My overachieving friend

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My overachieving friend

Postby reuben364 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:51 pm UTC

Dear xkcdians,
I have a friend, let us call him Bob, who overachieves and has clear goals in mind for his future. Me, him and my other friends all form a nerdy social circle. Bob, however, shows no interest in the nerdy pop culture. We lightly, but frequently joke about his lack of knowledge of the nerd scene. Most recently, after being tortured by a 3D Jar Jar Binks for 2 hours and 20 minutes, he asked if the short green dude was Spock.
This mockery has gone on for some time now and Bob has shown his resentment towards us several times now with through threats and antisemitism to my one Jewish friend. Each time I am reluctant to take a stance but I feel something must be done. After Bob becomes angry my friends stop, but then after a while it continues.

Please help me to resolve this and prevent further incidents.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby Hawknc » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:02 pm UTC

Stop being a dick to him because he's different and likes different things, and maybe he won't feel the need to retaliate.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby OBrien » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:08 pm UTC

Do unto others man. I'm sure you wouldn't like to be mocked endlessly by your friends. The fact that you're a group of self-proclaimed nerds can't help either; from his point of view he doesn't even fit in with the people who don't fit in.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby reuben364 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:18 pm UTC

I realize this simple fact. Now I just want my friends to do the same.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby OBrien » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:24 pm UTC

Just tell them then.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby reuben364 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:31 pm UTC

Hard to do when their attention span is nearly non-existant.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby OBrien » Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

Hmm... I see your problem. Perhaps they need a taste of their own medicine? Treat them like shit for a day then say "Right, that's how you're treating Bob all the time." That might work.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby reuben364 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:12 pm UTC

That won't be well received. They'll just ignore it coming from just me.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby SecondTalon » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:24 pm UTC

So, next time they start to tear in to Bob, do that thing where you start to make fun of them to prove a point (and even go so far as to say that being a dick to Bob has long stopped being a joke in good fun and is just dickish behavior), but go on a rant and end up uncontrollably screaming about how you are going to murder them in their sleep while waving a butcher's knife in a threatening manner.

If nothing else, the mystery of why you seemingly have always concealed a butcher's knife on your person will keep them talking about what you had to say, on being a dick to Bob and all.


...

Seriously, just openly tell them to stop being a dick to Bob every single time they're dicks to him. Then stop hanging out with a bunch of dicks if they don't stop.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby Webzter » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:07 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Seriously, just openly tell them to stop being a dick to Bob every single time they're dicks to him. Then stop hanging out with a bunch of dicks if they don't stop.


Very much this. And, when they start on Bob, it's not enough just to sit there and not participate. Tell them to stop being dicks. If necessary, leave. They might not really understand that they're being dicks... and there could be some herd mentality at play.

If they continue to be dicks to Bob, then you should examine if you want to continue to hang out with them or not.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby eSOANEM » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:58 pm UTC

Webzter wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:Seriously, just openly tell them to stop being a dick to Bob every single time they're dicks to him. Then stop hanging out with a bunch of dicks if they don't stop.



Agreed.

I don't think giving them a taste of their own medicine will achieve anything, if you identify as nerds, chances are you already know what it's like to have people be dicks to you, you've just got to tell them that that's what they're doing and, hopefully they'll remember what it's like to be in Bob's place.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby reuben364 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:21 pm UTC

Okay, thanks. I will do so. The thing is that they have no experiences of being bullied expect for one, which was the person they messed with before Bob. He did not express resentment toward it though. Bob very clearly expresses that he hates it.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby SecondTalon » Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:49 pm UTC

Seriously, even throw in a "Ah, I remember the last time a Bob was Naive joke was actually funny.. it was back in (insert the year you started hanging out with Bob).. of course, it wasn't really all that funny then either.."

And if they bring up that you've made fun of Bob since then... which you probably have.... your response is along the lines of "Yeah, I did. And I was stupid then. And in five years or so, I'll probably think I am stupid now. At least I'm recognizing it and trying to work with my stupidity rather than denying it."

