“You can’t sit with us”: Does giving your group a name make you exclusive?

“For every group, a name follows,” junior Bharat Anand said.

In America, cliques are referred to as the jocks, the drama kids, and the ‘popular’ kids, but SAS takes it a step further – we have actual group names for ourselves which we will usually make up on our own. Normally, it’s a short little signature nickname for a group of friends that people can refer to them by.

Group names are a culture at SAS.

I’ve been going to SAS for nine years, and ever since I can remember there have been group names.

Counselor Dawn Betts explains how it all began. “There were two groups – two senior groups – ‘The Blondes’ and ‘The Six Pack.’ They were the first two groups. It was just because there was a group of girls that were good friends and it was like ‘the blondes over there.’ It was just to kind of refer to. And, they picked up the name and the guys called themselves the ‘six pack,’ that’s how it started.”

And now across every high school grade there are group names.

Some people feel like these clique names can be a good thing in that they give students and their friends a feeling of safety and create a stronger bond. Junior and SAS alum Eliza L’Heureux said, “Although they seem like they are exclusive, in a way they give you a sense of security.”

Junior Jason DeBrito agreed, “There’s no doubt that it promotes exclusivity, but at the same time groups of people will make names for a sense of place and those they can depend on.”

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Juniors Natasha Matis, Toorno Mishra, Kio Underwood and Justin Choi having fun during their free. Photo by Rosie Hogan.

Freshman Elaina Antimano feels the need for a group name isn’t necessary and is quite senseless. “I think cliques are prominent in our school, and it definitely does promote exclusivity, whether you have a group name or not… In the long run it doesn’t really last, and I’m sure that these groups get judged for it.”

High school cliques are unavoidable. The idea of creating a group name can be fun and harmless, but when does it become toxic?

It becomes an issue when having a group name creates a barrier between groups. When a group has a name, it often can become exclusive. People won’t feel comfortable hanging out or talking to each other because they are not in the same group.

Another issue is that having a group name may lead to a feeling of supremacy. For example, in the movie “Mean Girls,” the school called the popular girls “The Plastics.” By calling them that, it made those girls feel powerful and superior to everyone else. Often, that superiority complex shaped the girls to be mean and hurtful.

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Photo from “Mean Girls” official Facebook page.

A student who prefers to remain anonymous said, “I think SAS definitely has a problem with cliques. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a really close, strong group of friends — but once you give yourselves a name it becomes incredibly exclusive. It creates this mindset of ‘us’ and ‘them,’ and really it can almost become like a sorority… sometimes, a guy group and a girl group will be like ‘brother-sister’ groups and name themselves accordingly, which is sort of ridiculous.”

This student continued, saying, “Even if it’s not the original intention, people in the groups begin to have the mindset that they’re better than everyone else, or that there’s something that sets them apart, and that immediately separates them from the rest of the grade. I’ve noticed that it’s been happening in my grade quite a lot lately, and it sort of worries me. We used to be a lot more interconnected, and now I can sometimes feel awkward talking to people who are part of those groups, just because I’m not a part of it.”

It would be hypocritical of me to say I haven’t had group names. In fact, it would be hypocritical of me to say I don’t currently have a group name.

That being said, I guess what I’m trying to say is we need to be careful with our groups. Having a group name is completely harmless, unless you give it the power to be.

When I asked Ms. Betts if she thought that group names promoted exclusivity, she said, “I think it’s a mix actually.” … “I think it depends on the group.”

So try not to be THAT group.

The existence of group names may not change anytime soon, but we can change whether we are excluding or including our peers.

Author: Rosie Hogan

Rosie Hogan is a senior and one of the co editors of The Eye. Rosie has lived in Singapore for the majority of her life but goes back home to the states for her summers. When she’s not busy writing you can find her eating grilled cheese sandwiches, jamming out to Taylor Swift and watching Criminal Minds. She can be contacted at hogan33482@sas.edu.sg.

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