’ll come asking you for a job. And if they are ever in a situation where they need you they’ll quickly learn to appreciate you for who you are.
    8. Find your Own Clique – You will be safer, and happier, hanging out with a buddy. Try to find someone else who you can hang out with and share ideas. It’s better to have a few quality friends than a big group of fake ones. No matter how unique you are there are people out there who share some of your interests or beliefs, though you may not have found them yet.  Keep your identity and pursue your hobbies and that’s where you’ll connect with the people who are right for you.
    9. Identify Trouble Makers – As much as you may want to just walk away from the situation, it’s important to let authorities or school-staff know about the people who are causing trouble. This empowers you by giving you something you can do to protect yourself as well as others.
    10. Use a Distraction – Be alert so you can see trouble coming your way. When it does and you are being targeted, look at your watch like you’re in a rush and ask for help with something (e.g., Have you seen my little brother walking by here?). This diversion might help shift their attention from their previous focus on belittling you.
    11. Don’t Seek Revenge – As tempting as it might be to hold a grudge or to find a group of friends to ostracize or ridicule those who came after you, it’s not worth it. Lowering yourself to their level negates what you believe in and fuels their actions. Accept apologies, regardless of how late they may come. You have more positive things on which to focus.

    The truth is that people will want to be around you because you’re a good person who is confident enough to speak your mind and stand up for injustices. You will become a kind and confident adult. Good people will be drawn to you for your dependability, good nature, and acceptance of others.  So, be yourself and be proud!