How could I have been so clueless about this?
August 1, 2010 5:52 PM   Subscribe

Two of my boyfriend's friends are apparently disgusted by me, particularly my looks. I'm shocked, confused, and ashamed. What should I do?

I began meeting my boyfriend's friends a few months into our relationship. His very good friend lives in a big city an hour away from us, so whenever we would visit that city, we would crash with him and his girlfriend. I am in my mid/late 20s, and the 3 of them are in their early 30s.

They were so welcoming and kind to us. We hung out at the apartment, went out for drinks, played video games, talked. They cooked us dinner several times. I especially liked the girlfriend; we spent a lot of time talking and a LOT of time laughing, and I thought we were really getting to know each other. The three of them speak a language that I don't speak, and sometimes lapsed into it especially when drinking. I thought it would be really rude to request everyone to speak English just for me, so I didn't; often though, the girlfriend would be the only one to notice when this happened, and would remind the guys that I couldn't understand their language. (They are French.)

I would say we probably went to stay with them 7 or 8 times over a period of 6 months. My boyfriend also saw the male half of this couple probably 5 additional times, just the two of them. They have also, over the years, spent quite a bit of time coming here to my boyfriend's place and crashing with him when they are in this area; they didn't come to us much during this time period, but were often invited.

After this period of time, I had to move away temporarily for the next 6 months for school. I had very little communication with this couple while I was away. I was able to move back 3 months ago. We had a party which this couple came to; we've also seen the male half of the couple twice by himself, here at our place. At the party, when the female half of the couple saw me, she yelled my name, came over and kissed me, had a really friendly chat, and later when she was in the hot tub she wanted me to come join her and the other people in there.

The girlfriend half of the couple has remained friends with my boyfriend's ex, who was extremely angry and distraught over the fact that he was dating someone new, and made her feelings well known. I recently found out that just after I moved away for school, this couple had my boyfriend's ex over to their house, and began a venting session about me the minute she walked in the door.

The girlfriend half of the couple said:

-I was a mean, jealous bitch.
-I rudely never helped her cook dinner.
-I didn't have a pleasant looking face.
-I was fat and ugly.

I can understand some of these things. I am pretty shy with strangers to begin with, and I was especially nervous because they were the first of my boyfriend's friends that I had met. It's possible that my shyness could have come off as snootiness. Also, they spent quite a bit of time speaking another language, so I was pretty quiet during those times, and I can't say I proactively tried to get them to speak English. In general, when I felt shy, I didn't do as good a job as I could have of trying to be more extroverted.

It's true I never helped her to cook dinner. I suck at cooking and am extremely self conscious about it, and both members of the couple are really good at it. However, if I had known it had offended her, I would have at least tried. It never occurred to me and she never said anything. We did cook them dinner when they came to visit with us. (They did not help with that, but brought desserts. We usually brought wine to their place.)

As to the fat and ugly thing ... I am 5'4" and weigh around 130 lbs, the girlfriend is around 5'0" and around 90 lbs, the ex girlfriend is around 5'7" and around 110, and has dealt with anorexia. So, I understand that to them, I would be really fat. Regardless of whether or not it is true, I feel really horrible and ashamed that she felt she had to entertain a fat, ugly and repulsive person and have this person eating her food and sleeping in her spare bed.

The one thing I do not get is why she said I was "jealous," since I honestly cannot remember expressing any sort of jealousy of anything at all to her.

The girlfriend also told my boyfriend's ex an anecdote about myself that I'd told her one of the nights we were hanging out. It was one of those kind of embarrassing yet funny anecdotes where the joke was basically on me. The girlfriend told the ex the story, and said it probably happened to me because I was such a bitch.

The boyfriend of the couple was more to the point. He angrily said that I was a fat ugly bitch and that my boyfriend must have been desperate for sex to be with me. He said he told my boyfriend, "If you were so desperate for sex, you should have just gone back to (Ex's name) instead of that fat bitch."

I know *for a fact* that they said these things. I am 100% certain of it, no doubt about it.

When I learned about this, I felt extremely humiliated and ashamed. I asked my boyfriend if it was true, that his friend had ever said those things about me. My boyfriend seemed shocked and said that he never had. He said they had never said anything negative about me to him. But, my boyfriend is in denial that they said these things at all. He insists he doesn't believe that they did. He said he cannot imagine them saying those things. I asked him if he would ask them if they disliked me. He firmly refused, and said that would be a rude, bizarre question to ask and he could never imagine asking something like that. My boyfriend says I should give them the benefit of the doubt. I can't do that because I *know* that they said these things. I couldn't fake myself into pretending they might not have.

What should I do? The male half of this couple is one of my boyfriend's best friends. Should I just bow out whenever my boyfriend visits this couple or spends other time with them? Should I say something to the couple? (If so, what? I have NO idea what to say.) Should I just keep going to their house, repulsing and annoying them, and pretend I am still clueless about it all?

Also, how do I recover from this emotionally? This is one of the most humiliating things that has ever happened to me. I think about those things they said and almost feel like I'm going to vomit. I start to tear up whenever I am reminded of it. I can deal with people not liking me. But the fact that they were SO nice to my face, but secretly found me SO disgusting and horrible, has really shaken me. It is summer and we were all planning to go swimming soon, and I was looking forward to that so much. Now I feel really ashamed at the idea of taking my clothes off and wearing a bathing suit in front of them, knowing how gross they think my body is.

I am also confused about why the girlfriend half of the couple has been SO nice and friendly to me this whole time, while loathing me behind my back. She has never seemed fake-nice, always just genuinely nice.

Anon email:
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (77 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
How do you know *for a fact* that they said these things?
posted by dunkadunc at 5:59 PM on August 1, 2010 [17 favorites]

5'4", 130? The only way that's fat is if you're a sixth grader. For an adult woman that's perfectly normal.

These people are not your friends. There's something not adding up here.
posted by notsnot at 6:01 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you know for a fact that these things were said, you have just discovered that these people are first-class assholes, and you would be justified in never having anything to do with them, ever again.

If you have evidence of what they said, I'd suggest sharing it with your boyfriend. Otherwise, he has no reason not to continue his friendship with them, while you bow out of seeing them.
posted by Ouisch at 6:04 PM on August 1, 2010

Did you have a microphone secretly rigged in the room? Did your boyfriend accidentally pocket-call you on his cell phone, and you heard the whole exchange? Or are you taking this on word of mouth from the ex-girlfriend? If that is the case, you need to know that people who repeat to you the mean things that other people say about you are NOT your friends.
posted by bonheur at 6:06 PM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]

Somebody is playing mind games with you, and let's hope it's your boyfriends ex, and not the boy himself.
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:06 PM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]

Wait, did your boyfriend's jealous, angry ex communicate this info to you? Gee, there's a trustworthy source. I have a feeling she twisted your boyfriend's friends' words, if she didn't make up what they said completely. How you feel right now- this is exactly what she wanted. This is the discord she is trying to bring into your life. Tell her, mentally or even in person, to go fuck herself and put all this madness out of your mind.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:07 PM on August 1, 2010 [17 favorites]

A crucial piece of this story is missing. Were nanny-cams involved somehow?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:07 PM on August 1, 2010

How do you know *for a fact* that they said these things?

This is my question too.

I'm sorry you had to hear this, but please remember that even if this couple is sincere in believing these things about you, that does not make them true. These people may very well be huge assholes. It's also possible that what you're hearing secondhand are exaggerations, and in reality what they were doing is trying to make the ex-girlfriend, who is presumably their friend, feel better about her boyfriend being in a relationship with someone new.

