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Eighth Grade Troubles
Whenever someone in my group of friends brings up 8th grade, it isn’t surprising to hear a moan or two and see someone roll their eyes. The reason is that one group of girls had such a problem with us that year. Ironically, they were supposed to be our friends.
The beginning of the year started off well. We were one big family and we all got along pretty well. We hung out in our teacher’s classroom during lunch, scrambling to help each other with homework that was due the next period and singing to/making fun of the Bicycle song by Queen. We joked around with each other and made up stupid handshakes and generally had a good time.
I remember when my friend, Sara, was planning to have a coming out party. All of us girls got so excited. We looked up dresses online and talked about how much fun it would be. For weeks, lunch time was spent looking through catalogues and talking about shoes and make up. The party never happened, but it was fun daydreaming.
I also remember our 8th grade trip to an amusement park. It was only Alyssa and I who refused to go on a roller coaster. We only got to go on two rides that day, but we had our chance at the end of the day to make up for it. The whole group decided to go on this ride that went in a circular motion up, into the air and then back down again. There were no flips, but we all had a blast! When everyone else decided to go on one more roller coaster before we had to go home, Alyssa and I stayed on the ride. We stayed on for what seemed to be 15 more rounds. I felt so sick afterwards, but it was worth it because I was with Alyssa and I’d finally found someone else who didn’t like roller coasters.
I was happy with my new group of friends. They seemed to have my back and were a lot of fun to be around. I was so glad I’d met them!
But then things changed.
Our group split. It was me, Sara, Alyssa, Amy, and Erika in one group and then a bunch of the other girls in another group. Suddenly they couldn’t stand to be around us. They refused to talk to us, sat at the other end of the lunch table, and made plans excluding us over the weekends. We were so confused. We didn’t understand what we had done or why they were acting this way. Within this conflict was another conflict between my best friend, Jamie, and me. She had joined the other group.
She seemed to be my best friend when it was convenient for her. Whenever the other girls couldn’t hang out with her, she called me. But when they could hang out, she didn’t think twice about ditching our plans. And she couldn’t seem to come up with a solid reason as to why I wasn’t good enough to be around her anymore. She had her friend tell me hurtful things, like that I was too possessive, I mothered her too much, or that I made her uncomfortable. However, when I tried to sit down and talk to her about how I felt, she’d get insanely defensive and start a fight. In order to end the IMs I was receiving from people telling me about how nasty I was for “starting” those fights, I always apologized and nothing ever got resolved. She had some kind of spell cast over me where I couldn’t defy her, and I couldn’t say no to anything she asked me to do no matter how wrong it was. But one night, a night I will always remember, I stood my ground.
She IMed me the night before my friend, Sara’s, birthday party. Sara was in my group, and she’d invited the other group to her birthday party for reasons I’m unsure of. When Jamie IMed me, she had a problem and she was seeking my help. Before I knew what the problem was, I was very sympathetic. Our conversation went a little something like this:
Me: hey, what’s up?
Her: Ugh, Kat, I have a problem.
Me: Aww, what’s wrong?
Her: Well, Ally invited me over tomorrow night, the same night as Sara’s party.
Ally is a year older than us. She and Jamie are also close and rarely get the chance to hang out. I knew where this was going…
Her: I feel badly, and I don’t know what to tell Julia. Do you think you could help me?
I stared at the computer in shock and anger rose inside me. I’d gotten so used to having my best friend ditch me to hang out with someone else, and now I was about to watch her do it to one of my friends!
Me: I’m not lying to Sara for you if that’s what you’re asking.
Oh, my God! I’d stood up to her!
Her: No, that’s not what I’m asking. What is with you lately?
WHAT WAS WITH ME LATELY?!
Her: I was asking you to help me come up with something to tell Sara.
So basically I wouldn’t be doing the lying. I’d just be coming up with the lie. Well, that changes everything…NOT.
Her: Fine, I’ll just go ask Emma for help.
In the end I went to the party, and none of that group showed up. While Jamie was hanging out with Ally, the two other girls just never RSVPed to Sara’s party and had a sleepover with each other instead. After Jamie told Sara that “Her parents had punished her for no reason and she was so sorry but she couldn’t go to the party,” she and her friend talked about me behind my back at their sleepover. But that doesn’t even matter anymore. You know why? I don’t talk to that girl anymore. None of my friends talk to any of those girls much. But us, “the shunned group,” we’re still friends. And we go to each others’ birthday parties.