Dating: it's a clique thing 

Similarities in interests lead to romance, but are not deciding factor

Dating within (or out of) one's

Illustration by Kin Lui.

The negative connotation of the word “clique” comes from the unresowed animosity proceeding from the earliest years of social interaction: If we weren’t popular, we envied. If we weren’t smart, we poked fun at others’ expense.

A clique is defined as a narrow, exclusive group of people. Years of bullying and injustice have taught us not to exclude others due to old feelings of alienation. But traces of cliques are still found on college campuses in groups of ethnicity, political alignment, artistic philosophy, student organizations and so on.

What happens when you throw dating on top of stereotypes and cliques? Should one remain close to their group to find a suitable partner? Or should one move fluidly between cliques to open the dating pool?

Rachel Ware, 20, wears a shirt saying, “I only date Republicans.”
But she said, “I wouldn’t exclude someone who wasn’t Republican. It just happens that all of my boyfriends have been [Republican].”

Ware said that a suitable date must have a clean background, be taller than her, and be smart and motivated.

Ware explained that the absence of political alignment isn’t as important as the chemistry two must have before agreeing to date each other. She began telling the story of her sister and her fiancé. 

“He’s got these hideous tattoos all over and she’s . . . clean. It’s shocking to see them together. But she’s happy, so there must be something there, right?”

“When you exclude people who aren’t in your clique, you don’t know what you’re excluding when you don’t venture out,” Ware added.
But not everyone feels this way.

Abigail Beltran, 22, and Brian Santiago, 25, have been in a relationship for a little over two years. They know they can attribute their success to their faith: faith in each other and faith in Christianity.

They didn’t like each other at first, but had numerous commonalities. Beltran is a theatre major and Santiago is studying film. They have the same birthday and they’re both drummers.

“We were both dating other people at first, but gained a friendship through consoling each other when those relationships ended,” Santiago said. “We came to understand and love each other. We’re not a romantic novel. We choose to love each other despite our shortcomings.”

When asked whether or not either of them could date a non-Christian, Beltran said, “I grew up in the Christian faith. I couldn’t date anyone who wasn’t.”

She added that it is hard to date anyone who doesn’t share your beliefs. She said someone’s beliefs automatically make them compatible with others who share the same ideals.

Lynn Truong, 20, dates anyone she’s attracted to.

“We are complete opposites of each other—not even in the same clique,” Truong said of her current relationship. She wears dresses and accessorizes while her boyfriend wears jeans and the same XXXL T-shirts everyday.

Though they dress completely different and have different aesthetic priorities, they are still compatible.

“At first we found we had similar likes and dislikes, but two months into it we hit bumps,” Truong said. “Our brains work differently. I like strange approaches to things, but he is all logic.”

But this doesn’t faze Troung. She said, “People who date within their own cliques are naïve. There are so many cities and so many different cliques. What’s the point of staying in one?” 

It seems dating within a clique is a failsafe way to find someone compatible, but this, too, can shut out exciting opportunities to learn and develop.

Further definition of the word clique reads, “a narrow, exclusive group of people, especially one held together by common interests, views, or purposes.” Maybe, as long as interests and purpose are shared, there is no such thing as dating outside a clique.