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I refused to trade nudes for friendship. Now what?

Tagged as: Friends, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (4 December 2017) 7 Answers - (Newest, 5 December 2017)
A female South Africa age 16-17, anonymous writes:

A few months ago, a group of boys at my school saw me sitting alone, and asked if I wanted to join them. I never dared to approach them before, because I like one of them.

They became my friend circle. I felt happy, hanging out with them, and being close to my crush- he even started sitting next to me in class. They always respected me and treated me like one of the guys. The only iffy came when any other boy temporarily joined our group- then they'd all act like I was their personal clown and slave, like they were scared anyone would find out they treated a girl well. Luckily this only happens once a month, and only a day or two at a time.

Our school has two breaks, and during the second one a group of popular girls would join the boys to chat. I don't like them because they would always interrupt me when I tried to talk to one of the boys, changing the topic to focus on themselves, and did everything possible to get as many boys' sexual attention as possible- including showing the boys pictures of them in fancy underwear, and unnecessarily adjusting their breasts. They act like their worth rested upon how much sexual control they had over males.

One day my guy friends kind-of asked whether I was a trans guy, or wanted to be. When I said no, they told me I should try to hang out with the girls, who offered to be my friends- the boys said it was a better place for me. I refused at first, saying I knew those girls well and never got along with them- but then the boys (lead by a boy who wasn't even an official member of our friend circle) threatened to kick me out the group if I didn't. If I was friends with the girls, they said, I'd still get to hang out with the boys during second break.

So I sat with the girls, who promised not to talk about boys and shopping- and did exactly that. When I gave no input to the conversation, they started talking about my unshaven legs, and asked about whether I shaved... other places with natural body hair.

They took my silence as a no, and told me they'd take me to a spa for a bikini wax, and watch to make sure it was done right. Oh but don't worry- they'll pay!

Umm... I don't know the details behind bikini waxing, but I didn't want to be vulnerable and semi-to-completely-nude in front of anyone. (Plus they're all straight- why are they so desperate to see me with less clothes on than usual?)

When I politely refused, they insisted I had to get a makeover so I looked more like one of them (umm... we're at a school with uniforms, a required hairstyle and rules against makeup, so...)

And step one of that makeover was fancier undies. Proceed to them telling me, if I wanted to become friends with them, I had to put on the bustiest girl's bra in the bathrooms and take a selfie (oh but don't worry- we'll delete it!).

I had no intention to buy their cheap friendship with my semi-naked body, and luckily I was saved from further confrontation by the bell. Literally.

When I returned to the boys and told them I gave up, they asked me for the story. I explained it how I saw it- they couldn't stand that I was different and okay with it, and tried everything to make me look bad. I told them about both of their 'initiation ceremonies' and they wanted to know why I hadn't agreed. I told them that it was impossible those expectations were normal, and the girls were trying to make me look like some sort of (insert word meaning 'very easy female'). Somewhere I might have also said they were trying to change me to be like them and- woops, that did it. The boys suddenly got all defensive about the girls and told them what I said.

The girls didn't deny anything, but thought I was offensive because I may have implied I thought they were a bunch of (there's that word again, but really, it should be considered a fact at this point because um guuuuuurl every boy in class has a pic of you in your undies). Suddenly I had no friends at all- the classes (and only the classes) I shared a desk with my crush in got conveniently reshuffled so we were on opposite sides of class, so I can assume even the teachers are rooting against me. On the outside people might have assumed a restraining order had been filed.

The one girl in the female group I actually got along with wasn't there on the fateful day, and when I went to her for help to get the others to actually listen to me again so I could clarify and apologize (they just walk away when I come close) she promised to help, but then she spent the next week's second break with the guys and girls, chatting, following them when I came close, ignoring that I was eating lunch all alone. She knew what I was going through and chose to ignore it because 'I have other friends, too!' Yeah well her other friends weren't sitting alone broken hearted.

I just want my friends back. There was never a problem until somebody else came into the picture. I don't think I ever did anything wrong- I stood up for myself against sexual harassment and manipulation, and confided in my closest friends about how badly I was treated and how hurt I was that people would dare try to change me that way. I feel betrayed that the boys turned on me so quickly.

