Gross: Drop clique mindset



Student looking at his classmates talking

Hailey Gross

Having similar interests with others is what draws people together. The flicker of excitement felt when two people share a favorite band, movie, or sport is what creates that initial inclination towards friendship. By surrounding yourself with people who have the same hobbies and interests, you are sure to have a wealth of conversation topics.

One person can’t possibly enjoy all the same things as you do, which is why we pick and choose a variety of people with whom to hang out. The wider your interests are, the harder it can be to find people who want to do all those things with you. Some people may find themselves shuffling through their contacts list on a nightly basis, attempting to determine who the most compatible friend is for whatever they have in mind.

Luckily, no two people are exactly the same. The difficulty that accompanies that fact is that you can’t go to the same person for everything. You’d think that this supposed variety in interests would make us, as a society, extremely accepting and understanding. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

When we divide ourselves into categories by shared interests, we not only find people with similar character and hobbies but sometimes distance ourselves from others. In selecting the group of people to spend time with, many of us choose to also pass judgment on others who do not fall into the same categorical set.

I don’t mind that the group of friends that I go out with on the weekends is a different set of friends than the one I watch movies, shows, play video game and generally just hang out with on weekdays. What I do mind is when members of these two groups decide to pass judgment on each other.

A few of the girls who “dress to impress” on the weekends, girls for whom social life is the biggest aspect of college, girls who have livened up many of my Saturday nights, can also be a little nasty. I cringe every time one of these women crosses paths with a typical “nerd” and communicates disdain with a sideways glance or grimace. Girls who construe value in the thickness of a guy’s biceps or the percentage of hours he spends wasted do everyone a disservice.

Conversely, I can find it difficult to keep my opinions to myself when I’m spending time with my “shut-in” friends. Most of the time I enjoy their company, when we huddle under blankets during the latest gore flick or throw elbows during a “Super Smash Bros” match. But occasionally, one of the guys will convey disgust at some girl’s liberal application of make-up or noticeably tanned skin. They slander the type of people who choose to spend their weekends (drunkenly) partying or meeting people.

Why do so many of us, including myself on occasion, feel the need to pass judgment? Perhaps it’s a self-defense mechanism. Unsure if his or her decisions are truly the “right” decisions, an individual may scoff another’s choices in order to bolster their own self-esteem. Maybe, as in teen movies of the ’90s, people believe this bullying makes them “cooler.” Realistically, neither of these reasons excuse the superiority that many assume.

Truthfully, none of us should feel the need to pass this level of judgment. Just because someone enjoys an activity that you do not doesn’t make them inferior. Unfortunately, it seems that a few people need reminding of a grade school lesson: be nice.

Whether or not we choose to act like it, we are adults (and have been for quite some time). It’s past time to leave clique behavior behind. Those people who drop their “screening process” of people worth talking to usually find way more friends than they thought they would.

What harmless hobbies other choose to engage in does not harm you or anyone else. Hating other people’s interests doesn’t make yours any more interesting. Though I fear sounding like everyone’s third-grade teacher, I have to ask: Why can’t we all just get along?

Hailey Gross is a sophomore in English from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.