The strange anomaly that is the ‘clique’

According to one dictionary definition I’ve found – and from what I’ve seen they all say more or less the same thing – a clique is determined as the following:

clique [kliːk klɪk]


a small, exclusive group of friends or associates

[from French, perhaps from Old French: latch, from cliquer to click; suggestive of the necessity to exclude nonmembers]

cliquish adj

cliquishly adv

cliquishness n

Sometime, I don’t know when, the term ‘clique’ became something very negative. Something to frown upon. I understand why, of course, but from where I’m standing, when you get right to the root of it, it’s anything but.

One thing I think we all need to admit is that every single one of us is part of a clique. Unless you’re willing to seal yourself in a room and exist without any form of communication whatsoever, it’s impossible not to be.

Why do I think this point needs making? Because all too often I hear people talking about how something is “clique-ey” (the wrong terminology according to the above examples; I have to admit, though, that until today I had absolutely no idea that you could do something cliquishly!) in a negative way. Like it’s something they could never be a part of.

Wake up: the reason you feel like that, if you feel like that, I’m guessing, is probably because you’re not in the clique you’re observing. If you were then you’d feel all warm and fuzzy and Acknowledged. Loved. Isn’t that why we hang around in groups? Isn’t that why all of us carefully select — inadvertently, subconsciously, however it may be —  some people and not others? Humans are pack animals, it’s the way we’ll be until some immense evolutionary change takes place, for the good or the better, so next time you find yourself hating a certain clique, look at it from another perspective: that of someone who is on the inside peering out.


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