Were they making fun of me behind my back?

Last updated on

In school, I felt like an outsider.

I saw how others connected and had a great time, while I struggled.

Take the other guys in my class for example. I often worried that they were making fun of me behind my back and it felt like it was them inside and then me outside. (We’ve written an article about how to spot a fake friend from a real friend over here.)

Go here to read more about how to deal with someone making fun of you.

One day, a new guy came to class. After a week, he was closer with my classmates than I was after a year.

That “proved it” to me: There’s definitely something wrong with me!

Like I’ve said before, I don’t regret that time, because that’s what formed who I am today.

I just wish I knew this back then:

Just because something is in a certain way, doesn’t mean it will always be that way.

You see, back then everything felt pretty dark to me. I had low self-esteem, so I didn’t believe that I would be able to turn things around.

I had good times, too, and I did have some friends.

It was just that being off socially and seeing others hit it off when I didn’t make me think less of myself.

I had little hopes I would improve.

I could rationally see that practice makes perfect, but it FELT like there was something wrong with me and it FELT like this was how life would be.

Here’s what I’ve learned after all these years: It doesn’t matter what it FEELS like. Sometimes, you just have to do what you know is right even if feels like it won’t work out.

How did your childhood affect your social beliefs today? Did you worry about people making fun of you behind your back? Let me know in the comments!

David Morin is the founder of SocialPro. He's been writing about social skills since 2012. Follow on Twitter or read more.

Go to Comments (39)

39 thoughts on “Were they making fun of me behind my back?”

  1. A little, I guess. Because growing up, I wasn’t close to my brothers. We don’t talk often. And I was a very shy kid. And the bad thing was, I was always concerned about what other people would think about me. I was always weary of my surroundings and the people around me. And because I was taught that if I make mistakes, people would judge me and laugh at me. And since I have a very provincial accent, I was always afraid to talk to others. And I always get this feeling that people are not interested in my story, and bore them to death.

    Reply
  2. I always found it difficult to make friends or talk in public as I watched others do this. This made me feel as if I was the only different person and I hated that as I felt it made me miss out on many opportunities I wanted

    Reply
  3. In my childhood during school days the teachers used to say that If you score good marks in your final exam then you can enter better colleges and shine in life.There idea is correct but nobody has informed me the importance of social skills after school life.As my teachers said I became one of top scorer in final exam and also entered better college but due to my lack of awareness in social skills,here in college I was surprised and struggling in mingling with Others.This is how my childhood has impacted my social skills.Now I believe that Only studies doesn’t leads to success.

    Reply
  4. I used to stayed up a lot back in my school days to study and ended up with horrible dark circles right below my eyes. I dont really mind what people think about my appearance but as soon as highschool years came, maybe, puberty made me more conscious with my looks and i felt terribly insecure with myself. So i think by improving my looks will actually boost my confidence but nope i was wrong. I spend so much on upgrading my looks yet i still feel nervous when talking with new people and felt exhausted after partying with my friends. Soon this year i will start my uni life and i hope by reading your tips and experiences may helped and inspired me.

    Reply
  5. i have dark skin tone.and that is common in bangladesh too.average people are black here.but still i soon found out that i was not that likeable to everyone as one of my fair,handsome looking friend i got so depressed.i started to literally cutting my skin witha piece of net doing bath in order to remove all the darkness from my color.but it never change instead i hurt myself more and more phisically mentally.then when i started to see things from different angle i found out that racism is everywhere but there is nothing to do about it.instead if you dont focus there then everything remain fine.means,at first i needed admit that that was not my mistake or flaw.but still my childhood action because of that still remains under my heart.

    Reply
  6. I had phases where I was a quiet one, where I was excluded by certain people in a group, but I was lucky I usually had one or two people who I was close with and could rely on. Sometimes when my situation changed and I found myself in with a new crowd (for example at a new evening activity, sport or social scene) I would find some people would accept me and others would laugh at or challenge me, those times stick out as painful while growing up.

    Reply
  7. That is true, I lost my self-confidence when I was kicked out of at one of the best school and people would make fun of my glasses. But as time went I never mind what the would say about.

