What Fake Friends in High School Taught Me

They taught me what love and friendship were by teaching me what they weren’t. It’s been said that you don’t really learn to appreciate something until you must go without it.

I say this because many of the losers I called friends back then weren’t friends at all. They never had my back once and never spoke in my behalf when the bullies came calling. Nevertheless, I have nothing to do with those people and have a better circle of friends today.

Moreover, most of the classmates that had droves of friends didn’t appreciate them. I watched as the cliquey girls would horn in on their best friends’ boyfriends and talk about their friends behind their backs. In other words, they popular crowd were a bunch of vipers. They were jealous of their friends and always trying to one-up them.

When I saw those things that went on, I wanted no part of “the cool kids” because they really weren’t that cool. Again, they were a bunch of snakes.

Watch how people treat their friends behind their backs.

Another lesson learned was that adult friendships are much healthier than high school friendships. Most school friendships are superficial and are based on how popular you are and how well you can dress and how well you can fake it. They are also cliched, selfish, and one-sided.

Therefore, if you’re in a clique and you see your friends talking about other friends behind their backs while sucking up to them to their faces, you can bet they will do the same to you. And if you think they won’t, you’re only fooling yourself.

Also, if there seems to be a lot of drama around these friends, you might want to think about ditching these chicks. Then you’ll want to select friends who are saner and more level-headed.

Understand that friends such as these are bad for your self-esteem, and it’s why most people could care less if they ever see their schoolmates again once they graduate.

So, pay close attention to your friends and how they act and what they do and say. Notice how they act when their friends are nowhere around and how they carry themselves. Also, note any negative body language and any microaggressions. Then, use good judgement.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Let Them Talk All They Want

Gossips are everywhere! Too many people worry needlessly about what people are saying about them. But here’s the thing, people talk. They’re going to have something to say about you until the day you die. Get used to it. Better, yet embrace it! Love it!

Here’s Why:

1. Although hurtful, when people talk about you, they make you relevant! Good or bad, it means you’re an exciting topic- you’re not dull. Remember that it’s much better to be good or bad than to be boring.

Businessman not listening to nonsense.

2. When people engage in petty gossip about you, it means that they can’t get you off their minds. Somehow, someway, positive or negative, you’ve made an impact on them. You’ve stirred emotions up in them.

3. When people talk about you, it means they don’t have lives of their own and are obsessed with yours, which means your life must be more exciting than theirs.

4. When people talk behind your back, they reveal much more about themselves than they do you. Remember the old proverb, “Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, and Small minds discuss people.”

Remember, Haters Make You Famous

5. When people can’t shut up about you, you’re the one who’s in control of them. Because you occupy a large amount of space in their minds, you’ve affected them profoundly and with little or no effort.

6. The people who blab about you expend a lot of their energy on you while you get to save yours. They’re thinking of you without getting so much as a thought from you.

7. When you’re the topic of others’ discussions, it means that they’re your fans, only they don’t know it.

8. In a nutshell, when people can’t stop running their mouths about you, it only means that you have a tremendous amount of power over them, and you didn’t have to make an effort to get that power! Yay, you!

So don’t give their talk any validation by reacting. Just sit back and be amused by the talkers. Petty gossip is just that- petty!

Give ’em something to talk about

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Bullies Aren’t the People Who Are Most Hurtful to Their Target. So, Who Are the People Who Are Most Hurtful? (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1…)

When you’re a target of bullying in school or at work, you can’t afford to put all your trust in anyone, not even those who seem to be your friends. I’m not suggesting you be completely paranoid, only nonchalant. Because in a toxic area, you will have a few nosy wolves in sheep’s clothing around you, who will try to get close to you for no other reason than to probe for intimate details about you and your life.

They will also study you like a lab-rat to see how you react to certain things and find out your opinions, especially opinions of your bullies and other people you go to school or work with. Why? So they can take the juicy deets and report back to your bullies with them.

Here are ways that you can pick up on your classmates or coworkers’ hidden attitudes and intentions.

1. Always observe the people around you – without looking like you’re watching, of course. Use your peripheral vision to scan them and your environment, and you’ll quickly pick up on the moods and sense the elephant in the room (if there is one).

