Social Question

ette_'s avatar

Why do you think some people are cliquey and/or judgmental?

Asked by ette_ (1360points) March 1st, 2011

I’m not going to sit here and say that I haven’t ever been guilty of this exact thing at times in my life, and my theory is only one explanation, but why do you think people tend towards being cliquey and/or judgmental towards others, especially in circumstances where they haven’t personally gotten to know someone and are relying only on hearsay?

Why in your own life have you been this way?

I think for me, the “rational” explanation when I look back is that I was judging another in order to feel accepted as part of the group. I don’t think this is right, but it happens. This question is stemming from me fighting with myself about how I shouldn’t care what other people think about me if they don’t bother to get to know me, but at the same time feeling down sometimes when I think I’m being treated unfairly or getting the short end of the stick.

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12 Answers

partyparty's avatar

I think many people judge a person even though they don’t really know them.
They like to follow the group, just to appear part of that group.
I don’t think anyone should judge until they know all the circumstances, and know these circumstances are the total truth.
Then they can make their own minds up as to how and/or why this happened.
Don’t let people get you down. Be yourself.

BarnacleBill's avatar


Many, but not all, people are like sheep, and only feel safe when part of a flock and can blend in with the rest of the sheep. They require a shepherd to watch over and guide the flock. Anyone that stands out as different is subject to criticism. Many people are only okay with themselves if everyone agrees with their point of view, because there’s safety in being one of many that think the same way.

People are often mean because of fear. If they’re mean first, you can’t be mean to them. It also brings power within the flock.

Traditionally, people are tribal in nature, so wanting to band together is a natural instinct for most.

Seelix's avatar

It’s a way for people to feel like they belong.

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thorninmud's avatar

I’d put it down to a desire for significance. People are constantly engaged in a struggle against insignificance. By any objective measure, we barely register in the grand pageant of the universe, and that doesn’t sit well with us. We want to be important, to be able to look down on some people from higher ground. That requires defining what it means to be of value in a way that includes you and those like you, and excludes those not like you. Put simply, we want there to be some people who are not as good as us, so we manipulate our definition of “good” to make that happen.

marinelife's avatar

I feel like a broken record this morning, but @BarnacleBill is absolutely right. Judgment comes from fear.

@BarnacleBill Will you marry me?~

ucme's avatar

Lack of self esteem i’d say is another trait.

Summum's avatar

One word identifies the problem and that is Insecurity. Which is what ucme is saying low self esteem is the same thing.

Austinlad's avatar

Scratch the surface of a judgemental person and you find fear and insecurity. I know—I’m one of those persons you can scratch.

thorninmud's avatar

To look at it objectively, maybe it’s fair to say that aversion to cliques is also based on fear and insecurity. We’ve evolved a propensity to form social networks. I think we can all agree that this is one of the strengths of our species. To the vast majority of us, complete social exclusion is a horrible fate. It leaves us isolated and insignificant. It’s a normal human reaction to fear that.

What we call a “clique” is just a small, self-defined social network of like-minded people. To the members of that network, it’s only natural that the network should exist, since the people in it are united in seeing things from the “right” point of view, as opposed to those outside who just don’t get it. Nothing unusual about that, really. We all subscribe to various forms of that same basic model.

People who a clique sees as “not getting it” (whatever “it” is) are naturally inclined to take offense at this. It’s not only an offense, it’s also a threat because it’s an organized group promoting a different set of values and disparaging those of the outsiders. In reaction, the outsiders take an even more negative view of the values that define the clique (which is a judgment) and quite possibly form their own clique in reaction. Consciously or unconsciously, we want to be accepted in a group, and when we feel excluded, that’s perceived as a threat of isolation and irrelevance.

What I’m trying to say is that there is a fundamental fear of social exclusion that makes us take a dim view of cliques. I suspect that when we attribute fear and insecurity to people in cliques, it just makes us feels better about our own anxieties over social exclusion.

MilkyWay's avatar

I think as many other people here, fear. It’s also maybe because they feel intimidated or jealous towards that person. Humans can be such pigheads sometimes…

SpatzieLover's avatar

Cliquey=Herd Mentality

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