    Reply
  8. It was when i was 15,when i realised that i used to force friendships people whom i called closest friends have never even came to my house,so i decided to be a loner and look for other friends.I have black scar on my face which has brought me low self esteem,at school i was very active,noisy and extroveted,I faked just to avoid bullying for which it had worked well for me,After completting school i was lonely it was had for me to go back to my old friends cos i had matured early.I became too introverted and rude,This had affected my love life until now i am still single (years pass).Now i have dealt with the rudity my problem is i cant make friends with new people but i am hoping that this will help me to socialise with people and get to have the life i am dreaming.
    I dont live in a English
    country,i hope you
    undestand

    Reply
  9. I remember when I was at high school, my friends would say that I don’t talk. I had two friends but later they caused a strike in the school and were chased a way and I had to remain alone. I would spend most of my time during holidays at home. I met one of them some 10 years ago and we’re now friends again.

    Reply
  10. I know who I can trust and know who I Carnt trust. Takes me a long time to trust people. Feel guarded at first round new people.

    Reply
  11. Today, I am proud of who I am. But it wasn’t always like this. I’m only in high school but when I was in 6th grade I was “forced” to be an introvert. One might ask how can you be “forced” to be an introvert. Well let me put it like this, in elementary school I was known for being kind, by those who even knew my name at all, but I was kind all the same. Anyway, I didn’t have many friends, just friendly acquaintances but in 6th grade they decided free seating was causing problems so they gave each class assigned tables to eat at. Well this would have been fine except my 3 closer “friends” were all in a different class than me. So at that many people would say, great! Now you can make new friends! Not exactly. You see my class was assigned the booths. But they also had a VERY strict 4 to a booth rule which meant we were short booth seats so we also had a table. Long story short…I sat alone at the table every day for lunch. Therefore, I was forced to “find strength in being by myself” the definition of an introvert. But myself not being an introvert meant that it was draining and VERY lonely and it cause GREAT damage to my already weak self esteem and confidence. Therefore, I was DETERMINED that I was NEVER going to let myself feel like that the following year. So when I met my best friend in 7th grade, (who is still my best friend) my life CHANGED. And I while im still working on friends I am able to have the self confidence of a bullet. And even though I still struggle sometimes, so does everyone. Its human. After all this life is to help us grow. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect right now, it’s not POSSIBLE but he wants us to TRY, to PROGRESS.

    Reply
    • Hey Ayush. Man, just laugh at them back and tell them in a respectful manner what’s wrong. Mention specifically that you do not want to make the police with them (stand up for yourself) . If this continues, I would suggest to move to a different group of friends that treats you well and respects you.

      My version:

      Style is important (do not overdress, but be mature in your way of dressing (fitted clothing..), good hygiene and a badass watch is key. If you have a beard, trim it well or go clean shaven and make your face clean with a dedicated cleanser

      Hope this helps 🙂

      Reply
  12. My childhood was shaped by a very rough school that I went to where there was terrible bullying. It made me very shy to make friends and I am still single at 47.

    Reply
  13. I felt far later that I had actualized my adult personality on my childhood basis. School change brought a huge change to my life,i had no friends atall n the one I got treated me an complete outsider even though in group. Thus I always feared to befriend any new person n would get settle with some wid guilt n persona of I did something wrong n they’ll leave me . Took me years to understand myself

    Reply
  14. My family is strict with where ever i go…so making new friends is a difficult thing for me.I wouldnt call my friends as ‘ true ‘ cause I hardly have any…going out with them makes feel uncomfortable, but being the fact that i am an introvert and my parents are not understanding ( cause all of them are extorverts and i am the odd one out ) is pretty much difficult , is it compulsary to have friends or be alone…i am still trying to figure out.

    Reply
  15. I remember as a kid I was always very happy to play on my own, I did’t mind it. I quite liked being alone. However as the years passed and I entered my teens I realised while I was busy doing my own stuff everybody else had gotten to practice their social skills. In highschool I felt akward and insecure in most social situations because of this.

