What Girls Really Think of Friendship and Cliques
Unfortunately, dealing with cliques and fake friendships is something that everyone, regardless of age, has to endure. But the silver lining? This rite of passage doesn’t only make you stronger (cue up the Kelly Clarkson chorus!) but it shows you who your real friends are—the ones who you’ll stay close with decades down the line.
And, because the best kind of advice comes from people who’ve actually been through it themselves, we asked our readers to share the biggest friendship lessons they’ve learned so far below.
"As someone with social anxiety, making friends can be quite hard for me. What I've learned over the past few years of having these anxieties is that the quantity of your friends does not matter; it's all about the quality. I realized that I only needed friends in my life that were actually supportive and I could get along with, whether that number is 2 or 20. I've also realized how valid online friendships are and the positive effects they have on people. Just because someone is talking to you through your computer or phone screen, doesn't make your friendship any less than seeing that person face to face."—Gabby, 18
"At an age when friendships shape and define who you are and who you will become as a person, it is important to choose your friends wisely and to surround yourself with people who emanate optimism and a drive to achieve their dreams. I learned this the hard way: If you surround yourself with the wrong crowd, you will end up reflecting what you take in. Friendships and even cliques are a part of you and all coincide to make this one version of you, and it’s imperative to choose those who will motivate you to be the best version of yourself." —Dayalis, 16
"Throughout high school I found cliques, particularly the 'popular' ones, to be not only super exclusive and elitist, but more or less the bane of my existence. They acted as an inexplicable oxymoron. The more I was denied access, the more I wanted desperately to be in one. I’m very happy with the friends I had in high school. We're still very close and have great healthy friendships, whereas the girls who made up those Heathers-esque groups have for the most part fallen apart. (They mostly just awkwardly cackle behind each other's backs at our high school reunions.) I definitely had my friend group, but we were never exclusionary in a negative way to other girls. It's better to be neutral than struggle to be at the top of the pecking order, clique-wise, although it may seem like a life or death matter at the time in high school." —Layla, 23
"I've had so many incredible friends throughout my life, but once I got to college, I found a group of brilliant women who completely changed my perspective on friendship. They taught me that being friends means more than just having someone to get coffee with, or go to parties with. We're each other's support system, sounding board, shoulder to cry on, people to celebrate with. We're each other's family at our home away from home." —Angela, 21