I remember certain cliques in my high school. The self proclaimed popular kids who either accepted you or tormented you. I was very blessed never to be tormented, but I knew kids that were and I saw some of the damage that was caused to their self esteem through the cliques cruelty. :( Mean nicknames that stuck with them through high school, reputations that never left them though never true to start with, practical jokes that were only funny to the offenders and beautiful girls who never saw themselves as such because of snide comments and remarks.
Cliques are not always deliberately formed. Sometimes they are habit, sometimes just the safe thing to do. In my previous ward, (of which I was a member from the age of 11 to just two years ago), we had a large overturn of military families. Because we were so close to Walter Reed Army Medical Center many families moved in and out ever year (serving in our area 1-3 years before they were reassigned.) Very early in my marriage there was a time that several Army families that moved in together over the summer. The wives became very close and had their own so called "clique" which got together to do all sorts of things quite frequently. There were some sisters in our ward who felt they were excluded from this group because they weren't doctors wives. They were bitter towards this group of friends because they felt that the women thought they were better than them. I have to say that I never felt that way. I actually, (though probably mostly because of my Relief Society calling), put forth an effort to get to know these women and found out quickly that this was simply a group of several women who moved in to a new place and found easy, instant friendship with other women who were in the same situation as them. No one was meant to feel excluded or inferior. I enjoyed my friendship with these women who accepted me (even though my husband was not a doctor, lol), and I got to know and love their children too, many of whom I taught piano to.
During the past few weeks, three separate women in our current ward have mentioned the clique factor and their genuine efforts to make friends with women who are either insanely oblivious or so caught up with their own friends that they ignored/passed up the opportunity. I hope for the sake of all the women involved that it was obliviousness because knowing these three amazing women as I do, I would say that the other women have definitely missed an incredible opportunity.
Perhaps I have a heart of stone because I have never been offended that I wasn't invited to something. Maybe it is because in our former ward there were not many couples our age and we became sort of self sufficient in providing our own entertainment. In our current ward we have both served in the youth program pretty much since we moved here which means frankly that there are still a lot of people we really don't know! Additionally, we are actually within the minority of couples who don't have kids in primary. (I think we may actually be one of the 10 oldest couples if you can believe that!) It's all A-OK with me, but I know that not all women are as "cold-hearted" as me.
It can be hard not to hurt peoples feelings when it comes to activities and social events. I am not naive enough to think it is possible to include every woman in every event that you host... but I will definitely be more aware of sisters that don't feel included. I also will tell you right now that if you ever want to come hang out, you are always more than welcome. I know we don't have little kids, but we love them! We have a enclosed trampoline and a b-ball hoop that we are happy to share. I am also not opposed to some one letting me know that they heard I had people over for smores or a BBQ and to give them a call next time we do it. Or if you see people at my house and you want to come join the fun... come on over. More than anything, I don't want anyone to ever think that I am deliberately excluding them from what they think may be my "clique". So if you are feeling alone, left out, or just want to hang... come on over to the "Collins Clique"... where seriously, everyone is welcome! :)