So I have this friend I've known for years with whom I've hung out and rode motorcycles with. There is a group of us that hangs out and regularly gives eachother crap, just being funny. It seems that I get picked on more than anyone else in this group and especially by this one friend. He constantly does things that he thinks are funny that seem to target/embarass me and even another meeker guy in the group. He especially loves to bring up embarassing things to new people we all meet at the bar and functions. I seem to get singled out more than everyone else (maybe because I'm short, have little education and don't make as much as them?). My ex girlfriend used to say how mean spirited and immature they were and especially this friend, and now I'm finally starting to see it. When I call him out though they all team up to call me over sensitive and such, and say they're just trying to help me. But it's gotten to the point where being around them and especially this one friend makes me feel like sh*t about myself when I'm trying to make improvements. Even some of my non-biker friends that know him and them say they're immature ass*oles.
I seem to have blown up on him on Facebook and don't know if I'm being immature about this or it was the right thing to do. I have steadily avoided going to their weekly hangout now for a month. Also they give me crap when I hang out with people they don't seem to like, like I'm some sort of traitor or something. I feel more and more isolated, but they're some of the only folks I know in the new city I live in. Any advice on frenemies/bullies? Oh I'm 5'4 and he's about 6'4'' so he's physically intimidating as well.
Somehow ribbing me for my extraordinary coarse and curly hair became a more and more frequent occurance within the group of friends I had in my mid to late teens. I'm 5' 8", and with a lean build was definately on the smaller side of this group. While I could take good natured ribbing and frequently responded in kind, this particular subject eventually got on my nerves. Once I realized they weren't going to stop, I warned them twice, in a very calm manner, that I was tired of it and would start slugging them if they continued. They didn't stop, so I started delivering a moderate punch to the offender. It only took two punches before they decided it wasn't worth it.
A similar situation came up with one of those same dudes a few years later in my early 20's. Played out the same way, except I ended up delivering a glancing blow to his head in the middle of Applebee's. No further problems.
Fifteen years later, several of these guys are still good and respected friends of mine, including those I had to deck back in the day. These guys are quality dudes who went a bit overboard with thier kidding. I'm respected in this group for my gentleness, but a consequence of my natural strength in that area is that it was necessary to prove my backbone every so often.
If you don't respect these guys, then ditch them. If they are good guys who just need to learn to respect your boundries, then find a masculine way to deal with the issue. I would have lost life-long friends had I removed myself from this group when it became uncomfortable for me, and that's why I bring this perspective to you.
BTW, as a short dude, I'm assuming you've run into these kinds of disrespect before. Being short invites it. :-D A quiet confidence helps, and a willingness to get into scrapes if needed helps as well. Sure you might get beat up in a fight, but have the attitude that it's going to cost whoever it is that wants to throw down with you. If this guy is picking up on the fact that you WON'T defend yourself, then you're hard to respect.
I hope you are able to clearly percieve yourself and this group of guys, and that dealing with this issue adds to your personal integrity and strength. If you handle this correctly, you WILL be a stronger, deeper man. Plus, since your sons will also likely be short, you'll have wisdom to pass down to them.
There is one other aspect which no one else has mentioned. You said this is happening because of one, single, individual in your group.
All the other suggestions assume that he must stay, and you must go. Turn that around. He's probably making the whole group miserable...expel *him* from the group. If it's as bad as you describe, I *promise* you that you're not the only one who is tired of his shenanigans.
Good riddance to bad rubbish.
I think sometmies people have a certain "sense of humor" they dont realize is rude obnoxious or hurtful to others. Before anyone is expeled from the group maybe try to give them a chance to tone down the negative behavior but if it doesnt stop by all means get rid of him.
Maybe I'll take another possible angle on this.
You're the weakest member of the gang. The weakest member contributes the least and thus gets punished verbally for it. Everybody else will use this punishment as a way to maintain or heighten their level within the gang. You do offer something to the gang or you'd be expelled.
I'd suggest you either assert yourself more and contribute more for the gang or leave and find a new one. I suggest the former. Don't be timid.
