Ask Shuli: Mean Girls

Ask ShuliDear Shuli:

I’m looking forward to my high school reunion, but I dread seeing one particular classmate. She’s my best friend’s good friend, and somehow she always made me feel like a third wheel. Should I avoid her?

–Third Wheel

Dear Third Wheel:

Oy, I am all too familiar with this scenario. Thanks to Facebook and other social media, it’s easier than ever to connect with old friends—and frenemies. I’m reading into your question a bit here, but I’d guess this classmate often served as the wedge between you and your best friend. How did she make you feel excluded? Was she more “popular” with others, or just rude and insensitive to you in high school?

If it’s the latter and she truly was a “mean girl,” I’m not sure what your best friend saw in her. Perhaps they had a good relationship, and the frenemy was simply jealous of your BFF status. It may have been almost a decade since you’ve seen her, and just think of how much you’ve grown and changed since graduation day. Let’s hope she’s done the same.

If it’s the former, and she seemed more popular at the time, you may be surprised to find out that she really wasn’t the high school princess you thought—but perhaps a scared and insecure teenager just like you. I highly recommend renting “The Breakfast Club” for a refresher on such teen angst. At the reunion, talk to her. Tell her you’re looking forward to hearing all about the person she is today, and what she’s up to. Think: more future, less past!

Of course, we all know that high school reunions can send us back to our old bad behaviors (like taunting the class clown, never mind that he’s now a pediatrician). If your frenemy treats you like dirt, despite my best hopes for you (and her!), tell your best friend you’re not interested in group activities with the mean girl. Then, move on!