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How can I escape my friend?

He invades my space and hunts me down if I don’t sit with him at lunch.

It’s no wonder you’re tired of his behavior, says our elder. Not everybody is a friend for life.

Dear EWC

I have a friend who I have known for almost three years now, ever since eighth grade. We have been fairly close for two years (I’m in tenth grade now). For a while, this friendship has been good, if a bit stressful for me. I struggle with talking about my feelings and standing up to people, and none of my relationships in the past have been that great. Around the end of the last school year, our friendship started going downhill. He doesn’t know it, even though I have been trying to be honest with him for a couple of months now. He hits me and invades my personal space, thinking it is just playful, while it really makes me uncomfortable. I’ve talked to him about this. Nothing has changed. He sometimes talks to me in a way that makes me feel like an idiot, and nothing I say really changes his ways. Recently he’s been telling me I’m a lesbian, first jokingly, but now in more of a forceful way. I’m not. He even told one of my friends that he thinks I’m a lesbian, which I heard from her later. He is very clingy and pushes others away from being around me. Sometimes he blocks me against a wall with his body. I don’t think this is on purpose, but it freaks me out.

I’ve tried to distance myself from him. I addressed some of these issues in an email I sent him (I’m not very comfortable saying things to people in person), but he only brushed the concerns off. I’m afraid if I’m too harsh I’ll hurt him. He is very sensitive and doesn’t have many kind people in his life. If I don’t sit with him at lunch, he’ll pretty much hunt me down to find out why. I’m considering quitting theatre (even though I love it) because it means more time with him. I have also considered switching to online school, but I really just want to end this friendship once and for all. What do I do?

Linda replies

A friend, by its very definition, is someone whom we can trust with our innermost secrets, someone who listens and cares, and someone who is with us through the good times and the bad. It’s certainly not someone who makes you feel like an “idiot” or who insinuates you are a lesbian in an effort to be hurtful. The fact he’s hunting you down, invading your personal space and occasionally blocking you against a wall is not okay. It’s small wonder you’ve grown weary of such childish behavior.

One of two things may be going on here. Is it possible this friend may have feelings for you? He could be making sarcastic comments that you must be a lesbian because he’s angry you don’t reciprocate those feelings. Sometimes people say hurtful things when they aren’t getting the kind of attention they are desiring. If you feel positive he’s not interested in you in a romantic way then his actions and behavior are likely signs of immaturity.

What I can tell you is that some friends are only meant to be in our lives for a season. Not everyone is destined to become a lifelong friend.

Letter #: 449582
Category: Friendship

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