... being a clique of one that almost makes us partners.
There have been studies on that subject.
You team up with Tony and next thing you know, it'll be a gang.
You don't want to belong to a gang.
But if you're a "clique of one," that makes you a loner. You don't want to be a loner, either. You get a bad rep. Everyone thinks you're up to something. "He's a loner," they say, and look at one another meaningfully.
So maybe you try joining up with some organization. But little by little you notice odd things about it: the group marriages, the signing over of worldly possessions, the sad eagerness of the other members when they talk about the great spaceship that's coming to rescue you all....and you realize...you're in a cult.
You don't want to be in cult, either. They have bad reputations, too. Because, basically, a cult is just a gang, founded by a loner. And there's no way you can win with that.
I'm afraid, in the future, we'll all just have to wear burqua-like covers over our faces just so people won't speculate whether we're loners or gang members. They won't know who we are. Just like everyone else.