Anyone that makes you feel like a different person isn’t worth it. Don’t dish it back to them, just kindly walk away.
I didn’t always have the best of friends, but I was popular so I didn’t care. I was always invited to the biggest parties, I was the one that knew I could get a guys number if I asked, and I never worried about where I would sit at lunch. And when I was young, you know, that’s all that mattered, right?
I’ll tell you what finally made me realize that I needed to dump my friends. More importantly, I needed to dump myself and this awful person I was becoming. One night we were having a huge sleepover and we put on a movie and I realized that my phone was about to die. Naturally, I scrambled over to my bag and I pulled out my charger, and then I tried to find the nearest outlet to me so that I would still be able to text. Halfway through the movie and about three sodas in I really needed to go to the bathroom.
I left for ten minutes and when I returned I had forty text messages. Forty. I wasn’t sure I even really knew forty people. Sure enough, the girl we welcomed into the group not too long ago was giggling. I opened my phone to find out that the rest of the girls had gone through and texted every guy in our class, the class above us, and the class below us that I “had a major crush on him and I didn’t see how I could live another day of my life without him.”
It was time for some SERIOUS damage control. These were people I had to go to school with tomorrow. Shoot, these were some of the people I had to do projects with. Even worse was one of the guys was a lifetime friend of mine and he admitted that he felt the same way…when I did not actually feel that way at all.
But I ignored it. I told myself it was a harmless joke and that I would get over it and the guys would too. The next time I spent the night we were at a different house and decided to sleep in the living room. Not only did I not let my phone out of my sight, but when it finally needed to be charged I slept under a piano…a full, wooden, grand piano because it was the closest outlet to where I said I would sleep. How ridiculous was this going to get?
The last straw was when I went on vacation though. I had taken a week to go visit one of my brothers and after dinner, I checked my phone to find a bunch of text messages from “my girls”. Somehow one of them thought I was talking bad about them because another one of them said that I said that I didn’t think she belonged.
The other messages were all the other girls from the group trying to remind me of comments that I never made in an attempt to convince me that I had said all these horrible things. In reality, they just didn’t want her in the group anymore and they knew I was close to her so they had to get me to agree she was bad news before kicking her out. So here I was being bombarded with text messages to make a decision on if she got to stay or if she had to go. I sat there with my cell phone, on the floor, in the middle of Navy Pier, on vacation, sobbing.
I decided she could stay.
And I paid for it every day.
Instead of being kind like people should be, I was called a whore and a slut for about a month. Rumors were spread about me making out and doing “more”, whatever that was in middle school, with boys that I didn’t even talk to. I was sad and angry and I wished I had made the choice to simply kick the girl out of the friend group so that I could stop suffering from all the mean comments.
That’s when it clicked.
I am a good person. I don’t care what other’s think because as long as I am keeping up with my moral standards than who what other people think! I don’t need people in my life that would mess up every male friendship I have over a texting prank. I don’t need to sleep under a piano in order to make sure no one takes my phone. I shouldn’t have to be called a whore because I chose to be friends with a girl that doesn’t fit other peoples standards.
So I dumped them. I politely walked away. It ruined my so-called “reputation”, but you know what, I was finally happy. I was finally doing something I was proud of. I walked away. I had no friends. I was shunned by the guys that hung out with them. The girl I voted to keep in the friend group, stayed with them to keep up her “image” and I was left by myself.
A week later I talked to the girl who sat next to me during gym class. At that moment, I became exactly who I was supposed to be all along. We bonded and I told her that we should sit together at lunch. Then we met more people and before I knew it our table was completely full and I laughed at lunch instead of feeling like I couldn’t eat my dessert. I have since met so many people.
I started going to church and actually listening to the scriptures. I started to realize that getting homework done and trying in school was important. I found that having someone that you can talk about your crushes with is important. I know now that having someone that will walk through life, no matter how rocky, with you is needed to survive this crazy world. I learned that it’s more important to have a friend that will notice when you are sad than someone who will make sure you’re listening to the newest music in order to keep up with the trends.
So if you start feeling yourself acting ridiculous, you probably are. You shouldn’t have to change yourself to be someone else’s friend. Friendship comes from two people understanding each other even when they don’t agree with each other. It isn’t about harmful pranks. It isn’t about name-calling. It isn’t about feeling anything, but safe and happy. Walking away may be the hardest thing you will ever have to do, but by golly, it will be worth it.
If you have to change your clothes three times before you think you won’t get called out - If you have to make sure you’re always the life of the party - If you are given the choice to be mean to someone or get a scarlet A put on you for no reason - ALWAYS, ALWAYS, chose to have rumors spread about you instead, ALWAYS chose to be nice, ALWAYS live up to your moral code. Once you have met the right people, the rumors won't spread because you’ll have people on your side that knew the real you. They will shut down the rumors and they will be there to hold your hand or buy you a much needed slushy on the ride home.
At the end of the day, you have to live with who you’ve become. Always chose to be nice, always chose to be considerate, always chose to stand up for others. It may take a week of feeling like you will never come out of this black hole, but God will reward you with a girl in your gym class too. So don’t quit, don’t give in, don’t stop being nice no matter what. You will be rewarded. Just keeping going one day at a time.