Surviving Cliques ~ Dealing with being the “Lone Wolf”

Ever felt like you are being the “outsider” at work or in social settings.

Being on the receiving end of the “Mean Girls –  “You can’t sit with us” mentality in life is not always easy and it can come in the most unexpected settings/scenario’s.

Clique’s are common with females,  so the chances of encountering this social phenomena in your lifetime is very likely.

Humans are naturally social creatures, and this tendency to form groups with like-minded individuals has been programmed into us since we were toddlers trolling the playground. There’s nothing wrong with forming groups of friends at the office, or anywhere else, except when it alienates others or has a negative impact on professional productivity.

While being part of a clique may provide a sense of security and an impression that you “belong,” it could have some downsides like being branded with the negative characteristics of the group.

Cliques are formed when a group of people with low self confidence who feel socially inferior and insecure find each other in a similar setting. Once the group is formed, each member uses the strength of the group to help himself/herself feel superior to others.

How To Deal With Cliques In The Workplace

Spend time with various colleagues, not just with a single group
This allows you to get to know a variety of people at work, and avoid being associated with just a single group. Also, this gives you the benefit of having more support outside of your usual circle, to mingle with people that are different than you and to learn from other departments in your company.

Do not allow yourself to be intimidated or unsettled by an office clique
Remember that office cliques have no formal power. Focus on your job, maintain a courteous professional attitude, and treat your colleagues, including those in and outside of the clique, in a warm and well-mannered way. If you are well liked as an individual within your organization, the office clique will be less likely to wield any influence over your reputation.

Develop relationships with individual members of cliques
If a clique is not warming up to you and you want to diffuse any chances that they may see you as a social outcast, try to develop relationships with individual members. This is much easier to do, and people are more accommodating toward new friendships if approached one on one without the pressure of being surrounded by their peers. Instead of trying to be the new person at the lunch table, ask a colleague if he or she would like to grab a sandwich or coffee outside of the office. This can lead to more genuine connections than the cliques formed within the walls of your office allow.

Maintain a good group of friends outside of the office
Have a group of friends from college? Know great people from your neighborhood or community? Cultivate and maintain relationships with them. This allows you to take a breather from office politics and not depend only on your colleagues at work for socializing and dinners out. When you have real friends outside of work, the pressure to be a member of an office clique is decreased, as do feelings of isolation for those that are not members of a clique.

Your best option is to tread lightly and cautiously when forming friendships in the office. Associate with people who help boost your professional performance and offer good advice. Make sure your boss knows your value and contributions, so that office gossip will not affect your reputation with management.

How to Deal With Cliques in a Social Setting:

Unlike the cliques that you “have to” deal with in the work place, social setting cliques that make you feel like the outsider for no better reason than just you being different or not conforming to the clique mentality does not deserve a minute of your time.

You don’t need the “friendship” of  a clique to be beautiful, interesting or even do amazing things (alone) if you have to. If you are being left out of a group on purpose, keep true to yourself, do what you want to do, go where you want to go. Chances are secretly they all are envying you. Having one true friend is better than being part of a clique where the bond between members is superficial.

Keep being fabulous ladies and do not let the mean girl mentality’s of some women affect your confidence! Knowing that most of them wish to be independent and confident and needs rely on a clique to feel important/feel important and/or putting someone down/criticise should give you the insight/knowledge of just how insignificant and sad a clique actually is.

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