    It feels so alien now in hindsight, knowing what I know now at 22. I’m nowhere near being done but already I see so many obvious flaws in my past social interactions. It always did feel like I was 2-3 years behind everyone else.

    I remember feeling frustrated that I didn’t like to socialize and party like the other kids. I felt like I had so much to give, but I never felt comfortable in those situations. So I avoided them, thinking that’s just who I was… never questioning it.

    It became more and more obvious to me though that this was a confidence issue rather than a “disliking social events” issue. Starting university was also a major eye opener. It was obvious I was missing out on a fundamental part that makes life worth living.

    Reply
  16. My childhood was a very restricted one. My mother didn’t like me having the company of most boys around our area. She believed that they were somewhat ‘bad’. I think that under- exposure to friendships is impacting my relationships even today.
    Talking to girls was never my area. But I feel to do that. But I was the worst communicator a girl could get. I am very unpopular and unfashionable in my class and among peers.

    Reply
  17. I’am from the middle east I grew up in Maine till middle school there was bad and decent people and I believe the more social interaction and self-culturization, knowledge the better for all
    Moe

    Reply
  18. I was very shy when i started high school and thought i was weird and had low self esteem. I was worried that people would made fun of me behind my back. I am still shy and worries what people are thinking about me.
    I have problems to get new friends. I don’t know how to take contact to new people.

    Reply
  19. Well,my childhood had a negative impact on my social beliefs and as i grew up, it affected me terribly, but i have improved significantly after changing my environment and facing more hardships and working hard to turn it upside-down.So,after reading the sent article i also felt a bit relieved.

    Reply
  20. I’ve always been an introverted person. When it comes to making friends, I find it difficult to connect with them because I never know what to talk to them about. I don’t want to ask them a random question and make them uncomfortable. I also don’t want to bring up a light or related topic as it usually involves school, which isn’t sustainable in a conversation. On a similar note, carrying conversations is a struggle. I will ask questions and try to elaborate, but I don’t want to come off as inquisitive and conceded if I end up talking about my personal experiences. These combine inability’s to engage and continue a conversation makes it difficult for me to make friends. Unfortunately at the time of me writing this, nothing has changed. I’m looking forward to everything this training offers, as I am desperate for friends and close friends to bond with.

    Reply
    • I am 45 years old and I am working in a school as a Teaching Assistant in UK. Originally I come from Greece and living in a foreign country the last 7 years . I am introverted person, however, that was not always a problem because I have met people that come and go and I had times enjoying myself with others and times that I struggled a lot …BUT, since I moved in England, not knowing the language and the culture, my self esteem fell on the bottom, I lost my confidence. Although I am grateful that I never give up and accomplished great things and goals, like having a permanate job in a field that I always dreamed to be I am dealing with the greatest challenge, COMMUNICATION! Meetings, feedbacks, colleques where all are on the same level… I feel alienated, on terms having a staff meeting I am self conscious, never said a single word … thankfully I have made two colleques friends but is something that wherever I am people stay a way from me, I feel rejected from the majority of people and less accepted from a few… I thing depends on how you feel inside is reflected back to you…. I don’t know how to change that! I feel defeat it, not belonging anywhere

      Reply
  21. You see, my dad is a priest and he would get transferred every 3-4 years. Each time,i would change schools,causing a break in all my friendships.Thus,i don’t have any kind of childhood friends , or any good friends for that matter. It actually really hurts me when people don’t want anything to do with me. I really believed that there was bad about me that people hated. But my brother,under the same circumstances,made a large number of friends and was the center of attention everywhere he went. IT was really hurt when people knew my brother but did not know that he did not even have a brother.

    Reply
  22. Hello i really recognize me in your mail. I changed school in grade 6. I thought everyone at my new school was strange and I felt like a black sheep that did not fit in with any friendship group, I had no friends and it felt like everyone was afraid of me. now I go to eighth and will change school to ninth grade. I hope it will be better there and that I will not have to keep being an outsider.

    (This was translated by google translate so this might have some grammatical errors but I hope that you get what I’m trying to say?).

