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Summary and details of the problem

I have a friend who is pretending to be the girlfriend of a rich closeted gay guy. I think I can empathize why they are doing this. She enjoys being the talk among of all our friends and being able to influence trends and opinions among us just because she is now hanging out with lots of rich people. Her boyfriend doesn't have anyone questioning his sexuality (or possibly being harassed). However, one of my friend's enemies found out the relationship is a big fake from the rich guy's ex-boyfriend. This enemy is now planning to send out all the texts/emails/conversations/photos of the rich guy's past gay relationship to expose my friend and her boyfriend as both liars and frauds. For context we are all still in high school.

What I've tried

I talked with my friend's enemy. From what I was able to gather, she is doing this to get revenge because she believes my friend "ruined her life". Based on my analysis of her personality, I think she liked being the center of attention. Before my friend started dating the rich guy: friends consulted her on fashion trends, asked her advice on their problems, was the first one to be invited to a party, etc. After my friend started dating the rich guy, she felt she was pushed aside, ignored, and forgotten. Nobody was paying attention anymore to what she was wearing, nobody was asking her for advice to problems, and people were forgetting to invite her to parties. She saw my friend as the one who took all that away from her. She even complained about how everyone was telling her "[my friend's name] this, [my friend's name] that." Almost every conversation brought up my friend and something about how great my friend was.

I talked to my friend after I found out the truth. She denied everything and called me a jealous liar. She doubled down on the lie and started telling everyone she and her boyfriend was having sex once a week. I tried again asking her things like "why do you want people to think you slept with a gay guy". After a heartfelt plea from one childhood friend to another, she decided to tell me the relationship was fake. She explained to me her reasons. Growing up she always felt ignored. Nobody really talked to her. She felt invisible and nobody cared about her. Her fake relationship with the rich kid changed everything for her. She suddenly felt "loved". People wanted to hang out with her. She had friends inviting her to parties, movies, and trips. People wanted to know her opinions and thoughts. I think I can sympathize with her.

I tried talking with my friend's enemy trying now to reason with her. She didn't care. She believed my friend "stole" all that from her. She is only getting back what is hers. Once my friend is exposed as a liar and humiliated she "will be back where she belongs." She said they are both lying to the world. She even said this would be good for the gay kid because gay people should out themselves. She said this isn't the stone ages and gay people aren't being killed/harassed/discriminated anymore. She already has a private web page set up that has all the evidence to "take down" my friend. She plans to make the web page public and send the link to everyone we all know through facebook/twitter/email/text during my friend's big 18th birthday party. I told her I would tell her parents what she was planning to do. She said she already told her parents and they agree and support on what she planned to do.

I've already tried but failed. Is there any other way I can help convince her not to get revenge? I don't want to see my friend humiliated like that.

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    I'm not sure this type of question belongs to IPS. If you've tried almost everything but the legal aspect, wouldn't it better to ask about the outcome of all this to a dedicated stack, like law.SE ? I don't know if it'll fit their standards, better ask them on meta before maybe...
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 8 at 8:08
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    In my opinion this belongs here, but also in law.SE. What your friend's enemy plans to do sounds like something illegal, and I would in addition ask there, also to cover yourself. Plus if the enemy can get serious legal trouble and she knows it, maybe you will have better chances to make her stop.
    – Purrrple
    Jul 8 at 8:45
  • Your posting is quite ambiguous to me, perhaps you should edit and replace some of "she" by "enemy" or "my friend" and the like. Then from the first sentence I wonder why a gay man has a relation to a girl - does anyone really believe that? Did enemy have a (fake) relation to him too, or why else does she feel pushed aside now? What does the guy think about all that, why does he agree to this fake? Then just being curious, this sounds like you are part of an incredible Kindergarten behavior, are you sure this is where you belong? Finally, I also think publishing private media could be a crime.
    – puck
    Jul 10 at 7:20
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    Q: is this high school? That dynamic will temper a response from the folks here. I'd respond very differently to this as a high-school drama as opposed to a workplace drama. Jul 12 at 19:34
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And here I was thinking that all those US high school movies were exaggerating things. Ignorant German me. ;-)

From my own experience, someone who wasn't convinced so far won't be convinced by re-iterating the same arguments over. Therefore you have to find arguments, that are new. I've got two ideas, that may apply to your situation ...

  1. One thing you could try when reasoning with the "enemy" could be to question how playing the goddess of revenge would reflect on her. Does she really believe that people will like her for intruding into the privacy of others and outing them as gay?

    Anybody who intentionally outs someone else as LGBTIQ+ would be instantly un-friended by me, and I believe many of my peers would do the same. I see a general consensus in large parts of society, that this is unacceptable behaviour which could fire back. You won't stop all undesired behaviour by threatening the offender with bad consequences, but you can stop some undesired behaviour that way. This is basically the idea of all criminal law.

  2. Since bisexuals are a thing, I fail to see what the "enemy" believes she can prove by providing evidence for a former same-sex relationship. Maybe pointing this out could be a more practical argument

    If someone threatens to do something, pointing out that the threat isn't that big of a threat might stop them going through with their plan, when weighing costs against outcome. I've seen exactly that work in many political settings, I was part of.

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    No matter the UVs, Jan, I have to say that this isn't the type of answer IPS is expecting, because it lacks backup, explanation, and looks just what you said it's not: "two thoughts that [are] a comment". It doesn't explain why it should work, if it even did for you, the pros and cons...etc... Please consider editing and improving
    – OldPadawan
    Jul 8 at 16:11
  • Keep in mind that you and your friend are not in the US, so being unfriended might not be as big a risk as you think unless this person happened to have a lot of European friends.
    – Erik
    Jul 8 at 17:27
  • In addition to the comment from OldPadawan: Here's the meta post explaining what kind of backup is expected from answers, and this blog post explains why those rules are the way they are: In order for this site to be a good subjective site with questions and answers, that can have a place on the SE network and is more than just thoughts or opinions :) If you have any further questions, there's usually someone in Interpersonal Skills Chat and most are willing to explain :)
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jul 8 at 19:50
  • @OldPadawan I've extended my anwer. I hope that it's more accessible this way. Jul 9 at 14:17
  • @Erik I'm sorry, it looks like I didn't make it obvious as I should have, that this was meant as a background in personal experience, that I believe to be transferable to other groups and social settings. I hope the edited version is more easily understandable. Jul 9 at 14:19

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