I’m so, so sorry to hear that you are having so much difficulty with the social scene at school. I don’t know why you have become the scapegoat among the people you wish were your friends. Sadly, this happens to kids in a lot of schools. A few kids get isolated and picked on by the others – often for mysterious reasons. One theory is that the bullies (and that’s what they are) don’t feel very good about themselves so they need to feel at least better than someone else. Other people join in the bullying because they are afraid they’ll be the person who is picked on next. From their point of view, it’s better to join with the bullies than to be one of the people who is a target.
You are being bullied. The first thing you need to do is confide in your parents or in some trusted adult at school. This kind of environment isn’t healthy for anyone. I realize it’s tricky. I realize that if the other kids know you talked to adults about them, it could be worse for you. The adults need to address the larger problem of bullying at school without singling you out.
Then, you need to find a better class of friend. As popular as the group may appear to be, it sounds like they aren’t mature enough to stand up for what is right and to be true friends. Give up on them, at least for now. Hopefully, when they get a little older and more mature they will figure out what friendship really means.
In the meantime, it’s time for you to take charge of your life and find people who have something in common with you. Classmates are only that – classmates. You were thrown into the same class just because you are about the same age and live in the same school district. Those two factors are not enough to guarantee similar values or interests.
You live in one of the most diverse and interesting cities in the world. There are all kinds of activities and studios and volunteer opportunities within a subway ride. Turn your focus away from in-school time to the hours you have after school and on weekends. Explore your talents and your passions. Do you love to dance? Would you like to learn something like Aikido? How about exploring art or music or theatre? Your parents might be willing to help you get some lessons. Explore what is available at your local Y as well. Often there are free or low cost programs. Arts aren’t your thing? Then how about doing some volunteer work? Ask your guidance counselor at school where there might be opportunities that would let you both make a little difference in the world and meet other kids your age.
The point is: The teens who make it through adolescence with the best mental health are often those who find a “second home” away from home and school. The dance or art studio, the youth group, a volunteer project, etc. provide that when school can’t.
You’re right. Crying in the corner will ruin your life. It’s time to get out of the corner and get active. Do what you can to help yourself. If you’re still having trouble, talk to a counselor to help you recover from a miserable first semester so you can make changes in this one.
One more thing: If you need someone to talk to while you’re working to turn things around for yourself, you can call the folks at the Boys and Girls Town Hotline, 800-448-3000. There are folks there 24/7 who can give you some support and advice.
You made an important start by writing us here at Psych Central. I hope you will take the next steps. You’re worth it!
I wish you well.