Hi friends. I recently got a message from a fan that tugged at my heartstrings. She asked to remain anonymous and as I promise all those who send me confessions, I will happily grant her anonymity on today’s blah-g post.
But here’s the gist: Picture a clique at your school. One girl is the constant target, the one who the others relentlessly pick on. Maybe there’s an alpha girl in the group–the target’s BFF–who’s slinging all the insults and mean-spirited jokes. The target says she’s allowing it to happen because she sympathizes with the alpha girl and knows she is actually deeply insecure and these insults are a way for her to feel better about herself. But it’s gone on for too long, things have gone way too far, and the target can’t pretend she’s okay with their friendship dynamic any longer without suffering serious self esteem issues.
The target wants to make a change, but she doesn’t want to be mean or start a fight. She doesn’t want to offend the alpha by confronting her in the wrong way about this situation, but things have gotten hurtful and something has to be done. What if this girl was your friend, what would you advise her to do?
I can tell you’re a selfless person. What gave it away, you ask? You’ve been too nice to this girl. In this case, it might be that your good heart has allowed you to be taken advantage of by, as you wisely noted, a very insecure person who has chosen to take her insecurities out on you. It isn’t fair, but it’s a high school reality, and sadly the clique mentality can last throughout most people’s lives. It’s your job to stand up for yourself and demand the respect you deserve from friends–the same respect you are giving them. What’s not your job? Taking on the responsibility for your friend’s insecurities and suffering through emotional pain in order for her to feel better about herself. You have a great deal of compassion and understanding for your friend, and your intentions in allowing her to make you the target were coming from a good place, but BFFs don’t try to make each other feel badly, no matter the reason. This girl isn’t your BFF, she’s a bully.
It isn’t your fault she’s made you the target, but it’s your responsibility to show the people around you how you deserve to be treated. I hope you can find the nerve to stand up to this mean girl and know that there are ways you can do this without being mean yourself. You don’t need to play her game by throwing insults back her way, and you don’t need to stick your head in the sand hoping she’ll eventually stop and move onto bullying someone else in your group. At this point, she knows she can get away with it so you need to communicate that the behavior needs to end.
You can’t avoid having “the talk” with your friend. Keep it private, in person, and come from a calm place. Don’t yell or make underhanded remarks or else this mean girl will likely become defensive and this talk may escalate into a verbal fight. Adrenaline will be high at this point, but try to stay poised. Let your BFF know how much her comments and teasing have hurt you and that they need to stop. If you still care about saving the friendship, simply let her know that, adding you won’t be able to have the same friendship until she adjusts her behavior towards you. Do not let her make you feel like you’re making too big of a deal out of her teasing. Remember that BFFs do not make each other feel badly, no matter the reason.
If all goes well and your BFF is receptive, she will rightly apologize and make changes in how she treats you. If she doesn’t? You will have to find ways of separating yourself from her and sticking with the girls who truly have your back and care about your feelings. This can be tricky in a high school setting, but not impossible.
Anon, my heart goes out to you and I hope you decide to confront your friend about this issue. There is no reason you can’t have the friendships in your life that boost you up instead of tear you down, but it’s your responsibility to make that happen. You can do it. Good luck.