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Not a laughing matter

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Some people can't fit in. They try to, but something stops them. There could be classmates like this. If you belong to a clique, you may find that other students try to belong to this clique. Often, what happens is that such students are laughed at and ridiculed.

Think of team games in school. Is there a student who is, although bubbly and excited, always picked last and that too with annoyance? You may not see this as bullying; after all you have your reasons to not want to be with this person. Their cheeriness irritates you and their way of forcing themselves into your group annoys you. So you run away from that person. People with a mean streak would take it a step further. They would make this student believe he's being accepted into the group only to humiliate or use him.

Forget the outsider to your group, how are the members of the group treated? Often there is a black sheep in each group; someone who is part of the clique but is the least favorite. While the group celebrates each member’s birthday in grand style with gifts, cards, cake and even a surprise party, the black sheep's birthday is either forgotten or nothing is done in celebration. Of course the black sheep isn't going to complain but she will be extremely hurt.

You may have watched Home, a film revolving around the friendship between a Boov named Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons) and a girl named Tip (voiced by Rihanna). Boov aren't creatures that are social or friendly. They are practical. However, Oh wants to make friends. When the Boov lands on Earth, Oh organizes a warming of the house party and invites his neighbors. Oh decorates his apartment and gets ready for the party. He stands by the door, waiting to greet his guests. No one attends. The Boovs who walk on the corridor outside make sure they don't make a sound, in case Oh hears them. Somehow a noise is made and Oh is excited that his guests are finally arriving, opens the doors finds the corridor empty. The Boovs are hiding.

The scene is incredibly sad. It makes one realize that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, people won't be friends with you. The worse thing is a child in the audience during a screening of the film laughed at the very sad Oh. What if you were in Oh's position? Would you want to be laughed at? How is someone's unhappiness, pain or sorrow funny?

We find the oddest things funny. When someone falls down we would help them only once we've laughed at them. There is a saying that good friends help you when you fall and best friends laugh at you and trip you again. If this is the difference between a good friend and a best friend, wouldn't you prefer having a good friend instead of a best friend?

Most people don't like to be alone. They value relationships. They yearn for friends. If someone is trying hard to be your friend it could be because they see something good in you. And while it’s up to you to choose your friends, you have no right to laugh at people who don't have or can't make friends.

No one likes to be ridiculed, humiliated or laughed at. You wouldn't like it. So why would anyone else?

If you know someone like Oh, speak to them. Let them join you when playing a game. Don't push them away or corner them. And if you are like Oh, don't worry. There's a Tip for you and someday soon you will find a friend who cares about you.

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