Stressing my few friend's relationship
Preface: I'm in high school. I have 3 best friends, and they're really the only people I hang out with; two are guys, one is a female. Let's call these people Alan, George, and Katie. Alan is pretty relaxed guy; dating a girl online. George is a bit more uptight, but he is fun to be around; dating a girl at our school. Katie is pretty wild; she isn't afraid to speak her mind; she is also bisexual. She is dating a guy who has recently graduated. I am a nerd; not dating; straight; a bit awkward.
A few months ago, George told me and Alan his hierarchy of friends. It was a childhood friend first, Alan second, me third, and Katie fourth. I found this offensive, because I don't rank my best friends. They're all just my best friends. I don't favor one over the other.
George has been hanging around with this kid named Bill because they have a class together. Bill is pretty cool to be around, but he doesn't usually hang around with us. George was telling Alan about Bill, because they did some funny things in class. Alan then asks me if Bill and I could switch. Normally, I'd think it was a joke, but Alan seemed quite serious.
We hang out on campus a lot (during school). When George starts talking, about music or something funny, he usually only directs it to Alan.
When George and Alan "joke" around, their jokes sometimes go a little to far. Like picking at sensitive topics like my money-troubles and manhood.
**To sum up the preface to my problem, I'm getting the feeling that my friends are starting to not want to be around me. I'm feeling excluded from our little group, and I feel like eventually I'll be struggling to maintain this friendship.
Yesterday, I proposed we all go to George's house to hang out. I basically set up the whole thing during school. We were planning to swim at George's house, so I needed trunks. I asked if we could simply stop by my place (which is on the way) to pick 'em up. George said sure, but he was hesitant and a bit annoyed. His parents put him on a strict schedule, and he didn't want to wait.
So, when the bell released us, we all headed to George's car. Alan got shotgun; Katie and I in the back. We had a conversation. George starts complaining about me having to get my suit. He's worried that I'll take a long time in my house. I tell him he doesn't HAVE to wait, but I'd only be a minute. I also announce that I might not be able to go after all (I remembered I had to stay home and help do some things for my parents).
We arrive at my place, and I get out. George zooms out of the driveway. He didn't even wait for a minute. Great. I go inside and it turns out that I indeed do have to stay home.
(What happened at George's house: George, Alan, and Katie had a manly conversation. They also seemed to have discuss and question my sexuality.)
The next day: George and Alan arrive at school. Apparently, George and Alan have manly conversations (about sex) and I never participate. They inform me of this. I don't know how they came up with this conclusion, because I discuss sex and whatnot pretty openly. But, I suppose Alan and George talk about it more often than with me included. They tell me they want to ask me something, but neither had enough courage to ask me. They say they'll just wait for Katie to ask me, because she is straightforward. I have a few theories on what they're wondering. Their attitudes said it all. It was a subject that brings about awkwardness.
Katie comes to school and outwardly asks me, "Why don't you participate in our manly conversations?" I tell her that I thought I did. She then asks me, "Are you still a virgin?" I tell her obviously (we're all still virgins); I'm pretty sure she already knew that. She then asks, "Are you gay?" I tell her no and figure out that they were indeed talking about me the day before. That's the end of it. Katie probably told Alan later in the day; I'm not sure if she told George.
So. They were talking about me. And I simply assume that they all think I'm gay. I'm not going to prove I'm straight, because that would be ridiculous, but I don't want them to think I'm gay. I mean, hell, I might not be the most manly man and talk about sex constantly, but I still get aroused by females. I just don't flaunt it around. Hopefully my friends will eventually understand that.
**Conclusion: I don't know what to do, but I'm constantly stressed. I'm not good friends with many other people on campus, and don't want to hang out with different people. I'm not going to try to convince them of my sexuality, but if they keep suggesting I'm gay, I'm going to loose the little confidence that I've built up over the years. I'm not looking for outright answers to my problem. I just need someone to talk about it with, and frankly, I'm embarrassed to talk about it with anyone I know; how do I go about saying my only friends might possibly dislike me and think I'm gay? I'm also getting tired of the jokes. I tell them when one really offends me (which most don't, because they are jokes), but they don't seem to be getting the clues.
PS: This really helped me. Just venting really settled my head down a bit. Thanks in advance to anyone who comments or gives any sort of advice.
PSS: Sorry if any of this confused you. I realize that some of it may have got off topic.
I donâ€™t like the whole â€œhierarchy of friendsâ€ thing either. Each friend plays an important role. Alan and George probably have a lot in common. Alan and George like Bill because they feel he is more similar to their personality. They prefer someone like Bill right now because he acts more like them than you do. Alan, George, and Katie have an immature definition on how a man should act, and you donâ€™t fit their definition. They donâ€™t understand why you are the way you are and may feel like they would have a better time without you. Sometimes friendships go through this. They may grow apart or get stronger, but donâ€™t try to be like Alan, George, Bill, or Katie if you donâ€™t want to. Sometimes, you may have different interests or different opinions from theirs, and thatâ€™s okay. While they do what they do when youâ€™re not around, find out what you can do that doesnâ€™t involve them.
