Though we may not actually attend, a lot of us imagine what we might wear or say or do if we went to one of our high school reunions. We imagine how great it would be to prove the mean kids from our class wrong, finally.
But sometimes trying to prove a point makes us just as bad as them, begrudgingly agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Inevitable_Mention32 had been bullied and ignored when she was in middle school and was proud of herself for becoming a successful model after graduating from high school.
When her first middle school reunion came around, the Original Poster (OP) decided it was only fair to ignore her bullies the way they had ignored her.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for acting superior at my middle school reunion?”
The OP was often ignored and bullied in middle school.
“I’m 23 (Female). In middle school, I was excluded and treated really harshly by my fellow classmates.”
“I lived in a predominantly Asian area and am Asian myself, but I was never seen as ‘Asian enough’ by most of my other peers because I was chubby and didn’t do well in school (neurodivergent).”
“They would constantly be passive-aggressive to me and act like I was a pest whenever I was trying to genuinely be nice so I started resenting them and hanging out with the people who actually accepted me.”
The OP later found success.
“Later, I changed a lot. I lost tons of weight after high school and I became friends with a photographer who helped me get a start-up with modeling.”
“I’m nowhere near as successful as, say, Naomi Campbell, but I do high fashion editorial modeling, and I’m proud of my position. I’m aware that I’m very fortunate to be in the position I am in.”
The OP decided to share her success at her middle school reunion.
“Last night was my middle school reunion. I have a good group of friends I’ve known since middle school so we all went together.”
“When we arrived, I felt uncomfortable and only spoke to my group or the people who didn’t treat me like crap.”
“Whenever one of the people who used to act s**tty towards me tried to speak to me, I just ignored them, continuing to talk and not looking at them at all.”
This approach did not go over well with her classmates.
“I didn’t see an issue, they did the same thing to me, but apparently, it irritated one of the dudes (this one posted my low test score to humiliate me in middle school). He came up to me and was trying to talk to me but I just ignored him.”
“He started telling me how I must have thought I was better than everyone else and that I was acting like a stuck-up pr**k.”
“I turned to him and replied, ‘I am better than everyone else. That’s why I have a more successful career.'”
“We then had some back and forth because I mentioned that he treated me like crap so he shouldn’t act entitled to my time or respect.”
The OP stood by what she had done.
“At that point, my friends told me we should just leave.”
“I personally feel like you dish out what you get. They all did the same s**t to me in middle school.”
“My friends were all on my side but some of them felt like I could’ve tried to be nice to keep the peace.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought that the OP was beginning to sound like a bully herself.
“ESH. Congrats, you’re now the bully. I’m sure if you practice harder, you can really turn it up for your high school reunion.” – namesaretoohardforme
“She literally told these people that she’s better than them because she’s more successful. How stuck-up and arrogant do you have to be to comfortably say that to anyone?”
“The OP said she was uncomfortable in there from the beginning, yet made her situation so much worse. This behavior isn’t a one-off thing by the looks of it.” – UnderestimatedIguana
“They were children, and she is an adult. If the ‘bullies’ continued their behavior into adulthood, then that would be different. I’m not saying that she had to have anything to do them, either, but there’s no need to be stuck up about it.”
“If you go around telling people you are better than them (without even knowing what sort of lives they’ve built for themselves), then you are definitely the AH. There were plenty of better ways to deal with this and if she is still that torn up about how other kids treated her when she was a kid, then therapy is obviously needed to work through that.” – theloveofgreyskull
“Why would you go to a reunion full of people who used to bully you just stay there and ‘act superior?’ It feels like there may be a bit of imposter syndrome here because the OP needs to prove something to someone. So they might not be a bully, but the dynamic is really off-balance and unfortunate.”
“Another question I have would be: does this person think that they are better than everyone else at that reunion because they are now modeling? Are they better than the person who is working at a gas station? Are they better than a person who is a stay-at-home parent? Are they better than someone who got fat since middle school?”
“Because the answer to those questions will determine what kind of person OP is. Not actively bullying someone but still feeling in your heart of hearts that you are superior to them is just not a recipe for a healthy internal life.” – greytgreyatx
“Let’s be honest, she went there to show all the bullies that she changed, and she’s successful. That’s why she ignored them when they spoke directly to her, instead of just telling them something like, ‘Hi, sorry I don’t have time for talking right now, I’m with my friend here,’ or even just, ‘I don’t feel like talking to you unless you’d like to apologize for bullying me in the school.'”
“She wanted to show them up, and that speaks volumes. YTA, OP.” – Niawka
Others were suspicious this was written by a middle-schooler and hoped to help guide them.
“You’re STILL in middle school, aren’t you? Hope your actual life turns out better than this fantasy version of yourself, because this person is an a**.” – MsMeiriona
“Look, I get that being young is hard. But this isn’t real, this is you projecting what you want to do, or what you want to happen, in the future. Like a nonviolent revenge fantasy.”
“First problem, I can tell you that a lot, and I mean A LOT, of us over the age of 21 do not recall half of what happened in middle school. We’d remember a vague ick about somebody but probably not anywhere as specific as you mentioned.”
“Second, there has never, ever, been a middle school reunion. High School, College, yes. But most people won’t go. Nobody in their right mind would ever go to a middle school reunion.”
“Third, you googled a famous model from, like, ten years ago and hoped that would make you sound older. You’re 13, tops.”
“Now, if we read this the way I do, let’s give you an ESH. Yes, they suck for being mean and entitled, but you would also suck because that’s a completely childish thing to do and say. Something a 13-year-old would do. Just saying.” – otsukaren_613
“Just to add, to the OP: you don’t have to lose a ton of weight to be worth something. Being pretty and a model doesn’t make anyone better than anyone else. We’re all just people and we all have intrinsic worth. There are more ways to being happy than being pretty and thin.” – lughioch
“Yes, YTA. Let me explain why. None of us are the snot we used to be in middle school.”
“I was picked on a lot, I get it. I really do. Many years after I graduated, I discovered the kids who were the meanest had really rotten home lives. They acted out at school because it was the only way they could feel good about themselves.”
“It’s okay not to forget. Forgiving is actually for your benefit. It will cleanse your heart of the anger you hold.” – crazyhouse12
“If this is real as opposed to the fantasy of a middle school student, I tend to cut people a lot of slack in the way they deal with their childhood bullies as adults. Obviously, it would have been much better if you’d been at least civil with everyone present, but I’m giving you a somewhat reluctant NTA.”
“If you are the middle school student described here, know that you don’t have to be thin, or a fashion model, or glamorous to be worthy of respect and kindness. Middle school is h**lish for many students. I hope you’ll find a couple of friends who can help you get through it, ignoring whether or not they’re popular.”
“Know that when you go to your middle school reunion (if such things exist), a great many people will have changed, and that a lot of people who experienced themselves as misfits will have developed romantic relationships, friend groups in which they’re liked and respected, and satisfying careers. It gets better.” – Nester1953
Everyone can understand what it’s like to be bullied by someone and to want to show that person that they were wrong about us, but there are right and wrong ways of handling that.
Whether the OP was an adult or a middle-schooler going through something tough, being proud of herself was far from wrong, but throwing behaviors back in the faces of her bullies, when all of them had had time to grow up and mature, was far from the right way to treat her former peers.
Showing up as her successful self and being as confident in that room as she was at work, that would have been the real way to show how far she had come… or perhaps, how far she wanted to go.