With a little advice from Meghan Markle and Mean Girls’ Taylor Louderman.
Is high school really high school without cliques? It seems like they’re inescapable, and although there will always be social hierarchies to navigate, the ones encountered throughout young adulthood are especially brutal.
Wanting to join a clique is understandable – everyone wants to be loved and accepted. But the question to ask yourself is, why? Why do you have to be accepted by those people who only wear pink on Wednesdays? (i.e. the people who are the opposite of accepting to others). Do you feel like you’ll only be good enough if the “popular” kids like you? Because if the answer is “yes,” then joining The Crew won’t help you. You will only ever be enough when you decide that you’re enough.
When it comes to cliques, the best solution would be to focus on being a friendly, awesome person, and being nice to everyone. You can be friends with the Actual Human Beings and The Plastics, the Varsity Jocks and the Anti-Plastics. You’ll have way more fun and way less drama.
However, whenever the cliques do get to you, remember that you’re in good company. Meghan Markle, for one, dealt with them throughout her high school experience. She once mentioned them on her blog, The Tig, saying “My 20s were brutal – a constant battle with myself, judging my weight, my style, my desire to be as cool/as hip/as smart/as ‘whatever’ as everyone else. My teens were even worse – grappling with how to fit in, and what that even meant. My high school had cliques: the black girls and white girls, the Filipino and the Latina girls. Being biracial, I fell somewhere in between. So every day during lunch, I busied myself with meetings – French club, student body, whatever one could possibly do between noon and 1pm – I was there. Not so that I was more involved, but so that I wouldn’t have to eat alone.”
Taylor Louderman, the current queen bee of Broadway (she plays Regina George in the Mean Girls Musical by Tina Fey) can also relate to low lunchtimes. “I had a tough high school experience,” she recounts. “I went to the bathroom to eat because I heard that’s what you did when you didn’t have anyone else. I went just to escape the feeling of not wanting to be around. I eventually made friends with people who valued me for the things that I appreciated about myself. I found that it is less about being popular and more about finding people you gel with that like you for you. So, some good came out of the bathroom lunchtimes.”
Both Meghan and Taylor ended up just fine. Meghan found her happily ever after as an actress and activist – and she just got married to some British guy. As for Taylor Louderman? She was just nominated for a Tony for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Clearly, cliques do not define success. Choose people who choose you, and let the Regina Georges of the world keep worrying about whether butter is a carb.
Taylor Louderman interview conducted by Brooke Stiles
Edited by Adelle Goldenberg
Cover photo captured by Dan Kidz