Regardless, this incident does not reflect on you as a person. Not one bit. I know it has probably jarred not only your self-confidence but also your faith in other people, and that is completely understandable. I would probably ask your boyfriend to try to verify this information before you hang out with these people again. If you don't want to take that approach, you are still perfectly within your rights to never see them again. You don't have to be friends with everybody in the world, even if they're friends with your partner. And it sounds like this couple is probably not worth your time.
posted by something something at 6:07 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

The absolute first thing you have to stop doing is trying to explain your appearance and behavior in light of these unacceptable comments -- to us, to yourself, to anyone else. You will drive yourself bonkers.

I know this experience stings, but you may be losing sight of the real issues here: your goal is NOT to try to figure out whether your appearance and behavior conform to this woman's warped perspective. Your goal is to learn how to let this kind of thing wash over you (to the extent possible), while at the same time making difficult but important choices about what kind of company to keep and when to gracefully ensure that destructive people are not let into your life.

And, to repeat that last point for emphasis, you must learn how to gracefully ensure that destructive people are not let into your life. And that's that.
posted by thejoshu at 6:07 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]

But the fact that they were SO nice to my face, but secretly found me SO disgusting and horrible, has really shaken me

The only kind of people that can do this to someone are vile, disgusting human beings. Everyone knows this. They know this. Basically, what you heard was their own innate insecurities over being such repulsive, two-faced fucks.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:08 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

How exactly would you find out about such a conversation?
posted by dilettante at 6:08 PM on August 1, 2010

I'm with do you know they said these things? The friend couple is nice to you in person and you get along well, your boyfriend is completely baffled at the idea that they would say these things, and you don't say that you've overheard them saying bad things about you.

So how do you know? Did someone tell you? Did the ex-girlfriend tell you? Someone with a grudge might be making stuff up to drive everyone apart.

This whole thing is very confusing, and it sounds like you're either leaving out a vital bit of information in the retelling or there was a major miscommunication between you guys.

If, somehow, this is all true (though it makes no sense), then you need to cut off contact with these people. If your boyfriend wants to see his buddy, that's fine, but you should stay at home.
posted by phunniemee at 6:08 PM on August 1, 2010

Or are you taking this on word of mouth from the ex-girlfriend? If that is the case, you need to know that people who repeat to you the mean things that other people say about you are NOT your friends.

Well, the second sentence is something I can't even remotely agree with -- sometimes a true friend is the one person who'll give you a frank heads up when someone's bullshitting you -- but if the ex is who you heard it from, I think her motives are pretty obvious.
posted by thisjax at 6:09 PM on August 1, 2010

I'm also curious about how you know "for a fact"? If you are so SURE, can this evidence not also be presented to your boyfriend?

That said... Honestly, some people suck... And if they acted in that way, *YOU* are not the person who should be embarrassed or ashamed. REAL adults don't behave that way.

Still. Curious about the "for a fact."
posted by RogueHolly at 6:10 PM on August 1, 2010

So where are you getting your information from? I can see a couple of possible situations:

1) The ex-girlfriend started these rumors. There's really nothing you can do about this. You say you know for a fact that they said those things but it's worth wondering whether they actually did.

2) The friendly couple is trying to play both sides of this dispute and you got caught in the middle. There's really nothing you can do about this one either.

3) The friendly couple really thinks these things about you.

If it's one of the last two, you have a right to be angry. In any case, it's not your fault. Don't blame yourself, okay? And, you know, repulsing and annoying them doesn't seem like such a bad idea then.

You've told your boyfriend about these, which is good. Keep up communication with him. Maybe tell him how you know for sure that these people said that?
posted by wayland at 6:10 PM on August 1, 2010

Even if any of these conversations could be 100% verified for authenticity, I'd still drop these people like a bad habit.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 6:16 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Regardless of how you found out, or the veracity of what you heard, there is still the question of how to proceed with these three people. I would tell your boyfriend what you have heard, and tell him how you heard it. (Basically what you wrote here, except you should tell him that his ex is harassing you too—she was the one who told you, right?) Hopefully he will be supportive of you, but he's obviously put in the middle of a lot of drama and has accountability to multiple parties. Tell him what happened and how you feel, and find out how he reacts to the situation.

It sounds like you've begun to establish a friendship between yourself and your boyfriend's friend's girlfriend that goes beyond your relationship to her as such. So go to her directly and tell her that whoever has been talking behind her back has been sowing discord, tell her that your feelings are hurt, and ask her if there's anything she has to say. Tell her that as your friend she's has the opportunity to speak openly to you in defense and/or in honesty.

I feel like you're one degree too far from your boyfriend's friend to really incorporate him directly in your confrontations. If you figure out where your boyfriend stands on the situation and then if necessary speak with the boyfriend's friend's girlfriend, it should be easier to address the issues with the friend.

Hopefully by communicating your feelings, both of hurt and of friendship, you can make sense of what sounds like a really painful situation.
posted by carsonb at 6:17 PM on August 1, 2010

Person X told you these people said mean things about you.
Your boyfriend says they didn't.

Do you trust your boyfriend less than person X? If so, that's a problem with your relationship. But I'll best you trust your boyfriend more.

Should I just keep going to their house, repulsing and annoying them, and pretend I am still clueless about it all?

Yes. And eventually you'll stop feeling like you're repulsing and annoying them. It's called "exposure."

Also, don't insist that your boyfriend confront his friends about this.
posted by escabeche at 6:19 PM on August 1, 2010

Mod note: From the OP:
The couple said these things at a party. On Facebook I saw a short video that wasn't intended for me to see, and was deleted very quickly afterwards. The couple can be heard in the background saying these things, and the three of them laughing hysterically.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:21 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yes, if you heard this from your boyfriend's ex, I would question the validity of her claims that your boyfriend's friends said these things. If they came from another source, fully reliable with no reason to make your relationship with your boyfriend's friends difficult, then this is what you should tell yourself: fuck those people. Seriously. You don't need to rationalize their opinion of your personality, your actions, and your appearance. You don't need to worry and change your behaviors. You don't need to care what they think about you. You don't need to hang out with them.

My girlfriend and best friend can't stand each other, but he would never say things like this about her, and he's probably one of the least tactful people I know. Fuck those people.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:22 PM on August 1, 2010

Sorry, this sounds like bullshit, and I don't know anyone who would vent like this and then want you to get in a hot tub with them. I'm serious- people that you find disgusting are not people you invite to share nearly naked hot water activities. I agree with everyone upthread who says that if you are getting this information from your boyfriend's ex, it is highly suspect.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:23 PM on August 1, 2010

The one thing I do not get is why she said I was "jealous," since I honestly cannot remember expressing any sort of jealousy of anything at all to her.

There are certain kinds of woman who always, always think other women they don't like are "jealous" of them. These sound like horrible people. And the person who related the conversation to you (whether it's true or not)--is also a horrible friend who is trying to manipulate/hurt you/get off on your distress in a disgusting way.
posted by availablelight at 6:23 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

If your size doesn't worry you or your man, enjoy having some cushioning so your hipbones don't bang together during the missionary position. (I clearly recall bruising, in my skinny enthusiastic youth.)

FWIW, I think you're a healthy, average weight for your height.

Add me to the list of people who suspect the jealous ex deliberately arranged for you to hear this, one way or another.

And never forget that the best revenge is a fabulous life.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 6:26 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oops ... just saw your response. Well, then, those people are assholes. They may have been just being chatty and not really meant it, but, were it me in your shoes, that wouldn't really matter. If they were to ask me why I was avoiding them, I'd probably tell them about the video. I'd probably tell my boyfriend about it, too.

Is all of that good idea? I don't know. But it's probably what I'd do.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:30 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

If it was me I would confront these assholes. But that is me. Also, I would tell my boyfriend I really don't want to have anything to do with them and the reason why. But, like I said, that is me.
posted by govtdrone at 6:35 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

(Assuming for the sake of discussion that there isn't something really weird going on here):

You seem to be making the unwarranted assumption that the things said about you to the ex were the couple's real true opinions, whereas their interactions with you were fake and pretend. There is absolutely no reason to assume this. Of course, that's no excuse for them saying those things, and that couple doesn't deserve your friendship. But all you know for sure is that they are two-faced, presumably due to some deep insecurities of their own, and that they have some motivation for wanting to bond with the ex by insulting you. There is absolutely no reason to think that they really think you are mean/rude/fat/ugly/etc.

