It’s safe to say none of us are quite the same person we were in high school.
For some people, the change is fairly subtle, and it’s more of an inner change, living with the ease and confidence you were always missing in adolescence.
Others, however, turn a completely new leaf and become a completely different person.
For better or worse, however, you still might be remembered by your classmates as the person they remembered you to be in high school.
Redditor Shot-Independent8641 was less than pleased to discover she would be attending university with a former schoolmate.
Particularly as this particular individual was anything but a friend to the original poster (OP) in high school.
Even so, this once-and-future classmate seemed determined to strike up a newfound friendship with the OP.
Which the OP was not interested in one bit.
Wondering if she was being unfair, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for calling my former bully ‘beyond repulsive’ and ‘dumb as sh*t’ after he kept bothering me in the gym?”
The OP explained how she was greeted at her university by an unpleasant blast from her past:
I (18 F[emale]) started university this year.”
“My school is located outside my home province, so I wasn’t expecting to see too many people from high school here. However, I did see this one guy from high school, Thomas (18 M[ale]), here.”
“To say Thomas and I had a difficult past is a bit of an understatement.”
“He tormented my friends, especially me, during our preteen years and for the first two years of high school.”
“He would always call me the most hurtful things and was your typical bully.”
“I don’t know why he hated me, though I think he probably thought I was an easy target.”
“He stopped picking on us around grade 11, and I thought that was it.”
“Apparently, according to some of my friends, he turned over a new leaf around that time.”
“Fast forward, and I see him during orientation week.”
“He approached me and said hi.”
“I returned his greeting, and we made some small talk, but I tried to keep things relatively short.”
“During this chat, I learned that (surprise, surprise) we’re in the same program and even in the same residence building.”
“He seemed happy with this, as in his words, it was nice to see a familiar face.”
“Over the next few weeks, we’ve been chatting pretty regularly, given that we do have pretty similar schedules.”
“I’ve been trying to give short, polite answers, but whenever we talk, he just doesn’t shut up.”
“I sometimes suspect that he actively seeks me out for a chat.”
“Earlier today, when I was at the campus gym, I saw Thomas.”
“I tried to avoid his general area in the gym and kept my AirPods in my ears, hoping that he would not notice me.”
“About halfway through my set, I heard him call out to me.”
“We talked for a bit (I was annoyed at this stage, as he did interrupt my workout), and then he started asking me if I needed help with any of the equipment or anything like that and that he could personally train me.”
“I declined his offer, and then he bluntly asked me out.”
“I didn’t think I heard him properly, so I asked him to repeat what he said.”
“He then said he wanted to take me out for lunch or something like that.”
“I said something along the lines of now wouldn’t be a good time, but he persisted and said that it could be fun.”
“At this stage, I snapped.”
“I told him that I thought he was beyond repulsive and dumb as sh*t if he thought I’d go out with him.”
“He looked very shocked at this, and before anything else could be said, I grabbed my bag and left.”
“Later, I told my roommate about this, and she said that I was sort of an a**but that she could understand where I was coming from.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No a**holes Here
The Reddit community was in agreement that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing Thomas’s advances
Most people agreed that Thomas did, indeed, have a lot of nerve for asking the OP out without even offering an apology.
“Unless he got brain damage between grade 11 and now, he has to remember how he treated you.”
“Hopefully, he now knows that you remember even if he pretends not to.”- C_Majuscula
“He made your life hell. Bullied you.”
“You’re going to have a lot of anger towards him built up inside.”
“Yeah, you snapped at him, but I’d do the same if someone had made my life such a hell in school.”
“Yes he may have changed now, but from what you’ve said, he’s never actually apologized for any of it.”- femininal
“Another one of these, ‘I’ve changed, so nothing I did before counts” people.'”
“Well, it counts.”
“People have been scarred for life by bullying.”
“Though I hope you’re not one of them.”
“Stop chit-chatting with him and tell him that due to the way he acted in high school you want absolutely nothing to do with him.”
“It’s what you should have told him in the first place.”
“It sounds to me like you were just trying to be polite, even outright cool with him, and the dude still somehow thought there were vibes.”
“You don’t owe him anything, and trauma doesn’t just go away.”- linty_lintball
“He doesn’t get to just bulldoze his way into your life because he thinks he is somehow entitled to be in it.”
“Could have been a bit clearer from the get-go, but now you’re being very clear.”-shammy_dammy
“NTA, it’s still fresh for you, having been bullied by this guy… funny how it works when these people (bullies) feel the need to speak to someone they bullied and never apologize.”
“Hubby & I walked past a vehicle the other day, and dude yells hubby’s name. We look, and it’s a guy we knew and hadn’t seen in over 25 years.”
“We moved 3000 kms from our hometown – who almost tore hubby’s finger off in high school (as well as many other times of bullying).”
“He was so happy to see us – called me by my sister’s name (didn’t correct bc honestly don’t care for him to know my name if he doesn’t remember), and he wanted to chat – meanwhile I’m walking slowly to our vehicle, and he’s still yapping how great to see us – really?.”
“He asked for a cell # and I said he’s on fb we gotta go.’
“Never left a Costco parking lot faster than that day lol.”
“Don’t let anyone tell you he’s changed or your feeling of being bullied should be left in the past or you should befriend someone who was so horrible to you.”
“He now knows you remember how he treated you, and IF he dares come up to you again the first words he says should be an apology!”
“Best wishes & focus hard in school & your future my dear!”- mrschainsaw1998
“In school (I don’t know what grade correlation it is for the US), I bullied a girl relentlessly between the ages of 12 and 14.”
“Sure, I did this because I thought she was pretty, but she wasn’t part of our clique, so my friends and I bullied her.”
“It was cold, we said some awful stuff, and it was so bad she left our class (we kept the same classes for those ages).”
“Rarely a week goes by that I don’t look back on that with regret (I’m now 33).”
“Never in a million years would I have the audacity to give a half-hearted apology and then try and become friends with her.”
“I know full well what I did, how wrong it was, and how reprehensible I was as a human being.”
“I have never reached out to apologize because I don’t want to bring the trauma back up for her and honestly I worry it would be for my own gain and feelings.”
“Either he is ‘dumb as sh*t,’ or he’s arrogant as sh*t.”
“Because he either knows exactly what he did and doesn’t care enough to address it outright, or he doesn’t realize how much he hurt you and is thick as pig sh*t.”
“I’m sorry he has made this experience worse for you, and I completely understand why you didn’t put ‘firm boundaries in place’ like some of the naïve comments I’ve seen below.”
“You want to be able to feel safe, and he is constantly around/near you, so of course you didn’t feel comfortable upsetting him until you were pushed to.”
“I think you did the right thing.”
“So what you called him a couple of mean things, he’s called you hundreds of mean things.”
“So what he apparently had a self-growth, he obviously didn’t learn from it.”
“Absolutely NTA.”- Snoo_61002
Others, however, felt that the OP should give Thomas the benefit of the doubt that he has, indeed, turned over a new leaf, even if they agreed she had every right to say no to his forward behavior.
“Has he ever apologized for what he did to you?”
“Or has the topic of why he ever treated you like that? NAH.”
“He tormented you for years, so of course, you want nothing to do with him.”
“But it does seem like he is trying to make a genuine effort not to be the person he used to be.”
“He still has to know there are consequences to his actions.”- Callow98989
It is entirely possible that Thomas is not the same person he was in high school.
Even so, that doesn’t mean all his past behavior is forgiven and forgotten.
If he wants to have any sort of friendship with the OP, the only chance he has is if he begins their next encounter with two words: I’m sorry.