Dear Diary: Am I The Duff?

WARNING: This post contains photos which some readers may find disturbing – they’re certainly making me cringe!

A while ago now, I watched a film on Netflix called “The Duff”.  Maybe you’ve already seen it, but just in case you haven’t it’s a romantic comedy about a girl who finds out that she is the Duff in her social group – the Designated Ugly Fat Friend.  It’s actually a really good film and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It reminded me of the teen rom-coms I watched as a kid, such as 10 Things I hate about you and She’s All That, but with a slightly modern edge.

As I watched the film, I couldn’t help thinking.  Am I The Duff?

I certainly always felt like it at school.  I was never particularly “popular” at school, whatever exactly that means.  After a very rocky start, I (very luckily) met my soon-to-be best friend and fell in with her group of friends – the “Arts” crowd.  We were the kids who were always in the school productions, the concerts and the dance competitions.  We were slightly nerdy (possibly a lot nerdy) and on the more studious side of the spectrum.  There were sleepovers, murder mystery parties and general antics.  It was fun.

Still, I sometimes couldn’t help but feel that I was only included because I was Faith’s friend.  It wasn’t that they didn’t like me.  Just that they probably wouldn’t have made an effort to invite me places without her.  This changed a bit as we got older and our social groups developed and I eventually made a few very good friends.  It didn’t quite stop that little niggle in the back of my mind, though.

According to the movie, The Duff doesn’t necessarily have to be ugly, or fat.  She (or he) is just usually the least attractive or popular person in the group.  It’s very easy to feel like that’s you when your best friend is pretty, thin, clever and talented.  Oh, and generally very nice and easy to get on with.  Meanwhile, I was a short, curvy, sarcastic bundle of rage who had learnt that a good offence is the best defence.  I was probably more than a tad prickly and probably scared a lot of people away.  It was a coping mechanism, but maybe not everyone saw that.

In the movie, the lead character casts off her “hotter” friends in an attempt to find her own way.  Although there were definitely moments of jealousy from my end, it would never have occurred to me to break off our friendship.  As far as I was concerned Faith had rescued me from a life of sitting in the background and I was happy to tag along for the ride.  Over the years she has been more like a sister to me than a friend, so it’s a good job I kept her around.  Now, as an adult, I wouldn’t be without her, but I’d probably need a separate post to tell you why!  Or possibly a novel.

In the film, people often use the Duff as an excuse to get closer to the hot friends.  I can certainly relate to that feeling.  One particular occasion that sticks in my memory was the last day of school, when a boy (who I had openly fawned over for years) told me that the only reason he’d kissed me goodbye was so that he could do the same to her and not draw attention to himself.  Ouch.  Talk about tactless.

The same boy bumped into me in a club some years later and said, and I quote “If it’s any consolation, you’re a lot better now than you were then”.  Hmmm, not really, mate but well done for digging a deeper hole.  Needless to say, I no longer hold a torch for that particular old flame.

It’s been a long-standing joke with Mr Mess that one of the main reasons I married him was because he met me and Faith on the same day and actually noticed ME!

Without wanting to spoil the end of the film for you, the main character eventually gets to grips with her “Duff-ness” and learns to embrace who she is.  I like to think I’ve done the same.  Over the years, I’ve kind of grown into myself, both physically and mentally, and I’m much more comfortable with who I am now.  I’ve learned what suits me (and what really doesn’t!).  I’m much happier in my own skin.

Much more importantly than that though, I’ve learned that it really doesn’t matter how I am perceived by the whole world.  If people looking at me want to think I’m the Duff in the group, that’s their business.  I know what I have to offer, and luckily for me, so do my friends (Faith included)  If I don’t quite meet up with modern day standards, I have plenty of people who love me anyway and those are the only people who I really give a damn about!




  1. Abbeylouisarose says:

    Awww I totally feel your pain here! I was always the slightly awkward ugly kid, complete with braces, glasses, and a horrendous fringe, and I always envied my prettier, more popular friends! However, now I wouldn’t change a thing about myself and I’m a lot happier in myself! Comparison is the thief of joy, just focusing on how great my friends are and how well we get along really helps those feelings of inadequacy!


  2. Rachael Styles says:

    I completely relate to this, all my friends at the total opposite to me, and I’m constantly feeling like the duff too! In the past two years I’ve learnt to let go of those feelings more and more, because they’re nothing more than complimentary about things I used to hate about myself every time I see them (I wish I had your boobs/I wish I was as tall as you blah blah)!
    You are beautiful (I know cause I saw you in real life, so I know your pictures ain’t lying) and don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise

  3. Lora says:

    Oh how I can relate to this! I’ve always felt a bit different to my friends – especially at university! It’s definitely something that hasn’t gone away but I’m learning to embrace slightly – we are all different, and that’s not a bad thing!

  4. Kayleigh zara says:

    I love this film and your post, I’ve honestly always felt like the duff in my friends, my friends are pretty much all model looking stunning girls and here is me! But I’ve learnt to embrace that i’m different x

  5. Molly says:

    This made me really sad! You are such a wonderful and lovely person in your own right and you are certainly not the DUFF! I am totally happy to have met you! I do get where you’re coming from though and often feel like the failure or the least attractive. I think it’s just the horrible pressure that us women put on ourselves!


  6. Tania Ribeiro says:

    I can totally relate to this!
    Growing up I always felt a bit left out. I was very good friends with one girl and that got me into the “cool kids” group. I was invited along to stuff but once I left school those friendships ended. I’m so glad for the few good friends I have though.

    Tania ||


  7. Entirely Sarah says:

    I’ve seen this film pop up a few times when I am looking through finding something to watch and never quite ever clicked play, so I think I need to do that now! I always feel like the outcast in my social group and have had one too many occasions where people have blown me off, or arranged things and not invited me, its pretty crap but as you grow you realise who is a true friend sand wants you around no matter what! Cant wait to watch the film, love the post!

  8. Tiffany Frost says:

    This is such an interesting read! I haven’t seen The Duff but I know exactly how you feel, I’ve just always tried to remember to not compare myself to other people because you are the best version of you, and no one else xxxx

  9. Sian says:

    I was never interested in boys when I was at school; I was more concerned with dance class and school work. It wasn’t until I went to college that I lost all my confidence. A few years later and I genuinely don’t care anymore. I’m working on myself for myself! I feel like I need to watch this film though!

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