“Give Me Gifts…And Dump Your Girlfriend, Too”

by admin on May 18, 2015

I have a story that I was reminded of while going through your lovely archives!

In high school, some of my friends and I sat at a table with “Deanne”. None of us were that close with her, but she had lunch at that hour and eventually decided I was her close friend. I didn’t feel the same way, but was polite and friendly to her because high school is a rough place when you don’t have many friends, and it wasn’t as though I was mega popular myself!

Deanne met a male friend of mine, “Jason”, one day when he came and talked with me at lunch. Jason had a sweet and lovely girlfriend with whom I was also friends. Deanne, however, ignored this fact and decided she would openly and rather bluntly flirt with Jason at every opportunity, including in a class they shared together in the second semester. He would tell me various things Deanne would do and say, including glare at his girlfriend or make snide comments about her, touch his arm or chest, etc. Typical high school drama. I started trying to distance myself from Deanne, since I don’t like to be friends with people who don’t respect relationships.

Her birthday rolled around and, since she was a twin, she and her sister were having a shared party. Deanne, for her portion of invitees, invited two people that I knew of – me, and Jason. Not Jason’s girlfriend, which in itself was a bit inappropriate. I politely declined her invitation – which I am not proud of – by saying I had a family event. Again, I didn’t wish for her to keep thinking we were such close friends when in fact I disliked her, and the thought of watching her flirt with Jason all night while also being surrounded by strangers was not an appealing thought.

Jason, however, could not turn her down so easily. Deanne told us about the party early on, and kept at him all the way leading up to the party. The kicker and focal point of our tale came about a week before.

In class one day, he handed me a piece of paper Deanne had given him. On it in her handwriting was listed several items, such as “earrings”, “necklace with green stones (emerald)”, and “perfume”. Things a guy would usually buy for a sweetheart. At the bottom she had written, “Please circle the thing you would like to buy me and then give me back this paper”.

Firstly, Deanne had invited Jason but not his girlfriend, after making it very clear that she was interested in him. Secondly, she “suggested” gifts that, to me, seem inappropriate for an acquaintance of the opposite sex. Thirdly and most horrendously in my mind, she had expected him to buy her one of these gifts and inform her beforehand which gift she was going to receive. After that, I spoke to Deanne as little as possible, and Jason rarely ever came to talk to me at lunch since she would be around.

In case you were wondering, Jason told Deanne that he had lost the paper and gave her some leftover Halloween candy as a present. 0515-15

{ 139 comments… read them below or add one }

just4kicks May 18, 2015 at 3:47 am

With three teenagers and one preteen currently in our home, this gave me a chuckle.
High School drama….there is nothing like it!
You said you were “not proud” of turning down the invitation, I wouldn’t have gone either under the circumstances you mentioned.
I think you were very wise to not go.
I am a little confused as to why Jason decided to go though, especially since his girlfriend wasn’t invited.
The note with “buy me one of these items (emeralds?!? Really?!?)” was way over the top and rude….although in my humble opinion, so was giving her leftover Halloween candy as a present.
Sheesh.

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Cat May 18, 2015 at 9:42 am

When I went off to dorm living at college, a friend gave me a metal device that cut whole potatoes into French Fries. Since we were not allowed to cook, I would rather have had the Halloween candy.

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just4kicks May 19, 2015 at 2:11 am

Me too! 🙂

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Anonymous May 20, 2015 at 7:23 am

I would have kept the device, because nobody lives in college/university housing forever, and anyway, I’m sure you visited home sometimes, right?

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Cat May 23, 2015 at 3:08 pm

No, my parents had died by that time and I was working on my MS in counseling. No home visits. I don’t know what happened to the device, but it is no longer with me.

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AS May 18, 2015 at 4:47 am

Jason’s girlfriend must have been a saint, and quite mature not to start a huge drama over Jason at the high school.

Any idea what’s happened of any of th since? People like Deanne sometimes correct their ways.

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The Elf May 19, 2015 at 8:16 am

I hope so. I was socially clueless at that age (not that clueless, I don’t think!) but I realized it and tried to learn “the rules”. Over time, it helped and I’m no longer so clueless. Part of it is just the foolishness of youth (and the self-centeredness that comes with it), part of it is cluelessness/ignorance, and part of it might just be malicious. No way to know, really.

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JO May 18, 2015 at 5:49 am

Frankly, I feel that your friend Jason is the one who ends up looking bad in this story. Was Deanne disrespectful of his relationship? Clearly, and that is not acceptable. But it seems Jason led her on by continuing to socialize with her, accepting her party invitation, and allowing her to touch him repeatedly without telling her to stop. Deanne probably took this to mean he returned her interest. And beyond that, the two of you continued to mock and sneer at her actions behind her back, which just adds a level of cruelty to the whole situation. I don’t mean to defend Deanne; she should have kept her distance. I’m just saying perhaps you and Jason could have handled it much better too.

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abby May 18, 2015 at 9:29 am

I totally agree! The whole time I was reading this, I was thinking, so she continues to flirt with him which includes physical contact, she’s rude to his girlfriend, and the guy still talks to her and is “forced” to go to her birthday party thanks to her badgering? How hard is it to say, Deanne, please don’t touch me? Or, no Deanne, I won’t be able to make it to your party? Or Deanne, maybe you’re not aware, but Girlfriend is important to me and I’m not interested in listening to you insult her. Jason is either the biggest doormat in the world, or secretly enjoyed the drama and encouraged Deanne, all while complaining about her to the OP and sighing about how he “had” to go to this girl’s birthday party. I’m kind of thinking the latter.

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Kovi May 18, 2015 at 9:55 am

JO: I disagree. Deanne knew Jason was in a relationship. The onus was on her not to make a complete fool of herself trying to convince him to break up with his girlfriend, and be with her. I don’t see anything indicating that he was encouraging such behavior. Deanne sounds like she’s incredibly socially-challenged, and that’s not Jason’s fault.

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iwadasn May 18, 2015 at 6:44 pm

I agree with JO. If Jason had made it absolutely clear from the start that he had no interest in Deanne, I doubt she would have kept flirting with him for so long. I’m guessing he enjoyed the ego boost of having two girls “fighting” over him (although it seems that his girlfriend handled it in a more mature manner than that) and did things to lead her on.

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Marozia May 19, 2015 at 3:55 am

I totally agree. Yes, Jason must take some of the blame for this farce.
It sounds like his girlfriend took it quite well. As least she wasn’t bawling and brawling with Deanne over her man. Kudos to girlfriend!

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Tracy W May 19, 2015 at 5:14 am

But we don’t have many societal role models for people making it absolutely clear that they have no interest, and this actually working to get the person pestering to cut it out. (Partly because: A is pursuing B, B tells A to stop it, A goes nuts and starts talking B makes for far better drama/comedy than A is pursuing B, B tells A to stop it, A does. Consider for example the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, Aurora was making it clear to Gaston he wasn’t interested, so Gaston provided the conflict. Or “My Crazy-Super-Ex-Girlfriend”, man tells girl he’s not interested, she throws a shark through his bedroom window).

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ArtK May 27, 2015 at 6:37 pm

Interesting assumption. Assumes facts not in evidence. I’ve seen plenty of people who would continue to flirt like that despite being told to stop. They intensify if anything. It’s a challenge to them. The thrill is the pursuit not the winning so someone who is “hard to get” is a bigger prize. Jason doesn’t deserve your condemnation simply because Deanne continued to misbehave.

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Miss-E May 18, 2015 at 6:54 pm

While it’s certainly tacky and low-class to interfere with someone’s relationship the pressure was on HIM to be faithful and tell this girl to back off. He may be a teenager but he’s still his own person. He wasn’t at the mercy of someone’s magic spell. A good boyfriend would tell her to leave him alone and ignore her from then on.

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Twik May 19, 2015 at 8:48 am

Teenagers often don’t understand how to break free from pushy people, and that it’s not rude to choose your own friends. For example, the OP seems to feel she did something wrong by politely claiming a prior engagement in response to Deanne’s party, instead of doing exactly the *right* thing. Shiny spines are difficult things to grow, and require a fair amount of experience for full development.

It’s not just girls who feel a pressure to “be nice” and “let people down easy.” Jason probably felt that telling her directly to stop this nonsense would be rude or cruel, particularly if Deanne never came right out and admitted she was making a play for him. Deanne probably would have fed into this if he’d tried to disengage, creating more drama about how “she just wanted to be friends!” and “you hate me, don’t you? Everyone hates meeeeee!”