You may tell me to just drop the guys for good, but I'm from a small school and they're the only people I've gotten along with in years (and news is spreading fast that I called those girls something obscene, with no context behind it, and nobody believes me when I try to explain). I think the boys are only on the girl's side because there are more boobs there- some kind of testosterone poisoning from the girls' oversexualisation of their every action.

How can I snap them out of this absurd belief that the girls were in the right? How do I save my reputation and regain the respect of my friends?

View related questions: boobs, bra , breasts, cheap, crush, underwear

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A reader, anonymous, writes (5 December 2017):

Good for you for standing your ground.

I notice that you likely go to a private school because of the mention of school uniforms. I too, went to a private school and let me tell you, this can result in some of the most awful cliques and manipulations around.

I've been through very similar situations to what you are going through. And to be honest, it lasted all high school. In the end I found it better to eat by myself, or eat with a few other outcasts like me, then to try and eat with groups that are truly the definition of superficial. I am sorry that you thought you found a group you could fit in with (the boys), and in the end it turned out they were no better than anyone else. I would say let them go.

Things will get better when you go to university (or college)...believe me you will find "your people". People generally will be a lot more mature and open to differences. Of course people will always disappoint you in some ways, and that is part of life. However the type of bullying that you and I faced is much less likely later on. If you are like me, in a few years these lunchtime dramas will be a distant (if sour) memory that you will put behind you. One of my teachers once said to me "different types of people are popular after high school". I didn't believe her at the time, but I came to realize this is so true.

Keep being an amazing person and you will pull through! Focus on your studies for now. Maybe make some friends at different schools if possible. Get your mom or parents to understand what you are going through. I wouldn't really talk to the teachers about it anymore (unless you find one you can truly trust). They seem to just believe you are causing drama and being a tattle-tale. If they had different high school experiences, they won't understand. Yes, 15 people can easily bully 1 person...but alas some people believe the majority is always right.

Best of luck,

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (5 December 2017):

Honeypie agony auntI think you give the group of boys WAY to high praise. If they are SO easily swayed to mistreat you then they aren't as great friends as you might want them to be.

Honestly? All you CAN do is hold your head up high and ignore both groups for now.

Do you.

You can't make people behave well or not try and mistreat you but you CAN decide what you allow and what you don't. So when they do NOT treat you right you get up and walk away.

That group of girls sounds horrible.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (5 December 2017):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntWow! You are one ballsy lady! Well done for standing up to these bullies and not allowing them to intimidate you into doing what they wanted.

I know at your age you want to have friends but you need to pick your friends carefully. These people are not to be trusted. Without trust, there is no friendship.

Not sure what to suggest but just wanted to say you should be proud of yourself for standing up to them. Walk with your head held high on that account.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 December 2017):

Hi N91. I have other friends, but they're the kind who are 'friends with everybody' so I'm not high up on their priority list. It doesn't matter to them if I'm going through a tough time. These friend-to-alls are always combo'd with a group with several people who downright hate me- for unknown reasons.

I have, quite literally, tried to befriend every friend circle in the entire school, only to end up being tossed out by the blindly-hating ones for some dumb reason like not sharing a favourite colour or not putting an anonymous love letter in their crush's backpack for them (I figured they'd tell everyone I wrote the letter)- then the whole group gets mad at me. One group expected me to learn their first language- despite us all sharing the same second language. Getting kicked out just because I'm a girl is also common-despite there being other girls within the group. Forming my own groups with those people who I get along with is out of the option- I, the friendless girl, am not worth risking their position in the social hierachy for. There's even been times when everyone in the grade personally received an invitation to a party, except for me.

(I swear I'm not some mean, judgemental jerk who sees others as beneath her. I may come across as a little sarcastic and snarky in my messages, but that's just because I'm bitter that I always end up in these situations no matter what I do. People don't even give me enough time to make them hate me. Yet it seems I'm the enemy of all except those who promised themselves they will never have an enemy)

The only reason I skipped this particular boy group until the end was because I didn't want to get too close to my crush in case somebody figured it out. He was the one who invited me in, actually, so it meant a lot to me. And he's one of the guys who didn't laugh at me- only turned away. I guess a big part of wanting to be back in the group is about wanting to be his friend again. I really thought we were becoming close and that he maybe likes me too. He did choose to sit next to me in class, and have me among my friends, after all- and no, he still doesn't know about my feelings.

