Welcome to Ask Me Anything. The concept of the series is to help foster and nurture an open and profound bond between father and daughter, that transcends the awkwardness of puberty (I wrote about it in more detail here.) In this week’s instalment, my husband asks why are women cliquey?

HubbyI was thinking about a certain situation, and how it was a bit odd and we maybe shouldn’t repeat it. Anyway, it made me want to ask you: cliquiness. Seems to be a (mostly) female problem, can you shed any light? In fairness, this seems to happen around you quite a lot, doesn’t it…

Me: Thanks mate. Yes, you’re right – it does. So let’s talk about it.


I can’t tell you too much about it, because honestly, I don’t always understand it. It’s certainly not something I ever wish to be involved in, or want to watch/implicitly be a part of. In my opinion it’s akin to bullying, but with a less juvenile, less inflammatory label. Because it almost suggests a tight group, doesn’t it – and what’s wrong with that?

The Problem With Cliques and Cliqueiness

Well, what’s wrong with it is that, in my experience, it’s a close-knit group to the exclusion of all others, or – often – to the exclusion of one other. And so it does, in fact, amount to the same thing as bullying. Whether by design or by chance, it results in one or many feeling marginalised.

Why Are Women Cliquey? Friends drinking wine

Granted, trying to gain access to an established friendship group can be the equivalent of trying to infiltrate an enemy faction, ie. dangerous territory. You do so at your own risk. I have no idea quite why this is, but few succeed without some battle scars for their troubles. However, the more interesting, less-understood, and arguably less kind situation is when a group comes together at the same time… and then divides.

Let’s be real – cliquey is a pretty way of saying bitchy.

Related posts:

How I Deal With Cliques

What I do know for sure is this: it’s not something I ever choose to remain part of once it’s become an obvious issue. I don’t get it, I don’t like it, and I definitely don’t respect it. So the reason I seem to encounter it a lot may be because I refuse to tolerate it – I prefer to walk away than be involved in a destructive ‘friendship’. I think it’s actually quite common, but lots of people simply accept it as the norm. Not me.

Having said that, of course it’s also very important not to incorrectly label somebody!

If the friendship is worth saving, I will attempt to resolve the conflict. And if it won’t be a great loss and I’ll be happier without the stress, then I’ll simply walk away.

Why Are Women Cliquey?

But why do adult women (or men) behave in this way in the first place? Now there’s a question to which I’d dearly love an answer. I have great fears about the prevalence of bullying in schools and I’m intrigued as to how that develops into adulthood:

  • Is it most often the bully or the victim who becomes the adult perpetrator?
  • What can we do to discourage this behaviour in our children?
  • How can we best support them if they are targeted – or, indeed, if they’re a bystander?

Since originally writing this post I’ve looked into bullying in more depth and even interviewed an expert on the subject. You can read more here:

An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is a huge advocate of personal growth, focusing on journaling to increase positivity and facilitate mindful motherhood. With a wealth of experience in breastfeeding and CMPA, Kate is also an expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.


  1. Kate Reply

    Hi Mellissa, it’s in the pipeline for a few weeks time. I hope you check back, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the future posts I have planned.

  2. Kate Reply

    There are some who are lovely – not every mum or every group is awful. But sadly it does seem to be quite a big issue in my experience and from what I’ve heard from others. I’m the same as you and try to go out of my way to ensure others are not isolated. Not everybody is as kind as us though! ?

  3. I have noticed that in certain female groups there seems to be an “alpha” female. One who tries to control the group and keep her “reign” I wouldn’t say its exclusive to women but I hear about it more in women groups. Very interesting and thanks for talking about it!

    • Kate Reply

      The ‘alpha’ idea is probably quite relevant actually. Perhaps these women are actually quite insecure and looking for valuation?!

  4. I hate cliques, they always make someone feel inferior. Sometimes I think they do it on purpose but likewise I don’t think they always realise what they are doing. We have a situation at school with some of the Mums and many think they are being cliquey but actually I think they are just having such fun amongst themselves they don’t really ‘see’ everyone else ?

    • Kate Reply

      Interesting point! Perhaps they’d be mortified if it were pointed out to them that they come across that way… But I don’t think applies to them all!

  5. Kate Reply

    Yes, top dog sounds about right, I could certainly apply that to a few people I know!

  6. Kate Reply

    I feel you! I’m really more comfortable in small groups with just one or two others.

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