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InTheEther May 23, 2015 at 1:05 am

That is probably what would’ve happened. I’m well into my twenties now, and my response to crazy is still to back away slowly and try not to engage. Calling the crazy out will just result in WWIII which can be extremely awkward is a situation like high school where you are going to have to see and deal with this person the next day and many after.

Snarkastic May 26, 2015 at 1:06 am

Yes, let’s not blame Jason for someone else’s overzealous behavior. Think about the reverse of this situation; would you still blame the one in the relationship for not being more forthcoming about her disinterest?

MM May 19, 2015 at 10:36 am

I also agree with JO. Yes, Deanne was behaing badly but OP’s silence on Jason’s resistance shows that he didn’t do much to discourage her.

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Anonymouse May 19, 2015 at 8:54 pm

I’m with you Kovi. While it was not wise for Jason to go to the party, there is nothing to indicate he encouraged her. Seeing as he was complaining to mutual friends, it’s a bit of a stretch to think he was secretly enjoying it, imho.She knew he was in a relationship, and I think it’s more likely than not that he had told her so several times. I have no trouble believing that she kept up the attempts after being repeatedly rejected (I have several former friends who have done the same)… As for him still hanging out with her, it seems that she was a semi-permanent fixture in his social circle, and it’s hard for anyone to risk losing their group of friends to cut off one bad egg, let alone a teenage boy.

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Anonymouse May 19, 2015 at 9:25 pm

Update from the OP: He didn’t actually go to the party… So I don’t see anything that could be reasonably construed as “encouraging” Deanne.

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Goldie May 19, 2015 at 8:18 am

I’ve been both in the gf’s position and in Jason’s. He was probably trying to be nice. Also, it’s hard to tell someone to stop propositioning you if they never explicitly propositioned you. Makes you look like an idiot. Believe me there were many times when I wanted to say “back off, I’m not interested” but the person was careful to not give me proof enough that they’re coming on to me, so I’d have just sounded crazy if I said something. That said, I would not have accepted the invitation. If inviting him without his gf was not reason enough for him to say he could not make it, then the “gift registry” certainly was. Deanne gave him one easy out after another and he never used any of them; can’t believe he actually went to that party.

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Mustard May 18, 2015 at 6:24 am

It is just possible that Deanne’s toes are curling at the thought of this behaviour in her past!

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Ergala May 18, 2015 at 9:47 am

Doubtful. My 15 year reunion is this month and I’m not going. The reason….most of the people I went to school with have not changed very much in regards to their behavior and attitudes. They made my life hell back then and now they act like it was all in jest (seriously??? Making someone so afraid to eat in the lunch room that they ate in the bathroom is all in fun?) that I have zero desire to relive some of the worst years of my life. On FB I am brow beaten to go in our Alumni group, they act as if they would be so sad if I didn’t attend. No, I don’t think so. I instead RSVP’d NO. Not to mention they are holding the reunion at a place where you have to pay to get in, and nothing is provided. It’s basically everyone meeting at a local lodge and chatting. Most of us still live in the same area and see each other daily. Bleck.

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K May 19, 2015 at 6:53 am

Why on earth are you linked to any of them on FB in that case?

I have no interest in school reunions or in being linked to anyone I am not still friends with.

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Ergala May 21, 2015 at 2:24 pm

K I am only friends with like 4 people from school. I’ve gotten numerous requests from others and I simply let the requests sit there unanswered. I’m in the Alumni group because that is where news regarding classmates is typically posted. We just lost a classmate at the age of 33 to cancer and she was a very very sweet woman back then right up to when she passed away. It was awful to learn of her passing.

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just4kicks May 18, 2015 at 10:56 am

Probably not. 🙂
I went to high school with a very snotty, stuck up girl who lied about EVERYTHING.
Our school was in walking distance of a hospital, which if we had after school activities, we would wait in the hospital lobby because the school wasn’t in a great part of town.
This girl would regale us with stories of her dad saving lives because he was the best surgeon in town, according to her. (Nothing against surgeons or being proud of your dad..the stories she told were pretty out there!)
Anyway…my mom started volunteering at the hospital a couple of days a week, and I would meet her there after her shift and my dad would pick us both up.
I asked her once about “Doctor X”, and said I had classes with his daughter.
She said she never heard of him, but it WAS a very large hospital, no way of knowing everyone’s name.
One day, this girl told me to wait for her after school, she would walk to the hospital with me.
Okay, great.
We walk in and head up to the cafeteria for a drink and a snack, and run into my mom chatting by the coffee machine with a janitor I had seen there before, VERY nice man.
As soon as my mom and the janitor see us, the janitor calls out cheerfully, “Hey! There are our beautiful daughters finished with another fine day of education! Listen, “Jessica”, as soon as I finish the hallway and empty the garbage up on the fifth floor, I’m ready to go! Pizza for dinner, honey??? I’m hungry for Pizza Hut!!!!”
I thought “Jessica” was going to puke on her expensive loafers!!! Surgeon, huh???
Now….before people get mad at me there is NOTHING wrong with being a janitor, he was a wonderful man…..but why she felt she had to lie about it was beyond me.
She avoided me like the plague after that.
I ran into her years later at the ob/gyn with her husband and apparently she hadn’t changed much.
The very one sided conversation was what her husband did for a living (best, most expensive attorney in town!), We just got back from a month in St. Croix (it was fabulous), we just bought the newest most expensive crib and stroller on the planet…..etc.. you get the idea.
Her husband just sat there with the most confused look on his face, like, “what the HELL are you DOING?!?”
On our way home my husband asked me “who WAS that?” And I replied, a girl from high school who hasn’t changed one bit!

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just4kicks May 18, 2015 at 10:57 am

Wow….that was really long!
Sorry. 🙂

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Vrinda May 18, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Nothing wrong with that. It was a fun read!

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bern821 May 18, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Don’t apologize, it was a great story! I guess her husband was getting a glimpse of her high school self and it sounds like he didn’t recognize her. Bet that was an interesting ride home for them too!!

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just4kicks May 19, 2015 at 2:20 am

Thanks! 🙂
I too, would’ve loved to been a fly in their car on the way home.
To his credit, he didn’t call her out in front of me, but from the look on his face, I could tell she was lying about everything.
She was a very beautiful girl (she actually did some modelling, in the papers quite often, so THAT wasn’t a lie!), I have no idea why she created such lies about everything.

Marozia May 19, 2015 at 3:58 am

It was a great story. Every school has one of those.

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Goldie May 19, 2015 at 8:22 am

Awe that’s a sad story. I feel bad for both Jessica and her dad, whom she was clearly ashamed of.
Maybe Jessica thought that kids at the high school would give her a hard time if they knew her dad was a janitor. Though why she had to keep carrying on about him saving lives is beyond me. You can always just say nothing.

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just4kicks May 21, 2015 at 3:58 am

@Goldie: Exactly! No one knew what my dad did for a living (purchasing manager for Mack Trucks), she would just make up these tremendous stories for no apparent reason.
“Oh my God….I’m SO tired….my dad got paged to the ER last night at midnight. Some big car accident….I waited up to see how many lives he saved!!!!” Etc…
She was always (if memory serves) very concerned about being a part of the “in crowd”, maybe in her eyes a surgeons daughter carried more weight than a janitors.
I do remember telling my mom to please not say anything to “Bob” about his kid telling everyone he was a doctor.
She said he was one of the nicest people at the hospital, and it would’ve killed him to know that his daughter was ashamed of him.

Miss-E May 18, 2015 at 7:06 pm

We’ve all had that “friend”! I had a very similar incident a few years ago with mine – ran into her in a store and she went on and on about all these job offers and all these men in love with her, etc, etc and then flounced off. She friended me on Facebook shortly afterward and I got to see that she was a classroom aid (nothing against that but she told me she was a teacher), mighty single and living with her mom at 30.

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just4kicks May 19, 2015 at 2:23 am

@Miss E: ….And apparently not too bright, considering you could “fact check” on her Facebook feed.

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Vrinda May 19, 2015 at 9:46 am

You mention this girl having expensive loafers. If her father was a janitor, how did she afford them? Was it from her modeling salary?

Lisa May 19, 2015 at 8:26 am

I feel bad for her dad! Poor guy. It would suck having your daughter be ashamed of your job.

