You’re invited to a party. All your friends are there. You exchange hellos and then they drift off into their little groups, chatting away happily amongst themselves. When you intervene they acknowledge your words, then turn back and you become invisible. You spend the rest of the night alone, sticking out like a sore thumb.

Sounds familiar?

The dreaded cliques seem to be a part of everyday life – at work, the gym, mother and toddlers groups – you name it. People conglomerate like little witches’ covens in tight unity, and woe betide anyone else who tries to muscle in.

clique

Now, I’m no party animal. Neither do I have two heads, nor is my complexion green. So why, throughout my adult life, have I always been excluded from these groups? Even my husband Phil, who’s much more sociable than me, can be found propping up the bar on his own, while his drinking buddies chat away all around him. He doesn’t smell, fart excessively or have bad breath, so why the isolation? You can only be pro-active to a certain extent – starting/joining in a conversation etc, but when you’ve exhausted all possibilities, what then?

At ‘do’s’, myself, Phil and our daughter always end up on our own, a trio of Billy-No-Mates looking wistfully at everybody else socialising and apparently having a whale of a time. Even if we have company to begin with, they all disperse and go off elsewhere in the end. We’re nice, decent folk, yet we might as well have come from another planet.

Research shows that cliques form because the people in them lack individuality. They do the same things, listen to the same kind of music and even dress alike. They feed off one another’s views and ideas, and exclude all non-conformists.

How sad is that?

Thankfully, I’ve always been an individual with my own tastes and opinions. I’ve never belonged to a ‘sheep club’, and neither do I want to. It’s a pity, though, that people like me are viewed as though we’ve just fallen out of a dog’s bum, for ‘daring to be different’. People are strange, sang Jim Morrison. They are also judgmental.

Sod ’em, I say. They can keep their barbecues and parties. I prefer hanging out with my pets anyway. They love me for being myself. And they don’t care whether I fell out of their backsides or not.

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