Clique Makers: Part 1

The difference between Cliques and Friendship Groups is control. One is based on control, and the other has no interest in control.

When people are in a group or a class because of a common interest, they are all there for the same reason, and should all be equally welcome, and equally welcome to participate fully. Narcissists however, often bring the drama.

Exclusion, not Inclusion, is the main function of a Clique.

A person does not have to be full-blown NPD to make cliques, just enough narcissism to find joy in creating a subgroup within the group where they get to be the Leader, and include or exclude people based on their Judgment... usually, really, based on how much the Clique-Leader(s) believes a person will follow their agenda of exclusion. The willingness to exclude and demean others is the main requirement.

"We" are above "Them" is the Clique mantra.

Clique-makers bring drama into a situation by creating a "hierarchy". They will try to turn any place where there are humans into a social soup of "In Crowd" and "Out Crowd". Of course if the actual leader of the group is a Clique-maker (like a professor, coach, or manager) the drama is through the roof. However that does not need to be the case, Cliques are made all the time within larger groups, often hidden from the real leader of the group.

A person who is fair-minded, kind-hearted, with strong boundaries and original thought will usually not be included in a Clique. When they are, they will only be included until they make noises of disagreement, stand up for someone who is being treated unfairly, or until they "outshine" the Clique-Leader(s) in some way. Then they will be rejected forthwith, even shunned.

When there is a Clique happening, whoever does not fit the parameters of the Clique will be excluded purposely, and treated as if they are not worthy of common courtesy and respect. Obvious examples of this behavior can be found all over modern culture, and can be found in stories throughout recorded history. Large and small scale Cliques have caused terrible problems for humans throughout the ages.

Cliques are different than friend-groups. A subgroup of natural friends who happens to be in the larger group does not exclude people, judge people as "less worthy" than they are, or make it known that certain people are Not Liked.
Natural friends voluntary come together on their own, there is no Leader (or co-Leader) who gets to decide who "WE" don't like, or orchestrate what everyone else does all the time, or who's opinions and ideas are automatically held above everyone else's.

While Cliques enjoy rejecting anyone who doesn't conform, natural friend groups don't even notice how others are dressing, talking, or acting. They only take notice if a person has done something to hurt someone.

Rejection, ostracism, or shunning of a member of a healthy group is rare, and only occurs if someone did something  terrible that caused someone personal injury and damage. Things such as physical attacks, slander, adultery, child endangerment, verbal attacks, fraud, and theft. And even then, rejection does not necessarily occur if the person shows remorse and makes amends; if the damage is recognized, faced, and repaired.

In contrast, a Clique does not necessarily reject people no matter how heinous a crime they commit. Since the Clique membership is not based on anything except "In Crowd", play-hierarchy and the egos of the Leader(s), members do not get rejected as long as they meet those three requirements. A member would not be rejected solely for defrauding or attacking a fellow member. If, however, the victim stands up for themselves against the perpetrator, it is HE or SHE who will be rejected. The victim, not the perpetrator.
The exception to this is when the victim is either a "Leader" or a "Leader's Pet", then there will be great Ego Injury (narcissistic injury) and the perpetrator may be rejected. But it is not for the CRIME ITSELF, it is because of the Ego Injury. (If the very next day, someone perpetrated the exact same crime on a "lesser" member of the Clique, the whole thing would be downplayed, ignored.)   

Natural friend groups have no parameters except obvious courtesy and respectful behavior; different personalities and points of view add richness to the group. New members are welcome, and jealousy does not dictate who is let in. A very accomplished man with "movie star looks" would be just as welcome as anyone, and a very intelligent, well-spoken woman with "movie star looks" would just as welcome as any man. A "nerdy" woman or man, a shy woman or man, a young, old, skinny, heavy, short, tall, any-race, any background woman or man is equally welcome as anyone else.

Cliques however actually enjoy rejecting people based on whatever "parameters" they make up, which can change based on someone's insecurities. The goal is sameness, not diversity, and anyone who disagrees, has an original point of view, who does not follow the social signals and dress, talk, or act within the very limited "approval" is not welcome. Anyone who the Clique members feel "out-shined" by in any way, or anyone who the Clique Leader(s) feel they won't be able to control will not be let in, and will possibly be driven out of the original larger group altogether. 

On a rather large spectrum, Cliques range from kindergarten children leaving classmates out who don't have brown hair all the way to national and global political agendas. Cults are more intense versions of Cliques, but the basic parameters remain.

Who joins Cliques? Nearly all of us have been involved in Clique behavior at some point in our lives, maybe several times. Sometimes we're aware of it, sometimes we're not. We are usually more aware of being on the EXCLUSION end of Clique behavior than being on the INCLUSION side of it. When we are being included, we may not realize that people are being treated with contempt and disrespect by our fellow group members, and so we don't realize our group is really a Clique. But when we are being treated as if we don't belong, as if we are less worthy, as if we don't have a right to speak our minds, as if we don't have a right to participate, as if we are incapable and less than equal, then we can discern that there is indeed a Clique going on. Especially when those who we thought were our friends make no move to stand up for us, or act as if they don't even notice the behavior, as if we deserve to be treated as a lesser person (because to them, we are).
But when we are INCLUDED in a Clique, we may not think much about the way our partner is being spoken down to, or excluded. We may feel powerful when our brother or sister is being treated with disrespect by our "friend" who seems to hold us in high esteem. We may feel like we've "arrived" when WE are being spoken to as an equal by another person, but the person we are standing next to is being left out or condescended to. We may get a thrill of recognition when someone praises our opinions or Facebook post, and let that blind us to the way that person opposes or shoots down everything someone else says or posts.

Clique-Makers play to our innate human need for acceptance, approval, and recognition. We fall for it because we are human. But when we realize that we have been recruited into a Clique, we become Co-Clique-Makers if we go along with their agenda of excluding, disrespecting, and demeaning others.