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AnaMaria May 19, 2015 at 1:39 pm

That poor dad- being a janitor is a hard job to begin with, and I would think being one in a hospital would be exceptionally demanding. All the nasty stuff that you would have to clean up, and you would have to do it the right way to avoid spreading germs all over the hospital. And here his daughter is so ashamed of her dad’s means of providing for her that she lies about it. I wonder what he had to deal with- could HE trust her anymore than her ‘friends’ could?

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just4kicks May 22, 2015 at 6:42 pm

I’ve replied a few times, it wouldn’t post…..maybe I’ve reached my quota! 🙂
Anyway….She was an only (adopted) child, and I think her parents were the type “if she wants it, she gets it.”……thus the expensive loafers, cashmere sweaters etc.
She also was one of those kids who took lessons for EVERYTHING…..art camp, tap, twirl, gymnastics, modelling school….you name it, she took it.
Nothing wrong with wanting to give your child the best of everything, which made it especially sad she thought so little of her dad, who worked his butt off to afford her the best.

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Aje May 18, 2015 at 6:57 am

It’s hard to know in high school how to handle these situations. Especially since standing up for oneself would have created more drama.

I think Jason could have easily bowed out as well, saying he didn’t buy jewelry for anyone except his girlfriend.

It would perhaps have been good for him to ask his mom about this, so she could remove him from the situation. I remember telling my mom about something I was invited to and her saying “Say I won’t let you go. Because I don’t mind taking the heat.”

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bap May 18, 2015 at 9:46 am

^^^this^^^. When my DD’s were in school they knew that I could always be their excuse – no questions asked or reasons needed. I very clearly recall one particular incident when my oldest came into my office after school, with a friend several steps behind her, asking out loud if she could ride to **neighboring town** with her friend. The entire time she’s giving me subtle shakes of the head and other cues that she doesn’t want to go. I “reminded” her of unfinished chores at the house (true) and she simply sighed loudly, acted frustrated and told friend she couldn’t go. Friend was sympathetic to her plight and as far as I know, never knew any differently. And yes, they remained friends.

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doodlemor May 18, 2015 at 10:34 pm

Oh yes, how well I remember those days. Our daughter especially would signal to us when she was on the phone with someone who wanted her to do something that she was not comfortable doing. We would immediately raise our voice and tell her that she had to get off the phone and do some chores or other. She’s make a complaint, hang up, and thank us.

When she was a bit younger, early teens, she once asked us if she could go to some totally inappropriate place until some late hour. Of course we said no, expecting an argument. Instead she quietly went to the phone, called her friend back, pretended to be angry, and said something like “Those @#$% won’t let me go.” [We weren’t supposed to hear the bad word that she used, of course.]

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AnaMaria May 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm

This was my saving grace many times in high school and even in college- my parents let me bring a car to campus but kept it in their name. They were usually okay with me taking it where I needed to go, but they always told me if someone wanted me to drive somewhere I didn’t feel safe or comfortable, tell them, “If my parents find I took the car there, I loose it, and then I have to change my major because I’d have no way to get to my student-teaching!”

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MamaKat May 18, 2015 at 1:47 pm

That was always my mom’s response to high school drama – “Just blame it on me, I’ve got broad shoulders”. Poor Mom, I guess she was already so used to being “the bad guy” that if it was actually helping us, one more accusation from somebody else’s kid didn’t matter!

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just4kicks May 19, 2015 at 2:26 am

I do that all the time with my kids!
When they are asked to go/do something they don’t want to do, but don’t want to cause any hurt feelings, I tell them “I’ll be the bad guy! Tell them you’re grounded/have to do yard work at your grandparents etc.”

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just4kicks May 19, 2015 at 2:30 am

They help me out, too, I forgot to add!
I love my mom dearly, but, there is NO such thing as a “quick call” to my mom.
If I need to call about something, but don’t have 45 minutes to hear about what their crazy neighbor pulled yesterday, I will tell one of my kids “in ten minutes or so, I need you to yell loudly “Mom! The washing machine is making that noise again!” or “Hey, Mom! Someone’s just knocked at the front door and I don’t know who it is!”
Sorry, Mom….I gotta go….call you later! 🙂

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Aje May 19, 2015 at 12:30 pm

My friend told me her Mom would give her a codeword like “chapstick” and she knew that meant “help.”

Like if she was sleeping over with someone at their house and she asked to call her mom she could say something casual like, “I forgot my chapstick Mom…” and that would mean, “Come get me!”

Kate May 19, 2015 at 4:41 am

That’s what my mum did. Her exact words were “I don’t mind being the bitch if you need me to”.

I didn’t take her up on it often, but it was a relief to be able to get out of situations I really didn’t want to be in by saying “my mum said no”. I’ll do the same for my kids one day.

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Anonymous May 18, 2015 at 7:01 am

Well, technically, the “social unit” rule applies to established couples, but when everyone involved is in high school, the standards for “established couple” are much lower, given that young couples obviously don’t live together, and many of them celebrate “month anniversaries.” So, by that social code, Jason and his girlfriend would have counted as a social unit, which would have made them a package deal for group events. The only exceptions would have been single-gender events, or “specific group” events; for example, if one member of the couple was involved in a sport, band, choir, theatre group, student council, et cetera, and the other one wasn’t. So, the only circumstance under which I can see it being sort of okay for Deanne to invite Jason without his girlfriend, would have been if she and Jason were both members of, say, the Quidditch team, and she decided to invite the entire team (and only the team) to her party. Even then, some people would say that it’d be a nice gesture to invite significant others as well, especially if they were friends with each other, although it wouldn’t be mandatory. As for requesting specific gifts, let alone “couple-y” type gifts, that’s just right out. It reminds me of the episode of South Park where Cartman demands that his friends buy him specific Mega Man action figures and accessories, so he can combine them to create the ultra Mega Mega Man, and then he throws a fit and “turns the party off” when Kyle presents him with a board game instead, because he couldn’t find the Red Mega Man. This is worse than the South Park incident, though, because Deanne is actively trying to break up Jason and his girlfriend. I think Jason was right to ignore Deanne’s “wish list,” but it would have been better if he hadn’t gone to the party at all. OP, you were right to beg off. One thing I will say about Jason, though–he sounds like a very mature, loyal, and all-around good guy, for ignoring Deanne’s antics and staying with his girlfriend., so she’s lucky to have him.

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Airelenaren May 18, 2015 at 1:57 pm

I don’t know about that last part – I wouldn’t count it as “very mature” to give someone your leftover candy for a birthday present, or to continuosly allow someone to treat your partner so badly. I mean, sure, I wouldn’t have done much better in high school, so I’m not condemning him, but I wouldn’t call him mature, either.

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Anonymous May 18, 2015 at 4:58 pm

I didn’t say that Jason giving Deanne leftover Halloween candy as a gift was “very mature”; I said that ignoring her wish list was “very mature.” He could have gotten her a very blatantly “just friends” kind of gift, like a CD or a movie or something, but then, maybe he didn’t even want to be friends with her. He could have even not gotten her a gift at all, but that could have easily been explained away as “he was broke,” or “he didn’t have time to go shopping or make something.” He could have simply not gone to the birthday party, but again, that probably would have come with a polite fiction as well–sports game, family thing, whatever. So, I think the Halloween candy was just his way of saying “tone it down already.”

It’s hard to tell someone that you don’t want to be their friend, when you see them every day and they’re part of your regular social circle. A lot of adults struggle with that, let alone teenagers–in fact, I still haven’t quite figured it out. When I was in high school, I just put up with mean and rude behaviour from some people I knew, so I could spend time with the friends I actually liked. That didn’t work well, because I was stuck with people acting crummy towards me. When I was I the later years of university, I avoided entire circles of friends because some people treated me badly. That resulted in me spending a lot of time alone, and making some new friends–some I liked, and some friendships happened more because they liked me than the other way around, which is the same situation that Jason was in. Jason was clearly trying to distance himself from Deanne, but not from the OP and their other mutual friends. It’s hard to do that, because of the very first and most powerful Geek Social Fallacy of “Ostracizers are Evil.” So, I think the gift of leftover Halloween candy was all Jason could think of, with his limited life experience as a teenage boy. I just have to ask, though, OP, what time of the year was Deanne’s birthday party? Because, I think leftover Halloween candy in November or even December, is more okay than the same gift in, say, April, because even if you don’t like someone, you still don’t want them breaking their teeth on stale candy.

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Marozia May 19, 2015 at 4:01 am

Look at it in this way….at least the candy wasn’t used!