I run a soccer team and a couple of the weaker players take more verbal ribbing than others. They are the teams weakest players but they do offer loyalty and dedication which is why they are still around. My advice for them would be to improve their game.
A very good point.
I, too, am short...and I'm also fat. Throw in polite, and sensitive, too. Not exactly the alpha male, as most would describe one. Yet I do not have to put up with crap like this. I don't tolerate it, and that is clear to everyone around me. In fact, even in most new environments, with unfamiliar people, if someone crosses me they instinctively apologize and defer to me. I was told that it's a "vibe" that some people put off.
Physical stature has nothing to do with position in a group, though it *can* be used as leverage, if it's needed. Physical "attitude," body language if you wish, is far more important.
It's obvious you defer to these other members of your group, and place *yourself* in an inferior position. It's probably subconscious, on your part, and maybe even on theirs...but it's self-reinforcing.
So this guy who already towers over you gets his rocks off regularly humiliating you, and the group lets it happen?
Then they dictate who you can and can't hang with?
Sounds like they have some major insecurities going on with their own sense of worth, and it's at a group level.
I would leave the situation and not look behind; you deserve to hang with better people.
"Surround yourself with the men you want to be." was in a post here on connecting with men, and I hope the person who wrote it doesn't mind me borrowing it to use here.
Do you want to be a bully? Do you want to have power over the weak? If that's what you want, go and fight your way up that miserable food chain. Otherwise find other people who will enrich your life, not take away from it.
Life is too short for anything else.
There is Ball-breaking among buddies and there is being and asshole and this guy sounds like the latter. The joking with friends still needs to be within bounds. You need to learn about Boundaries, and from the tone of your post, I am making an assumption, but you might benefit from reading No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Glover.
Interesting quote in a book I read recently (in regards to a somewhat different subject). The author pointed out: "As long as you think you can control people's behavior towards you - you are held in bondage by their opinion."
Another way I have personally found to handle any issue like this is in the area of "Stress Management". And it goes like this: 'People who are stressed out will naturallly blame their circumstances for their distress.' Professionals will tell you - it is NOT the circumstances that stresses you! It is your REACTION to those circumstances.
Let's put it like this? The other guys are right in their comments. You can find a better group of friends to hang with. But before you ride off into the sunset, try this? Tell yourself that you have been giving this guy "permission" to insult you - and to get under your skin. And as of today - that is over. He can say anything he wants; and you have the freedom to ignore it. Like one guy said - when they (or HE) realizes that the fun is over, they'll generally find another victim.
You don't have to be a victim. Do something.
At 24 you're young enough to make mistakes in human relations; AND... you're old enough to do something positive about it. (Just not on Facebook) Good luck!
Appropriate amount of ribbing is expected among a group of male friends. However any group of decent male friends knows what the appropriate level is.
Somehow you've allowed yourself to become the Omega, or more likely they are just all around turds whose fathers weren't good role models and didn't interact with them properly.
If you really want to keep them as 'friends', I guess you gotta pick one of them to beat up in front of the group and establish yourself as Alpha AND not let your new found authority corrupt you like them. But since that is not an option you probably better find decent people to hang out with.
What an excellent well-considered post. I am most impressed. Well reasoned and communicated.
I bow to your abilities to discern the issue and address it intelligently and comprehensively.
HUGE THANKS to everyone who took the time to give me a little advice. I REALLY appreciate it. There's a lot to take in but have read through it all and convinced the right decision was made. Have since talked to other folks in that group and let it be known I'm not taking any sh*t from anyone I don't deserve. And ya'll were spot on with things. It actually feels uplifting to stand up for myself...sometimes can be too nice. And maybe in the end the other folks will respect me more for it. I know it's going to mess up gatherings and they don't want to have us fighting or interacting and messing it up so I'm staying away. I've got other friends that that guy and some others in the group don't get along with, but those other folks are actually pretty badass. And they were very welcoming to me. Have got other friends I've been catching up with as well I didn't see as much. Just want to thank you all again for all the help! No more being a pushover.