For the overwhelming majority of my life, I have never really cared about feeling a sense of belonging with cliques or groups. I think middle school was probably the last time/place I really cared about it, which I think is a middle school requirement. Once I moved on to high school I had a lot of friends across the whole spectrum of groups, from the “stoners” (a technically correct term, at least from the 80′s), to the “jocks” to the “nerds”, from the in crowd to the loners. I don’t think I really belonged with any crowd, probably because there really wasn’t a glam rock hairband honor roll clique. I worked full time in college and barely had time to study, much less have a social life, so no groups there. Graduate school didn’t seem to have any cliques (that I was aware of) and everyone interacted more on a co-worker type of level.
As a new mom I tried a few mommy groups, but really once I found a few good mommy friends, I was good with just that. Park, playdates, the mall – they all were great with just one other mom and the kids. I’ve really never done the PTA type thing, and if I have time to volunteer at school, I tend to want to spend it in the classroom (though that time is rare).
Professionally, I have worked from home for over 15 years. A long time. One job had semi-annual meetings around the country, and I probably did have a bit of a clique I was close to when we had our regional meetings, but that group always changed as people would leave and new ones would come in. For the past ten years I’ve been self employed, so no cliques in this work environment.
As I’ve evolved into blogging for my full time profession, I have started to realize that there are indeed cliques, especially among food bloggers. It took me a while for them to even make it on to my radar, but sure enough, they have. And for some reason, it’s the first time being on the outside of a social group seems to bug me a bit. I politely interact with a number of them on social media regularly, but clearly have not made it into the cool baking girl clique.
I’m really not sure why this bothers me. This stuff never bothers me. I guess it’s possibly a desire to connect with my peers, those who are doing what I am doing. It’s rare I meet another blogger, much less a food blogger, so I guess there is a sort of “wanting to find my tribe”, those who identify with food prop storage issues, recipe development, photography equipment, working with brands and pr reps, things like that. I think knowing that there is indeed a group (probably groups) who do share those things, makes me long to be a part of something in a way that I really haven’t before.
And to play play devil’s advocate, many of the food blog gals have met each other in person at events and conferences. They live near each other and get together in person. They spend a lot of time on each others blogs commenting and cross promoting. I have certainly tried to do the same, though after a while the lack of reciprocity starts to become apparent (as in that reciprocity occurs, just selectively, and I’m not selected). My reality is that I barely have time to write my own blog, must less spend great amounts of time on the blogs of others. I wish I did, but this whole special needs parenting thing kind of takes most of your time and energy and I struggle to just keep up with the basics.
So really, why should I be a part of these groups, I don’t put much in, that makes sense. Plus I’m really not good at that whole sucking up to be accepted thing.
I do find it interesting that it’s even on my radar, given how little importance belonging to cliques or groups has had in my life. Why does not being in the “in” group of baking bloggers bother me? At the end of the day I blog for myself, my readers and the brands I work with, and I feel like those are great relationships. And I have met some awesome bloggers who I really like. If I enjoy what I do, if my readers are happy and I’m growing and cultivating relationships with brands, that really is what matters. The thousands of people who visit my site for recipes and ideas each week should matter more than a dozen or so other bloggers. Really clicks should matter more than cliques.
Now I must add that there are some awesome bloggers that I have connected with , some of them food bloggers and many of them in different areas, so I don’t want to sound like I haven’t found some really really cool gals who I truly enjoy interacting with.
What this all does make me realize is that as the mother of girls, that whole clique thing is something that will probably play an increasing role in our lives. Maybe this is that “get in touch with the feelings of it” type of things to help my girls navigate their paths. There’s always a reason, maybe that is reason enough.