The Real Problem With Cliques

The Real Problem With Cliques

Cliques themselves aren't necessarily bad.
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It's no question that over the past several decades, schools ranging from middle school to even collegiate universities are dominated by dynasties of cliques. These cliques range from the theater kids, to band geeks, to computer nerds, to athletes (or jocks), to the “popular girls," and so on. Thanks to movies like Mean Girls and countless published personal stories regarding bullying, certain cliques are known to socially and emotionally destruct others. After reading several publicized stories and analyses of these cliques and the problems they have posed to teenagers, it seems that the most common solution is to eliminate cliques completely. Although this solution may stop the tears from streaming down high-schoolers faces as they eat their lunches in the bathroom stalls, or diminish several cases of depression and anxiety amongst young adults, this solution is very unrealistic. Therefore, it isn't a solution worth discussing or seeking out.

Cliques are inevitable. It is simply our human nature to form special bonds with a close-knit group of friends, whether that group consists of one or 12 people. We are all wired individually; we all have our own senses of humor, ways of thinking, ideas of friendship, etc. There is no way that we are able to form the same intimate friendships with every single person we meet as we do with our best friends, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Take, for example, the football team. They don't form their “clique" to intentionally hurt others or exclude; rather, the clique forms naturally due to every member's common passion for the sport of football, and not to mention the fact that they spend just about every single day together for practice and games anyways.

My sorority has over 140 girls, meaning that a very long spectrum of personalities exists amongst the chapter. And I'm going to be honest: I do not connect with all of them on the same level. I just don't form the same emotional, intimate bond of friendship with every single one of them as I do with my few closest friends in my sorority. However, I do have the same level of respect for every single member, and that is what is most important. If every single member of every single clique had an equal amount of respect for everyone in their clique as well as everyone else outside of their clique, then I believe that nearly all of the problems associated with cliques would surely drain from our society.

Bullying and social harassment don't stem from cliques themselves; instead, they rise from the actions associated with certain cliques, such as exclusion, hazing, stalking, bullying, etc. Most victims of bullying don't even desire to be part of the clique; they just want to be left alone and/or receive the respect they deserve. So, instead of fostering or generation to remove cliques from our society, it might be more effective and realistic to foster the importance of the distribution of equal respect amongst young adults. Everyone, no matter what their interests or reputations are, deserves the same amount of respect that you give your closest friend. And that equal level of respect is what will evaporate the tension, competition and hate that exists amongst our generation's teens.

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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If He Says 'You Make Me Want To Be A Better Person,' Remember It's NOT A Compliment

No one should be relying on another person to make them better people.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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A lot of us have been there; he smiles at you sweetly, gives you a look that could melt your heart, and you let yourself fall into the kindness.

He tells you, "you're such a good person; you make me want to be better."

Your heart is a flutter, you're drowning in the sickly sweetness of what you take as one of the nicest things someone has ever told you. It's so easy to read it as though it's an admirable thing for anyone to say, but the reality is, no one should be held liable for making you want to be a decent human being except yourself.

It's one thing for people to bring out the best in each other.

When you find your happy place in the company of the people you love most in life, that's one of the greatest things in the world. That example of the "bettering" of one another comes organically. But to only find a desire to be kinder, more selfless, more decent because another person is kind, selfless, and decent is putting way too much liability on the other person, and it means not taking responsibility for yourself.

By telling me that I'm the reason he wants to be a better person, he's putting me on a pedestal that I cannot possibly live up to all the time.

He's holding me liable for his desire to stop his negative behaviors rather than it coming from a true desire to be better. If being with me or around me is the only reason he's decided he needs to get his act together and start being a decent human being, I'm here to tell him that he should really reevaluate.

Because what happens when we break up?

What happens if we have a falling out for some reason or another, and I'm not longer in his life to "inspire" him to be better? His desire to be better disappears alongside me, because his desire never really came from his heart anyway. He go back to the same negative behavior that he had in the first place unless he came come to the realization that being a good person has to come from a real desire within.

I don't have the time to pander to people who can't take responsibility for their actions.

It shouldn't have to be my job to show anyone what being a decent human being looks like. His parents should have instilled that in him when they were raising him, and if not that, he should have been able to recognize elsewhere what kindness and decency looked like in other people so that he could emulate it himself. If he's a grown adult who says he didn't recognize what being good meant until he met you, that says more about him than it does about you.

The point of all of this is simple; it is an extremely important life lesson to learn that you are not responsible for anyone's actions and feelings except for your own.

You are not accountable for the decisions someone else makes, and that's the truth. No one is dating someone with the intent on raising him and teaching him how to behave or exist as a functionally member of society, and no one should have to.

I'm not saying it's a red flag to hear it. Often times it is said with good intentions and sometimes it is meant in the organic sort of way I mentioned before. But my advice if you're ever told this; think about it. Consider it a pink flag, one that makes you do some evaluating before you smile bigly and accept the comment as though it is a badge of honor.

Above all, hold people responsible for their own actions and don't let them make you feel responsible instead.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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