It feels sometimes like I'm the only person in school with my head screwed on right. People keep telling me I'm just seeing things as being more difficult than they are because that's just what teenagers do, believing the world cares enough to plan a coup against them- but the more I look at it, and the more I write about it, the more it genuinely feels like it's me against them all.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (5 December 2017):

N91 agony auntI must start by saying you sound like a really mature girl with your head firmly screwed on. That being said, I think you will understand me saying that NEITHER of these groups of people sound like very good friends.

Are there any groups or other classes in school that you can join to make new friends? These groups you've interacted with in the past sound like bullies to be quite honest.

I think you should be very proud of yourself for standing up with no one else backing you up.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (5 December 2017):

Hi, Honeypie, it's good to have someone believe me for once. I've tried telling lots of people, including other classmates and teachers, but everyone tells me it's impossible I can have 15 people out to get me, and I must be the liar. I've lost count of how many times I had to hear, "Oh but he/she is so sweet, I can't believe they'd do such a thing!" (Never mind I'm famous for being too honest for my own good)

One of the girls goes to church- apparently that means her side is the right side (shall we ignore that, this Halloween, this same girl who draws crosses on every available surface attempted to summon a demon using a spell online 'for the fun of it?').

Before the whole episode with the girls, the new boy in the group asked why I didn't just get friends elsewhere, and when I admitted all my other friends were in friend circles who didn't want me around, he told me if I 'dropped my panties more often' people might consider me worth their friendship. The boys either laughed at me or looked away.

I told the principal, and after I got sent to the bathroom to wash my face (I'd been crying) he called the boy in. The boy then gave the names of three of our group (one of them my crush), saying they were 'just as guilty,' and they got called in without me knowing. After a lecture they were all let off with a warning. They all blamed me for it- I tried to explain I didn't mean for my friends to be in trouble, but one of the boys (my crush's bff) had been in the office thanks to me at the beginning of high school (for chanting 'penis' into my ear in class when I tried to work) and he insisted I had it in for him- that I wanted him expelled.

I don't believe the boys are that bad- just that they're easily manipulated. We were always good, supportive friends. Outside people ruined everything. The jokes were all of an innocent nature- it's always the new person taking it too far.

Like, we'd throw a tennis ball around, but then they'd make difficult throws at me on purpose so I'd drop it and have to pick it up and start agai . The outsider, though, tossed the ball over my head and shouted, "Fetch, b*tch!"

Or when they stole my shoes and tossed them around when I got close- a normal game, until he threw them in the dustbin.

The big problem is, my friends never stood up for me- technically nobody in the entire school of 400 stood up for me so they're only as bad as the average person (are these people even average?). Some of them laugh at my misery, others ignore what they are seeing like they're scared a good deed will turn against them. I know the whole "bros before h**s" thing probably applies, but since I'm the long-term friend and he's the stranger ripping us apart, doesn't that make me the bro?

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (5 December 2017):

Honeypie agony auntOP, that is an awfully sad story.

And I get wanting to have friends, I really do. But the boys were NOT good friends with you and the girls were trying to set you up (probably with incentive from the boys). They were trying VERY hard to get photos of you in naked or near naked situations - claiming they would delete them when you KNEW (good thing you are a smart girl) that they wouldn't.

If they boys couldn't treat you right EVERY day (regardless of the other guy) they are NOt good friends but guys who faked it. They turned on you so well because they don't CARE. What they care about is getting others to do what THEY can laugh at or use. you said it yourself:" then they'd all act like I was their personal clown and slave" THAT is now what GOOD friends do. You might think they accepted you but in reality, they didn't. They just USED you. Hoping the girls could join in the fun.

It seems that you are better off with NEITHER of these two groups for now.

Have you talked to a teacher about this?

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