2. Look for body language that isn’t congruent with words and context – Actions speak louder than words. If their body language isn’t congruent with words, background, or the situation and shows even a hint of hostility and discomfort when they’re around you, then “Houston, we have a problem.”

back-stabbing colleagues threatening an employee with scissors and knife

3. Watch for micro flashes – If you’re not careful, you’re likely to miss those tiny, split-second micro flashes of contempt people give without realizing it or when they think you aren’t aware of it. There are good actors; don’t get me wrong, but there are certain things the body gives away involuntarily, and if you look for it, you’ll see it.

When you’re around fake friends, sometimes, as you turn your back, you’ll see a tiny micro flash of contempt on their faces out of the corner of your eye. Then, you’ll get that nagging feeling in the pit of your gut. Don’t ignore that because you don’t only imagine things! Eighty-six, these creeps fast!

4. Notice the person’s feet – You can tell a lot by the feet! If the person is talking to you, facing you, but their feet are pointing away from you, that means they aren’t as “with you” as you think. Put some distance between you and that person.

5. Watch for crossed arms while talking to the person – If you’re having a conversation with the person and they cross their arms over their chest, that’s a dead giveaway! They’re exhibiting closed body language, and they’re closing themselves off to anything you have to say. It’s time to make an excuse to end the tete-a-tete and walk away. You don’t want this person around you.

6. Looking at you without blinking – if they do this, it’s a sure sign of contempt, or they’re trying to intimidate you. Either way, this person is not the person you want to be around.

7. Other signs to look for – a furrowed brow, one corner of the lip slightly raised, an icy, piercing stare, smiling at you with their mouth but not the eyes (no crinkles around the eyes). Any of these signs, you might want to distance yourself.

8. If they look at you, then look at each other when you walk away – again, you want nothing to do with these people.

9. Watch what you share– Very important! Don’t tell anyone anything they don’t need to know. Not even to those who seem friendly Don’t reveal information that’s better off private. Don’t badmouth anybody, especially the bullies, to anyone. They may smile in your face, but you can be sure they’ll report back to the bullies with anything you say and try to fan the flames.

10. Watch for eavesdroppers – If you have an innocent conversation with someone in the hall, be on the lookout for eavesdroppers. Don’t talk near corners or open doors. Many times people will listen in on your discussion, then report back to the bullies with it. Pay attention to people who walk by.

And if you see other people standing around while you’re speaking and those people aren’t a part of the conversation, take the discussion to a place more private.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Bullies Aren’t the People Who Are Most Hurtful to Their Target. So, Who Are the People Most Hurtful?

It wasn’t the attacks from the bullies themselves. The bullies were the people from whom I’d come to expect that kind of behavior. From them, any vitriol, any vile and disgusting words and actions came as no surprise to me!

What hurt more than anything was the betrayal– when those I thought were my friends would so quickly and without question believe the lies and rumors that my bullies had spread. It was akin to being kicked in the stomach. Also, these so-called friends in school never had my back. Some even had the power to stop the bullying and protect me but refused, only throwing me under the bus.

Friends are supposed to be the people who believe the best of you. They are supposed to have your back any time someone attacks you. They’ll speak on your behalf when another person so much as badmouths you behind your back but in front of them, and they’ll stick up for you even when you’re not around to see them do it. Real friends are with you no matter what, especially when the chips are down. They will go to hell and back for you.

But sadly, during school, the people I thought I could trust did the opposite; they’d either go along with or believe the lies- and without bothering to ask me first!

My fake friends often sold me out- delivered me up to my bullies- with my head on a plate.

Rejection and mistreatment from a bully are easier to deal with because, from a bully, you expect nothing more. It’s much harder to take when it comes from someone you think is a friend and think highly of. When I look back now, I realize that I didn’t have friends in school until I was in the twelfth grade.

Before senior year, I only kept these so-called pals around and put up with them because they were the only options I had. It was pathetic.

The betrayals I suffered years ago is why I’m so selective of who I let in my life today. It’s also why I prefer to keep my circle small. I’d rather have only a handful of real friends than a million half-baked, fake ones. But we don’t value ourselves like we should when we’re teenagers and haven’t been in the world very long.