Of course, ultimately you shouldn't care what they think of you anyway. And this doesn't help solve what you do in terms of your boyfriend etc. But hopefully it is some reassurance in the meantime. All you know for certain is that they're nasty people, willing to say those things in order to score points with the ex. Nothing more.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:37 PM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]

I'm sorry. This sucks. It hurts, and I don't blame you for being really hit hard by it. You liked these people and thought they were your friends and they don't seem to be. If you do know for sure that they said this stuff, that's incredibly hard to deal with. And I'll second the opinion that YOU have nothing to be ashamed of; their playing games, cruelty, and lack of loyalty is what's shameful. If they said these things to your boyfriend and he denies it, that puzzles me. Maybe the other fellow was exaggeriating, for some reason? But your boyfriend doesn't believe those things, whether or not they said them. And he chose you, he didn't choose you just for sex, because as you quoted, he could have just gone back to his ex if that was all he wanted. He wants to be with you. Remember that.

Time will help. It really will. You will meet other people who like you and treat you well. Maybe even other couples who can become friends of you and your boyfriend. Facing these people again is going to be tough. If I had no choice, I would minimize the time I spent with them, and when it was unavoidable, I would simply pretend like this never happened. Use excuses - you're not feeling well, you're tired, you need to make a phone call. Get time away so that you can catch your breath and recover yourself. The girl, especially, will probably get even more enthusiastic and friendly, from my experience with girls like her, and you just have to sit back and let her play her game without participating.

Act like you never heard that they said these things - but at the same time, don't forget, because you don't want to give them the opportunity to hurt you again. Be friendly, be polite and cordial, but no more stories that reflect badly on you. If you don't want to help cook, offer to clean up after. They deserve the basic courtesies, if you're their guest, but needless to say, no more than that. Let your boyfriend extend any invitations to visit, and start confirming in your head that these are HIS friends, not yours.

You need to start giving yourself positive messages. You are NOT fat. You are NOT disgusting. You are NOT jealous. You are not inconsiderate and rude, and your boyfriend cares about you enough that he can't imagine anyone saying bad things about you. You have nothing to be embarassed about.
posted by lemniskate at 6:37 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh shit, they can be heard on a video? Wow.

How did you manage to see this video that you weren't supposed to see? I'm not saying I don't believe you, I just think it's important that the full story be know, as it may be important.

That said, I'd let my SO know exactly where I learned the info from and quite possibly break up with him, because the situation is an ugly one, with no real way of winning. It just promises to be one long bath in negativity and who needs that?

Break up with him, remember that you're beautiful and deserve better from people and leave the haters right where they should be, behind you.
posted by nomadicink at 6:39 PM on August 1, 2010

For everyone's reference, here's a picture from the Cockeyed Height/Weight Chart showing a woman 5'4" and 130 lbs. Nothing anywhere near what any reasonable person would think of as fat.
posted by phunniemee at 6:40 PM on August 1, 2010 [10 favorites]

Wow that was a long one, but I would agree with others who are saying "how do you know for a fact what was said if you don't speak the language?". Also, why do you care what she thinks? Honestly, what the "friends" of your boyfriend think, especially the mean ones, are irrelevant. Personally, I wouldn't give it another second of thought. What matters more is: a) what you think of yourself, and b) what your boyfriend thinks about you. Of course, a) is much more important than b) in the long run.

Don't allow some (allegedly) rude and idiotic people give you an inferiority complex.
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:42 PM on August 1, 2010

I'm so sorry for this unpleasant experience. Yuck. And who above the age of 16 makes party videos, let alone posts them on Facebook?

This reflects very poorly on the people in the video, and it seems most likely that the couple in question had had a few drinks (or lines or ludes, who knows?) and were ripping on people for someone's amusement, possibly the ex-girlfriend's. It's incredibly immature, but I wouldn't assume their video smack-talking reflects their true feelings. People shoot and kill deer, it doesn't necessarily mean that they hate them. Instead, realize you caught these hot tub sophisticates doing something so incredibly immature and embarrassing that it's up there with seeing them expose themselves on chatroulette. They're the ones who've been exposed, not you.
posted by ladypants at 6:44 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

OK, these people are dicks. Let's think through this methodically:

-I was a mean, jealous bitch.

Bzzzt. A mean, jealous bitch wouldn't be surprised and offended by their behavior, but view it as characteristic and approve of it in a weird Machiavellian way. So, it's safe to conclude that you're not a mean, jealous bitch.

-I rudely never helped her cook dinner.

A truly pathetic complaint. She never asked even indirectly, apparently; a good host is usually content to trade kitchen work for the pleasure of friends' company. Another defect on their part. In situations where a person is expected to help with cooking, it's usually more evident from the context. You brought wine and cooked reciprocally for them - you did far more than an inconsiderate person would have.

-I didn't have a pleasant looking face.

A really odd complaint. I'd pick genuine attempts at friendship over backbiting anyday in terms of the facial expressions such people tend to have at that moment. Also, I'd be hard-pressed to identify a young woman who in the context of dinner with friends didn't default to a pleasant expression. Another bogus complaint.

-I was fat and ugly.

This is the most laughable of all. 5'4" and 130 lbs is not fat. Also, it's really funny to hear a person who has destroyed their adult muscle and flesh structure with anorexia call someone else ugly. In a purely aesthetic sense, you're guaranteed to be more attractive than someone who doesn't eat because you, you know, look like a fit, healthy adult woman. I also can't think of anything more unattractive than backbiting and jealousy delivered by people who should have grown up a decade ago, so you're fine.

In total, I think you should bring this up to your boyfriend and explain how you came to see it. Either he cuts them off or you should date someone with a spine. Life's too short to waste time with assholes, directly or vicariously. Hope this works out for you.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:44 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

Minimize the time you spend with this couple. Come up with alternate activities, suggest that you'd like more alone time with your boyfriend. Do not discourage him from seeing his friend/s on his own, in fact, encourage him to do what he likes.

I'd argue that you were absolutely meant to see the video and you were being set up for this.

The other thing to think about is this: if they were saying this at a party, they may have been saying this for the ex's benefit. I know that i have said things like "I've seen her, she doesn't know how to dress" or something silly to make a scorned ex feel better, especially if I feel sympathetic to her or think the guy dumped her in a bad way. People are dumb and feel cornered and say stupid things sometimes. Maybe they were just trying to make her feel better - the whole 'she didn't help me cook dinner!' seems like the kind of thing I'd say when I couldn't come up with anything else to say. "Fat" - well, fat is the thing you call anyone when you want to hurt them whether or not they are actually medically obese (and you're not fat).

I'd say that for now I would come up with a bunch of reasons why you don't want to double date these folks until you can heal your wounds a little bit.
posted by micawber at 6:45 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

Almost forgot, re: your question "What should I do...?" I would probably call them on it, ask them if they really said it and why they have a problem with you. How they respond should quickly and easily help answer your question of whether you should continue to hang out with them, and if they did indeed say it and your BF didn't back you up, it calls into question why he didn't defend you and why he is still friends with these people.
posted by 1000monkeys at 6:45 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Not to derail, but phunniemee that chart is awesome. That really helps me with my self-image problems.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:47 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

The couple can be heard in the background saying these things, and the three of them laughing hysterically.

Maybe if you were to tell the couple that you saw the video and heard voices that sounded like theirs saying a, b, and c they might have an explanation that it was not really them, but it doesn't sound like you'd buy it. And if they really did say those things, I doubt they're classy enough to apologize.

