When I was about thirteen my friends weren’t being very friendly. In class they would pass notes to each other and exclude me, at lunch they would talk about things they knew I had no interest in or couldn’t relate to. They said awful things behind my back and even developed a code, which only they knew. They stopped inviting me places and they made sure I found out what they had been up to. I put up with it because I was scared to been seen as having no friends. They could have easily kicked me out of their group but they seemed to get some joy out of psychologically tourmenting me.
I started to get sick a lot. I could never enjoy those days off school because I knew they would be gossiping about me. I think that is another reason I stuck around them for so long, it was better to know what they were saying.
Every now and then I would need a break from their bullying so I would go to the library at lunchtime. We couldn’t eat in the library so I would have a few bites of my sandwich outside and then I would go in and pretend I was doing assignments. I was very self-conscious but no one seemed to care that I was in there alone. I think I even wrote notes to make it seem like I was doing work. I was miserable but I appeared to be conscientious.
In class I started sitting with other students. I remember asking one of my primary school friends if I could sit with her and she said of course. I still wasn’t brave enough to leave my old group completely and I hated when the bell rang for recess or lunch.
One day after school my friends were following me around, telling me what was wrong with me and just being generally nasty. I finally decided that even if I had no friends, it would be better than putting up with those girls. I started to run and one of the main bullies yelled out “You can’t run away from your problems!” It sounded almost like a demand, as though she wanted me to face up to her and the others. I ran all the way home and as I ran I thought, maybe I can’t run away from my problems, but I can run away from those girls.
I worked up the courage to ask the girls I was sitting with in class if I could sit with them at lunch and recess and they were very kind and said I could. By then I didn’t think I was worthy of being anyone’s friend so I was so relieved to find a group who would take me in. My old friends realised that I had moved on and stopped bothering me. I guess they got what they wanted in the end too.