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Anonymous May 18, 2015 at 7:03 am

P.S., I forgot about the “twin” part. OP, what was Deanne’s sister like? Did she act like Deanne, or was she a reasonable person?

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Ergala May 18, 2015 at 7:29 am

I honestly hold both Deanne and Jason in a bad light here. The moment Jason got an inkling that Deanne wanted more than friendship he needed to tell her he was not available. If she continued to behave in this way he needed to just not even associate with her. Allowing her to touch him or flirt with him without any kind of brush off, especially in front of his girl friend, was just giving Deanne more power. I’ve had male friends whom didn’t understand I was in a relationship and they would either make snide remarks about my boyfriend (like “I saw Tommy at the gas station last night, does he always act like a girl?”), or would put their arm around me. After being polite about it and trying to laugh it off I saw that it really upset my boyfriend. It was up to me to stand up and tell them to bugger off. If I hadn’t I would have been giving them the green light to disrespect my boyfriend and my relationship.

Now that I am married I know I would be incredibly upset if my husband allowed this to happen. He was talking to an old friend of his when we were having difficulties and he mentioned that I have depression and he was pretty sure that is what was causing our issues. She told him he should just let me kill myself…..I saw the message on accident. I wasn’t upset so much that she had said that but that he didn’t tell her that was inappropriate and immediately block her. Instead he changed the subject. We had a huge argument over that and he finally saw that what she said and his response was incredibly hurtful. If someone had told me that my husband was better off dead they would never ever ever see or speak to me again.

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Tracy W May 18, 2015 at 10:33 am

This comes across as victim-blaming, particularly when it’s about teenagers, not adults. Perhaps that’s what Jason needed to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do it. Particularly in a society that doesn’t provide many role models for a man politely turning down an aggressive woman. You yourself said that at first you tried to be polite about your male “friends” making snide remarks about your boyfriend.

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Miss-E May 18, 2015 at 7:01 pm

I see your point but I feel like putting the blame all on Deanne is a sort of sl**-shaming. As if poor defenseless Jason just couldn’t hold up to such a grossly bold and flirtatious woman.

I recall a conversation once with a friend when she found out her fiancé cheated on her: she ranted for hours about all the violent things she was going to do to this girl but forgave her fiancé almost immediately.
And we didn’t even know the girl in question. She was a total stranger. Pointing out that she may have been just as much of a victim (as in: he didn’t tell her he was getting married in 2 months), sailed right over my friends head. Even if this girl HAD known he was engaged, the burden was on HIM to be faithful. Not this girl to not sleep with an engaged man…

They eventually divorced and my friend learned her lesson and later said she didn’t blame this other woman at all.

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Tracy W May 19, 2015 at 4:58 am

I don’t know of any polyamarous type who think that it’s okay to glare at and made snide comments about the partner of someone you’re interested in. So I don’t know what sl**-shaming has to do with condemning Deanne’s behaviour. And I think there’s a big gap between “it’s impossible to hold up to a bold and flirtatious woman” and “teenager doesn’t know how to do so”. The latter can be true without the former. Again, you yourself said it took you a while to work this out in your case.

On the issue of your friend and her partner, firstly, I think that if the girl in question had known about the existing fiancée, she should have refused to sleep with him until he broke up (obviously, if he lied to her about the fiancée’s existence that’s a different matter). Secondly, if she did know about the fiancée, glaring at her and making snide remarks about the fiancée would be rude.

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K May 19, 2015 at 7:00 am

If it had been the other way around, I suspect far fewer people would blame Deanne than are blaming Jason for his inability to stand up to her.

In what way is it sl*t-shaming to point out that Deanne behaved appallingly?

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Twik May 19, 2015 at 8:57 am

You mean, “poor little Deanne, that slimy Jason led her on by *not doing anything*?” I’m sure if you reversed the genders you would consider this victim-blaming.

Deanne was behaving in a grossly inappropriate manner both to Jason and the OP. To defend her on the grounds that “her victims should have stopped her” is, ironically, denying her free agency. I wouldn’t call Deanne a slut, just pushy and socially deluded, so I’m not sure where the “slut-shaming” comes in.

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Library Diva May 19, 2015 at 9:43 am

“Sl*t-shaming?” Really? Deanne aggressively flung herself at Jason at every opportunity despite the fact that he had a girlfriend. She SHOULD be shamed, and ashamed, of her behavior. It’s nothing to be proud of. I don’t have much time or pity for people who knowingly tangle with someone in a relationship, even if they themselves are single. Of course, the person actually doing the cheating is the worse party, but those who tangle with folks in relationships deserve all of the scorn and heartbreak they’re courting. If you’re brazen enough to do it, at least be brazen enough to accept the consequences.

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Anonymouse May 19, 2015 at 9:12 pm

You’re comparing two different situations though… Deanne KNEW he was in a relationship and still pursued Jason. Your friends’ fiance’s mistress may or may not have known he was engaged. If she didn’t know, she’s also a victim. If she did, she’s as much to blame as the fiance, and Deanne.

Also, considering that this was a high school boy, he likely didn’t know what to do about such a bold and flirtatious girl. A combination of hormones and inexperience tends to confuse them (this also goes for teenage girls!). We also don’t have any indication he “gave in” and allowed it to happen… In my experience girls like Deanne don’t take “no” for an answer.

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Miss-E May 20, 2015 at 8:55 am

My point is that Jason is coming across as an innocent victim here. “Poor helpless boy unable to stand up to the wiles of a will woman”. Deanne behaved appallingly, no argument here. But she shouldn’t bear the brunt of ALL the blame, that’s all.

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Miss-E May 20, 2015 at 8:56 am

Sorry WILD woman.

Tracy W May 21, 2015 at 9:07 am

I think Jason is coming across as an innocent victim for very good reason. Yes, there are things Jason could have done, if he knew how to do them politely, to get Deanne to stop. But that can be said about any crime or accident: the victim could always have done *something* different, such as going home by a different way. Thus all the comments you’re getting about victim-blaming.

Anonymouse May 22, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Jason is coming across as an innocent victim because there is nothing to suggest he is at fault. Maybe there are things he could have done better (the story as submitted does not say what he did to overtly discourage Deanne), but he did not ask for or encourage her behaviour. To place him at fault for what another person did TO him, especially as Deanne’s behaviour could easily be considered sexual harassment, is very much victim blaming.

I don’t believe it is slut-shaming, as no one is faulting Deanne for expressing her interest in Jason. She is not being faulted for expressing her sexuality, or even flirting with someone else’s BF. She is being faulted for not taking “no” for an answer. Think about it, if the roles were reversed (Jason flirting with Deanne), we would not be having this discussion.

JKC May 18, 2015 at 11:45 am

I’m with you; if someone said something like that about my spouse, I would explode. There wouldn’t even be time for him to get upset about it.

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kingsrings May 19, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Wow…….that’s awful! Nobody can be expected to always like a friend’s spouse, but they certainly can be expected to be respectful about it and not slam them like that.

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Ergala May 20, 2015 at 7:13 am

Kings she didn’t even know me, had never met me and hadn’t seen my husband since they graduated HS. It just totally blew my mind.

Now my response to the other posts, it wouldn’t let me reply at all yesterday for some reason.

The reason I say they are both at fault is because with the info we were given (NOT including the update) it came off as Jason not telling her to cut it out or standing up for his girlfriend.

And yes I was polite in the brush off with the young men in my situation, I try to be. When that didn’t work I was abrupt and stopped hanging around them and avoided them at all costs. The guy I was dating shouldn’t have had to feel like he was in a competition, he already had me, there was no contest at all. One young man I dated was exceptionally sweet to me, this may sound bad but I still kick myself for not giving him more of a chance. If someone had treated him poorly I would have probably verbally assaulted them. Thankfully I was too much of a shallow twit to stay with him and he wasn’t exposed to my moronic entourage.

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Tracy W May 18, 2015 at 8:05 am

I rather think that Jason could have turned her down so easily. Although my sympathies are for a teenager not knowing how to.

I went to a single-sex girls school, so perhaps I’m missing something, but Deanne’s behaviour to Jason sounds to me not so much like typical high school drama, but actual-bordering-on-sexual-harassment to Jason, with the apparently unwanted touching of him.

