I am currently a sophomore in high school, and I’m worried that my friend hates me. It all started beginning of freshman year when I became part of this friend group with five other girls (one other freshman, two juniors, and two seniors). We were all really close friends last year, but then the “mother hen” of the group graduated. She was the one I trusted the most, and I still talk to her a lot. Of the two juniors, now seniors, one of them seems to have started hating me, and I don’t know why. All of a sudden this year she just started to ignore me, and then say a bunch of mean things about me behind my back. She also is being absolute best inseparable friends with the other girl my age, and also another girl that she said she absolutely hated last year, and is flaunting it in my face.
I tried to ask her what she has against me, but she always just says nothing. I finally asked why she hates me, and she said I am really negative. I don’t say anything to her except ask how her day is, and other random conversations she starts up, and I don’t know where she got the idea that I am being negative. I am starting to feel so isolated, and I feel like I don’t have any friends. Should I try to talk it out with her? Should I ask the other girls in the group about it, and try to get them to step in? Should I just leave them behind, and try to find a different group of friends even though it is just the one girl that is trying to make me miserable?
And I’m so sorry about that, Sparkler. I wish I had better news for you. But alas, it sounds like you’ve got a pretty accurate read on this bummer of a situation: The loving mother hen of your group has been replaced by a nasty queen bee… whose stinger is aimed directly at your face.
That’s an unfortunate state of affairs, not just because it puts you in conflict with Queen Bee, but because everyone else is apparently falling in line with the tone she’s chosen to set. You know how you feel so isolated? That’s because this isn’t a simple, individual conflict; the whole group dynamic has shifted to put you on the outskirts of your social circle. And while it might be just one girl who’s really trying to make you miserable, the rest of your friends are still guilty of standing around like a bunch of complicit do-nothings, watching you be mistreated.
Which is why, much as I wish this weren’t the case, it sounds like this group just isn’t a productive or healthy place for you to be anymore. You deserve better than a bunch of “friendships” with people who refuse to have your back.
But on the bright side, bowing out of the group doesn’t mean you have to sever contact with everybody in it. Even as you start cultivating some new friendships with new people who don’t exclude or mistreat you, you can also take an honest look at your individual relationships with your current friends, and ask yourself if any of them are worth hanging onto, on their individual merits. If they are, then keep spending time with them one-on-one. Who knows; you might even find that you’re not the only one who feels uncomfortable with this girl’s behavior.
And on that note: When something happens to shake up a social group, and a mega-jerk ends up in charge, the people who end up getting ousted are usually the ones who represent a threat — because they’re the least likely to fall in line with the mega-jerk’s catty, crappy regime of social terror. So as painful as it is that Queen Bee chose you as her target, it probably says something pretty complimentary about what a strong, decent person you are. And it also means that even if you hadn’t been scapegoated, you would have ultimately chosen to leave on your own, because this negative, nasty new dynamic isn’t your style at all. Think of this as a head start on an inevitable outcome: One where you have to make a tough choice, but where you’ll end up with much better friends at the end.
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