General Question

Feta's avatar

Why do girls/women exclude other females in groups?

Asked by Feta (925points) August 16th, 2014

First of all, I’m not looking for a pity party. I’m interested in your take on the subject because all I’ve heard from friends and family is, “They’re just jealous.”

I’m in a club at school where all the members are mostly popular girls. I wouldn’t say they’re particularly pretty or anything but they do their makeup well and always have nice hair and new outfits and they’re thin and I think the fact that they’re all upper middle class and outgoing has a lot to do with their popularity.

I joined the club at the recommendation of the teacher that runs it. I had a trial run with it last year and she liked the way I worked so she put me in the club.

At first, the girls didn’t speak to me at all. They just stared at me…literally. They just had dead, emotionless faces, and they stared any time the teacher asked me to do something or if I smiled at them…anything.

I’ve gotten to where a few of them will speak to me but they won’t hold a conversation. They’ll just ask me a question and that will be that.

Yesterday we took a group picture. They didn’t even invite me in to take the picture with them, I just happened to be standing there when they took it so I look like a goof standing in the back.

They posted it on Facebook and tagged every girl but me so I look even more stupid…like a loser that’s just in their picture.

I sent them friend requests on Facebook, only one added me.

I’ve tried to look friendly and be friendly, I try to act interested in their conversations and I sit in their groups and they just act like I’m not there at all.

It can’t be that I’m just “new” to their group because there are other girls in the club that are new that aren’t great friends with them that they talk to and hang out with now and have accepted to their clique, but me, they just pretend I’m not even there.

It makes me feel pretty bad and I’m just wondering what I’m doing wrong because I do like them, they’re funny sometimes and I like how outgoing they are, they just don’t like me.
And when any one of them speaks to me, it’s as if I’m an outsider. They almost speak to me as one would speak to a person who didn’t understand English. They talk kind of slow and look at me like a child.

Why is this?

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33 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Girls in high school can be very superficial. I think I told you on another Q it’s a group dynamic where they each are worried about one of the others not approving of talking to you, or they feel better about the,selves by treating smeine else like they are not good enough. It’s very mean and immature.

I know some people are going to be annoyed I am saying this, but any chance you can do your hair in a more popular style and put on some make-up? One girl in my school was always a little heavier than everyone and not very “attractive” and then the summer between 7th and 8th grade she straightened her hair, learned how to put on make-up and she was transformed. All of a sudden she was more popular. Not that I think you should try to get in with these seemingly mean girls, but at least maybe it might give you more power, more confidence.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m sorry about this, because it’s going to be rough. Girls at your age are miserable mean bitches. They form cliques and exclude anyone they want to. They have they’re own circle and anyone else is unwelcome. Well I guess JL said it well. I’ll stop here.

Feta's avatar

But that’s what’s weird @JLeslie. I do wear makeup and I know how to put it on, I’ve been watching tutorials on Youtube since I was 12 and I’ve gotten compliments on how well I do my makeup before.
I always dress up. Always. I wear some of the same brands that they do like Abercrombie but I think I dress a little more mature than do as I also wear FCUK and Tommy Hilfiger.
I try to do my hair but it won’t hold a curl and I’ve colored it so it’s a bit dull and it’s also shoulder length.
It’s never matted or unbrushed though. If anything it’s just a tad frizzy sometimes.

Honestly, I think the only thing that sets me apart from them is that I’m quite pale while they’re tan and I’m also 5’9’’ and thin and they’re all under 5’6’’.

cookieman's avatar

First, I’m really sorry you have to deal with this silliness. It’s not nice at all.

Secondly, some people are just assholes. It’s really that simple.

Perhaps not now, but someday, somewhere, you will find “your people”. Folks who will appreciate you and share similar interests and perspectives. Someday. I promise. These chicks — not your people.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, I’m sorry to hear how awful these girls are. Try not to take it personally, the fact is they are all like a herd of Golden Retrievers only with bad temperaments. haha
All come form the same puppy mill and all are more concerned with their appearances and blending with the pack than they are asserting a genuine, welcoming and friendly manner of being.
Just keep being yourself and if they continue to snub you try not to feel bad, easier said than done I know because we all want to belong.