Too many people are overly concerned with having a large number of friends but don’t realize that real friends- people who have your back, who have your best at heart and will go to bat for you under the worst conditions- are a rare commodity and don’t come around every day.

Finding genuine friends is like opening a thousand empty oysters and finding only five or six pearls. These are the friends who are worth more than gold! And if you have them, you’d better appreciate them for all that they are!

When I meet a new person for the first time, I no longer wonder whether they’ll like me; I now wonder if I’m going to like them. I choose who I let in and who I give the boot, and if I stop having anything to do with someone, you can bet they betrayed me somehow, and I consider betrayal a deadly sin that will get someone dismissed very quickly.

I know what I want in a friend, and I won’t settle for anything less because anything less than desired is unacceptable. Loyalty is a virtue I look for, and if the person isn’t loyal, they aren’t worthy!

I want you to understand that if you have friends who are so quick to believe the lies your bullies tell them that they get angry with you and refuse to speak to you, guess what? These people are not your friends. They never were! Why else would they take your bullies’ word over yours and be so quick to turn against you?

Maybe those you thought were your friends only tolerated you because they felt sorry for you. And why would you settle for someone’s pity? Or, maybe your so-called friends didn’t have many options themselves, and you were only a second choice friend, or worse! The last-resort-friend! Ewww! Who wants that!

If you have friends who don’t stand with you and fade into the woodwork when your bullies attack you, they’re not worth your time or energy. Friends like that don’t deserve the privilege of being a part of your life. You’re better off without them.

You need to ditch these losers and find better friends, even if it means you have to be by yourself for a while. Hey, I know it sucks. Nobody wants to be alone. However, you must learn to be your own best friend before anyone else can.

Sometimes you must clean out all the trash to make room for the good stuff- the people who deserve to be in your life.

Continued in Part 2…

Things Many Targets of Bullying Do Wrong and Why They Stay Targets

Many targets of bullying suffer such vicious bullying and for so long that they’re willing to lap up anything that even looks or sounds like approval from others. They give undue value to anyone’s opinions, even those whose opinions should never be valued.

But when a person is desperate for friends and approval, they’ll latch onto anyone who shows their teeth to them. Worse, they’re willing to kiss butt and eat doody if it means they don’t have to be alone and friendless.

They’ll chase people who don’t give a crap about them and allow people to use them for what they can get from them. They’ll overlook it when their so-called friends stab them in the back.

They’ll even put up with overt abuse. Sadly, victims hold on to people who only tolerate them, which only invites more bullying. Anytime you have to crawl behind people who don’t care about you, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice!

I want you to understand this:

If you feel you must beg anyone to be your friend

If you think you must give them your delicious dessert at lunch

If you believe you have to do someone’s homework for them, give them money or do something that you don’t want to do to win their friendship

If you have to chase someone or go out of your way to get them to see the good in you

If you put up with being abused, disrespected, and humiliated by people who are supposed to be your friends

If you have friends who never have your back, who disappear and always throw you under the bus when trouble comes for you

If you have to force conversations with these so-called friends

In a nutshell, if at any time a friendship doesn’t feel right, these people do not deserve the time of day!

I understand the feeling of deprivation when you’re a target, it’s easy to want and nudge things a little. I completely get that deep ache- that longing to have a friend. And my heart goes out to you.

But you don’t need enemies with friends like that. Ditch these losers fast! They don’t deserve the privilege of being in your life.

When you’re that hard-up for friends, it shows. Anytime you’re willing to put up with crappy treatment to keep from being by yourself, it decreases your worth as a person. Other people see it and immediately think you’re pathetic. You come off to others as clingy and needy. Even worse, the desperate vibes you put out only attracts people who want to use and abuse you, which invites even more bullying and alienation.

Neediness just plain stinks. It is off-putting and repels even the people who would otherwise be good friends. There’s an old saying, “I can do bad by myself.”

It’s a saying I’ve heard for ions and it rings so true. Wouldn’t you much rather be alone than to put up with people who only pretend to be your friends and treat you like garbage? I sure as hell would.

I promise you that if you eighty-six people who treat you less than how you deserve to be treated, your value will go up and you will feel so much better about yourself. Also, either the people you ditch will realize what they lost and come back to apologize, or they won’t.

