Yes, unfortunately dealing with cliques, social climbers, friend climbers, toxic friendships and such is a part of life that doesn’t end when you graduate from high school. That this stuff is just what you deal with in high school is one of those little white lies that parents tell their tweens and teens. Unfortunately, it’s just part of human interaction in society and it never goes away. As I’ve written before, you will find cliques and social climbers when you get the nursing home one day.
This situation has happened to me in the past. You bring someone into your group, you have a falling out with a friend or aren’t interested in a guy romantically, and next thing you know they are backstabbing you, stealing your friends, talking behind your back and isolating you from YOUR friends. It’s awful, but it happens all the time. As you said, you need to “manage this person” and do some damage control. I think you need to go on these trips and not let him push you out of the picture. Don’t give him what he wants, and make this easy for him. They are your friends. You could invite your friends to do things without him, but at this point I think your friends like him and consider him part of your group, so you are probably going to have to find a way to deal with him. Rather than resort to his devious underhanded ways, I suggest you be the bigger person and have a conversation with him again and call him out on his behavior. Tell him that you introduced him to your friends, and want to go back to having a strong friendship with him, and that you’re sorry if you made the relationship awkward. See what he says. Hopefully, this will help. Again, do not let him push you out. Continue with your friends as you would before him, and don’t let this jerk intimidate you.
I wish you the best, let me know how it goes!
– Miss A