I have been friends with 2 girls for awhile, call them Apple and Banana. I was friends with Apple many many years before Banana. When I first became friends with Banana, she was being severely bullied. Apple and I would cry for her. Banana PROBABLY had mental problems….she actually brought a weapon to school to try and stab all of them one day. But we three had a great friendship for a year. Then Banana moved schools.

One day Banana invited us to her house to hang out and started insulting us out of nowhere. She told us we could never make real friends and that we never cared for her. In my opinion, I missed out on other friendships that year because I hung out with her (now that she’s gone I have many strong friendships). She then told us that she felt left out. But I felt left out many times, as did Apple. Then she told us she never wanted to see us again, and kicked us out of her house, leaving us waiting on the street for my parents to come.

She still visits our school, and is now friends with all her “bullies.” Once I waved at her in a friendly manner. She just gave me a dirty look. I don’t understand why she comes and has dumped her only friends for the people who harassed her…if they actually harassed her. Now I think it was playful teasing that she took seriously. Some of her “bullies” are now my friends. I don’t mind her being friends with them; I just want to forget her. I can’t do that if I see her everyday.

What can I do? Am I wrong? How can I heal/deal with it?

-The Angry Fruit

Ugh, that sounds like a sticky situation (and not only because you’re handling so many fruitcakes).

Which is why I’d suggest you do your best to wash your hands of it. Thoroughly.

Banana really does sound troubled, and it sounds like she took advantage of you and Apple’s good nature in a time of need.

The important thing to remember through all this, though, is that Banana’s issues only reflect on her. They’re not any kind of gauge of who you and Apple are, how you treated her, or what you could have done differently. You did nothing wrong; she just clearly has a lot of emotional and self-esteem problems that she needs to work through. The fact that she’s lashing out at you now is a symptom of those; you and Apple saw her weak and vulnerable, so now, rather than resent the people who were cruel to her (in her mind), or blame herself for overreacting, she’s taking the much easier (and less mature) route: blame whoever’s handy.

So try to pretend that this new Banana, the one who shows up at school and gives you mean looks, is someone you never knew (in a way, it’s not pretend–you knew a totally different girl, it sounds like). Don’t react when she gives you the stink eye, don’t gossip about her when she’s not around, just pretend she’s someone you’ve never even heard of.

That won’t help you heal immediately, but over time, you’ll realize you don’t care so much WHAT she thinks anymore (nor should you).

There’s a phrase people use in the business world: “fake it til you make it.” You have to do this with your rotten old friendship. Fake the idea that you have never even met Banana. Once she realizes you couldn’t care less about her, she’ll either give up trying to provoke you, or she’ll reveal her true nature by acting nuts.

In the meantime, the pretending–that you don’t know her, don’t care about her, haven’t even seen her in the hallway–will start working its own magic. Soon, you’ll see you’ve “made it” to a place where what Banana thinks, and how she acts out of her own bad self-esteem and emotional problems, won’t matter to you at all.