If they do, it’s your choice whether to allow them back in but understand that you do not have to take them back because some things you can never come back from. If they don’t, it’s no loss to you.

I say this because out of about four hundred classmates at Oakley High, I can count on one hand those I could ever trust again, and that’s without using all five fingers. Other than two or three, the rest of them I could care less if I ever saw again, even if they were the last four hundred people on the face of the earth.

I forgive my classmates, yes. But I will never trust them, and I’d be a fool to have anything to do with anyone I couldn’t trust.

The point is that you must value and love yourself enough to protect yourself and command better treatment from others. If that means being alone and friendless for a while, then so be it.

You deserve people who genuinely care for you, and if you have the courage to get rid of toxic people, life will eventually reward you and bring better people into your life- people who will love, respect you and feel so blessed to know you. It happened to me and it can happen for you too!

Don’t settle for fake friends who use, abuse, and only tolerate you to keep from being alone. Find people who celebrate you. Be friends with people who value you and see the good you bring to a friendship. You’re worth it. Believe it! Believe in yourself!

Why You Should Avoid Gossips, Buttinskies, and Busybodies

Whether it’s the nosy classmate who’s never short of personal and intimate questions about your private life, the workplace gossip who never shuts up and always seems to know your business before you do, or the spying neighbor across the street who forever peers through her window to spy on the neighbors outside, these kinds of people can be a real hemorrhoid to those of us who only want to be left alone and allowed to live our lives in peace.

I even had one woman ask me how much I got paid and how much I paid in rent or mortgage? I know. The nerve! Right?

After the shock wore off, I politely told her that she was getting too personal and that I didn’t share such private information with anyone, not even my family members. Oooeee! She didn’t like it.

These types often leave you shaking and scratching your head because you just can’t believe anyone would have the chutzpah. Especially if you were raised to mind your own business like I was.

Understand that these people can be bullies too and their gossip, butting-in, and having a constant nose stuck in your life can be a form of attempted control. Bullies will often ask you these kinds of questions to embarrass or humiliate you.
And anybody who openly asks you such questions has no respect for your privacy, and you should deal with them accordingly.

But! Because they can’t seem to control their own lives, they wish to control yours, even if it’s nothing more than to cause an annoyance or embarrassment.

Though the years, there was always that one neighbor who would sit on their porch all day and watch not only my house but the other houses in the neighborhood as well. So, on a good note, I can’t say that I was left out but was in good company with most of the other neighbors in my community.

Many of the others in the community weren’t short of complaints about the lady and we had a nickname for her- “Mrs. I-Spy.”

Nevertheless, although I’d get annoyed by her a few times, I couldn’t get angry with her like many of the others. Mrs. I-Spy was disabled and could barely get around. All I could feel was bad for her because I knew she wasn’t a happy person. Who would be if their health were deteriorating to the point of barely able to perform activities of daily living? And home health was scarce back then.

And on the days when she couldn’t get outside, she’d have her grandchildren watch the neighbors then go back inside and give her a report of the goings-on in the others’ yards and the traffic in and out of their houses. It’s hilarious when I look back now.

I can honestly say that if there were a burglary or trouble nearby, she’d have been the first to see it and call the cops. So, there’s a silver lining to all this. Thank God for nosy neighbors because they do serve a great purpose!

My classmates in high school, not so much. I had very little respect for them because most of them were nosy as hell! They would watch me closely and eavesdrop on any of my conversations. They always had an ear cocked. At Oakley High School, the walls had ears!

Always in my business, questioning me on things that were so trivial yet to them was a huge deal. They would even ask me the most personal and embarrassing questions.

“Have you started your period yet?”
“Are you a virgin?”
“How is your boyfriend in bed?”

These kinds of questions made me cringe! Naturally, it upset me back then and I’d only storm off. But if one of them had the audacity to do that today, I’d only laugh, make fun of and humiliate them. And I’d enjoy humiliating them.

Today, I wish they would and give me the chance to show them I’m not as slow as I used to be and almost nothing shocks me anymore. Understand that when you’ve been bullied, you learn quick wit very quickly because it’s essential for survival.
I’ve known other adult survivors of school bullying and we’re the most quick-witted people in the bunch! We have to be!

