With high school and college behind you, your days of idle drinking and talking shit have been replaced with lunch meetings and bills. You’d think people in the real world act like adults, right? That the cliques who polluted every memory you possess from puberty right up until you arrived at your first corporate job simply evaporated? The bitchy girls? No more. Ass kissers and wannabes? Never existed. Airheads and jocks? Gone, right along with acne, wine coolers, cargo pants, and that shitty roommate you had sophomore year.
You have an apartment, a dog, and a cubicle to call your own without any cliquey douchebags in sight. Life’s good, right? Wrong.
There’s girl who parks next to you at work who gets overly excited about inculcating you into her running group, and the guy who loudly humble-brags about the dead lift he performed at this morning’s 4 a.m. CrossFit workout. Don’t forget about your neighbor’s girlfriend, who dresses like she’s Ashley Olsen and sneers at you while pretending to cure cancer through discussing the hottest lipstick shade of the season on her blog.
They hide in plain sight, and to the uninitiated, it can be quite a shock when you realize what’s going on; meet the real life cliquesters. These are the folks who squashed your feelings of success when you completed your first half marathon–they replaced it with a crushing sense of defeat, all because you can’t put the 26.2 bumpersticker on your car like the rest of them.
In an effort to spare you the embarrassment that comes after you get cliqued in line at Starbucks without knowing it, I thought I’d lay out the most common cliques who exist beyond the chapter room.
1. The Marathoners
These people will belittle every single one of your accomplishments until you’re pissing your pants on the 19th mile with the rest of them. It’s entirely beside the point that you haven’t run since the ill-advised foray into cross country in eighth grade. Until you hit 26.2, you are dogshit to them.
2. Fashion Bloggers
These ladies are not to be confused with any other sort of blogger–they go to New York Fashion Week. That’s about their only claim to fame, and you already knew that because they almost crashed Instagram when they went to Bryant Park. They are only friends with each other, and unless you spent a month’s worth of rent on your purse, brace yourself for their sneers.
3. The CrossFitters
You know these people. They’re jacked, have a predilection for tube socks, and are always talking about how early they got up to hit the gym. To them, your pathetic membership to Equinox might as well be a reward card to Pinkberry.
4. The “Alternative Lifestyle” People
These guys were the first ones to jump on the voluntary gluten-free bandwagon, the first ones to put chia seeds in everything, and the first ones to shell out $800 for a Vitamix before you could buy them at Bed Bath & Beyond. These people are the real life versions of every “Portlandia” character. Prepare to get an earful about that cheeseburger you just ate from one of them, unless it was a $20, grass-fed, organic, free range burger served on a gluten-free bun.
5. Dog Fostering People
I love dogs. I’m the kind of person who gives money I don’t have to animal charities. But you have to draw the line somewhere. I can barely stand to go to PetSmart on the weekends when they have adoption days, let alone get attached to a dog then give it away to someone else three weeks later. Stop with the guilt trips already.
6. Coffee and Beer Snobs
These people include anyone who is condescending about the beverage you’re drinking, be it Ozarka (it’s not really spring water), beer (I only drink unfiltered Belgian ales), or wine (Do you know the provenance of the grape?). These guys will bash your brought-from-home water into oblivion before you know what hit you.
May you feel more informed the next time you get into the elevator with the guy on a juice cleanse, but it’s just best to keep your trap shut.