    Reply
  23. I remember in elementary school, I tried to join a conversation and someone told me “We’re not talking to you”, and there was no reason for it, it wasn’t a personal conversation or anything. So I never tried again. Also the guys had all these words that meant inappropriate (usually sexual) stuff, and they’d try to trick you into saying something with those words. Sometimes they were normal words, sometimes they were words in other languages that they used to sexually harass you without consequences because the teacher didn’t understand. Another time this kid asked me out as a joke. Both the code words and the kid asking me out make it really hard to trust people and I worry a lot whether something I said means something bad that I don’t worry about.

    One time I got frustrated in class and started crying, and the teacher yelled at me in front of the entire class that I had no right to cry and only he did because his mother died, so I ran out of the class. He claimed I threw a chair at him, and to this day people talk about it behind my back. It makes things hard to be the kid who throws chairs at people.

    Reply
    • That teacher sounds disturbed. He should have comforted you. I’m so sorry you had to go through that! You deserve better.

      Reply
  24. I feel like I can easily start a conversation but don’t know when to stop. I believe this is my turn off and I never truly make friends because of it. No one wants to see me coming. No one calls me. I’m not invited to events.

    Reply
  25. As a child I was picked on and bullied alot. I remember one instant watching a kid say that it was my house and the young mother telling the kid to hold his breath past it. I was the local joke. Some of my friends would not be friends in public.

    Reply
    • That was just so mean. Big hugs to you. People always say stuff like kids are pure and lovable, but I disagree. From your experience and my personal experience, kids are very straightforward in saying impolite things and outright rude at times. I don’t know whether it’s due to my childhood experience with my peers but I still have a bit of fear at the back of my mind when I get to talk with kids even as an adult now.

      Reply
  26. I was a loner, very few friends. I was bullied at school and always felt isolated. We lived in a different village to all the other children, so I was isolatedat home, as well.

    I have no social skills, whatsoever. No ability to converse with ohers, no idea of what to say, no idea of what is acceptable and what is too extreme.

    Reply
    • Cheers, Tim. You can do it. I can do it. We all can do it. Please don’t give up hope. You are a very worthy person and I hope your life gets better.

      Reply
  27. Thanks again David for sharing your story. Means a great deal to hear it from someone else.
    My story is pretty much the same as yours. I also had some friends despite my shyness but I always struggled to get accepted and “fit in”. I was always aware of that it would only take a small wrong step to be “a fully outsider”. I had a popular older sister in the same school and I believe sometimes, she was the reason I “passed through”. My parents also, in mild terms “forced” my sister (and me) to take me with her when she was going out with friends.
    Maby that was good in one way, but it also made me feel ashamed of myself, that she had to put up with me, her little stupid sister.
    As you, I was nervous about others talking behind my back. Sometimes, I know they did.
    Now, as a grown up I find myself being ok more often and that I am ok, at least at my work. But it only takes some whispering, silence or other subtle signs to make me insecure. Also I rarely dare to invite people, in case “they feel they have to” instead of wanting to hang out with me. So, I am better but I still have things I struggle with.
    Thank you again for sharing! / Ingrid

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your story, Ingrid. I feel your struggles. I, too, felt the ‘inadequacy’ a lot. As an adult, I got most of it over just like you do but I get triggered with those little whispers and other subtle social cues. I’m glad that I’m not the only one feeling this way.

      Reply
  28. Growing up as a quiet child and teenager has affected me later in life. I’ve become a bit of an introvert and now want to have meaningful conversations with people but I find it difficult. I have a conversation once with someone about what I do, but next time I see them I struggle.

    I am wanting to move on with my life and settle down again but finding it difficult.

    Reply
  29. Thank you for sharing what you went through in school. My family moved a lot while I was growing up and I was always the new kid. This taught me to be outgoing and make the first move to make friends, but looking back. I think slowly began to withdraw because of the pain of having to say goodbye all the time. So I struggle now getting close friends. Thank you again for sharing. I think your advice will help a lot of people who struggle with this
    God Bless you
    Robert

    Reply

Leave a Comment