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Kariachi May 18, 2015 at 11:06 am

Having gone to a public high school, that’s what I was thinking. Nowhere does it say he was ‘letting’ her do any of this, only that she was. It’s entirely possible he tried to get her to stop and she wouldn’t (this is especially what his stopping hanging out with the OP at lunch because Deanne’d be there sounds like to me- he doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of this but she won’t let up). It would have been better for him to forgo the party, but I can see how a teenager wouldn’t be sure how to bow out without being rude. He may have been one of those “an invitation is a summons” people we seem to see so much and thought that since he didn’t have prior plans he was stuck.

You hear about girls ‘letting’ people aggressively flirt with them because they don’t want to be perceived as rude or mean, this kinda comes across to me as a boy falling into the same pit trap.

Also I’d like to point out that the OP never gave an age, just that they were all in high school, which means they could have been anywhere from 14 to 19 at the time this went down.

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Anonymouse May 19, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Where’s the like button when you need it? My thoughts exactly.

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AthenaC May 19, 2015 at 8:48 am

“Although my sympathies are for a teenager not knowing how to.”

Exactly – I’m reading the comments and thinking, “Who are all these people that magically knew exactly how to handle every situation in high school?

Maybe I’m just a slow learner, but for me it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I had racked up enough social experience (and social blunders!) to figure out how to gracefully handle a wide variety of situations and awkwardness. And even now sometimes it’s clear to me that I have a lot to learn!

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Lady Anne May 18, 2015 at 8:27 am

Oh, high school! A special sort of Hell. I went from an all-girl boarding school into public school in the 10th grade. Obviously, I’d never had a boyfriend, and while boys in general scared me, I had a MAD crush on one poor young man who attended both my school and my church. It curls my toes to think of the things I did to make him notice me. I volunteered in the library and had to take overdue slips to all of the classrooms in the morning; I would stand in the doorway and wait until he saw me, and then wink. I would wave at his school bus as it pulled away in the afternoon, even if I didn’t see him on it. Call me Deanne!

I never went so far, though, as to give him a list of gifts.

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Joni May 21, 2015 at 7:08 am

I wouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Those are all the kinds of things that, when a boy does them to a girl in a movie or TV show, are cute and romantic and eventually win him the girl.

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MM May 18, 2015 at 8:30 am

I think it would have been nice to sit down with Deanne to talk about why she was doing what she’s doing. Insecurity? Problems at home? Not doing well in school? A lot of her behavior raises red flags for me.

But it’s easy to say that as an adult; I’m positive I wouldn’t have picked up any of those red flags in high school. Still, I pity her–she must be so desperate for affection and showing it in bad ways.

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Lisa May 18, 2015 at 9:17 am

High school. Pretty much everyone knew someone like this.

Teenagers are trying to figure out who they are and how to act. It’s when they don’t grow out of the behavior – or when it’s something truly harmful, like bullying – that it’s a real problem.

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Cat May 18, 2015 at 9:37 am

I was not, in high school, the font of wisdom and good sense I am today. Today, I would suggest that Jason be polite and keep Deanne at arm’s distance. To the invitation, he should have said, “I am so sorry, but I already have plans with my girlfriend. We both wish you and your sister a happy birthday.”
He and his girlfriend could both sign cards for Dianne and for her sister. No gifts.
I had a similar problem my junior year of college. My boyfriend and I had a history class together. Another young man began sitting where my boyfriend usually sat and asked me out. I had no interest in him and would not have had, even if I did not already have a boyfriend.
Unsure of what to do without hurting the guy’s feelings, I looked around for a girl who needed a guy. Finding an unattached female who wanted a boyfriend, I introduced them. They were suited to one another and were still together when the class ended.

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Anonymous May 18, 2015 at 5:49 pm

>>Today, I would suggest that Jason be polite and keep Deanne at arm’s distance. To the invitation, he should have said, “I am so sorry, but I already have plans with my girlfriend. We both wish you and your sister a happy birthday.”<<

That would work, unless Jason was friends with Deanne's sister–let's call her Daphne, for simplicity's sake. I mean, it's entirely possible that he was, because Deanne and her sister would have been in the same grade, maybe in one or more of the same classes and/or extra-curricular activities, and might have had some of the same friends as well, and for all we know, Jason was one of those friends. So, what would Jason have done if he wanted to go to the birthday party because he was friends with Daphne, or if he didn't want to go because of Deanne, but he also didn't know how to tell Daphne, "I can't go to your birthday party because it's Deanne's birthday party too, and she's a total whack job?" A "polite fiction" would have worked for that one specific event, but the sisters would presumably be having another birthday party the following year, and they'd probably also be a package deal at other parties held at their home as well–Homecoming, Halloween, Valentine's Day, spring break, prom after-party, graduation, random movie/poker/DDR/Mario Kart nights, and so on, and so forth. Every time something like that happened, Jason would have had to say "no" to Daphne (and whoever else was participating) just to avoid Deanne.

So, I don't see it as "Jason screwed up," but rather, "Jason didn't know how to politely extricate Deanne, but not Daphne and other mutual friends, from his life." A beginning surgeon won't know how to precisely remove a tumour without damaging the surrounding body part(s), and likewise, a young person without much life experience is going to struggle with dropping just one problematic person without distancing him-or-herself from an entire group of friends, especially if that person's twin sibling is a friend of theirs. It's especially hard if Deanne is as much of a drama queen as the OP describes. If Jason were to blatantly drop her, she would have probably pitched a fit, painted Jason as a villain to the entire social group, if not the entire school (or at least, what feels like the entire school to a teenager–there are always some people who don't know, and/or don't care), and then Jason would have been ostracized. I'm just now figuring out how to navigate this as an adult–it involves a lot of creative hypocrisy, and invoking a lot of "prior commitments" when I just don't want to deal with people, or stretching the truth sometimes–sure, I COULD attend Event at 5 p.m. even if I'm teaching yoga at 7:30, but it'd be a hassle, so I just say "I'm teaching yoga that evening," and that's good enough for them. It also involves being okay enough with myself to be willing to spend a fair bit of time alone, and I don't think I was completely "there yet" as a teenager, or even for my first three years of university.

Part of the problem of being young is the fact that being seen spending time alone, or being perceived to spend a lot of time alone, is interpreted as "Ha ha, you have no friends!!!"; and then other people's perception becomes reality as rumours fly about the possible reasons behind this–in fact, when I was in grades 6-8, I was friends with one other girl, and there were rumours going around (spoken on the playground, and written on bathroom stalls) that we were lesbians. The truth was, we stuck together because everyone else was mean and cruel to us. Anyway, when you're older, that doesn't happen as much. But, for a pre-teen or teenager, being perceived as a loner could easily be The End Of The World. So, you put up with a lot of crap just to avoid that. Has anyone else here seen that episode of Gilmore Girls where Rory reluctantly joins a high school sorority called The Puffs, just because her principal and guidance counsellor think she's a loner, and "universities don't look kindly on loners?" Since that was an episode of a TV show, it all resolved itself, but real life doesn't always work that way.

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AthenaC May 19, 2015 at 8:52 am

@Anonymous –

“A beginning surgeon won’t know how to precisely remove a tumour without damaging the surrounding body part(s) …”

A complicating factor is the fact that at that age, school attendance is mandatory and so everyone is required to spend a lot of time together. It’s not like being a grown-up where you can find another job in a less- or non-toxic environment and cherry-pick the people from your old job that you want to spend time with socially. You just figure out a way to put up with it in a way that minimizes the unpleasantness for yourself.

So those are the skills we teach our teens (i.e. you’re trapped here – deal with it and suffer in silence) and then we wonder why they grow up and don’t magically know how to extricate themselves from bad situations.

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just4kicks May 19, 2015 at 11:49 am

That reminds me of when my two oldest were in middle school.
They came home one day and said there were two girls who rode their bus, who were very nice, but both had what they called “emotional problems”.
They were outcasts, and didn’t have any friends.
One day, the “popular” boys who sat at the back of the bus said they would invite these two girls to the “party of the year”….if they made out with each other.
Oh my God.
My oldest son told the girls, please don’t do that! They are lying to you! Sit with me and my brother.
The girls desperate to belong kissed for a few minutes to the sick delight of these little bastards.
Of course, they weren’t invited to any party and were just devastated.
I promptly called the principal to let him know what was going on.
At first, my objections were met with a half hearted “oh…boys will be boys!” and “no one had a gun to those girl’s heads, did they?!?”
I said, “listen here! First of all….what a disgusting thing to do to young ladies with emotional problems, promising them things for their own disgusting kicks!”
“Secondly….what other “acts” are these boys asking these poor girls to “perform” in order to be accepted to the “in crowd?!?”
My kids, and the rest of the children shouldn’t be exposed to that nonsense on the bus or anywhere else! If YOU won’t put a stop to it, my next two phone calls are to the school board, and the local paper….in that order!

