Are My Best Friends Bullying Me?

By | June 1st, 2010 | 50 comments

Dear Rachel…

How do I deal with my obnoxious, overreacting, jealous, clingy, rude, and generally hard-to-deal with best friends?

There’s so many things I could say about them. I love them both, I’ve been best friends with one of them since I was three, and the other one is her cousin who moved here a few years ago. I love them both to DEATH, but they’re INSANE.

1. They’re jealous if I’m with one of them instead of the other, or especially if I’m with someone else outside the group.

2. They put me down all the time.

3. The one cusses me out when I’m not the perfect friend, and the other is very good at making me sound like a culprit to her parents, who intervene ALL. THE. FREAKING TIME.

4. I’m accused of being their “mom” but then they freak out when I don’t fix all their problems for them.

A bunch of stuff happens ALL the TIME. What do I do??

Not wanting to put up with crap OR losing my best friends,

A Friend On the Verge of Insanity

Dear Friend on the Verge of Insanity,

Help me out here. You put the words “obnoxious” and “rude” in the same sentence as “best friends?” Ah, forget it. I can’t pretend. I wish I could say this was unusual with girls, but it’s not.

If you ask little kids to draw you a picture of a bully, they sketch a picture of a tough boy who kicks your butt and takes your lunch money. You know, a bruiser, the kind of guy who’s been in fifth grade for five or six years, lurks in the playground…you know the drill.

That may be a bully for some people, but not for girls. Most of the time, the people that bully a girl will be her close or even best friends. They won’t do it physically. It’ll be subtle, through put-downs and hot-and-cold moods.

Too many of us put up with it, precisely because “they’re my friends.” But just because someone is your friend doesn’t mean she might not also be your bully. Friendship is not some all-holy state that gives people license to throw jealous fits, cuss you out, put you down, and freak out when you don’t fix all their problems (and that is what you describe above).

Every friendship has its ups and downs, no doubt. But if your downs far outnumber your ups, and if your downs come weekly or even daily, you may have a bully masquerading as a friend – kind of like that wolf in sheep’s clothing in Little Red Riding Hood.

Except your life is no fairy tale. You’re going to have to make your own happy ending. Here’s what I’m thinking: lay low for a week. Keep a journal of all the stuff that happens with your friends that bothers you. Write down what happened, when, where, who was there, all those details. You may even want to write a few sentences about how you felt in the moment (use emotion words if you can – they’re way more telling about what’s going on for you than words like “bad” or “like crap”).

After the week is up, read over your list. Then ask yourself this: if you had a best friend who showed you this journal, what advice would you give her? Would you tell her she was in a toxic friendship and to get out, or stick with it?

If you do decide to stick with it, I urge you to sit down with each friend on her own – not together, because they’re related and they’re clearly tight, which means that if you talk to them together, they’ll likely be invested in protecting each other and not listening clearly to you – and run through your list. Say something like, “This doesn’t feel like a healthy friendship. I need this stuff to change.” It’s up to you to suggest some alternatives, such as, “When you’re jealous about me hanging out with her, I need you to just tell me instead of [whatever you’re doing].”

I’m not feeling optimistic based on your email, but I support you in trying to fix this. The only way to do that, though, is to talk to both of them and make some clear statements about what’s not working and what you need to change.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

50 Responses to “Are My Best Friends Bullying Me?”

  • Eliza says:

    I’m being bullied right now by my best friends. It’s not the typical kind of bullying. That are threatening to commit suicide and they get mad at me for not trying to save them. In 8th grade, I became best friends with this girl, she’s actually a psychopath but she used her charm and manipulation to get to me. She would bully and force me to be suicidal with her, she even forced me to be her girlfriend, even though she knows I’m not gay. She did a lot of things to me that makes me now question what I am. That’s sickening to me. I tried to tell her I can’t be her friend but she didn’t accept that. She made it very clear to me that she doesn’t plan to be on this earth for much longer so I should stop trying. She tried to kill herself 5 times, but she failed on purpose so I would find out about it and I would still have to face her. (Doctors say that, I’m not making it up) the hospital won’t even take her in anymore since she refuses to talk. She ran away 4 times and she did it so I would be worried literally sick about her, and I am still. So that’s what’s going on right now, it’s to the point where I can’t sleep and I get so scared to go anywhere I fainted and I started throwing up two days in a row. At church she stalks me and she won’t leave me alone. She’s interfering with my relationships so I can’t have any friends. She’s done all of this because if she dies, she wangs to take me with her. I’ve had my fair share of bullying. Sadly this girl is only one of the 7 people/ groups I’ve/ I’m being bullied by. If anyone has any advice I’d love it if you shared!

  • Is life a bully says:

    So when I’ve been best friends with a girl for over 4 years now. I hate to admit it but through all these years she bullied me. She talks crap about me behind my back, when we’re with some friends, she always says things ONLY to make me look dumb, sometimes she gets angry for no reason, and while we’re in our class together, she tells me things like; don’t laugh, you’re making me sick, or everyone hates you etc. She has even tried to make my other friends hate me by saying lies about me and making me look bad. Then after that they don’t even talk to me and that is the time she dumps me only to see me lonely. But there are days when she acts so good like we’re sisters. But she is literally so mean besides these days. I feel like we have a toxic friendship. I really don’t know because I have some real friends and they tell me to dump her. I’ve tried to ignore her but that makes her even more mad and makes her bully me more. I feel so bad but at the same time I care about her. Help.

  • Alexis says:

    I don’t get it i was crying in a bathroom stall at school and they were talking about me the whole time in class and they said i should killed myself and she was my BFF and now she just talked about me behind my back what do i do

    • I feel you. This has happend to me. It is actually happening to me nowadays. But you know what? Ignore her. It’s better to be lonely than with a fake friend. Don’t let her get under your skin. Focus on your life because everything she has done to you will end one day and karma will slap her in the face lol xx

  • Cat says:

    Your friends are bullying you. It seems as if it was planned too. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised by that if they are cousins. Find a new group of friends before things get worse.

  • I need advice says:

    Ok so my friend usually excludes me when she is with her other friends (who I am not friends with but still hang around) so I never get invited to stuff. I found out they were all (except 1 person) going to see a horror movie, so I was okay with it (I hate horror movies). But then I found out on snapchat that they were having a sleepover after, and that one person had gone to just the sleepover. I asked my friend why I wasn’t invited, and she said it’s because I’m not friends with them. I then got really sad because I realized that if I go to some of their gatherings, we could be friends. I tell my friend that and she doesn’t respond. Sbs just says goodnight to me. What should I do? Should I stay friends with her, she’s my only friend? Should I ditch her and be a loner? Also this isn’t the first time this has happened, it’s happened a lot.

  • Sophie says:

    I have been friends with my 3 best friends for 3 years and i’ve had to deal with them picking on me and putting me down through out most of it. I have remained friends with them because on a good day they can be really nice however recently it has become daily when they pick on me and leave me out of plans. I don’t know what to do.

    • Gizelle says:

      I am in a very similiar situation. I am in yr 10, I am 15 and I have 3 bestfriends. We are known in our year for being four inseparable bestfriends since yr8. But lately they are always picking on me, saying things like ‘you’re so dumb, you’re so ugly, you’re so irrelevant, you have no common sense’. I used laugh along because they’re my bestfriends and it’s just banter, but nowadays it’s so constant. Them 3 are in a lot of classes without me and when i meet them after the lessons they look at me and go ‘ewwww you’re so ugly”. I am normally someone who can take a joke but when they say this stuff in front of everyone around us it’s just so embarrassing. We play a game called ‘who’s most likely to’ and they say stuff specifically targeted at me like ‘who is the ugliest?’ ‘Who will have the ugliest boyfriend?’ ‘Who is most likely to never have a boyfriend?’ ‘Who is most wannabe’ ‘Who will do the worst in life?’. They always do these questions and they all say me and laugh everytime. It might sound like a joke but I really don’t find it funny and they know it pisses me off so much. They do it just to put me down and it’s like I’m always bullied everyday. They also say ‘who gets bullied the most out of us?’ They all know itd me and they admit but they just laugh. One of then sometimes says ‘i feel bad for her sometimes but I don’t care’. They are also all homophobic so they think being lesbian or gay is bad. I am not a lesbian, i am straight, but i 100% support the LGBT Community. So they always call me lesbian as a negative thing and make fun of me everytime i call a girl pretty (why can’t I support another girl??!) but if anyone of them does anything like this they won’t say anything rude. I can’t even tell them thats this is offensive to people who are actually lesbian because they will just say ‘oh you’re just saying that because you are lesbian’. I know being lesbian is not bad at all, but the way they say it to me pisses me off because it’s to offensive to some people and I’m not even a lesbian.They have so many inside jokes within them and after they say them they just look at me and laugh. I say ‘what are laughing at’ and they’re just like ‘eww her face is so ugly!! I can’t even look at it!’ It would be fine if they compliment me and make fun of me because that’s how normal friendships work, or if they treated themselves the sane way they treat me. But I’m always singled out and bullied so much. Loads of people in our year say that our friendship group is ‘squad goals’ and stuff like that but nobody knows that i feel so depressed everyday because of it. It will be so hard for me to change my friends because everyone knows that our group is so well known for being four girls who are always together, if you get what I mean.

  • Help is what i need says:

    Im being bullied at school by my friends. Ive know them for ages and last month i hurt my best friend physically because i was depressed. I regret it ALOT, as i should but i did deeply apologise. My bestie is not my bestie mow. I miss her and she has a new bff, now my other friends think they rule my life and they dont want me in there group of friends, later they apologized and i acted like i accepted it but i didnt. Yesterday one of my friends said i cant join in a special activity with her and my friends, and it was on something weve been working on for ages (making go carts and that day the whole school were racing) but i didnt do it because apparently she didnt want me to join her and my friends. My parents came to watch me race but i wasnt and i ran up to them and hugged them and told them what hapened and said i didnt want to be at school right now and they said “we are definitely going home” but first they had to see the assistant princible them we went home andmy ‘friend’ is going to be punished.. its now the weekend while im writing this, im depressed, listen to sad music and im scared about going to school again

  • xnerdybunnyx says:

    Last year I moved to a new country, I found great friends and they’re my best friends. But this year we started having fights and one of them started telling people that I should get out of their group and I’m not even welcome in their country. Which pissed me off loads. So I ignored her and that made it worse, she got her parents involved and then they told the teacher. I was accused of excluding (Which I don’t do, she just doesn’t hang out with us anymore..), name calling and the one the only bullying. None of these I do. All my friends are sick of this and we ignore her now. But now one of my other ones which are pretty close has done the exact same thing. She went to her parents saying I scratched her on purpose (I did scratch her but I fell so not on purpose), saying I called her a dumb blonde and bitching about me to other parents and I’m just there being antagonized. I don’t know why it started because of me, but my 2 other friends have stayed with me and one I know is an amazing friend and won’t bitch about me, but the other one has apparently so I don’t know what to do, I’ve tried to make up with the girl but she hasn’t talked to me yet 🙁

    • Help is what i need says:

      Im goung through the same kind of thing right now and the best thing to do is tell the teacher she is lying. If they dont believe you get YOUR parents involved and tell the truth. If the girl doesnt want to talk maybe she was never an actual real friend infact she isnt and if it gets physical consider moving schools and keep in touch eith your real friends. Good luck xnerdybunnyx

  • Alexander says:

    My friend keeps on making fun of my head. Saying that I have an Alien head, football head, target practice, etc..