I’m a mature woman now but I never behaved like this towards other girls/women/people in my life. There are genuine people out there that will go out of their way to socialize with and make newcomers feel part of the group, sadly it seems IF any one of these girls might, all on her own, take that initiative to befriend you, clearly they are captives of their pathetic little pack of she wolves.
If it makes you feel any better some friends of mine are in their 40’s and are being snubbed by the snotty horse show crowd after being newcomers to a group and doing very well for newbies to their particular events and they are ready to quit because they feel so unwelcomed. This happens across all age groups whenever new people are entering a group, club, hobby, sporting situation.

The more people try to maintain a status quo the more emotionally immature and self absorbed they are.
Feel good that you have the real breeding to rise above these mongrel girls and conduct yourself like a show dog. Bitches! lol

JLeslie's avatar

@Feta They are just mean. Are you the one who wrote the Q about yearbook? Can you join a different club or committee? The best would be to not care what those girls think, but even if you don’t care, it won’t be fun for you to be in a club where you don’t get along with most of the other members. When you say they have darker skin are they a different nationality?

Feta's avatar

No, @JLeslie, they’re all caucasian, they just go to tanning salons even in the winter.
I remember one complaining about her “sun burn” in the middle of February.

Yeah, that was my question and this is the same class. I can’t transfer to a new club because we have a new schedule changing rule that says you can’t change your classes unless you have a legitimate reason. They say not liking the teacher or the kids in the class isn’t a legitimate reason. It has to be a graduation issue.

And I really do like the club. I like the work we get to do and the fact that I can take pictures in school and go to events.
It’s just every time I have to go to that club I feel physically sick because I know I’m just going to get stared at and treated like a nonentity.

My friends outside of this club even ignore me to some extent. Sometimes I’ll say something and they’ll be quiet for a moment so I know they heard me but then they’ll just keep talking like I said nothing.

It’s led to deep seated feelings of worthlessness. I’ve been seeing a counselor who’s working with me on getting my self esteem back up and she’s told me to try and fight the anxiety that I’ve developed and just say whatever I want to and not worry that someone is going to judge me. But the problem is, they do actually judge me! I’m not imagining that they are.
Whenever I say something people just stare at me for a minute and then go back their conversation. This happens even in my group of friends.

It’s not like I’m saying anything weird or non-sequitur either.

(sorry for the life story, i just wanted to elaborate on how much this ‘ignoring’ actually affects me)

It’s really not as easy as just “finding new friends”. I go to a really small school, I’m a senior, and the people I’m friends with are already the freaks and geeks.
And even they don’t seem to like me.

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pleiades's avatar

Believe it or not this happens in the straight male community, the trans community, the gay community, the lesbian community, the elementary community… (I think you know where I’m going with this)

jca's avatar

I think in regards to women, it’s not just high school women. It can be women of all ages. I have experienced it at work from both sides – being excluded (I asked a q here about being on a committee where I was shut out) and seeing others excluded. Women can be cliquey and if you’re not in the clique, forget about it. Where I live, there’s one mom who, unless I say hello to her first, will act like I’m not there. I’m not quite sure how to handle it, as I have a hard time ignoring people but yet refuse to kiss anyone’s ass, either. Women can be cold, cliquey bitches.

Aethelwine's avatar

One good friend is worth more than eight girls/women who pretend to be your friend.

Be yourself. Someone will appreciate you.

Feta's avatar

Yeah, I included grown women in the initial question because I know my stepmom has faced exclusion by female coworkers before and I’ve had heart to hearts with teachers who moved to this area to teach and noticed how lonely I was and they confided in me that’s it’s a difficult area to make friends in even for them.

I’m a female but I’ve never really been cold and cliquey so I’ve just never understood how being mean to someone can make you feel better about yourself…I always feel terrible if I’m even slightly rude.

Haleth's avatar

“I’ve tried to look friendly and be friendly, I try to act interested in their conversations”

“My friends outside of this club even ignore me to some extent. Sometimes I’ll say something and they’ll be quiet for a moment so I know they heard me but then they’ll just keep talking like I said nothing.