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Anonymous May 20, 2015 at 8:56 am

Just4Kicks, your boys are awesome for trying to help those girls. I’d be incredibly proud if they were my kids.

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just4kicks May 21, 2015 at 4:16 am

Anonymous: Thank you….I am incredibly proud of them, I’m very blessed to have kids who will stand up for others.

Cat May 19, 2015 at 1:06 pm

There are always situations that would change when an “if” is added. There was no mention of Jason having any relationship with the twin sister so I did not consider that. I suggested cards for both girls as they are the same age and are probably in the same grade. If his parents were friends with Deanne’s parents, they could have insisted he attend the party and that he bring a gift. If his parents disapproved of his girl friend , they might have insisted that he break up with her and find someone else. If they were in a country where arranged marriages are the norm, he might have been engaged to Deanna without his consent. I admit I did not consider any “ifs”. I stuck to the facts that the OP related.
I doubt that anyone would say that Jason “screwed” up, but I must admit that giving someone old Halloween candy is an odd gift for a birthday. I would stand by my advice not to accept invitations to parties for people with whom you do not wish to be friends. I believe that Jason was disinterested in Deanna as the OP relates that he seldom came over during lunch after the date of the party and that he did not ask her out.

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Anonymous May 20, 2015 at 8:59 am

Well, there was no mention of Jason and Deanne’s parents being friends, or the scenario taking place in a country where arranged marriages are the norm, but I think it’s more likely that Jason could be friends with Deanne’s sister, because it’s normal for twins or close-in-age siblings to have a lot of mutual friends, especially if those siblings are of the same gender. So, I didn’t state it as a fact; I merely suggested it as a possibility, but we’d have to ask the OP to be sure. OP, was Jason friends with Deanne’s sister?

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OP May 20, 2015 at 7:55 pm

Hello,

No, Jason was not friends with Deanne’s sister. I barely knew the sister either – I can’t even recall her name! Jason met Deanne when he came to talk to me at lunch, and she decided she liked what she saw apparently. I think part of the awkwardness was that they shared a class together later in the second semester, so he was forced to spend time with her that way. To my knowledge the parents had no role in this whatsoever. Also, this took place in America, so no arranged marriages.

Miss-E May 18, 2015 at 7:03 pm

Wow, way to turn something unpleasant into something awesome!

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Cat May 19, 2015 at 1:07 pm

Thank you.

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MamaToreen May 18, 2015 at 9:47 am

Sounds like Jason was enjoying the attention

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Tracy W May 19, 2015 at 5:20 am

Why do you think that?
And even if he was, how did that justify Deanne’s behaviour? I’ve occasionally been socially attacked by people I regarded as total non-threats, and found the experience amusing (I feel quite proud of the time age 12 when I deal with a boy trying to trip me up in our classroom by “accidentally” standing on his ankle when he stuck his foot out, then apologising to him in a voice dripping with sincerity for my clumsiness, in front of the teacher), but that doesn’t mean that I think that blame was equally shared.

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MamaToreen May 20, 2015 at 10:09 am

If he didn’t enjoy it at some level, he would have told her to stop touching him. Even the politest boy won’t put up with that

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Twik May 20, 2015 at 11:50 am

And then he’d have to put up with “OH! You thought I was flirting with you? You’re such a conceited pig! No, I was just being friendly. And brushing off some lint. You don’t want to go around with lint on your clothes do you? You’re so full of yourself, it’s disgusting. Also, you’re linty.”

Harassers are often very skilled at “plausible deniability.” Perhaps Jason told her several times to stop touching him, and was gaslighted into thinking her behaviour was perfectly normal, and he was the one with a problem.

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MamaToreen May 22, 2015 at 11:00 am

I have puit up woth that, but at least every one AROUND us knew what I had just done

MamaToreen May 22, 2015 at 11:01 am

But then he could just say, “No, I just don’t want you touching me”

Anonymouse May 27, 2015 at 9:46 pm

MamaToreen, we don’t know that he didn’t tell her to stop. In my experience, even if you tell some people “No, I do not want this. Please stay away from me” (or the same thing, but phrased less politely), they will carry on. Some people just will not get the message…

Besides, how many times (even on this site) have we heard about people being “too shocked to respond,” or otherwise unsure of how to respond to an uncomfortable situation. Are those people also to blame for their experiences? Then we remember that we’re discussing a teenage boy, who likely did not have the life experience or know-how to effectively handle the situation. What Deanne did was sexual harassment, plain and simple, and Jason was not at fault.

Additionally, there is no evidence provided to suggest that Jason was enjoying Deanne’s behaviour. In fact, the evidence provided actually refutes that claim. For example, we’re told he was complaining about her to mutual friends… If he was enjoying himself, why was he complaining? Also, the fact he eventually stopped hanging out with OP and her friends during lunch, specifically to AVOID Deanne. He was essentially cutting off a large portion of his social circle to remove the one unsavoury character from his life (not an easy feat for anyone, let alone a teenager). These are not the actions of a person who is “enjoying the attention.”

TL;DR To say Jason “was enjoying the attention” is victim-blaming, in addition to being one heck of an assertion.

Wendy B. May 18, 2015 at 9:48 am

I agree with Ergala, both were bad. However, they were, for all intents and purposes, still “kids.”

Having said that, I feel for Deanna who apparently was missing some ability to pick up on social cues.

However, Jason led her on somewhat by not telling her to stop and by going to the party. Giving her leftover Halloween candy was just cruel.

I’d be interested in knowing how things turned out for all these people too.

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Anonymous May 20, 2015 at 9:02 am

>>Giving her leftover Halloween candy was just cruel.<<

Here's a clue: If Jason hadn't yet outgrown trick-or-treating, why are we expecting him to be mature enough to politely shut down Deanne's advances, in a situation where they're essentially trapped together? Jason had to go to school, he couldn't switch schools, and he probably didn't see any way to cut Deanne out of his life without also cutting off his entire social circle.

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vjcole May 18, 2015 at 9:53 am

I’d love to know if Deanne grew up to be the same sort of adult that she was as a teenager. She’s the kind of person who would expect a diamond bracelet as a “push present”.

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Cat May 19, 2015 at 1:09 pm

And to choose her engagement ring and to have the jeweler to hold it so she can demand her boyfriend propose to her with the ring she has selected.

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Library Diva May 18, 2015 at 10:38 am

People are being pretty harsh towards Jason here. It’s tough to navigate this stuff in high school. If he was an adult, I would agree that he should have been firmer with her, but it’s not easy to do in high school. You’re still learning the difference between leading someone on and not being hurtful. You’re also still learning how to express your interest in someone in an appropriate manner. It sounds like Deanna was not very socially mature, even for her age. Maybe Jason didn’t want to hurt her and was hoping she’d just lose interest on her own, or maybe she made him so uncomfortable that he didn’t know how to deal with her effectively.

Deanna sounds like she had some issues. She actually reminds me of a girl I went to high school with. NO ONE liked this girl, and it was because of her extreme clinginess. Looking back, it makes me sad to think about what must have happened in her life to make her this way, but if someone showed the least bit of kindness towards her, she’d attach herself like a burr. She’d call you all the time, assume that you were hanging out together every weekend, expect that she was welcome at your lunch table, etc. often on the basis of one or two conversations. She talked very fast and would blather on nonstop about the extremely mundane details of her life — I’m talking soliloquies on doing her geometry homework or the previous night’s episode of Full House. I have often wondered what became of her, if she grew up, got some social graces, found someone to marry her, a circle of friends, and a field in which to work. Last time I knew, ten years on from high school, nothing much had changed with her. She had one friend, who was also a good friend of mine from high school. That friend married a man who was extremely bright but happened to be deaf, and this girl was so excruciatingly rude to him that she cut contact with her.

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Cat May 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm

These people are very hard to discourage. I had a former coworker who would call me with all the details of his personal life. He would end by saying,”Well, that’s about it.” and hang up.
He never asked if I had time to listen to him or inquired anything about that I was doing with my life. He was totally absorbed in every detail of his day. It was like having your kindergarten child come home and tell you about kindergarten: I painted a picture, and I played with the trains, and I fed the rabbit, and I…
I finally had to tell him that his mother would probably be fascinated by every detail, but that I was too busy to listen to him.

