Cliques and Gossip

Heading back to school after the summer can be hard. Dealing with new friendships and the stresses that go along with beginning a new school year and our changing routine can make it rough. Two major problems that usually seem to develop around this time with friends are cliques and gossip. These are things that we as Christians need to be careful not to get caught up in.

Living Outside the “In” Crowd

Although we don’t always intend to, we often have a tendency to divide ourselves into groups. In high school, these groups are known as cliques. Webster’s dictionary describes cliques as “small, exclusive circles of people.” These circles are usually formed with people we like and know well. We are comfortable with them.

A close group of friends is not necessarily a bad thing. As humans, it is natural for us to have friendships and want to spend time with people with whom we relate. However, cliques can make it difficult to create friendships with people who are outside that circle. Cliques are often based on stereotypes, and exclude people who do not “fit in.”

Looking back at high school, I remember the cliques that were based on social class and whether or not the tag or label on your shirt was a certain brand. Why does what is on the inside of our shirt determine our popularity? While it is important to keep company with people who lift us up and support our beliefs and values, it is also important to be kind to everyone, whether our other friends like that person or not. Just because someone is not what we would consider “cool” does not mean that their soul is not worth the same as ours.

It seems that in high school everything is a popularity contest. But whose standard is that popularity based upon? The popular one is usually not the one who hangs out with someone who is considered un-cool. If Jesus were a student at your school, what would he be considered? A kid who conforms so that he can be part of a clique, or the one who is nice to everyone, helping the poor un-cool kid who just tripped and dropped his books, keeping his faith and still showing others kindness? In his time, Jesus was looked upon as un-cool. Mark 2:15-17 tells of Jesus sitting down to eat. And, as he did so, publicans (tax collectors) and sinners came and ate with him. The Pharisees and scribes did not like this. In those days, those were not the types of people you were to associate yourself with. And Jesus responded to their criticism, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Jesus broke away from the “in” crowd to spread his message.

I cannot say that it is bad to be part of a clique. It is important, however, to be part of a clique that accepts people; not for their clothes or wealth or abilities, but for their value to God.


I will admit that gossip is something I have struggled with before. As women, we seem to have this desire to know everything about everyone. A lot of times, I don’t even realize I am doing it. As I get older, I realize that most of the gossip that I have spread had no effect on my life whatsoever, and it only wasted time I could have spent on something else. And even though the one I was gossiping about may never have heard about it or been hurt by my comments, it hurt them in the eyes of others. The gossip was unsubstantiated claims; I often didn’t know where it came from or who it would end up hurting.  “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not” (1Timothy 5:13).

High school was an endless array of who said what about who and why. And usually, what you hear in high school as far as gossip goes is either a lie or a half truth. Have any of you ever played the game where people line up and something is whispered to the first person in the line, who then passes it on, spreading it all the way down the line to the very end? What is said aloud by the last person is never the same thing that was given by the first. That is because along the way people misunderstood what was said to them, and they made up something that sounded like it might fit into the sentence.

That scenario is what usually happens to rumors. No two people hear exactly the same thing, or understand it in the same way. So, when each person changes a word or the way something was said, before you know it, the story is nothing like what really happened.

Many times, we will hear gossip right in front of us. It is important that we take a stand to stop the spread of this. Although usually the person saying it may be one of your friends, we need to let them know that what they are doing is not okay. Perhaps you can point out to them that unless they were there, know the whole story, and the story will effect one of you, then he/she should not be telling it. Usually once you show them that until they have all the facts it is not good to speak, they will stop. If your simple objection does not work, maybe you could ask them how they would feel if it was them that others were talking about. Let them know that by talking about others, we lower ourselves.

Gossip can cause loss of trust, loss of friends, and it can damage our reputation. Who would want to have a friend who cannot keep a secret? Proverbs 11:13 states, “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.”

There are several ways to control our gossiping. What I have learned to do is ask myself five important questions: “Is the information true?” If I do not know firsthand, then I have no right to speak about it. “Is the information going to hurt someone?” “If it hurts someone, who will it hurt?” “If it were about me, would I want others to know?” and, most importantly, “Does the information have any effect on my life or the life of the person I am telling it to?” If the gossip is not going to affect the person’s life of whom I am telling, then what is the point of them knowing? There is no reason for them to know if they are not affected by it. Like I said, I have struggled with gossip myself. Many women have. But, it is important that we remind ourselves that gossip can hurt our friends and loved ones and even ourselves. This school year, let what you don’t say make a statement about who you are!

By Sarah J. Ancheta


  1. Great article, and I especially love your information about gossiping! Like most girls, I have been on the giving and receiving end of gossip, and every time gossip ends up hurting me and the others involved. Matthew 12:34b says, “of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” When our heart is flowing with Christ’s love, our words will display that. When our hearts are abundant with jealousy, bitterness, and anger, those feelings will also overflow into our words. We should all strive to allow our hearts to be filled with Christ’s love so the hurtful words we’re tempted to speak will instead become words of love and encouragement. Again, great article!

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