It’s not like I’m saying anything weird or non-sequitur either.”

I hate to say this, because it will probably be tough to hear and I could be wrong. But reading between the lines, it sounds like you might be socially awkward not realize it.

The reason I say this is because I was that girl in high school, so I know the signs. And also, if that is the case, the only way for things to get better is to identify and work on the problem.

In high school I had a couple close friends who were just as quirky as me. But outside of them, I always felt outside of the loop in conversations. It was like people were silently judging me but trying to feign a minimum level of niceness. People can sense reluctance or unhappiness, and it’s off-putting. As a result, I felt pretty lost during my teenage years.

Being able to hold a good conversation is like knowing a language. Many people grow up in an environment where they learn the language of social skills from an early age. Some of us don’t, because school or family situations can get in the way and limit chances to meet other kids. If that happens, you end up the way I did- having to learn social skills like a second language when you’re an adult.

Luckily, there’s a way to grow out of it, but it does take some effort. For me, what worked was finding my niche. There are a few things I care about enough that they’re lifelong passions, and I went to school for one of them and found a job in another. When you’re really excited and engaged about something, that busy/happy feeling lights you up from the inside. Enthusiasm is infectious; it spreads to other areas of your life and makes other people want to be around you.

The other thing that really worked was working retail- seriously. Working with the general public for ten years has given me a fuckton of chances to practice talking to people. Things like starting a conversation with a stranger, making small talk, or resolving an argument are real life skills and not everybody knows how to do them. Back to the social skills= learning a language comparison; having a job in the service industry is like taking a language immersion class. You WILL learn things.

High school is a pretty lonely time in general. You said you’re a senior, right? Whether I’m right or wrong, finding your passions and cultivating your interests will make the year more bearable. (And the people you meet in college will be smarter and nicer, guaranteed.) What do you care about enough that it’s a lifelong passion? You should throw yourself into that. Caring deeply about something is a kind of happiness. It will take the edge off the loneliness this year and pave the way for a better future. It will also give you something to talk about. People don’t like small talk, but it paves the way for real relationships.

If possible, you might also want to join a debate club or public speaking club, or take a part time job at a restaurant or coffeehouse. Think of it as exercising a muscle, or becoming fluent as a language. It’s tough at first, but it will really help. also has a lot of specific pointers for dealing with social situations.

Feta's avatar

I do have one good friend but she doesn’t live in the same state as me.
I only have one other friend and she’s sort of alienated me because I’m in this club with the popular girls.

the_overthinker's avatar

Wow, they’re rude. Well, from my point of view, and experience as a female myself and around other females, I’d say that they’re the type who are snobby and cocky. They must think they are better and also enjoy excluding and putting people down to make themselves feel better.

Feta's avatar

I’m a bit awkward in social situations with people like them because they’re constantly talking about superficial things and about other girls and I really have no input.

They have no interest in what I’m interested in.
It leaked that I’m good at drawing and now I’ll probably never hear the end of, “hey can you draw me this?”

But if I tried to tell them that my favorite book is Slaughterhouse 5 or that I found a new band called Nada Surf, they’d just say, “oooh….” And look at each other in search of shared amusement at the fact that I think they care.

fluthernutter's avatar

I think cookieman put it perfectly. These chicks are not your people. You’re wasting so much energy trying to gain the approval of people that don’t even seem to click with you. Let’s say they did like you. Then what? Doesn’t sound like you’d have much to say to one another. Sounds like being friends with them would be comparable to being waterboarded. I think they’re doing you a favor in the long run.

Like I tell my four-year-old, you should be nice to everyone, but you don’t have to be friends with everyone.

Nada Surf is not new. You are so cute.

Feta's avatar

It might also be the way I speak.
I live in a southern town but I don’t have a southern accent and everyone else does.
Perhaps it makes me sound uptight to them but I don’t know how nor do I want to talk like them.