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Library Diva May 21, 2015 at 11:09 am

The girl in my past did not even respond to that. None of the normal stuff worked on her. I even witnessed someone who was normally polite and kind, and who had tried every socially accepted way of disengaging from her, to scream in her face in the hallway in front of a ton of people “I don’t like you, we’re not friends, stop bothering me, I never want to speak to you again.”

This girl reacted as if it was a joke. “Hahaha you’re so funny!”

I think she was just wired wrong in some way. Looking back, she was probably one of those kids who falls through the system’s cracks all the time. Even today, her file would probably have a ton of “Rule-out” and “NOS” diagnoses, or catch-all type things that are fancy ways of saying “something’s wrong here, but we don’t really know what.” She wasn’t in remedial classes, but she was in the “slow kids” section of everything. There was no social group that would have her. She even seemed to be blind to normal social queues. The sole time I hung out with her, we went to the mall together. We were there to roam around like 15-year-old girls do, and get picked up at a set time by someone’s dad. She spent almost the entire time in one particular early fast-fashion chain trying to decide between two pairs of pants, and I could NOT hustle her along. By the end, I was just sitting on the floor ignoring her while she tried them on over and over. Very odd. Even for that age.

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Lacey May 19, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Exactly, and obviously his girlfriend wasn’t threatened by the behaviour, so it seems like Deanne was just one of those inappropriate girls whom nobody really takes seriously. He probably didn’t like confrontation – the passive-aggressive birthday present and the going so far as to stop hanging out with some of his other friends to avoid her points to him NOT enjoying the attention at all.

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Library Diva May 18, 2015 at 10:41 am

Also wanted to say that while it’s rude in the extreme to tell someone what they’re getting you for your birthday, I don’t necessarily feel that jewelry or perfume is too intimate for a male to give to a female friend, as long as they are FIRMLY friends. Really expensive jewelry might be a tad over the line unless it’s a truly special occasion, but I think that a nice pair of earrings, a pretty necklace, or a bottle of her favorite perfume all make good gifts for women. In this case, though, Jason would have been better off not getting her any thing at all, since she no doubt read romantic intent even into the old Halloween candy.

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Lady Anne May 18, 2015 at 8:25 pm

Jewelry. When I was still married to the late and unlamented, my boss gave me a pair of earrings for Christmas. Late and unlamented had a fit, as he considered it a VERY personal gift.

The big deal? I have pierced ears.

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Anonymous May 24, 2015 at 8:30 pm

So, it wouldn’t have been a big deal if you hadn’t had pierced ears, and therefore weren’t able to wear the earrings? I don’t understand.

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Cat May 19, 2015 at 1:19 pm

High school is a bit young for such gifts, especially for a girl a boy is trying to discourage.
My boss gave all of us women shampoo for oily hair for Christmas. I still wonder why he thought we all had oily hair. He was bald so maybe he did not understand our dismay.

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ketchup May 18, 2015 at 12:09 pm

We’re talking about teenagers. They are not known for their best sense of etiquette.
‘Deanne’ is just an ill-adjusted teen with no sense of boundaries.

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Ashley May 18, 2015 at 1:34 pm

While I will fully admit that Deanne’s behavior is ridiculous, what did Jason do to stop it? Did he EVER at any point say “Look, Deanne, I have a girlfriend and I’d appreciate you not flirting with/touching me/passing me awkward notes”? It seems like ALL of this could have been cut much shorter and neater if Jason had a polite spine.

Unless he enjoyed the attention?

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Tracy W May 19, 2015 at 5:10 am

Or it could not have been? How many role models would Jason and Deanne have, from media and the like, of this conversation happening and it being stuck to? I keep thinking of the Wedding Crashers, in which one of the guys is r*ped by one of the woman characters, and the movie treats this as a joke, they even wind up married! And my experience of bullying at primary school is that just telling people to cut it out did *not* work.

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Aletheia May 20, 2015 at 6:45 pm

The thing is, though, we’re only seeing the OP’s version/view of things. We have *no idea* what steps Jason took outside of OP’s presence and knowledge – did he talk to Deanne? Did he tell her to cut it out? Did he encourage her? No one besides Jason and Deanne know everything about what happened between the two. All we know is that Jason seemingly “put up” with Deanne (which some people read as encouraging her) – up to the point of avoiding lunch with friends to avoid her, when it became clear that it was impossible to avoid or deflect her).

Outside of not knowing what (if anything) Jason said directly to Deanne, there’s no way of knowing what other steps he took. As Tracy said, there’s a sad dearth of role models for teen boys in this situation. If he talked to his friends, he’d likely have gotten a response along “you have two girls interested in you? Wow, you player.” (Or… something more crude. Teens and hormones and acting out and all that, you know..) And sad to say, I’d think a lot of adults would react in the same way, with comments about him being a “ladies’ man” or reminiscing about ~high school shenanigans/drama~, without actually addressing the problem or guiding him through it… :/

I know a lot of that is hypothetical, but even if none of that was the case, him avoiding her unless absolutely necessary was likely the best (if not the only) course of action he thought he had…

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DGS May 18, 2015 at 1:43 pm

High school drama…sounds pretty typical, actually. Teenagers are awkward, narcissistic beings, who are often filled with melodrama and unpleasantness. Most do grow out of it, eventually. Here’s hoping that Deanne and Jason did, too!

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Lizajane May 18, 2015 at 5:53 pm

While Deanne was certainly a piece of work, and might still be, I think Jason is getting a lot of grief for handling an awkward situation badly…in HIGH SCHOOL. Sheesh

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OP May 18, 2015 at 5:58 pm

I forgot to mention in the story and would just like to clear this up – Jason did not attend the party but did not tell Deanne he could not go until the day of the party. He gave Deanne the candy at school a few days after the party.

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Goldie May 19, 2015 at 10:10 am

Whew. Good for him! Sorry, I commented a while back under the assumption that he did go. I mean, of course it would’ve been better if he’d declined in advance and not on the day of the party, but like everybody said, HIGH SCHOOL.

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Cat May 19, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Ah, I see. I thought he had attended.

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Ergala May 20, 2015 at 7:15 am

Same here Cat, that is what colored my response as well.

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Kelsey May 18, 2015 at 7:07 pm

The victim blaming in some of the comments is completely unacceptable! If the genders were reversed people would be calling for the assailant’s head. I was sexually assaulted when I was 16 and didn’t know how to respond other than distancing myself from the person when possible. Would anyone suggest that I “enjoyed the attention”?! Blaming a child or young adult for not knowing how to respond in such a socially difficult situation is never ok.

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Anonymous May 19, 2015 at 4:20 am

I agree.

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abby May 19, 2015 at 7:23 am

I think that is incorrect. If Jason were a girl and a boy was continually flirting with her, and she did nothing to discourage it, people would wonder why she didn’t just tell the guy she wasn’t interested. And there is a HUGE leap from being aggressively flirtatious to a rapist.

There ARE people who are in relationships that still welcome outside flirtation, despite claiming otherwise. I don’t know Jason and I can’t say that is the case. But to suggest that it is the case is not “victim blaming”. It could be the truth.

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Airelenaren May 20, 2015 at 1:28 pm

This. What we’re saying is not the male equivalent to “her short skirt was asking for it”, and the girl in the story is (at least from what is described) not an overpowering abuser (toxic, yes, verbally abusive, likely – but overpowering? I don’t see it).

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Kelsey May 20, 2015 at 2:40 pm

When Deanne made uninvited physical contact she crossed the line between “aggressively flirtatious” and sexual harassment/assault. It is no more ok for her to be touching his chest than for someone to grab a female’s breast. Groping isn’t ok and it is never the fault or responsibility of the person who is being harassed.
In the situation you mentioned of a girl being continually flirted with it is the “flirter” who should realize that his advances are not appreciated and leave her alone.

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Goldie May 19, 2015 at 10:13 am

I was in the reversed role a number of times and I did have people tell me, both then and now, that I’d enjoyed the attention, used the guy, strung him along etc. Whereas in reality I just always had many many male friends, (and limited capacity to read social cues) and most times I really did not notice that a man was being more than friendly until he’d turned straight out creepy.

So yes, I agree with you about the victim blaming. Add to it the social conditioning that a boy must be a gentleman, must be nice to girls, must never be curt with girls etc. Poor Jason was probably afraid to say anything to Deanna.

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fluffy May 18, 2015 at 7:39 pm

If the twins’ birthday was in November, the candy wouldn’t be so bad a present. In July, it would be hostile.

