Cookie Vidal asks: What should I do if my friends always make fun of me because I have a huge crush on this guy I met at camp over the summer? Also they always call me fat and say that I have a longa (which is Spanish for huge stomach), and it hurts but I still take it as a joke. At the same time I don’t want to leave them, because if I leave one they’ll all go following her. I want to know how to tell them to stop making fun of me just because this guy pops up in my head everyday! I want to just move on (Oh, I forgot to mention that he is extremely HOT!).
Hi Cookie Vidal –
The issue of friends making fun of a friend is a tough one to comment on, because I don’t know a lot about it. Is the group being really mean and insensitive, ganging up on one like a wild dog pack attacking an injured member? Or is the person just highly sensitive, and not good at joking in the way they like to joke? I’ve dealt with both in previous questions, so I’m going to send you both my answers; you’ll have to be the one to determine which applies most to you.
Hi saf1 –
Oh yucch! This is truly distasteful!
Now I have no idea how little or how much you know. Or how intelligent you are. But I do know enough to say that if the people you go out with all the time are saying that you’re ignorant and stupid, that’s just awful! What it sounds like is that they’ve put you into a “role” in their group, and that role is as the butt of their condescending humor.
If I’m right, the problem with that is that it’s almost impossible to break out of that role, as long as you’re in that group. Some people try to break out of that kind of role by beating some of the members up (which might create some fear in them, which would at least slow down the insults), or to try to be so nice to each of them (giving them candies, etc.) that they’ll all be nicer to you. The problem is, that last one doesn’t work very well, and of course getting into fights will get you into trouble.
My advice is, awful as it sounds, that you need to pull away from these kids for a while. Don’t go out with them next weekend. And instead, spend that time working on something that you care about that’s pretty impressive. Whether that’s going to a gym, doing great work on a school paper, or making a new friend. Whatever it is, let them find someone else to tease for a few nights. And when they ask you what you’ve been up to, feel free to be a little mysterious. “Oh I just had more interesting stuff to do,” or “I was too busy,” or even, “Hey, I can’t spend all my free time just hanging out with you guys.”
Now I could be wrong, but my guess is that if you do that a few times, they’re going to want you back, bigtime (Especially whoever’s been the new butt of their jokes!). And if that happens, the next time you go out with them, be ready. And whenever the first one of them comes out with an “ignorant and stupid” comment about you, have something in mind to point out how they were ignorant and stupid about something. “Hey it wasn’t me who yelled out the wrong answer in math class last week!” Now that friend might still insult you, but if you’re ready with those comments for each of them, suddenly they’re going to find it costs them something to insult you. You’re ready with a retort! And also, each of them knows that the group as a whole wants to have you around. So they’re going to be feeling a bit less secure about going after you.
Now again, saf1, I can’t guarantee that this will work. But it’s one way that could achieve making the group a better place for you. And if it doesn’t work, and these folks keep insisting on treating you badly… it might be time to look at leaving them behind and finding some other friends.
You’ve already done a good job of that – my pack is as great a bunch of friends as I’ve ever known! But you’ll want to have some in your face-to-face life as well.
And once you’ve managed to improve your circle of friends (whether it’s this same bunch or different people), my great wish is that you never allow yourself to be treated as “the runt of the litter” ever again!
Hi teenunchained –
You’ll probably have noticed that not all dogs are alike. Even though all us pooches want to be loved, some will run up and jump on you and cover you with kisses, some will stand there and wait for you to pet them, some will shy away in fear that you’ll hurt them, and some will see you as a threat and bark or even bite at you.
Similarly, although all people deep-down want friends, they’ll show and receive friendship in very different ways. Some people show affection through complimenting each other a lot, some show it by relaxing with each other and not acting on any need to say anything, and others do it by trading humorous insults. No one is correct, or better than the others; it’s just that different people are different.
However, just as you’d be a fool to treat a biting dog the way you do a playful Golden Retriever puppy, it’s necessary for people to note who they’re dealing with, and act accordingly.
If I could have my way, I’d love both you and your friends change a bit. They would pick up on your sensitivity (which is a strength, no matter what anyone says!), and treat you in a way that makes you feel loved, while you’d relax a bit and feel more comfortable trading occasional insults with them.
I’ll give you a great example of this. Handsome’s most frequent and loving nickname for me is “Knucklehead.” When he calls me this, he’s telling me how much he loves my spirit and liveliness, and the way I just love everyone. Well last week he was with a young boy and having a great time with him, and laughingly, lovingly, told him he was a knucklehead. And after he left their house, that boy collapsed crying on his mother, feeling horribly insulted by a man he thought liked him! Who’s fault was this? No one’s. But it was awfully important that the mother, and then Handsome, explained to the kid that the term wasn’t a real insult at all. And guess what – a few days later, that little boy called Handsome a knucklehead himself!
So what can you do? Well, start with a question: is it one or a few particular issues that are hurting your feelings? For example, maybe you feel okay with your friends jokingly insulting everything about you but your looks, but when they do mention those, you’re really bothered. If so, maybe you can tell that to your friends. After all, I’m sure there are things about them they wouldn’t like to be the butt of your jokes, so it’s only fair that they treat you with equal care.
But I really urge you, so your life can be more fun, to also find ways to enjoy some of this exchange. Once you do, getting mildly insulted by your friends can actually feel better than their saying something nice to you. After all, they’re probably nice to strangers, right? So it’s a statement of intimacy and trust that they’re able to trade jabs with you.
As long as it’s not on issues you’re particularly sensitive about. So see if you can tell them about those. If so, your life could be as great as it looks to your Dad!
Good Luck, you wonderful knucklehead!
Okay, Cookie Vidal. I hope those helped. But now, about your body: Have you ever heard a song called “Baby Got Back,” by Sir Mix-a-Lot?! If not, look it up online. Your friends might just be jealous!
But if you do truly feel you need to lose weight, there’s nothing wrong with that. I have a few suggestions about ways to do that on my website – just use the Search box on the site.
And last but not least, as far as that crush goes… What in the world is wrong with having a crush? Especially on a super-hot guy! It’s a compliment to him, and it just shows that you have good taste, and that you’re fully alive. If anyone made fun of me for loving the smell of barbecue restaurants, I’d just laugh them off. Well isn’t this guy about the equivalent of a plate of short ribs in your mind?! Maybe next time your friends insult you having a crush on him, you should just ask them what’s wrong with them for not having a crush!
I can stare at Handsome for hours on end. And I know he sometimes does the same to me. We’ve lived together for years, and still feel that way about each other. That’s the best thing in our lives! Why in the world would anyone want to lose that sort of feeling?! ENJOY IT, Cookie Vidal, don’t fight it! Live!!!
(and if you happen to get a chance to jump up on him and bite him in the ear, all the better!)