And I really don’t mean to be rude because I would like to get to know them but I’m pretty sure their collective IQ is still lower than mine alone and when they ask me a question and I give them a legitimate, well thought out answer instead of saying, “I don’t know.” It’s like it throws them off. They stare at me for a minute and then they just say “oh” and turn away.

And that makes me feel like a freak. Like it’s only acceptable to them to be stupid and not know anything.

Feta's avatar

I know they’re not new!
But they’re new to me :)

fluthernutter's avatar

But I’m pretty sure their collective IQ is still lower than mine alone.

Whether or not you say it out loud, people will pick up on this kind of thing.

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

Feta's avatar

I know I’m smarter than them and obviously they know that as soon as I open my mouth but there’s one or two girls in the class that I think are smart too and somehow they’ve fit in.
The one is nice-ish to me, the other used to be a friend of mine and she’s really witty but for whatever reason she’s playing dumb like the others and acting like she doesn’t like me.

And I don’t see why me being a bit smarter means they wouldn’t like me.
If I met someone smarter than me and who was different and who came from a different place, I’d be really interested in talking to them, I wouldn’t ignore them or patronize them.

Haleth's avatar

@Feta The situation you’re in is actually pretty common. It’s almost common enough that I’d call it universal. There’s probably someone like you in every high school; you just never meet until college because you’re isolated in a sucky suburban community.

When you get to college, you’ll meet all kinds of people who will share your interests. People in college LOVE to talk about books and alternative rock.

You might also want to watch Daria or Ghost World. Both of those are about girls who don’t fit in in their high schools. It might make you feel better.

@fluthernutter‘s advice was also spot on. All of it was excellent, but especially that people can tell if you’re looking down at them.

Back to social skills, a big part of it is trying to understand where the other person is coming from, and meet them halfway. So with my neighbors, I’ll talk to them about gardening and pets, I have one friend where we mainly interact by joking around, another is into serious social issues, etc. You can meet people halfway with the parts of life that you do have in common, if you’re genuinely interested in them as a person. And if you expand your interests, you’ll have more in common with the people around you.

For instance- one of my favorite places in the world is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. It’s a special, quiet place. Asking people about their vacation plans is a pretty standard conversation starter. But you wouldn’t believe how many people have also been to Cape Hatteras and feel the same way about it that I do. There’s a house there that looks like a UFO- people even know about the UFO house! And I’m talking people from all different walks of life, who I’d have never guessed we shared anything in common. It makes the world feel a little friendlier.

pleiades's avatar

Dude you’re rocking a Sonic Youth default pic. You’re not supposed to care about things like this, “They posted it on Facebook and tagged every girl but me so I look even more stupid…like a loser that’s just in their picture.” In fact it instantly makes you cooler.

Popular girls tend to be really out going and snarky. If they’re not your catch of fish, throw them back into the ocean and don’t associate your self with them.

ucme's avatar

For whatever reason they’ve decided you don’t fit, this mentality won’t change because herds like that are set in their ways, tribal, you know…morons.
Right from the off it’s obvious, you’re too good for them & their petty, shallow minds.

jca's avatar

@fluthernutter had some good advice. When you say “And I really don’t mean to be rude because I would like to get to know them but I’m pretty sure their collective IQ is still lower than mine alone and when they ask me a question and I give them a legitimate, well thought out answer instead of saying, “I don’t know.” It’s like it throws them off. They stare at me for a minute and then they just say “oh” and turn away,” please realize that you may be marginalizing yourself when you give them well thought out answers. If they’re somewhat shallow, and you’re responding to things with complex sentences with big words, they’re probably all saying to each other “She’s such a freak” and laughing to each other about the words you use. Maybe try to keep the conversation on a simpler level. Don’t try to teach them or give them well thought out answers.

My other thoughts before reading the last few (about the above) was that if I were you, I wouldn’t give any more time or energy to wondering why they don’t talk to you. Just say hi to them and then leave it alone. There has to be a point where you decide you’re no longer going to invest any time or energy into wondering why they’re excluding you. They’re cold, they’re cliquey, and they have probably picked up on that you think you are smarter than they are. In addition, you said you’re very skinny (maybe awkward?) and your hair is slightly frizzy. High school girls are very superficial and judgmental. If your clothing, your hair, the way you talk is any different from theirs, that’s all they need.