That being the case, I don't see anything to be done other than to wash your hands of them completely. If I had to guess, I'd say they probably don't believe those things but like the ex girlfriend and are too happy to play to her hatred. That's not at all exculpatory: the shallowness and pettiness of the comments about your looks are indefensible coming from a grown-ass adult.

Hitting the ejector button on "friends" can be tough, but it can help to remember that there are plenty of nice, interesting people in the world and that there is almost certainly nothing you can do in this situation to get:
1) an apology from anyone
2) immediate transformation back to the way things appeared to you before you saw the video
3) any kind of arrangement that will make you comfortable being around them.
posted by Marty Marx at 6:49 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you saw video in which they said these things, the issue isn't how much of their nasty commentary to take seriously (none--it isn't true, not any of it*) or how to determine whether or not they meant it by having your boyfriend ask (they said those words out loud on purpose): it's how to deal with the fact that your boyfriend's friends are nasty, mean people and he still wants to think of them as decent friends.

I think you should sit your boyfriend down and say something like, "I watched that video on facebook and heard, quite clearly, [Male Friend], [Female Friend], and [Ex-Girlfriend] saying very cruel things about my appearance, my personality, and my friendship with [that couple]. This has upset me very much. I am deeply hurt, and I need you to take that seriously. I know you have trouble believing that they said these things, but the video shows that they did. We need to talk about how we're going to go forward."

*If they prefer the friendship of your boyfriend's ex-girlfriend, they likely have an easy time making up nasty things to say about you as a way of socializing with her. "Fat," "rude," "bitch," etc. are easy insults to throw at most women. Do not for a second think that you are any of these things. If you were, for instance, rude, an actual friend of yours would approach you and say, "When you talk to me like that, I find it insulting and rude, so please stop." Mean gossip at a party is awful and painful to hear, but it isn't something you should entertain as possibly being true.
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:53 PM on August 1, 2010 [12 favorites]

From the OP:
The couple said these things at a party. On Facebook I saw a short video that wasn't intended for me to see, and was deleted very quickly afterwards. The couple can be heard in the background saying these things, and the three of them laughing hysterically.

Yeah... these people are assholes. Sneaky, lame assholes to boot.

Of course you are hurt and betrayed, who wouldn't be? I would. I'd be horrified and never talk to a person who did that to me ever again. If I were you I'd drop them immediately and completely, never see or speak to them again. If your boyfriend has a problem with that, it is HIS problem and not yours. If he respects you he won't ask you to spend time around them or give you any grief about it. If he does expect you to overlook their behavior you might have to reevaluate the relationship.

You do need to tell him about the video though, so he knows that you are serious (he might think it's all crazy rumors spread by his ex).
posted by fshgrl at 6:54 PM on August 1, 2010

1) you are not fat, you are normal weight
2) when invited to someone's house for dinner, you are not expected to cook. It is called entertaining. You are being entertained by hosts, you are a guest. These people are clueless if they think you should be cooking. Do they expect your boyfriend to cook too? If not, in addition to be being clueless, they are sexist.
3) as for not having a pleasant face, WTF? What an odd comment for them to make!
4) as for being a bitch, well I don't know you very well.

The fact that they spoke a language you do not understand in your presence is a breach of etiquette. It was rude of them and not something that is done by polite people. That they expected you to cook, when you were a guest is rude. That they disparaged your weight and appearance is rude.

These are rude people. I would try to avoid them. If you cannot, then don't take what they say to heart.
posted by fifilaru at 7:08 PM on August 1, 2010

The OP does not understand French.

Her boyfriend is French, as are the couple he is friends with.

How did the OP understand what she heard on the video, as it was almost certainly said in French?
posted by zadcat at 7:11 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

as it was almost certainly said in French?

...only if you assume the ex-girlfriend taking part in the conversation also speaks French. We don't know that.
posted by Ouisch at 7:19 PM on August 1, 2010

Oh man. I hate to be the only one dissenting, but...

"Believe what people do, not what they say" is good advice when it comes to people telling you nice things. Example: if a dude tells you he loves you and then treats you like shit he doesn't actually love you. And I think a case can be made here that these people actually do like you a lot, because they treat you well. They include you in stuff, they're nice to you, they make an extra effort for you to feel welcome with them. Your boyfriend was shocked because it's obvious to him that they really really like you.

So that, plus the special circumstances it seems like they didn't mean what they said. The special circumstances are their friend hurting, and them trying to make it better in a way that was never intended to hurt you, and probably never would have hurt you except for this accident.

There have definitely been situations where I've been drunkenly talking to a friend who is super upset about a breakup, or whatever, and we've done some shit talking about their replacement (even if they're not really a replacement, it feels like it). I have also been comforted by people talking smack about my ex/his new lady after the breakup. It's not something that goes on all the time and I don't think anyone takes it entirely seriously. (I don't know about these folks.) It's sorta a victimless crime considering that the person will never hear about it and I'm not telling random people on the street that they're an asshole or otherwise ruining their reputation. Had some of these things that I said been recorded and distributed beyond their original audience, they would have looked horrible. And I would have been mortified and felt like a total asshole to have hurt someone.

So, maybe this kind of shit-talking isn't the right thing to do, and I'll rethink it from now on. But if my very good friend was really fucked up about a breakup, and my obvious affection for the replacement was hurting her, I will definitely be tempted to say "she's not that great, really, she walks funny, and her hair is...dumb. He doesn't know what he's missing." It just seems like the good friend thing to do. Very rarely is this kind of malicious shit-talking worth anything to me but this is one of the few situations in which, yeah, I can see the value in it.

This particular instance seems really vicious to me. That might be because I rarely-to-never use the word "bitch" because I think it's misogynistic and I don't call people fat because it's not an insult. I don't know if that's more standard language/behavior in that friend group? If not maybe it was the alcohol?

My suggestion on a strategic level is to let it go as much as you can because you don't want to get between a loved one and their other loved ones. It would either cut him off from you or cut him off from a good friend. So avoid him if you have to, but find a way to keep things within the bounds of pleasantries, so that your boyfriend doesn't feel caught in the middle.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:25 PM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]

I liked what someone said upthread:

These people are not your friends.

They are your boyfriend's friends, but to be honest you have no reason to trust them and they have no reason to like you.

It would be cool if it turned out you guys were all besties and stuff, but life doesn't always work that way. Especially when there are exes involved. And I don't want to be cold, but people aren't required to like you, whether they themselves are jerks or not.
posted by Sara C. at 7:27 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Honestly, it's not worth investing your time and worry into the opinions of a few jerks. Live your life and mentally move on, or confront them directly and find some answers. Yes I know this is the complete opposite of what a woman would ever do, but it's much more efficient, and has a higher change of getting you some answers. Plus you won't have to spend hours a day fretting about it. It's your time, and they have no right hogging up all your attention, stressing you out and sapping your self confidence.

Pick up the phone right now. Ask them why they said those things. Tell them what you think, explain your thoughts, and tell them what you want to do. Take the heat for just a few minutes, and you can come to a resolution. It will be your choice to either accept their apology, or if they are openly malicious, ban your boyfriend from seeing them.

It's tough, but if they are unwilling to apologize and make nice, it's not worth the effort keeping them in your lives.
posted by parallax7d at 7:48 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

How would you react if you found out that your boyfriend's ex said these things about you? Most people would assume that she had some sort of a vested interest and was trying to make herself feel better.

Consider that this is very similar, that these statements were said for her benefit and are not representative of their relationship with you.

With that being said, this has more to do with what kind of people THEY are than what kind of a person YOU are. Even if these statements weren't how they really feel about you, they still are the kind of people that would talk viciously about someone behind their back. Is that someone you want to spend time with?

