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The Outsider

Heidi Shenk "blogs"

I'm going to be honest with you guys today. I am an outsider. Part of that has to do with the fact that I'm a complete introvert. The other part of it has to do with the fact that I hate cliques. Growing up, I was never part of a group. I had a few very close friends and lots of acquaintances. I didn't like the social groups that developed in high school-- you know, the jocks, the nerds, the stoners, the preps, etc. I thought they were pointless. Why couldn't everyone just get along?

I was never popular, and if I was, I didn't know it. I got along with all types of people and was fine with that. What I wasn't fine with was when someone that I got along with in one class ignored me in another because the the rest of their group was present. That was middle school and high school. Me, the outsider, that tried to get along with everyone because it was what I thought was the right thing to do. I was, and still am, genuine. That is who I am. The superficial quality that some people seem to be able to pull off is just not me, nor will it ever be.

Recently, I've been a bit absent from this blog world. I liked to use the excuse that I just didn't have the time. I have been strapped for time, but not any more than I was last year during the school year. I did some thinking for a while this weekend and realized it had to do with a lot more than that. I love blogging because of the interaction with others, the community aspect. However, recently, I've grown to feel frustrated with what seems to be an ever-growing problem of cliques within the blogging world.

On blogs and on twitter, I see only certain people talking to other people within a small group. No worries, you might think, I'll just ignore your tweet even if you have something good to say because you're not in my group. Or, I'm not going to give you special treatment even though you are my blog sponsor because you're not in my group like some of my other blog sponsors. Or the good old tweet that says, "I DMed you!" as if there is some big secret that no one else can know, yet everyone MUST know that you are having this secret convo so that the others won't feel in the loop. Seriously? Just DM the person without announcing it, for goodness sake! It's all a bit like this:
Yup, I totally said it. It's all a little bit like Mean Girls.

Here's the thing-- it's perfectly acceptable to have your own group of friends. However, having your own group does not mean that you have to ignore, be rude to, or patronize those that aren't in that group. In addition, just because someone isn't in your blogging clique doesn't mean that you shouldn't give them a chance as an individual. Bottom line-- there is no need to treat people poorly just because you aren't part of their group. At least take the time to get to know the person! Give them a chance!

If someone comments on your blog, give them the benefit of the doubt and go check out their blog. They might have something fabulous to say. If someone sponsors your blog, take the time to get to know them. Don't write a post about them as if you were great friends without even taking a moment to email them and find out a few things about them. (This actually happened to me once. I paid to be a sponsor, the blogger never contacted me, and then the blogger wrote that I was such an awesome person that they would totally want to hang out with. Talk about awkward.) And when a new blogger tweets you or follows you on twitter, put yourself in their shoes. Reach out to them instead of being rude, ignoring them, and not giving them a chance.

I don't expect you to be friends with everyone that you meet, but I expect people to be civil toward each other, to be kind to one another. Otherwise, you run the risk of missing out on one of the most important aspects of blogging-- getting to know new and interesting people.

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