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Rod May 19, 2015 at 10:48 am

LOL. My toddlers are still working on their candy from trick-or-treating. Rockets and other compressed sugar candies are intact. Lifesavers seem to be holding on well, as Jolly Ranchers. Jelly beans seem ok, chocolate not so much.

The cheaper the candy, the longer the duration?

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PatGreen May 18, 2015 at 8:25 pm

Now I’m having flash backs of high school In particular there was one girl I knew who wanted a boyfriend. She wasn’t particular about who, she just wanted a guy. At first she assumed it would happen, then I got a boyfriend before she had been asked on a single date. Then she became outright aggressive flirting with any guy she could, reading into every interaction as a possible romantic relationship, ect. This continued even after I broke up with my first boyfriend. Her actions eventually lead to her being in a bad relationship in late high school that she didn’t give up for the longest time because she didn’t want to be alone.

I’m sure if I asked her she could mention how stupid I was in High School too. All part of being a teenager.

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NostalgicGal May 19, 2015 at 10:47 am

Our entire area had a guy shortage, about ten years worth of a 2:1 ratio, and I was in the direct middle of this (about year 6) so the boy thing was exaggerated. For some reason there was a surplus of girls and the guys had it nice. Didn’t matter what they were, if they were male and breathing they had girls after them. (Area proms had to be scheduled carefully because of that and we did have my senior prom have another school choose that night AFTER we’d picked ours, so going to that one wasn’t going to happen for love, money, bribery, blackmail or kidnapping)…

Anyway, this aggravated all the junior high and high school ‘boy crazy’ issues. A few of us just waited, seriously, until we could leave and head out into the wide world. Jason and Deanne would have been the mild things that happened around there. What you mention PatGreen, also was quite common. A few of the guys had someone ‘claim’ them whether they wanted that gal’s attention or not, and she would fiercely and physically defend her claim… Deanna is mild.

If I had been Jason I wouldn’t have gone at all unless there was some peer pressure there, or even a parental unit leaning over ‘you will be nice and go’, in which case, poor fellow.

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Rebecca May 18, 2015 at 11:26 pm

I think Jason should have turned down the invitation, told Deanna he wasn’t interested, told her he only gave gifts like that to his girlfriend, etc.

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Enna May 19, 2015 at 5:10 am

I’m glad the OP said that Jason didn’t go to the party – maybe it was a bit rude he didn’t tell her before hand as he was trying to avoid her or scared that she might cause trouble? As for Jason not telling Deanne to stop the flirting – he could have been clueless at what to do which isn’t uncommon in those situations. He did avoid her after the party and saying that he “lost” the paper with the list of gifts on it was brilliant. Maybe he avoided her after the party as so as to avoid confrontation for not going? I think he did come to the right course of action in the end.

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Anonymous May 20, 2015 at 9:09 am

Yeah, that’s what I was going to say. If Jason had told Deanne in advance that he couldn’t go to her birthday party, she’d probably have tried to badger him into attending after all.

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Enna May 20, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Also ignoring unwanted attention can be an effective way to deal with it depending on the situation. If he had said something – which he could have done so and would be justified in doing so – it could have made her worse. I know someone who was brought up to ignore unwanted behaviour and her husband would find it funny because she wouldn’t notice and the other man would be so put out by it!

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JWH May 19, 2015 at 7:32 am

I’m sorry, but I can’t help laughing at the entire thing. Teen-age drama at its finest.

“Oh to be young and to feel love’s keen sting!”

— Albus Dumbledore

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Goldie May 19, 2015 at 8:35 am

I have a Jason and Deanna story, from my first year out of college. I moved to another town for my first job, and my fiance (whom I had met in college) and I were having a bit of a long-distance relationship. Finally for his winter break he was able to come visit. I was so happy to see him. I’d made arrangements to check him into a hotel (not an easy thing to do in Russia in 1990), in the meantime he and I were hanging out in a room that I shared with two other girls from my work. (work-assigned housing.) Not even two hours after he arrived, there’s a knock on the door, I open it and there’s a girl from our college standing in my doorway with a bag. She said, “I ran into Fiance last night and asked him where he was going. He said he was going to catch a train to go visit you. All of a sudden that made me miss you so much that I went to the airport, got on the first flight I could catch out of there, and here I am!”

I was shocked. I had no spare bed for her to sleep on. I could not have her stay in my room because I was on bad terms with one of my roommates. I had no clue what to do, as a host. I also had no clue why she was there and why she had to come visit at the same time as my fiance, whom I hadn’t seen in months and needed some alone time with. I mean, I had a vague idea why, but tried not to think about it.

Eventually we went to check her into the same hotel. Fiance walked me back to where I lived and went back to the hotel. It was two in the morning. Guess who was sitting in the lobby waiting for him. She asked if he could wake her up the next morning so she could catch the next flight out of there (whaaa), because her alarm clock was not working. He says okay. She then asked if he wanted to go see her room. He said no and went to his room and crashed. (I believe him 100% on that, because I was later married to this man for 18 years and there isn’t a cheating bone in his body.) She left the next morning and I don’t think I ever talked to her again. She and I used to be friends in college, but this incident really put a dent into our friendship. I think we sent each other a letter, both apologizing for the messed-up visit, but we both knew what really was up with that, and neither of us wanted to talk to the other again.

It’s just weird all around. I think the Deannas of the world do this for an ego boost or something. It makes them feel better about themselves to know they can steal someone else’s man (or woman). Pretty sad really.

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Anna C. May 19, 2015 at 10:05 am

Hmm, I don’t know. True, Deanne sounds a bit socially awkward, but I wonder if that’s why she seemed so aggressive in pursuing Jason? Perhaps Jason did tell her to back off, and perhaps Deanne did’t pick up on the social cues?

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Asharah May 19, 2015 at 11:08 am

Okay, the old Halloween candy may have been extreme, but Jason may have considered it the only way to get the message through to Deanna that he wasn’t interested and to leave her alone.
Regarding why he went to the party at all, how do we know his parents didn’t force him to go. There’s a thread on the BB started by an OP who was forced by her Mom to attend a birthday celebration for a boarding school acquaintance 7 hours drive away for an entire week. The girl was a Deanna type, very clingy, plus unpleasant to actually spend time with. She invited all 50 girls in the class to this birthday celebration. These girls were on break, at homes scattered all over the country. Nobody else came. OP was forced to go stay in a strange town with a strange family for an entire week because her mother felt sorry for the girl and thought it would be so terrible if nobody came for her birthday. So how do we know Jason’s parents didn’t force him to go? According to OP, she and Jason were the only ones she knew of that Deanna had invited herself and she wasn’t going. So Jason’s parents might have insisted he go so poor Deanna wasn’t stuck with only her twin’s guests at their joint party.

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Asharah May 19, 2015 at 11:10 am

Link to BB story if anyone wants to read it:
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=121913.msg2813658#msg2813658

Let’s keep in mind, these are teenagers. They may not have the maturity to handle these things as well as you could.

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MPW1971 May 19, 2015 at 6:46 pm

As interesting of a story as this might be, the setting is high-school, and no matter where or when, teenagers are prone to dramatic and self-serving behavior. This doesn’t even move the needle compared to the drama I’m sure most of us felt during those years, as even small things could have massive and permanently life-changing effects (I exaggerate) for someone of that age.
The one thing I disagree about is the invitation of a “friend” requires the invitation of their boyfriend or girlfriend. Now this doesn’t absolve Deanna of her flirting with and blatant attempt of winning the attentions of Jason, but even when I went to high school in the 80’s, high school relationships were very fluid and sometimes very short lived. This is not to imply that “dating” was a series of hookups, but rather, that Johnny and Frankie could go from being friends, seeing each other, dating, going steady, to breaking up and being bitter enemies, all during the same week. In fact, that could all vary upon who you ask. Frankie may say that they are “going steady”, but Frankie’s female friends all know that Johnny is still seeing other girls on the side, because that’s what Johnny’s best friend from the basketball team said. Information often lagged behind and was at odds with reality.
I was invited to “group” events and even birthday parties where there would be mixed company – nobody ever got a “plus one” to these events. Even high-school couples didn’t bring their “steady” partners to weddings because, well, they were still teenagers, and by next week, well, they could very well be dating someone else.

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EllenS May 19, 2015 at 7:25 pm

Apparently Deanne thinks Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” is a relationship seminar.

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rachel June 8, 2015 at 9:55 am

High school. Not a big deal.

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