    I say stop but they keep on.

  • SweetPea says:

    I feel like my Best Friend is bullying me because she sent a picture of me with n top on to a boy.Then told one of the most popular guys in the school. she also tries to make herself seem hard infront of other pople and she says that I’m jealous of her. its really hord for me because i don’t know wat to do she apologises then does it all over again. can anyone help me with this?

    • Em says:

      Dump her now. Find people who you know are better than her and are better TO you than her. If she’s showing pictures on her phone to a ‘popular’ guy, then she might as well be a flirt. Leave her alone long enough and she’ll stop dishing on you, and you might as well dish up some stuff on her. Hope this helps!

  • Unknown says:

    I don’t know if my friends are bullying me but they pull my hair, throw things at me, call me a terrible friend, and gossip about me all the time!!! Sometimes I wish I never met them because I always come home from school crying and saying I want to go to a new school but my mom said I have to ignore them but its impossible!! I wish I could stand up to them but I’m shy and quiet and i just CANT!! Please help someone!! Tell me how to make it better cause this sucks

    • Help is what i need says:

      Id reccomend seeing a school councilor and they can actually explain to your mum properly whats going from what the councilor heard from you. Stay hopeful xx

  • I have great friends LOL says:


  • layla says:

    yes my friend bullies me, she gossips about me, she spits in face, about stopping the friendship,she is mean, and I am thinking about not being her friend because I don’t consider her one.

    • Monica 'awesome poopsie' says:

      I’m your best friend, so let’s just say I want to stand up together to HER. She is mean and I don’t care if she wants to stop our friendship.

      • Layla says:

        True, Monica we do try to stand up for ourselves. We have a strong friendship with another girl Symone and they’d known each other back when they were born. I’ve know her for 4 years and Monica didn’t even have a year with Symone and she is jelous. She spits, yells, lies and turned Monica and I on each other. Because of her I never get to enjoy school. She calls names like stupid or dimwit. She is also very over protective of me, we live a few houses down so in our free time hang out. She hold my hand when I’m crossing the street. And picks me up. This is not all she does. Monica, Symone and I are

        • Layla says:

          ready to tell her! WE are all tired of it! In fact she YELLS at me for not giving her my lunch money. She says its temper, but I don’t believe that after a year of not-so- good- friendships. She makes my 5 year old sister call her queen bee. And treats her like a slave. she locked us in her closet once and almost killed us. She food poisoned the popsicle she gave us, she tells me gossips about Monica who just posted earlier and tells me gossip about this guy named Evan who is also a vitim who is nice, she hits my friend Sarah and is obsessed with Symone and won’t let me hang out with her!

        • Layla says:

          ready to tell her! WE are all tired of it! In fact she YELLS at me for not giving her my lunch money. She says its temper, but I don’t believe that after a year of not-so- good- friendships. She makes my 5 year old sister call her queen bee. And treats her like a slave. she locked us in her closet once and almost killed us. She food poisoned the popsicle she gave us, she tells me gossips about Monica who just posted earlier and tells me gossip about this guy named Evan who is also a vitim who is nice, she hits my friend Sarah and is obsessed with Symone and won’t let me hang out with her

  • Ashdan says:

    Talk to them about it and try to figure out where the issue lies you need to find out if the friendship is worth the pain or nah!
    # Ashdan specialty
    #your welcome

  • Ellie says:

    Thankyou so much for this post. My 3 “best freinds” have been ganging up on me for around a year now. It would be for the slightest thing, Like not having them on my page on instagram, or for going with other people at break times for one break or the latest one was “not paying attention to them”. Every time it happened, i would say ‘this is it now, ive had enough, im not going to be freinds with them anymore’ but now all three of them (they are all together) have started all arguing at me for all different reasons. I really didnt know what to do, and found this post, and it has really helped me and i have only just read it. I just wanted to say thankyou!!

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