Dear Dr. J,
I have this situation at school where I feel like everybody hates me. I know why. I’m antisocial. Actually I’m becoming more social, but due all of their previous beliefs, they think I’m either some kind of stuck of snob or some kind too sweet/innocent girl without any personality. There are people I hang out with, but lately I wonder if they hate me for hanging out with them. Because they say the nastiest things about me. Every comment I make, they have to nitpick it. I’ve always assumed that was their nature. Like the teasing kind of friends that make fun of you a lot. But some of the things they say are truly hurtful and some of it is behind my back.
What is wrong with me?!
Best Friendless Forever
Do not fret! There is nothing wrong with you. You are simply suffering from a very common condition shared by many people: a lack of vitamin R.
What is vitamin R? Without vitamin R, F-R-I-E-N-D-S become F-I-E-N-D-S. Luckily, Vitamin R deficiency is easy to fix using our two step method:
Step 1: Stop hanging out with Fiends (aka Vitamin R sucker-outers).
This is best done boom! all at once, by just not sitting with them any more. find another place to have lunch or hang out, sit somewhere else on the bus, whatever you have to do. Don’t be mean about it, but just put some distance between you and them. You might feel a little vulnerable and exposed at first, but you’ll also feel liberated because you wont always be second guessing yourself and their reaction to you.
Step 2: Increase vitamin R intake by replacing the fiends with friends (aka Vitamin R replenishers)
This is easily accomplished by finding people who share your interests. The simplest place to find them is by joining a club or volunteering for an organization that you care about or trying a new activity you’ve always wanted to try (Tennis anyone? What about drama? Knitting? Karaoke? Competitive Go Fish? If there isn’t a club that interests you at your school, you can look one up on line or consider starting one yourself). You will tap a rich vein of potential vitamin R donors and you will learn things and you’ll have something to add to your college applications (college is an excellent place to make friends) AND you’ll have tons of material for envy inducing Status Updates on Facebook. (Ha! Take that fiends!) And—best of all—you’ll be happier.
Because here is the secret of Vitamin R: it is derived from Respect—respect for yourself first of all. By protecting yourself from people who are mean to you, you’re treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated. Once you’ve done that, you’ll find other people treat you that way too.