Here’s something that has helped me a lot in my dealings with certain members of my social circle (notice I don’t call them ‘friends’) who have at times in the last year tried to suck me into their ‘highschool’ shenanegins:
When a situation has really gotten to me, I have thought to myself: “Self, just how would you put your distress in terms for the Straight Dope community? How would they react?” I think of Dopers I respect and adore from afar like Yosemitebabe, Lobsang, Phlosphr, or Quadgop who might read of my childish distress, although probably not post, and think poorly of my social skills for not being able to shrug off the crud. Odd as it may seem, NOT posting my troubles here has done me more good than actually posting them would have.
Without fail, I realize that I would be extremely embarassed to tell all of you how much it hurt when I was excluded from the ice cream social (not really what happened, but analogous in terms of petty backbiting). I began to see it as silly rather than evil. With that realization comes the understanding that these situations are truly not worth my agony (something that I already knew intellectually, but which had no emotional truth until I put it in Straight Dope terms). I find myself able to ignore the gossip about who is in the doghouse this week (hoping it’s not me) and spend my time with those who would rather talk about Sonic Youth, Philip K. Dick or population control.