Why Do You Have to Be so Rude?

Seniors Abigail Elrod and Eric Decker illustrate their drastically different emotions when asked to describe how they view their friendship.

Seniors Abigail Elrod and Eric Decker illustrate their drastically different emotions when asked to describe how they view their friendship.

I hate school. I hate it, not because of the continuous hours in a sitting position or the nasty cafeteria food or the piles of useless homework but because of the hatred I witness in the hallways daily. Summer is a time when kids are their happiest. They surround themselves with people who bring them joy and make them want to smile all day, so coming to school after that “happiness high” and having all those emotions ripped to shreds and stomped on by the people who feel like they need to crush someone to feel better about themselves is horrible to watch.

Now, don’t get me wrong when I say this; there are wonderful people at school who can make someone’s day go from incredibly sad to one of the best days of their life, but there are also people who make others wish they were not forced to receive an education. I see kids being called names like “ugly,” “gay,” “stupid,” and “fat” for simply walking down the hallway to their next class: harsh words that, in my opinion, should never be used to label anyone. I see girls laugh about other girls because they do not have that new necklace everyone has, and I see boys who force other boys in corners, yelling, “Gays aren’t welcome here.”  I hate that people walk past these terrible acts, as if to say, “I am not the one being picked on; it is not my problem.” I hate that I am one of those people.

I wish I knew how to stand up to the bullies that roam the halls, wish I knew how to tell them that they are no better of a person by pushing someone else down. Like everyone else, however, I am a chicken, scared of becoming the victim of the hatred the bullies inflict on other people. I hate that I, along with most of the student body, sit back to watch the show, not even trying to become the person that the victim needs in that moment. Why do I not stop to help? Why do I not show people the love they are worthy of?

What surprises me most about the victimization of the student body are the people who are the bullies. You would think that bullies would pick on people that are not like them, like the stereotypical scene of jocks throwing nerds into the trashcans and seniors playing pranks on the freshman because the seniors have a perceived sense of power, but that is not always the case. Often times, I see that people are being bullied by their “friends,” which does not make sense at all. Friends are supposed to give love and spread happiness to each other, and they are meant to be a support for one another; so how come I see friends telling each other that they are “dumb” or “worthless?” It seems contradictory to call someone a friend when all they do is make one feel inferior.

Something strange I have noticed is that the person being bullied always seems desperate to fit into the group that is picking on them, trying so hard to be a part of something that has not welcomed them with open arms. Kind people are letting these “friends” stomp on their self-confidence  just to feel like they have a group they can fall back on when in reality that group would not have a problem letting the kind, naïve person fall on their face. These kind people do not care that they are being bullied because at least they have friends, right? They are so wrong, though, and it is so hard to convince someone that they deserve people who actually want to be friends with them when they have convinced themselves that hateful people are actually worthy of their time.

Maybe this is why it is so hard to stand up to bullies. When people claim that bullies are their friends, yet those “friends” treat them like inadequate human beings, it is difficult to know whether the “friends” have a harsh, joking personality, or if they actually think the words they are saying to the victim are true. It is hard to decide when it is my place (or anyone’s place for that matter) to step in and tell someone that enough is enough or when it is my place to just pass by, hoping that everyone is friends with each other and some simply have harsh personalities. I wish that I could stop this “friend-bullying” epidemic, but if I don’t make a tangible action from my thoughts nothing is ever going to change the outcome of the situation.

Maybe I will never know for sure when people are being sarcastic or just cruel human beings, but I do know that I do not have to stoop to the level of those bullies. I can lift people up, stay positive and stay kind. It is not my place to tell someone who they should be friends with, and I do not have the right to tear someone away from a relationship that is seen as volatile by everyone but those in the relationship; but I can be a positive light in people’s lives, and share a love to them that they are worthy of. Maybe I can be the person that the victim needs, a friend that truly cares about them and only wants the best for them. Maybe we can all be that person.