Also, I hate to jump to DTMFA, but if you are clearly upset about this and your boyfriend is just dismissing it, that's a red flag. If you told him that you are sure that this happened and he doesn't believe you, that's another red flag. He shouldn't have to choose between you and his friends, but he should treat your feelings with respect.
posted by karminai at 7:56 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes I know this is the complete opposite of what a woman would ever do, but it's much more efficient

er, huh?
posted by Ouisch at 8:02 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]

Hmm. Here's another option. First, explain it all to your BF. Then send a Facebook message:
"I saw the video from ___'s party before it was taken down, and I heard you talking about me. Obviously, my feelings are quite hurt. I really like you guys and would like to get beyond this and stay friends, but I also want to let you know that if you don't like me, we don't need to be friends. Either way, let's work something out so that we avoid putting Jason in an uncomfortable spot. He really loves you guys and I don't want this to interfere with that in any way." Even better might be to say something similar in person, where you'd have the benefit of seeing their honest split-second reaction, and where the conversation would happen immediately, shortening the drama.
posted by salvia at 8:09 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]

The Second Agreement: Don't Take Anything Personally

If someone gives you an opinion and says' "Hey, you look fat," don't take it personally, because the truth is that this person is dealing with his or her own feelings, beliefs, and opinions. That person tried to send poison to you and if you take it personally, then you take that poison and all of its nasty effects. Taking things personally makes you easy prey. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up.

You eat all their emotional garbage, and now it becomes your garbage. But if you don't take it personally, you are immune to this kind of hell. Immunity to the poison in this middle of hell is the gift of the Second Agreement.

When you take things personally, then you feel offended, or hurt, or sad, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs, and to create conflicts. You end up making something big out of something that starts out little, because you want to be right. When people attack you, whether intentionally or unintentionally, out of anger or frustration, or even mental illness, it is not your problem, it is theirs. Whatever you may think, their problems are not yours, unless you make it so.

What is said may hurt, but it isn't what they are saying that is hurting you; it is that you have old wounds that are touched by what they have said. You hurt yourself by taking it personally. Don't see the world through their eyes. Create a different picture in your mind, one that doesn't involve accepting that you should take their insults or comments personally.

Your point of view is something personal to you. It is no one's truth but yours. Then, if someone gets mad at you, simply realize they are dealing with themselves. You are an excuse for them to get mad, and they get mad out of fear. But if you can remain fearless, and calm them from their own fear, there won't be an escalation to sadness and even despair.

If you live without fear, if you love, there isn't a place for these negative emotions. If you don't feel the negative emotions by not taking anything personally, it follows that you will be happy and feel good. When you feel good, everything around you can be good as well, including other people who surround you. You then can love everything around you because you are loving yourself.
posted by netbros at 8:12 PM on August 1, 2010 [26 favorites]

I'm sorry. This sucks. I think if I was in your shoes, I'd cry a lot and be a cranky sad person. What I recommend you do instead, assuming you still want to date this guy, is talk to a friend. Tell her what happened. Tell her that you are going to rise above this crap and you want her help. Then when you deal with these people in any situation, you act super nice to them. After you hang out with them, call your friend, tell her how nice you were to them, how hard it was, and how you feel. If there's not a friend you can talk about this with, get a journal and do the same thing but hopefully a friend can listen, remind you that these people suck and you're better than them, but also help you be the bigger person. Hopefully over time you will get them to realize how wrong and terrible they were. But more importantly, you might feel better knowing that you were dealt a crappy hand but you played it with as much class as you could.

I hope that helps. I know this situation sucks. But you get to choose what you do next and I think this is a way for you to choose what to do and prove to yourself how strong and amazing you are. And after trying to be nice for a while, you realize, you know what, I just don't want to be around these people and/or my bf anymore, at least you tried.
posted by kat518 at 8:19 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

Oh, god, whatever you do, don't take the drama to Facebook. Say something, don't say something, whatever works for you. But if you think something needs to be said to someone, please at least attempt to do it in a mature and adult manner that doesn't create needless drama and drag other people into it.
posted by Sara C. at 8:19 PM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]

How about email? Still bad? I don't mean, like, "post it on their wall" or something. In person would be best, but not during a double date, so... I don't know how she'd find a suitably private time. Ask the woman on a coffee date alone?
posted by salvia at 8:31 PM on August 1, 2010

I agree with internet fraud detective squad, station number 9. I don't think these people totally meant what they said- they were all at a party, probably drunk, hanging out with their friend whose still bitter and angry about her breakup. I wouldn't call anyone out on the things said as though they were being serious.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:40 PM on August 1, 2010

Two things to think about:

1. One reason people 'laugh uproariously' is if they are embarrassed, nervous, or uncomfortable in a situation. So at least consider the possibility that the couple is in an awkward situation (trying to stay friends with their friend, his ex, and you) and maybe just not that mature or handling it that well.

2. However you heard about this Youtube video, I would be very, very suspicious that somehow the ex (who obviously isn't going to be looking out for your best interests--she most probably hates you and is looking for revenge) leaked this video or somehow made sure you found out about in a deniable sort of way as a way to get revenge or manipulate that situation and/or you.

It's just possible that she manipulated the couple's responses in the first place AND then manipulated the situation so you would be sure to find out about what they said.
posted by flug at 8:45 PM on August 1, 2010

Once upon a time, I was trying to surprise my girlfriend and her friends. I had bagels. I was comin' up and heard "... Well, I'm sure not dating him for his looks." Cue the laughter from her pals.

I paused and put on my polite face, then made a lot of noise as I was slow in returning. And I gave them their bagels and was pleasant and did the usual boyfriend things. Smiled. Hugged my girlfriend in front of her friends. "Hey, honey." And after not too long, I dumped her, sans explanation, and never spoke to her again.

It has gotten back to me that I am "not much to look at" from friends of other girlfriends. I understand that. Talking about it? Chatting about it? Not acceptable. Feel free to jettison these people from your life, without liferafts. Say nothing. They do not deserve the benefit of knowing. I can only recommend icy avoidance, because that's about the most charitable of alternatives I can come up with. Everything else I have is considerably less pleasant.

This is complicated by the boyfriend situation. If he is in denial, he may or may not feel as if he must choose between you and his friends. Or he may have an inaccurate view of his friends. That's the hard part to navigate. Should you continue to date him, your options are:

1) Avoid avoid avoid. If he's doing something with them, make other plans. Oh, you don't feel well. That's on the passive-aggressive side, but that is not automatically bad.

2) Play nice. Smile. Act as if nothing has ever happened. This is fairly high road, but it also takes its toll.

3) Say something to them.

The results of the third are very hard to anticipate. Maybe they'll deny. Maybe they'll be ashamed and then more awkwardness will result. Maybe they'll be cruel, in the way that people, caught out in something, can be obstinate and bold, as if to justify what they have done. You do not know. If you do decide on that option, you are going to have to prepare yourself for the worst.

Coping emotionally? I'm still not sure.
posted by adipocere at 8:50 PM on August 1, 2010 [14 favorites]

There are people out there who will talk shit about nearly anyone behind her back. You could be a supermodel and a diplomat, and they will still find an excuse to be irritated by you. They'd bitch about your fingernails being too long or too short, being too friendly or not friendly enough, anything. People like that will snark about people who weigh twenty pounds less than them for being "fat." They'd call Audrey Hepburn a fat jealous bitch if they met her. They probably call each other fat jealous bitches behind each others' backs. It might be out of malice, but it's probably just because they love drama, or maybe they've got nothing against you and are catty out of habit. None of this is a reflection on you.

When you encounter people like that, the best plan of action is to avoid them completely, but if you have to be near them, be as classy as possible. Be polite and friendly enough so that they don't think you're shutting them out, but don't engage with them. Don't be friendly enough for them to try and take advantage of you. Don't complain about irrelevant stuff in their presence and don't encourage them when they get complainy.

You are already better than them for being a kind, genuine person and for giving them a chance, which they blew. They suck, and they will always be miserable because they will always find something to be miserable about. Keep on being you, and keep an eye out for people like that so you can keep away from them.

