I finished high school in year 2000. That is 15 years ago and I honestly don’t miss a minute of the angst and drama that accompanied my final school years.
I also often thought it was a joke when people pointed out how Capetonians are so cliquey. A while ago I read an article where a lady gave details about how difficult it was to get into a group of friends in Cape Town. I thanked my lucky stars that a couple years back when I was welcomed into a wonderful group of warm and caring girlfriends that I hadn’t had a similar experience. That people were wrong when they pointed out the clique factor was as inescapable as the South Easter on a summers day in the Cape.
I was wrong though. Of the group of five, one lady has never warmed up to me and I’ve realised never will. It was from the very first meeting when she breezed in to a party being hosted by my cousin, hours late and immediately made everything about her. Or her car which was giving hassles at that time. The more I saw of the group the more I got to know everyone, we would have a great time and I was always grateful that I could be myself around them versus work friendships which are a different sort of relationship entirely.
But now I see that for every wonderful group of friends you make, if you aren’t there from the start, there is often a person who likes to remind you of that fact. She even pointed out once that it was so weird it took my cousin years to introduce me to the group. I think if this woman had anything to do with it, that introduction would never have happened.
I’ve been polite to this lady from the start, shrugged off her comments when I took an interest in her job and she told me I wouldn’t understand what she was studying. Apparently beauty therapy is the new rocket science. Whereas being an executive assistant doesn’t require much and her friend that has zero experience in the investment industry could do my job in a heartbeat (charming conversation we had earlier this month). I ignored the fact that I was invited to certain events and not others. I baked her boyfriend’s birthday cake for a milestone celebration and only charged her for the cost of the ingredients, pretending that my time and electricity were free. She gave no credit for the hours I put in nor mentioned I’d made it to anyone when they asked on FB. I lent her books and she didn’t return them without numerous requests. Then got rude and said I could collect them myself. I couldn’t make her birthday party last year and apologised but still gave a gift. She cancelled on the day of mine and gave nothing and I looked the other way. She is as fake as can be in front of our friends and a different story when everyone isn’t looking and I have pretended for over two years that this is acceptable. Her birthday is next month and she has invited everyone but me. The irony is I didn’t even want to go but had already been wondering what gift to buy and how it needed to be special as it was a milestone birthday. Stupid me. And she couldn’t have made it more obvious if she’d actually passed around the invitations in front of me. Which she did.
I’ve realised that the whole clique thing isn’t left behind with school uniforms and exams. Some people insist on dragging it along afterwards because they feel safe within their group of friends and any newcomer is an unwelcome threat. It is pathetic as nobody owns people. Nobody else has felt the need to be a bitch at every opportunity and make me remember how much longer they have known everybody in the group (this includes reminiscing about things that happened yonks ago with people I don’t know). I now know that standing up to her about the book issue was the beginning of the end. In her eyes I was ‘allowed’ in the group as long as I did what she wanted and didn’t kick up a fuss. First time I did (by pointing out I wouldn’t be collecting books, she had borrowed and failed numerous times to return) was her cue to fight back. Or maybe it was the excuse she had been waiting for. As now she had a reason to exclude the ‘new girl’.
It must be so tragic to live such a small life that a new friend is seen as a massive threat and unwelcome competition. Instead of what that person actually is – a new friend.