My high school sure had cliques. It wasn’t Mean Girls-esque or frightening or petty. There were no assigned lunch tables, no one saying, “You can’t sit with us.” No one was enforcing our high school cliques. It’s just how it was.
I went to a large high school. I didn’t know everyone in my graduating class. Heck, I barely knew 20 percent. But I knew which groups tended to stick together: The Wrestling Team. The Football Team. The Cheerleaders. The Drama Club. The Show Choir. The Science Olympiad.
It makes sense, after all. Be friends with people like you, and people you like. Why wouldn’t these groups make sense? It’s not like I’d been barred entry.
There wasn’t some sort of permeating meanness around these groups. There wasn’t much malice between the cheerleaders and the chess team. Plenty of weirdly dissonant cliques overlapped.
But if you were in, you’d know. If you were in, you were in. I very rarely was in.
I’d tried out for the school musical once. I like singing and acting, even if my dancing is painful on the eyes. I went to some of the drama club functions, hoping to try out. It sounded fun. A lock-in sleepover, joint dance classes. It didn’t occur to me that everyone knew each other already, even the teachers. They all fit together seamlessly.
I didn’t make it, likely due to my dancing. I didn’t come back. They didn’t miss me.
I don’t always mesh well with people. It’s not that they didn’t like me. I got along with most people just fine, I think. I was never involved in any school drama. Sure, I was annoying sometimes. But I don’t think anyone outright hated me or excluded me. I just didn’t fit right.
I had plenty of interests. And I joined plenty of groups. I loved choir, but I wasn’t the choir girl. I loved writing, but I wasn’t exactly people-savvy enough to join the school newspaper. I was smart, but I didn’t even fit in with the smart kids, who studied together and knew what they were doing.
I was just a drifter between groups.
Somehow, in all that drifting, I still found others like me. I had plenty of friends who shared interests with me, who stuck out of the other cliques. Video games, anime, singing, what have you. I had, and still have, friends with whom I could share my writing and stories. Friends whom I trusted. My own little disorganized clique of misfits.
I certainly didn’t go into high school expecting to befriend a graduating class of 400. I didn’t expect, or want, to join every group and every club. But I have high school friends that I talk to every day, four years after graduation.