And, yeah, talk to your boyfriend, tell him you saw the video, and ask for his input. If he is dismissive or evasive, that's a bad sign.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:51 PM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]

Coming in to say essentially what netbros said. This is not about you. This is their drama, not yours. They have given you an extraordinarily useful piece of information- they have shown you who they are. You don't want friends like them. People who sew this kind of drama are not friend material, and be glad they live in a different town.

Here's the thing: people who pull that kind of shit move in circles where everyone pulls that kind of fakey two-faced shit. For me, the idea of moving in circles where everyone talks shit about everyone else behind their back sounds like sheer hell. It is something that I joyfully left behind when I went to college. These people are in their 30s and acting like they are still in high school. Frankly I find that pretty pitiful.

If this happened to a friend, instead of you, I'm guessing you would counsel her that those fakey friends are full of shit and not to be given a second thought. And that's what I'm saying to you.

Not worth your time. Not worth your energy. Just move on. Don't confront them, either in person or any other way. Don't spend any more time with them than you absolutely have to, and gracefully bow out of whatever double dating scenarios are on offer. Let your boyfriend carry on the friendship with the guy if he wants, but don't give them any more of your time.

Your time is finite, and it's better to spend it alone than with people like that.
posted by ambrosia at 8:52 PM on August 1, 2010 [14 favorites]

I agree with ambrosia 100%. These people have shown you who THEY are: they have said volumes about themselves, and nothing about you. They are cruel, petty, small, and duplicitous. These are not qualities that are part of a healthy, happy life in any way. As much as it stings right now -- and I am so sorry you are feeling this pain and humiliation -- I promise, promise, promise you that you are better off knowing who they are so that you can simply move on.

A story: I used to be best friends with a woman who was hilarious and fun and seemingly loyal and loving but had a real vicious streak. She used to talk shit about our mutual friends -- and one friend in particular -- all the time. It was snarkily amusing, at first, but after years of it I grew tired of it. One day, without really thinking, I blurted out half-jokingly, "man, I'd hate to hear what you say about me when I'm not around."

The flash of shame, fear, and fury that crossed her face in an instant told me everything I needed to know. From that moment forward, our friendship foundered. Finally it broke down for good about a year later when I found out through a mutual friend that I had been disinvited from her wedding.

And you know what? I was so lucky. The amount of negativity and drama and all-around SHIT in my life dropped by shocking amounts once she was out of my life. I'm not exaggerating: it had been like being given an entirely new life when she was gone.

People like this are emotional vampires. They will suck you dry and turn you into a speck of self-loathing if you let them. You are fortunate to know exactly who they are -- because it means they cannot have any power over you if you so choose.
posted by scody at 9:11 PM on August 1, 2010 [22 favorites]

"5'4", 130? The only way that's fat is if you're a sixth grader. For an adult woman that's perfectly normal."

In this day and age, that's not even normal. It's practically skinny.

Also, I'm going to further echo this comment: "This is not about you. This is their drama, not yours."

They insulted you and that sucks, but try to let go of the feelings you feel and consider the reasons - the real reasons - these people might have for being so rude. I'm not saying their reasons are appropriate, but people always have reasons for the things they do. Stupid reasons, perhaps, but reasons nonetheless.

It sounds to me like they liked the previous girlfriend, and there's nothing you can do about that, nor does it have anything to even do with you.

Maybe the previous girlfriend was a cook?
Maybe the previous girlfriend was a bitch and they like crappy people?
posted by 2oh1 at 9:21 PM on August 1, 2010

I have a lot of experience dealing with two-faced people (especially, oddly enough, French people1) and you'll just have to accept that some people say whatever expedites their relationships -- and what better expedites a relationship with you than being really nice to you, and what better expedites a relationship with your bf's ex than trashing you to the ex? The truth is, it isn't really about you or the ex, it's about a couple of people who say whatever happens to be most likely to grease the wheels of their relationships.

In a nutshell, there is nothing about their specific comments that you need to worry about being true, and I'd wager that if they felt it would expedite their relationship with you, they'd trash your bf's ex just as hard to your face. Your best bet is to completely disregard the specifics of what you believe they said, tell your bf how you are 100% certain they said these things, and discuss. Perhaps he'll side with you, or perhaps he'll side with them, or perhaps he'll want to stay out of it, but whatever the outcome you should do what you feel is best for you, whether that's avoiding those people or leaving your bf or pretending nothing happened.

1 One woman I worked with tried everything to get me fired -- you wouldn't believe the things she told various people behind my back, which each one dutifully reported to me because I have wonderful coworkers like that -- and even after the whole thing blew up in her face, she'd still smile and chat me up as if we were best buddies every time she saw me. I eventually started insulting her to her face during these exchanges about her past behaviors, and she'd just grin her way through them instead of admitting what she'd done. Toying with two-faced people (when you know what they've been up to) is a rare joy, actually.
posted by davejay at 10:42 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oops, just saw this:

The couple said these things at a party. On Facebook I saw a short video that wasn't intended for me to see, and was deleted very quickly afterwards. The couple can be heard in the background saying these things, and the three of them laughing hysterically.

Yeah, classic two-faced nonsense, and that's proof enough for me: you've seen the video, so you know it's true. Tell your bf how you know, and if he chooses not to believe you, then you go ahead and drop his untrusting ass, because he's a terrible judge of character and you deserve better.
posted by davejay at 10:44 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]

Oh, and if after all this, the untrustworthy couple reaches out to you to invite you over for dinner or whatever, be sure to quote them more or less verbatim in your refusal: "That's a great idea, except I'm sure you have no real interest in having a fat, jealous woman who won't help you cook come over to your house."

I have little patience for this sort of drama, you may notice
posted by davejay at 10:46 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]

The most troubling thing is that your boyfriend doesn't believe you. That must hurt, that he must think any choice you now make is you being delusional.
I would ask him why he won't believe that you saw this video. Does he think you are lying? Hysterical?
And if he does, is he worth your time?
posted by Omnomnom at 10:57 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd just like to add a comment that I have not seen: sometimes our own senses mess with us when our insecurities get in the way. I know that in the past, because I have a tendency to be anxious and insecure, I have "seen" and "heard" things that have turned out to be totally inaccurate, or only partially accurate (i.e., hearing part of what someone was saying, or thinking people were talking about me when they weren't). I'm not saying this is the case with you, but if it could be you might want to think about it. Hearing people talk in the background of a tape that was later erased (so you may have only listened to it once) may not be the most reliable source. Also, what they were saying may have been taken out of context. If they are speaking with accents and English is not their first language, that may further distort things. Again I am not saying that you are incorrect, it's just something to keep in mind. I know that I have jumped the gun on this kind of thing before. Sometimes we have inaccurate perceptions of things.
posted by bearette at 11:04 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

""Believe what people do, not what they say" is good advice when it comes to people telling you nice things. Example: if a dude tells you he loves you and then treats you like shit he doesn't actually love you. And I think a case can be made here that these people actually do like you a lot, because they treat you well. They include you in stuff, they're nice to you, they make an extra effort for you to feel welcome with them. Your boyfriend was shocked because it's obvious to him that they really really like you.

So that, plus the special circumstances it seems like they didn't mean what they said. The special circumstances are their friend hurting, and them trying to make it better in a way that was never intended to hurt you, and probably never would have hurt you except for this accident."

Internet Fraud is right.

Seriously, try to forgive these people: they are just weak. They do like you; they never meant to hurt you, and if you confront them, or ask your boyfriend to, they will be mortified and angry and defensive, which will be hard on everyone. People do this kind of shit all the time: it sucks, but it's true. The only difference is they got caught.

It might help you to read this, from the C.S. Lewis Narnia book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader -- halfway down the page, the paragraph that begins "A little later she came to a spell which would let you know what your friends thought about you." It's not directly relevant, because it's about a girl who deliberately eavesdrops. But you might find it a little helpful.