Also, you said your one good friend dropped you because you’re in this group with the popular girls. Make sure you talk to this one good friend about how being in the popular girls’ group is not all it’s cracked up to be. Don’t let your one good friend go because of this group of superficial girls. Try to keep in touch with her and let her know you’re still her good friend. She may be feeling like now you’re off to “popular girl-land” and not realize that you are suffering and not really enjoying the group.

Feta's avatar

I have told her that I’m not making friends with them…I don’t know why she’s choosing not to believe me. I think the only way she would be happy is if I dropped out of the club completely, which I can’t.

I’m not sure I really “care” if they like me or not. It just hurts to sit in a room full of girls that are talking to each other and ignoring you and you know as soon as you walk out of the room that they make fun of you.
It never feels good to be cast out no matter how uncool the group is.

Also, all of my classes are full of these same girls and I have no friends in any of my classes this semester and then I have the club with these girls every day after school for the entire school year.

I’m not trying to be condescending when I give them answers, I just assumed that since they’re asking me, they want a legitimate answer.

snowberry's avatar

What if the next time they ask you a question, you ask them what kind of answer do they want?
If you get a “Huh?” back, just say something to the effect of “Think about it.” and move on. Don’t spend anymore energy on the idea unless they pursue it again.

JLeslie's avatar

@feta Maybe you aren’t doing the other social things? Smile, don’t cross your arms, mirror people, stand up straight. We already know you don’t mirror their accent, which is not a huge deal as long as you are doing all the other expected social niceties. From how you write, it sounds like you have a broad vocabulary, you might need to dumb it down around most of the kids your age.

If you are the person with the highest IQ in the room you need to remember they cannot raise their IQ, so for you to build rapport with them you need to relate to them at their level and find common ground by talking about things that interest all of you. Also, everyone is smart at something. Possibly, in you actions or tone you are coming across as condescending and you don’t realize it. I could see how annoyance would easily come through in the yearbook class.

I think haleth suggested getting a job in retail and I think that is a great idea. Dealing with the public required learning and polishing up social skills. If that interests you I can give you pointers about selling and interviewing for those jobs. Working will provide you with an opportunity to interact with more adults, which I think will suit you better, earn money, and help people. Pick a store you love.

Do your parents socialize with friends a lot? If not they may not have modeled good social behaviors. It is something that needs to be learned to some extent.

Pandora's avatar

What is this club about? You haven’t mentioned if maybe you have tried to change a few things in the club that they don’t approve of. There is also the possibility that they think you are the teachers pet. Sometimes teachers can have an effect. Your teacher may have changed in how they treat the other girls and they think you are the reason.
It also could be that they sense that you are withdrawn from them or don’t really approve of them. By your physical description of them, I can’t help but think that you think less of them. It only takes one or two of them to notice and spread the word to the rest. Problem with groups is that they usually look for you to approve of all of them. If they sense you do not, then they won’t bother with you.
Are you the girl with all the answers, at all times?

Or the girl with no contributions? Smarty pants and slackers are usually hit pretty hard.
When I was in 9th grade, I knew a girl who was always volunteering and always raising her hand, (followed by an impatient, oh, oh sound) to answer questions. It was so bad that, that even the teachers couldn’t take her any more. At first people did try to get to know her, but eventually she was iced out by everyone. It felt like she went out of her way to make everyone look bad or make them feel stupid.

JLeslie's avatar

@pandora It’s yearbook and the teacher sucks and favors the brown nosing popular girls.

jca's avatar

Also, @Feta, don’t assume that because these girls are popular or pretty that they’re not smart. Eon’t assume that because they don’t talk like you or use well thought out sentences with big words that you are smarter than they are. Don’t talk down to them like you’re superior and they’re less intelligent.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

”[T]hey’re all caucasian, they just go to tanning salons even in the winter”

Maybe there’s some comfort in knowing that they’ll all look old and skanky by age 35?

mushroom119's avatar

because they want to be the center of the group

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