About Exclusion:Feeling Excluded? Your feelings are understandable. Especially since George and Alan are being jerks. Why would Alan (he was serious, by the way) ask you to switch out with someone if you are part of the crew? Friends donâ€™t replace each other. You may have tough times or even grow apart, but there are no replacements. Bill would just join the crew and that would be that. Not to mention Georgeâ€™s fine performance. I would never just drive off, and I bet he wouldnâ€™t have done that to Alan or Katie. THE â€œMANLYâ€ DISCUSSION:So, since they donâ€™t understand you, you must be gay, right (just wanted to point out Iâ€™m being sarcastic here)? I mean, come on (Now Iâ€™m just mad!)! What TV shows have they been watching? Youâ€™re not the only one who has been asked this. I was asked the same thing at one time because I decided to become good friends with a girl who no one else really spent time with. Because some of my friends didnâ€™t understand why I was hanging out with her, they had someone ask me the classic â€œAre you a lesbian?â€ question, even though they know Iâ€™m straight. The situation with you is different because I wasnâ€™t feeling excluded, my friends just felt confused and curious about what I was doing. But I just wanted to share that because your situation reminded me of it. Here are some suggestions: A. Direct Way: Ask Alan, George, and Katie if they have a problem with you and ask them why they have been acting like jerks and if it was something you did/said. Tell them if they have a problem with you that they need to tell you. Tell them that not everyone has to act like they do and since they are your friends, they should act like friends.
B. Indirect Way: 1. Jokes and sarcasm. When you donâ€™t like the jokes or conversation that takes place, make some jokes of your own in the conversation, so they know you want to participate. If you are not good with improvisation, create some jokes or look up some jokes before seeing them again and insert when applicable. Or, try to change the topic to something you like talking about, but in the same area as what is being discussed. If they ever repeat the questions Katie asked you or suggest something along those lines, reply to them with humor (â€œAre you passing out a gay manual or something? You know Iâ€™m straight.â€). 2. When the time is right, tell your friends about a girl you find attractive and describe what you like about her. C. Combination Method: Confront your friends about what they have been doing, but in a funny way. Here are some suggestions: 1. Look, I know you guys have been talking about me. Now, I donâ€™t know what Alan and George are doing with each other in their spare time, but if theyâ€™re making a musical or sharing fashion tips, count me out.(If they get mad at what you say, then you can say â€œNow you know how I feel.â€)2. I donâ€™t need to talk about manly stuff because, as you know, Iâ€™m the total package. You guys are still waiting for the mail when I already have what I need. Itâ€™s not my fault youâ€™re overcompensating. 3. I only talk dirty to girlfriends. 4. I prefer pictures over words, if you know what I mean... Let me know what you decide to do. But make sure that you do what you are most comfortable with. And if your friendship does fade even after you try to mend it, at least you tried. Good luck! TILES
Alan and George do have a lot in common. I'm definitely not trying to be like my friends. Sure, we share a few similar interest, but I act independently. I have priorities (mainly doing well in school). I definitely don't try to do what they do. If I did, I wouldn't do nearly as well in school. Right now, I am trying to do things without them, especially Alan. I plan on putting some distance between the three of us, again mainly Alan. Luckily, I don't have any classes with Alan. GEOGRAPHICAL DIFFERENCE: I moved to this area at the start of my freshman year. I was out of place to begin with. I went from a big city to a small country town in another state; from a middle school with 1600 students, to a high school with only 400. It was a culture shock. In general, these people were entirely different than the people I was used to. I came to find out that these people were, generally, more prejudice. At my old school, mostly everyone got along. There was hardly any prejudice. And people surely didn't talk about females like pieces of meat or blatantly discuss sex in such a crude manor. Like today at school, George, Alan, and I were eating lunch. George finished first and started to get up just as Alan and I were finished. I stood up second to leave with George and Alan, because they're my friends. George made a comment about being a sheep (follower). Apparently to George, you eat, and you leave, not according to anyone else in the lunch room else you're a follower. He's been doing things like that for a while. I just can't grasp why he'd just want to either go to lunch by himself or leave by himself. Where I come from, friends wait for each other, then stand in line together, then eat together, THEN leave together. TODAY: Alan only seems to be getting worse. Today we were sitting together talking when a crowd of some other friends come and sit in between us (like, there was a seat between Alan and I and someone sat there and that gap expanded). Not a problem; I started talking to some of the people who had sat near me. Eventually I noticed that Alan wasn't talking to anyone and looked rather lonely, so I called to him, "Hey Alan, why are you so far away?" He responded, "I don't know." Then I suggested that he come sit near me, and he responds, "No, I'm hanging out with a real man." Ouch. So much for trying to show some kindness. This is what made me want to un-associate myself from Alan. I do plan on confronting this particular problem. As far as I know, I haven't done anything to tick Alan off. I'm going to ask what his problem is with me the next time he acts like a prick. GEORGE: I feel bad for George. He is naive and has his own theories and ideas on how people socially interact and what is a kind way to go about it. He's a nice guy, but I don't think he gets the concept of being a friend (like waiting for a friend to finish eating before leaving); or maybe it's just that we're from two different backgrounds. Still, he doesn't quite get it. I've sat with one of the most racist people at my school (despite this flaw, he is alright), and even HE stayed with me at lunch until we were both finished. YOUR ADVICE: I must say, I liked the humor suggestions. I definitely plan to incorporate that somehow. I still don't know why they assume I'm gay; even though I've never had a girlfriend at my current school, I've pursued a few (my advances were ultimately rejected). They know this. I mean, Alan has (I believe) never had a real life girlfriend (he's got one online), but you don't see me assuming hes gay. I'm fairly sure though that I can't ignore Alan without totally ignoring George. And if I break up this friendship I have, I'll loose a good bit of my confidence. For some odd reason, I draw confidence from my friends. I've worked on this, and I've grown more independently confident, but still.. Having someone I'm more familiar with makes it easier for me to be myself. That sounds a bit lame, but that's just how I am. I'd also like to thank you for responding; I really appreciate it. Talking about this definitely helps me think this through.