Good luck; I'm sorry this happened to you.
posted by Susan PG at 11:40 PM on August 1, 2010

I feel really horrible and ashamed that she felt she had to entertain a fat, ugly and repulsive person and have this person eating her food and sleeping in her spare bed.

THIS IS NOT RIGHT. It makes sense to feel horrible because people have hurt you, and I absolutely don't blame you for feeling like that, but to feel horrible because these assholes "had" to put up with you? Bull****. Adults have control over who they see and spend time with, and although these people didn't act like adults, that doesn't change that fact. THEY should feel terrible for saying these things about someone who has made them dinner and been a guest in their home.

I really think that they were trying to get in good with your boyfriend's ex, but by saying these things, they are clearly childish and frankly kind of awful.

And just because you weigh more than someone doesn't mean you're fat "to them"... reasonable people don't think like that. One of my best friends weighs 30 pounds more than me and I wouldn't ever call her fat, because she has a normal body weight, and she looks healthy and actually pretty sexy.

You sound like you already have low self esteem, in which case these people cannot be good for you. I would give serious consideration to your relationship, too, as your boyfriend is friends with these people.... I wouldn't want to spend time with them at all after this, and if your boyfriend does, then you need to have a long discussion about what that means. Maybe ask him if, in their situation (trying to impress the ex of a friend by maybe making her feel better about their current girlfriend) he would ever say those things about someone he had been friendly with? Because that's not adult behavior.
posted by SputnikSweetheart at 12:45 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

That absolutely sucks. I actually think your boyfriend does believe you, assuming you told him about the video. He just doesn't want to turn his back on his best friends because of what they did. Understandable in a way, but it definitely sucks for you. I would talk to your boyfriend more about this and ask him to help you find a compromise to make you feel better. Explain to him that if he doesn't believe they said those things he's accusing you of lying about what you saw and hear with your own eyes. See how he responds to that. Tell him you're not planning on preventing him from hanging out with his friends anymore but that he needs to work with you on how to make this situation better. I don't think he should be able to get away with sticking his head in the sand on this.

If you're bold enough, I think you should confront the "friends" about it and see what they have to say for themselves. Tell them you don't plan to come between their friendship with them and your boyfriend (if that's true) but just explain that you saw the video and couldn't believe what you heard them say about you. It's likely they didn't mean what they said but were just trash-talking to make the loser ex-girlfriend feel better. As their actions to you have always been kind, maybe they will apologize profusely and try to do something to make up for what they said - I don't know what they could do but maybe they'll think of something. Up to you whether you want to accept any apology offered.

If you can't work something out by communicating with them and your boyfriend, you need to decide whether you can accept the fact that your boyfriend isn't sticking by you in this situation. If you can accept it then just decline all invitations from them and pretend they don't exist. You don't mention whether you have other friends in the area that you and your boyfriend could hang out with instead of them. If not, try to go out and meet some people (via all the usual routes - volunteering, etc) so that gradually there's less room for these people in your and your boyfriend's lives.

Good luck. I really feel for you, and know this must be very painful. Just remember that none of this stuff is true. And try to get your boyfriend to help you here - he needs to admit he believes you, otherwise there's no trust between you and how can you go on like that?
posted by hazyjane at 12:48 AM on August 2, 2010

The absolute first thing you have to stop doing is trying to explain your appearance and behavior in light of these unacceptable comments -- to us, to yourself, to anyone else. You will drive yourself bonkers.

Yes. It doesn't matter if you're a warthog - grown adults do not go about calling people 'fat and ugly'.

, it's really funny to hear a person who has destroyed their adult muscle and flesh structure with anorexia call someone else ugly.

The rudest people I know about the appearance of others are those who are convinced that they are too fat/ugly/whatever. It's all part of low self esteem, or at least 'women beware women'. Even I, someone who previously didn't notice weight unless it was the extremes of the spectrum, notice it a lot more now I'm working on changing my own weight, which makes me feel rather shallow and horrible.

Also, I hate to jump to DTMFA, but if you are clearly upset about this and your boyfriend is just dismissing it, that's a red flag.

I agree. When I was 18/19, I was going out with someone whose housemates really didn't like me - it was subtle, from always serving my tea in a broken cup, or other ways of making me feel unwelcome, or using stuff that was round there without asking. If it was now, I'd have called them on it, but I was much shyer then, and I asked then-boyfriend to have a word with them. 'It's not my problem, it's your problem as it's you, and I have to live here so I don't want to rock the boat.' Looking back, that was a massive indicator that he didn't much care about my feelings on things. Honestly, I think this whole situation is bullshit and you just don't need it.
posted by mippy at 4:15 AM on August 2, 2010

A story: I used to be best friends with a woman who was hilarious and fun and seemingly loyal and loving but had a real vicious streak. She used to talk shit about our mutual friends -- and one friend in particular -- all the time. It was snarkily amusing, at first, but after years of it I grew tired of it. One day, without really thinking, I blurted out half-jokingly, "man, I'd hate to hear what you say about me when I'm not around."


For a long time, my closest friends were two women whose sense of humor included "schadenfreude" as a way of life. Back in the day of livejournal, these women would follow "friends" from college whom they secretly despised solely for the purpose of making fun of their entries with other friends. Even close friends, they would mock significant events in their lives, which was just creepy to watch.

And yes, I had to start to wonder what they were saying about me. Especially when these two women who did this independently met each other and then bonded - my two best friends suddenly became friends with each other, and as George Costanza would say "Worlds collided."

For reasons that have nothing to do with their sniping, the friendships dissolved. Since then, I have found that none of my other friends do this. I had thought that making fun of people was just something people did - that it was "harmless." Obviously, that's not true. And no, not everyone does it. I have absolutely 0 - ZERO - friends who I have heard badmouthing anyone or mocking them behind their back since getting these two women out of my life.

You don't need this energy in your life. Whether or not they meant anything by what they said, you don't need to get involved and you don't need to put yourself in the position where you question what you mean to your friends. Cut 'em off as quickly and completely as possible. Don't explain. Just stop talking. They'll probably know why.

And you know what? I was so lucky. The amount of negativity and drama and all-around SHIT in my life dropped by shocking amounts once she was out of my life. I'm not exaggerating: it had been like being given an entirely new life when she was gone.

Yes, absolutely this has been my experience as well. As painful as it was to lose my "friends," my life is much richer without them.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:45 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]

Ew. My gut response to that is "F*ck those people." Seriously don't interract with those scumbags again. If you run into them and they bring it up, tell them you heard their comments in the video and didn't want to deal with two-faced people. You're not losing any friends here. If you keep seeing them you risk losing your confidence.

I guess it doesn't really need to be said, but you, of course, sound like you are of a completely normal, attractive body type.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:36 AM on August 2, 2010

The impression I developed of these 2 from what you wrote is that they were trying to bond with the ex-girlfriend by trashing you, not that they actually dislike you (though it doesn't seem like they like you as much as you may have thought). The specific insults strike me as insincere and the type of thing someone might say to trash a woman in a sort of generic way. I mean fat? Bitch? Think about what insulting things you could say about someone you don't like. Couldn't you get way more specific than "fat" and "bitch"? For example, I don't even know these 2 and I can get more specific about them: they're insincere, disloyal and two-faced. The closest thing to a genuine insult in my mind is calling you rude but even that seems like the kind of thing the type of people who would bandy about "fat" and "bitch" might throw in for emphasis.

Now onto the merits of what they said. You are obviously not fat. You seem pretty sensitive so I doubt you're a bitch. From what you wrote, I don't see how you could come off as rude to most mainstream Americans (I'm assuming you're American). Maybe there's some cultural misunderstanding going on where you behaved in a way that in the French culture is considered rude? But if that's the case, those 2 must feel insulted all the live-long day by the supposed boorishness of everyone around them. In any case, it sounds like you and the girlfriend behaved in a consistent manner around making dinner (i.e., you didn't help her and she didn't help you but you both brought meal-related items), so it's hard to see how she truly believes you're rude on that matter.

