Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Rise of Mommy Cliques: Are You "In" or "Out"?

I've always been quite outgoing. In high school, I was involved in a lot of activities, had a lot of friends, was on homecoming court, and was voted "most friendly" my senior year. Despite all that, even though it seems silly now, there was a certain group of girls that I wanted to be included with. I was on the outskirts of their clique--in enough to hear what my friends did on the weekend, but not quite "in" enough to be invited to those activities. Sometimes it stung a little.

We're not in high school anymore, but we still find cliques. A group of mommy friends gets together to do something and leaves us out. Or perhaps there's a party, and our mom friends and their kids are all invited--except we're not. Even though we're more mature now, I don't know how old we have to be for that sting to disappear.

Clique is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially : one held together by common interests, views, or purposes."

Sure, we all have friends we click with more than others. That's natural. But I think the problem with the clique lies in the key word "exclusive." When our group of friends consistently does exclusive things together, exclusively, we leave others out who might want to be in and open the door to potential hurt feelings. I wish I could say this doesn't happen in the church, but I see it there, too (maybe largely in part to the fact that, as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mommy, it's the biggest social network in my life).

So what's one to do? Here are a few ideas that help me:
  • Hang out with our own clique. I think it's helpful to realize that as wives and mothers now, our family is our clique. They're the people we hang out with the most, and they're the ones we should most enjoy hanging out with. We may be left out of a group of women, but we are never left out of our most important group!
  • Celebrate the friends we do have. I would rather have a few very close friends, whom I can talk with deeply, than a group of friends where the talk is typically trivial.
  • Consider. When getting together with friends, think about if there is anyone you're leaving out of your invitation that maybe you should include. Be sensitive to who might need the fellowship. With Facebook and other social media, it's super easy to blast out an open-ended invitation to local friends.
  • Remember. Remember that the definition of a clique is an exclusive group. Consistently inviting only the same people to get-togethers is probably a clue that the group's crossed into clique territory. We're way past high school. Let's get past the clique mentality, too, and open our friendship circles up to more people.
"My [sisters], as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a [woman] comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor [woman] in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the [woman] wearing fine clothes...have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?"
--James 2:1-4

This Coffee Talk Thursday, I'd love to hear if you've experienced mommy cliques and how you've dealt with it maturely (and your ideas on how to prevent hurting others' feelings through them).

(linked up with Works for Me Wednesday)


  1. This is a very interesting thing to think about... I definitely agree with you that we should be inclusive of all people, especially as Christians. I am not quite sure yet, though, if it's possible to avoid this clique phenomenon. For one thing, you can't very well leave your best friends out of events, but there does come a limit to how many people you can have at any given event. Does that make sense?? But we certainly don't want to be exclusive... not sure where the balance is. Thanks for challenging us to think about it :-)

  2. Hey Lauren,
    Thanks for the comment! I totally understand what you're saying. We have our best friends, and when we have time to get together with other women, it's only natural that we want to be with them. I think what I'm trying to say is, let's think about who else we could include from time to time (in those get togethers with our friends). Really just to evaluate our heart and see if we're purposely trying to leave anyone out, or if God brings someone specific to mind to invite.
    A friend of mine was a great example of not being cliquey. This summer she sent out a text to several moms about meeting at the lake with our kids, and mentioned to invite anyone else who might like to come. Several moms showed up. But she could have just texted or talked to her favorite mom friends. That could have opened the door for others in our peer circle to hear about their time at the lake and wonder why they weren't invited, or to think it would have been nice to have been invited. So the way she handled it was a great example to me!
    Hope that helps!