And then.. seriously, if they don't stop being a dick to Bob, every time they invite you to do something, answer with "You gonna be a dick to Bob? Yes? I'll pass." or just do the thing with Bob or whatever. Stop hanging out with them if they continue to be a dick.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby Wiskie » Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:03 pm UTC

...he asked if the short green dude was Spock...


This seems like such an egregious error that one might have expected Bob to be joking--especially if he considers himself a nerd. Star Wars has become such a pop culture icon that for Bob to be unfamiliar with one of the main characters, he would need to have come from an entirely different culture (a galaxy far, far away, no?). It would be like me going to England, seeing a picture of Amy Winehouse, and mistaking her for the queen. And, of course, just as any Englishman would be at best annoyed and at worst insulted by my ignorance, so might your friends feel the same way when Bob is equally daft. Hence, the ridicule. That's my take.

As for remedying the situation, buy Bob a 360 or loan him some comic books sometime. The next time a Star Wars marathon shows up on SpikeTV, DVR that ish for him. Ease Bob into the nerd culture while gently reminding your other friends that they were just like him once.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby OBrien » Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:11 pm UTC

Sorry, but I have to disagree. People shouldn't have to change who they are to fit in, especially in geek circles, which are generally founded by people who don't want to change who they are. Bob's friends just have to stop being massive dicks.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:26 pm UTC

So, lets get this straight: you call yourself a geek, have a friend who clearly wants to use his intelligence to succeed in life, and rather than try and support him or meet him halfway on his interests, you ridicule him because he's not into the same stuff you're in?

Right. He sounds like the bad guy here .
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby reuben364 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:32 pm UTC

I'm not trying to make as if he is the bad guy. If I gave that impression, then I apologize.
EDIT: I do share mathematics as interest, but not to such an extent.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:39 pm UTC

It sounds more than anything like he's not into the same stuff that you are. That in and of itself doesn't make him a bad guy. You being a dick to him for not liking that stuff, however, makes you a dick. If you don't want to remain friends with the guy because of diverging interests, that's completely fine and dandy; just don't be a prick to him because he doesn't squee with joy over the same stuff you do.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby Shro » Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:28 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:It sounds more than anything like he's not into the same stuff that you are. That in and of itself doesn't make him a bad guy. You being a dick to him for not liking that stuff, however, makes you a dick. If you don't want to remain friends with the guy because of diverging interests, that's completely fine and dandy; just don't be a prick to him because he doesn't squee with joy over the same stuff you do.

OP realizes that. OP wants to know what he can do to make the rest of his group of friends be less dickish.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby Weeks » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:55 am UTC

What bugs me is the title of this thread. I thought the emphasis would be on how him being overachieving justified your friends' behavior or something.
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Re: My overachieving friend

Postby jillton » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:38 pm UTC

SecondTalon totally nailed it.

It's cool that you realise that you guys aren't being the best of friends to this guy and are actively looking for a solution to this, well played OP!

As well as a) confronting your friends about it b) Not hanging out with friends if it continues and/or c) occassionally hanging out with just Bob instead of in a group - Why not suggest hanging out with him on his own and doing something that he's into?

When I was A LOT younger, I used to be made fun of a bit (not to any seriously upsetting extent) in school 'cause I was the biggest Buffy fan ever (and obnoxiously into music, HOW my friends put up with the constant mixtapes and non-stop talking about bands they had no interest in, I have no idea, but they did and I love them for it!). Eventually a friend said that she wanted to have an idea of what I was always going on about and asked to come to my house and watch an episode with me... She LOVED it and between the two of us we converted some more friends to the Joss Whedon way of life.

Maybe Bob has some cool hobby/interest that you guys haven't discovered yet because you're always talking about what your common interests are? It seems like he's getting left out as well as being made fun of...
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