With that said, you must realize that even in the adult world, you’re going to have people who have more nerve than a bad tooth- those who will pry into your business and openly ask you personal, even embarrassing questions. You might as well prepare for it now because they’re everywhere!

Many of these people had parents who were the same way- mothers and grandmothers who would tell them to watch others and report back to them. I know this because of watching Mrs. I-Spy do the same many years ago. So, it’s safe to say that nosiness is a generational thing with many. About ninety percent of my classmates also came from nosy and overbearing families as did many coworkers I’ve worked with down through the years.

And it’s these kinds of people you should blow off and wave away like that pesky little fly that keeps buzzing around your face.

Don’t get angry with them. Just shake your head and pity them. Because it’s those types who really need to get a life and often don’t have one. Or, if you’re a smart-ass like I am, take the opportunity to have a little fun with the person- catch it, throw it back at them and shame them with it.

And why not? They asked for it.

8 Reasons Why You Should Let Them Talk

gossip rumors lies talk

Gossips are everywhere! Too many people worry needlessly about what people are saying about them. But here’s the thing, people talk. They’re going to have something to say about you until the day you die. Get used to it. Better, yet embrace it! Love it!

Here’s Why:

1. When people talk about you, they make you relevant! Good or bad, it means you’re an exciting topic- you’re not dull. Remember that it’s much better to be good or bad than to be boring.

2. When people engage in petty gossip about you, it means that they can’t get you off their minds. Somehow, someway, positive or negative, you’ve made an impact on them. You’ve stirred emotions up in them.

3. When people talk about you, it means they don’t have lives of their own and are obsessed with yours, which means your life must be more exciting than theirs.

4. When people talk behind your back, they reveal much more about themselves than they do you. Remember the old proverb, “Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, and Small minds discuss people.”

5. When people can’t shut up about you, you’re the one who’s in control of them. Because you occupy a large amount of space in their minds, you’ve affected them profoundly and with little or no effort.

6. The people who blab about you expend a lot of their energy on you while you get to save yours. They’re thinking of you without getting so much as a thought from you.

7. When you’re the topic of others’ discussions, it means that they’re your fans, only they don’t know it.

It’s important to reframe the situation. And smile as you’re the hottest topic around! Haters make you famous!

8. In a nutshell, when people can’t stop running their mouths about you, it only means that you have a tremendous amount of power over them and you didn’t have to make an effort to get that power! Yay, you!

So don’t give their talk any validation by reacting. Just sit back and be amused by the talkers, provided it’s just petty gossip and not defamation. I’ll distinguish between the two in a future post.

Never Chase People Who Don’t See Your Worth

Many bullying victims are so anxious to make friends that they don’t set boundaries as to the way people should treat them. As long as they don’t have to be by themselves, they overlook the shoddy ways their so-called friends treat them.

They get hurt many times over because it turns out that their pals are only tolerating them. And by the time the target realizes those people aren’t good for them, they’ve been hurt, used, and humiliated enough times that their self-esteem is damaged.

Here’s my advice to targets who feel lonely and desperate for friends:

Never chase anyone who does not see your worth! It is beneath you, and those who do not value you, no matter how ‘cool’ they act or look, do not deserve the privilege of being in your life. You need to cleanse your life of these toxic people.

I realize that if you are a target of bullying, your friendship options are minimal, and I know all too well of the humiliation of sitting alone at the lunch table. At the same time, everyone else gets to enjoy having friends around them. Believe me, I was there myself once upon a time.

However, if the options you do have for friends are only tolerating you and turn hot and cold, exclude you, or talk behind your back, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate those friendships.

There is a difference between someone who genuinely likes you and someone who is only tolerating you. And you always know when someone is only tolerating you because of how you feel when that person is around. You can feel it in your gut. You can hear the shortness and coldness in the tone of their voices. You can see it in the way that they look at you (or refuse to look at you).

You can feel the cold vibes that they put out. There is nothing worse than realizing that someone you think highly of thinks very little of you. It is the most uncomfortable and sickening feeling. It is the equivalent of being kicked in the stomach!