The bottom line is that these 2 people are Grade-A, top shelf jackasses who are not and never were your friends, regardless of how friendly they behaved to your face. It sucks to find out that someone you were growing to like is a jerk and it sucks doubly to find out the way you did. I'm sorry that happened to you.

As to the question of what to do, I'd be torn. I would not want to see or speak to them ever again and I would tell my boyfriend exactly why, but I wouldn't insist that he give up his friendship with them or confront them in any way. If you two stay together and you never do things together as couples, the friendship is likely to whither away over time anyway. The other approach I'd consider is what my mother used to refer to as "heaping firey coals upon their heads": I'd go out of my way to be as gracious-but-distant as possible with them. My behavior would be above reproach but not at all warm and I'd never say a word to them about what I saw on Facebook. Either way, those 2 would be dead to me. Christ, what assholes.
posted by Maisie at 11:20 AM on August 2, 2010

First, explain it all to your BF. Then send a Facebook message:

Oh, god, whatever you do, don't take the drama to Facebook. ... please at least attempt to do it in a mature and adult manner that doesn't create needless drama and drag other people into it.

Sending a message on Facebook isn't inherently immature, and it doesn't need to involve other people. "Send a Facebook message" just means communicate in writing rather than in person, and I don't see what's immature about that.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:45 PM on August 2, 2010

I'm so sorry this happened to you. It's really crushing when people who you think care about you turn out to be complete jerks.

I had something very similar happen with two friends of mine. I had known these two people for years (first the husband was my friend and I was excited when he got married because his wife seemed super nice).

They were quite gregarious and we had lots of fun together. I thought the women was becoming a friend - the first female friend I had made in many years. I started hearing rumors that they were saying nasty things behind my back. I confronted them and the woman managed to convince me she really was my friend (she was extremely manipulative). I forgave them and we went back to being friends.

A few months later, they were in a chat room with a mutual friend. They said some of the most nasty things about me to the mutual friend that anyone has ever said about me.

Afterwards, I sent them a short email basically telling them that the fake friendship was over and called them out on being pathetic for pretending to be friends with people who they didn't like. Then, I never spoke to them again. I've bumped into them a few times since and just pretended like they didn't exist.

I tell this story to point out that I don't think you should forgive these people. Being drunk or trying to make his ex feel better is no excuse for them being nasty. I would completely write these two off. I can almost guarantee that if you decide to remain friends with them, they will do this time and again. Life is too short for these jerks.

None of this is your fault. You don't need people like this in your life. Tell them that you heard what they said about you and that you are ending the friendship. If your boyfriend remains friends with them, he will see their true colors eventually (hopefully sooner than later).
posted by parakeetdog at 1:20 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Where exactly did you find this out from? There's no way to know if this is true.

Also, just forget about it. If they did say these things, then they're stupid people who deserve your pity for their emotional challenges. They are not nice people and not worth your time.
posted by anniecat at 1:37 PM on August 2, 2010

anniecat, you didn't preview before posting and missed where it was revealed that it was all seen and heard on video that was posted briefly to facebook.

OP, if your boyfriend has been friends with these people for a long time, he knows what they're like & is possibly also a two faced, immature... individual. We choose who our friends are, and they say a lot about who we are. It's not like family, where you can't be blamed for how crappy they might be. Anyway, I'm reading this thread with my boyfriend and 3 male co-workers who have all said they would instantly be all over these friends, demanding explanations and readying the ban hammer, even without the video evidence. The 4 of them think your b/f is a "class A jackass" for dismissing what you've told him. I think it might end up being the best case scenario that you ditch the friends and the b/f. All of these people seem horribly toxic.
posted by zarah at 3:05 PM on August 2, 2010

You can't take what they said at face value. They were obviously ripping on you with the ex to blow off steam. Many of the comments don't even make sense. I would be flabbergasted if I went to a party and someone expected me to cook. You shouldn't bother trying to re-examine your behavior to find fault like trying to find a needle in a haystack. These people would have ripped on you no matter what.

This doesn't mean their behavior is forgivable. It's not. Anyone would be deeply hurt overhearing comments like these from "friends". Second, these people clearly get off on acting one way and talking another. It's not healthy to be around them. They're not your friends and never will be.

Tell your boyfriend that you heard this over video. No matter what he says, tell him you know exactly what you heard, and no longer feel comfortable being around his friends. Repeat ad nauseum. Tell him he's free to spend time with them, but you won't be. Be civil but curt to them when you must interact. Do not say a word to them. If they offer an apology, tell them you are not having that conversation. Obviously, de-friend them on facebook as well and refuse to get into why.

Finally, your boyfriend gets an 'in denial' pass for a while, but if he continues over the coming months to insist you be friends with these people, tell him you really need to find a man with the balls to stick up for his girlfriend.
posted by xammerboy at 3:24 PM on August 2, 2010

As others here have said, there is no reason to spend time considering what these people said when they insulted you. But it has caused you self-doubt, so just telling you to pay no attention won't work; hopefully everyone else has explained this to your satisfaction already, but just to add my two cents' worth:

- fat: no, according to the charts and the data and the benchmark photos and everything, not fat by any standards.
- bad face (or whatever): difficult to tell, I can't see you from here.
- bitch: all the information I have about you is contained in this post, but from what I've read I'm going to say no. If you were a bitch, you wouldn't have been nearly so shocked by this nor would you need help to understand it. (Not that being unshocked or readily understanding evil patterns in social interaction would have indicated that you are a bitch, but you know what I mean.)
- rude: um, no, you were a guest, i.e., one who is the recipient of hospitality. You don't owe it to the hostess to muscle into her kitchen and start cooking. If she really wanted your help she should have asked for it.

So that takes care of what they said. As for where, when, how, and to whom they said it, that also shows that it's not really to be taken seriously. They were drunk at a party and trying to get in good with the ex gf.

The only thing that's important about this is that they said it. And that is important. Maybe they didn't really mean it, and maybe (as others have said) their actions show that actually they do value your friendship. But you can't be sure, and in any case it would be self-destructive to be around them after this. Just let your bf socialize with them by himself, and if they're any good, they will reach out to you with an apology. If not, hopefully they will at least be embarrassed enough not to treat anybody this way again.
posted by tel3path at 6:03 AM on August 3, 2010

I had a very similar experience myself some years ago, but with the role of the jealous ex played by my then-boyfriend's jealous best (male) friend.

I'd like to advance a notion that's a bit in left field. This whole scenario has nothing to do with you, as strange as that may seem to you. It has everything to do with the boyfriend.

What has happened is that the ex, with the aid of this couple, has placed your boyfriend in a situation where he is now forced to choose between his friends and you. Because, I tell you, they are counting on the fact that this situation will be intolerable for you. The calculus here is that you will have taken such offence to their behaviour that you will no longer speak to them or interact with them. And that would be perfectly rational and reasonable thing to do.

But now, with each invitation to socialize from now on, your boyfriend will then be forced to choose between them and you, or act as the buffer between them and you as the party progresses, and possibly have to listen to the fallout after the party is over. As time goes along, the ex may even recruit other mutual friends to her cause, increasing the pressure on him. This will rapidly become intolerable for him - no-one can maintain that for long. You'll either dump him, or he will dump you, and the friends will have what they want - you out of his life.

In my case, my boyfriend knew all about the nasty things being said about me, and was actually privy to all the conversations. But he deliberately kept me from finding out about it for some time, because he was certain I'd fly off the handle and do something rash. He was right. I dumped his ass.
posted by LN at 10:53 AM on August 3, 2010

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