Last Wednesday, before the big midterm, when people were falling apart, I sent an e-mail to the class suggesting a study time, that we would meet in the library. We ended up with probably eight people, about 25% of the class. It was a good group, and we hit it hard. During our long laughing lunch, it was decided to meet once a week and study. Seemed like a good idea.
So, when another classmate told me that she was really having a hard time, I said, "Come study with us. It really did help..." and she enthusiastically said yes. After class, walking out, one of the members of that original study group said, "Our study group has decided to stay small. We'd like you to join, but this is not something we're offering to everyone."
(voice over): 'You have been chosen to receive this special once in a life time offer...Call Now!'
Exclusive. I immediately thought of high school, when we were all in our own little cliques. There were the popular girls. The jocks. The quiet nerdy bookworms. The bad boys. The bad girls. Etc. Etc. Etc. In those years, 'never the twain did meet'. There was no crossing over. Even if the popular girls behaved badly, they would not be 'bad girls'. Even if a nerdy bookworm was fairly well liked, she could not be a popular girl. I stood looking at John in a considering sort of way. I mean, it's their group. They can decide who is in it, I suppose. I suppose it is a compliment that they want me in their group, but that whole exclusivity thing bothered me. So I smiled and said, "Oh, gees, I can't. I committed to another group."
What I didn't realize was that the struggling girl had overheard John's conversation with me, on her way out of the classroom. She sent me an e-mail basically 'letting me off the hook' on the study group offer. She was also hurt and embarrassed to be excluded. It's stupid, I suppose, that things like this should bother us, even into adulthood. But they do. After reading her e-mail, I knew that I'd made the right decision.