But I want you to know that you do not have to be around such poisonous people. Anyone who makes you feel uneasy does not deserve your friendship. It does not matter if they are rich, good-looking, popular, successful, cool, tough, or whatever.

If they make you feel bad about yourself, ditch them! Weed. Then. OUT! They are not worthy of being in your company. You are better off without them. Understand that this may mean staying to yourself for a time.

No one wants to be a loner. I understand it, and I sympathize with you. However, I believe that it’s much better to be alone than to crawl up behind anyone who does not see your value.

It won’t be easy. Nothing worthwhile is. It takes courage to walk away from a person or people who take you for granted, especially when options for human connections are so few.

And I won’t lie to you, you may be by yourself for a while. It may get lonely, even sad, and depressing at times. But be strong and stay true to your own heart! You deserve so much better!

I promise you this. It may take a while, but if you have the courage to walk away from such people, life will eventually reward you for your courage by placing better and more loving people in your path- people who will genuinely love you and have your best interests at heart.

You will have better friends- friends who want to spend time with you, who want to invite you to parties and other events, and who will be there for you when the chips are down. You will have friends who are tried and true.

Be patient. Your time is coming!

A Closer Look at Frenemies (Part 2)

In Part 1, we discussed frenemies and the gradual but growing hot/cold, waxing and waning in their behavior, which snowballs into a terrible lashing of venom that leaves a target both shocked and hurt.

Again, if you’ve ever found yourself on the receiving end of a frenemy’s poison, rest assured that none of it was your fault and you were not the person with the issue. Understand that in using this hot/cold, nice/nasty cycle, the frenemy only used “The Push/Pull Method” on you.

This push and pull technique is exactly how it sounds: the frenemy pulls the target in, pushes him/her away, then pulls them in again. This back and forth cycle is specifically designed to hook you into the friendship and throw you off your game! Realize that the person was more than likely never your friend!

You may ask yourself these questions:

“If this person was never my friend and never liked me to begin with, why then did they exert such much effort to get close to me?”

“Why did this person latch on to me in the first place?”

Jealousy was most likely the culprit. Your frenemy (or frenemies) was intensely jealous of something you possessed and wanted a way to punish you for having something- anything they only wished they had. They wanted to bring you down a few notches…to put you in your place…to cut you down to size!

Rather than a direct, frontal assault, they preferred to out-flank you by carefully cozying up to you, tricking you into dropping your defenses, and winning your complete trust to get close to you!

Another reason could be that the frenemy somehow gets an ego-boost from being “friends” with you and the thought of being seen with you!

Understand that this closeness is a way to hook you into the friendship, then gather intimate, personal details about your life and personality to suss out any weaknesses or less-than-desirable qualities you have. Fake-friends are like police detectives who attempt to build a case against you.

Once they gather the intel they need, they exploit this information, using it as a weapon to harm you, ruin your reputation, and sabotage your personal relationships and associations.

When you finally get fed up, put your foot down and end the friendship, the frenemy then paints you as the mean, mentally-unbalanced, or selfish person and trumpets any dirt collected on you to anyone who will listen to them. I want you to understand that this is how frenemies operate. People such as these are very sneaky, meticulous, and worst of all, patient!

It is much better to have full-blown enemies than frenemies because, with an enemy, you always know where you stand and can more easily avoid contact. However, (especially those who are charming and persuasive) have ways of reeling you in and keeping you dependent on their approval and acceptance.

 

Red flag waving on blue sky background.

And if you are a victim of bullying, the relationship is much harder to get out of because you’re afraid of going back to being friendless. But wouldn’t you rather be to yourself than to keep company with people who only wish to bring you down? I know I would!

Remember that a smiling face does not a friend make. Not everyone who pats you on the back has your best interests at heart. There are red flags you can look for, and speed in friendship progression is a major red flag! Anytime someone is so quick to call you a friend, be alert! Alternating hot and cold (flip-flopping) and micro-flashes of contempt and hostility in their body language are also warnings you should be aware of!

In these scenarios, the best you can do is to step back and maintain plenty of distance between you and the person in question. Only then is it possible to observe them and figure out their true motivations and intentions!